Articles Posted in Personal Injury

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The Supreme Court reversed the district court’s order denying Kindred Nursing and Rehabilitation - Wind River’s motion to compel arbitration in this wrongful death action. Aletha Boyd died following her discharge from Kindred. Aletha’s daughter, Susan Boyd, filed this action alleging that Kindred’s negligence in caring for Aletha caused her death. Kindred moved to compel arbitration pursuant to an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) agreement signed by Leanna Putman, Aletha’s other daughter and representative under a power of attorney at the time of Aletha’s admission into the nursing home. The district court denied the motion without providing reasons for doing so. The Supreme Court remanded with instructions to order arbitration as required by the ADR agreement, holding (1) Putnam had the authority to sign the ADR agreement on Aletha’s behalf; and (2) the ADR was neither unconscionable nor lacked mutuality of assent or sufficient consideration. View "Kindred Heathcare Operating, Inc. v. Boyd" on Justia Law

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Due to deficiencies in this pro se appeal filed by Appellant, the Supreme Court summarily affirmed the district court’s dismissal of Appellant’s complaint. Appellant, a former project engineer at Sinclair Wyoming Refining Company, filed a complaint against certain Sinclair defendants, asserting fraud in the inducement and execution, breach of contract, and malicious destruction of property. The Sinclair defendants filed a motion to dismiss. Appellant filed timely to respond to the motion. The district court granted the motion to dismiss without a hearing. The Supreme Court summarily affirmed, holding that Appellant did not adequately comply with the Wyoming Rules of Appellate Procedure. View "Cor v. Sinclair Services Co." on Justia Law

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Larry Hurst was killed and Sara Hurst was seriously injured while riding their bicycles after a vehicle driven by Hannah Terry struck each of their bicycles. The Hurst filed a claim with their uninsured motorist insurance carrier, Metropolitan Property and Casualty Insurance Company (MetLife), which contended that the injuries to the Hursts were the result of one accident, resulting in a maximum of $300,000 in coverage. The Hursts, however, argued that their injuries were the result of two accidents, warranting $600,000 in coverage. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of MetLife, concluding that there was only one accident for purposes of determining the amount of uninsured motorist coverage. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the record was insufficient for a legal conclusion as to whether Terry maintained or regained control of her vehicle during the collisions with the Hursts, and therefore, summary judgment was improperly granted and the matter must be remanded for trial. View "Hurst v. Metropolitan Property & Casualty Insurance Co." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s affirmance of the decision of the Medical Commission, which upheld the Wyoming Workers’ Compensation Division’s denial of benefits to James Boyce. Boyce suffered an inguinal hernia while working. Boyce received workers’ compensation benefits to cover that injury, but the Division denied benefits for subsequently discovered conditions in Boyce’s lumbar spine. The Supreme Court agreed with the decisions below, holding that the Medical Commission did not act unreasonably or contrary to the overwhelming weight of the evidence in rejecting the opinion of Boyce’s medical expert and concluding that Boyce failed to prove that his work injury caused his need for subsequent spinal surgery. View "Boyce v. State ex rel. Department of Workforce Services" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the Medical Commission’s denial of additional temporary total disability benefits to Appellant. The Commission denied benefits after a contested case hearing, concluding that Appellant’s persistent back problems were the result of a preexisting degenerative condition and that Appellant failed to establish an increase in incapacity to a reasonable degree of medical certainty due solely to a work injury. The district court upheld the Commission’s decision. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) there was substantial evidence to support the Commission’s conclusion that Appellant was not entitled to benefits under Wyo. Stat. Ann. 27-14-605; (2) the Commission did not misapply the second compensable injury rule; and (3) there was substantial evidence to support the Commission’s conclusion that Appellant did not suffer a second compensable injury. View "Kebschull v. State ex rel. Department of Workforce Services, Workers’ Compensation Division" on Justia Law

