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The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s order on summary judgment motions and order after bench trial in this dispute arising from an ill-conceived business conveyance plan during a downturn in the oil market, holding that the district court did not err or abuse its discretion in any respect. Three Garland brothers, who had separate entities providing specialized services to the oil industry, formed a company with their companies as members and the Garlands individually as members. Alex Mantle was president of the company. Mantle and the Garlands later entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) providing that Mantle and his wife would buy the company, but Mantle backed out of the deal. The Garlands liquidated the company, and this litigation followed. The district court disposed of some claims on summary judgment and resolved the remainder after a bench trial. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the Garlands and their entities did not abandon their counterclaims; (2) the MOU was an enforceable contract; (3) the district court correctly dismissed the Mantles’ fraud claim; (4) the district court correctly concluded that some conveyances by the Garlands fit the definitions of a fraudulent conveyance; (5) the elements for LLC veil-piercing were absent; and (6) the Garlands did not owe Mantle a duty of good faith. View "Garland v. Mantle" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s denial of Appellant’s petition for post-conviction relief, holding that res judicata barred Appellant’s claims. In his petition for post-conviction relief, Appellant challenged the same convictions and sentences he challenged in an earlier motion to correct an illegal sentence, and on the same grounds - double jeopardy. The district court found that Appellant’s claims were barred by res judicata. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Appellant failed to present the Court with good cause to avoid an application of the doctrine of res judicata under the facts of this case, and therefore, Appellant’s claims were appropriately barred. View "Goetzel v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the Unemployment Insurance Commission denying Appellant’s application for unemployment insurance after the City of Gillette terminated her employment, holding that there was substantial evidence to support the Commission’s determination that Appellant engaged in misconduct with her work and that the City did not violate Appellant’s First Amendment rights when it terminated her employment. The Commission denied Appellant’s claim for benefits after concluding that the City discharged Appellant because she violated several employer policies when she provided certain work-related confidential information to persons authorized to see that information. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the Commission had substantial evidence to conclude that Appellant committed misconduct connected with her work; and (2) the City did not infringe on Appellant’s First Amendment rights when it dismissed her for constitutionally protected speech. View "Mahoney v. City of Gillette" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s conviction of delivery of a controlled substance, holding that Defendant’s failure to file a pretrial motion to suppress identification evidence precluded this Court’s review of Defendant’s due process claim. On appeal, Defendant argued that his right to due process was violated when the district court admitted into evidence a witness identification that was based on a single photo, rather than a photo array. The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment, holding (1) a defendant’s failure to assert an objection or defense through a pretrial motion required by Wyo. R. Crim. P. 12(b)(3) is a bar to appellate review of a due process claim unless good cause is shown for the defendant’s failure to make the required finding; and (2) because Defendant did not file required motion to suppress the identification evidence against him required by Rule 12(b)(3) and did not show good cause for that failure, Defendant waived appellate review of his claim. View "Rodriguez v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s conviction for driving under the influence (DWUI) - fourth offense in ten years, holding that the charging document (Information) plainly charged Defendant with a fourth offense felony DWUI, thereby invoking the district court’s subject matter jurisdiction. On appeal, Defendant argued that the Information failed to state a felony offense because it did not allege three prior offenses resulting in convictions within the ten-year loopback period required by statute. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) any mistake in alleging if or when Defendant’s prior offenses occurred did not constitute a jurisdictional defect; and (2) by entering an unconditional guilty plea, Defendant waived his challenge to the sufficiency of the Information. View "Protz v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court reversed Appellant's convictions, holding that the record did not show a factual basis for Appellant's guilty plea as to counts two through eleven, and therefore, Appellant was prejudiced by her trial counsel’s deficient performance in advising her to plead guilty to ten felony counts under Wyo. Stat. Ann. 42-4-111(a) without a factual basis to satisfy the felony threshold. Appellant pled guilty to one felony count of Medicaid fraud related to improper record-keeping, ten felony counts of Medicaid fraud for making false or misleading statements in Medicaid claims when the value of the medical assistance is $500 or more, and two counts of felony forgery. Appellant filed a Wyo. R. App. P. 21(a) motion to withdraw her pleas due to ineffective assistance, arguing that the State unlawfully charged her with counts two through eleven and that her trial counsel provided ineffective assistance because he did not challenge those charges. Instead, trial counsel advised Appellant to accept a plea agreement under which Appellant pled guilty to all charges. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that there was no factual basis for Appellant’s guilty plea as to the ten felony counts, and trial counsel provided ineffective assistance by advising Appellant to accept the plea agreement. View "Mellott v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s conviction of two counts of second-degree sexual assault, holding that the district court did not err or abuse its discretion. Defendant, an OB/GYN, was convicted of sexually assaulting two of his patients. On appeal, Defendant argued that there was insufficient evidence to support his convictions, that the district court erred when it denied his proposed theory of defense instruction, and that the court erred when it denied his motion for arrest of judgment. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the State presented sufficient evidence that Defendant was in a position of authority; (2) the district court did not err when it rejected Defendant’s proposed theory of defense instruction; and (3) the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying Defendant’s post-trial Wyo. R. Crim. P. 34 motion for arrest of judgment. View "Harnetty v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the district court dismissing Appellants’ Wyo. R. Civ. P. 60 motion to set aside the coroner’s inquest verdict, holding that the district court does not have subject matter jurisdiction in a post-coroner inquest proceeding. Nearly four months later after Lee Birkholz died, the Teton County Coroner conducted a coroner’s request and presented Birkholz’s toxicology results to the inquest jury. The proceeding resulted in a coroner’s inquest verdict of “death due to aspiration secondary to alcohol and 5-methoxy-DMT ingestion.” Appellants filed the Rule 60 motion to set aside the inquest verdict. The coroner moved to dismiss the Rule 60 motion for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The district court granted the motion to dismiss. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the coroner’s inquest verdict is not a final order and has no probative effect and that the filing of the coroner’s inquest verdict with the district court is ministerial and does not confer jurisdiction on the district court. View "Cassidy v. Teton County Coroner" on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure

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The Supreme Court reversed in part the district court's judgment granting JLC Wyoming LLC a deficiency judgment against Stanley Thomas for the unpaid amount of a judgment against Fourth Quarter Properties 86 (FQP) and Thomas, holding that the district court did not credit Thomas with all payments made against an earlier judgment. FQP and Thomas obtained a $30 million loan from MetLife Insurance (MLIC) with a ranch as collateral, but when they could no longer make the payments, MLIC obtained a judgment against them for the outstanding balance plus interest (the judgment). Before the foreclosure sale, FQP filed for bankruptcy protection. MLIC purchased the ranch at a foreclosure sale. MLIC then sold its rights to the ranch and the remaining balance on the judgment to JLC. JLC obtained a deficiency judgment against Thomas for the unpaid amount of the judgment. The Supreme Court held (1) Thomas, a non-party to FQP’s bankruptcy case, was not entitled to the reduced amount FQP negotiated with MLIC in the bankruptcy case for the outstanding judgment; and (2) the district failed properly to credit Thomas for prior payments he and FQP made against the judgment. View "Thomas v. JLC Wyoming, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court terminating Mother’s rights to her three children, holding that the evidence clearly and convincingly established that Mother’s parental rights should be terminated. The district court found that the State presented clear and convincing evidence proving the statutory grounds for termination of Mother’s parental rights under both Wyo. Stat. Ann. 14-2-309(a)(iii) and (v). On appeal, Mother challenged the sufficiency of the evidence to establish the statutory requirements for termination of her parental rights. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the record supported the district court’s finding that each of the requirements for termination was proven by clear and convincing evidence. View "Swenson v. State, Department of Family Services" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law