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Collateral estoppel is not given effect to an uncontested Wyoming Workers’ Compensation Division (Division) determination denying workers’ compensation benefits even when the denial is based on a finding that the employee did not suffer a compensable injury. Lea Porter, through her employer, submitted a report of injury to the Division, by which Porter reporter an injury to her left knee. The Division issued to Porter final determination informing her that it would not approve payments of benefits upon its determination that the injury was not a work-related injury. Porter did not object to the final determination or request a hearing but did object to a later final determination of the Division that denied payment of costs related to an MRI of her left knee. The Office of Administrative Hearings granted summary judgment for the Division, concluding that Porter could not challenge the denial of benefits for the MRI because she did not object to the Division’s earlier determination that her injury was not work related. The district court affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Porter’s failure to object to the Division’s compensability determination did not preclude her objection to the Division’s final determination denying benefits to cover her MRI costs. View "Porter v. State ex rel. Department of Workforce Services" on Justia Law

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Appellants sued the town of Alpine, alleging claims stemming from Alpine’s financing and construction of a new sewage treatment facility. Appellants sought a declaration that Alpine’s loans for the new sewage treatment facility exceeded the town’s constitutional and statutory indebtedness limits. Appellant’s also asserted a claim for injunctive relief to stop Alpine from enforcing assessments and exactions for the new sewerage system on Appellants. A few years later, while the original case was proceeding, Appellants filed another action against Alpine and Nelson Engineering, claiming that Alpine and Nelson made false reports to the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality that Appellants had violated the agency’s rules and regulations when they upgraded their septic systems. The district court granted Alpine’s motion to dismiss all claims against the town and granted Nelson’s motion for summary judgment on all claims against the engineering firm. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding (1) Appellants sufficiently pled standing to pursue their declaratory judgment claim against Alpine; (2) the allegations supporting Appellants’ claim for injunctive relief against Alpine were legally sufficient; and (3) the district court’s respective orders on all the remaining claims in the two cases against Alpine and Nelson were not in error. View "Tavern, LLC v. Town of Alpine" on Justia Law

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RB was injured when he and his friends were running and sliding on a patch of ice on the sidewalk between buildings at Greybull Middle School. RB sued Big Horn County School District No. 3, alleging that the school district was negligent for failing to remove the ice that had accumulated on the sidewalk. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the school district on the question of whether there was a duty, concluding that the accumulation of ice in this case was both obvious and natural. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that RB could not establish a prima facie case of negligence because the school district had no duty under either the natural accumulation rule or based on Greybull’s snow removal ordinance. View "RB, Jr. v. Big Horn County School District No. 3" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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In February 2011, two years and four months after Plaintiff learned she had been disinherited by her mother, Plaintiff filed a complaint against financial advisor Bradley Lott for fraud and constructive fraud. A jury found that Lott had committed constructive fraud but that Plaintiff knew or should have known before February 2007 that the fraud occurred. Based on the jury’s findings, the district court dismissed the action, concluding that Plaintiff’s claims were barred by the statute of limitations. The Supreme Court reversed the judgment, holding (1) the evidence did not support a finding that Plaintiff could have discovered the fraud sooner, and (2) therefore, the district court erred by dismissing the case based on the statute of limitations. Remanded for a new trial.View "Erdelyi v. Lott" on Justia Law

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Robert Carson and his passenger, Hugh Sharp, were involved in a car accident in which Carson sustained multiple injuries and Sharp was killed. Carson filed a claim for worker’s compensation benefits. The Wyoming Workers’ Safety and Compensation Division denied benefits, finding that Carson’s injuries did not arise out of and in the course of his employment with Metrocities Mortgage, LLC. The Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) upheld the denial of Carson’s claim. Meanwhile, Sharp’s widow filed a wrongful death action against Carson and Metrocities. After a trial, a federal jury entered judgment against Metrocities under the theory of respondeat superior, concluding that Carson was acting within the course of scope of his employment when the accident occurred. On the basis of the federal judgment, Carson submitted a motion to reopen his claim with the OAH, contending that there was newly discovered evidence he was acting within the course of his employment at the time of the accident. The OAH eventually affirmed its earlier decision. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the OAH did not err when it failed to apply collateral estoppel to the issue of whether Carson was in the course and scope of his employment at the time of his injury.View "Carson v. State ex rel., Wyo. Workers' Safety & Comp. Div." on Justia Law