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The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s grant of summary judgment to Defendants in this quiet title action challenging the enforceability of a plat restriction that barred Plaintiffs’ use of a portion of their own property. Plaintiffs owned Lot 8 in a subdivision. Defendants owned Lot 7. The plat restriction at issue in this case barred Plaintiffs’ use of a portion of Lot 8 and gave exclusive use of and responsibility for that property to Defendants. The district court concluded that the plat restriction contained in the subdivision’s recorded plat created an enforceable covenant appurtenant to Lot 8. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the plat restriction did not fail for lack of definition; (2) Plaintiffs’ challenges to the enforceability of the plat restriction on public policy grounds failed; and (3) there was no impediment in an access easement to the enforceability of the plat restriction. View "Reichert v. Daugherty" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s denial of Appellant’s motion filed under Wyo. R. App. P. 21 to withdraw his no contest pleas based on ineffective assistance of counsel, holding that the advice from Defendant’s fourth trial counsel as to whether Defendant could challenge his convictions after pleas of no contest did not render Defendant’s pleas involuntary. Defendant plead no contest to one count of possession with intent to deliver marijuana and one count of felony possession of marijuana. In his Rule 21 motion, Defendant claimed that his counsel incorrectly advised him he could pursue claims of ineffective assistance of counsel and violation of his right to a speedy trial in an appeal if he entered a no contest plea, rendering his plea involuntary. The district court denied the motion, finding that Defendant did not meet his burden of showing that, but for his counsel’s erroneous advice, Defendant would have insisted on going to trial. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err in determining that Defendant failed to establish he was prejudiced by the erroneous advice of his trial counsel. View "Miller v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s dismissal of Appellant’s declaratory judgment claim challenging a codicil to Patricia Ann Britain’s will, holding that Appellant’s challenges to the codicil could not be brought through a declaratory judgment action. Appellant, the personal representative of Patricia’s estate, brought this action alleging that Patricia was not competent to execute the codicil at issue because she did not have the capacity to execute the codicil or acted under undue influence. The district court dismissed the declaratory judgment action, concluding that the personal representative of an estate was not entitled to maintain a declaratory judgment action to challenge a will codicil on the grounds that the testator lacked capacity and/or was unduly influenced. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court properly dismissed the action because a will contest is the exclusive method of testing the validity of a will when there are questions about the testator’s competence or questions about undue influence. View "Britain v. Britain" on Justia Law

Posted in: Trusts & Estates

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s conviction of two counts of strangulation of a household member, holding that the prosecutor did not commit misconduct during closing argument. On appeal, Defendant argued (1) the prosecutor’s repeated use of the “golden rule” argument subverted the objectivity of the jury and materially prejudiced him, and (2) the prosecutor’s repeated reference to the complaining witness as the “victim,” referring to the defense theory as “victim blaming,” and referring to what the defendant did not say to police resulted in cumulative error, materially prejudicing him. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding that the prosecutor did not make improper golden rule arguments during her closing argument and did not otherwise commit misconduct. Therefore, there was no cumulative error. View "Buszkiewic v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s order granting summary judgment in favor of Taco John’s International, Inc. (TJI), concluding that TJI properly terminated Plaintiffs, two corporate executives, for violating their employment agreements. Plaintiffs brought this action asserting breach of the employment agreements and seeking damages in excess of $1 million each. The district court granted summary judgment for TJI. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the undisputed facts showed that Plaintiffs breached the employment agreements by forming a new company while still employed as senior executives at TJI and pursuing a franchise opportunity unrelated to TJI; (2) the employment agreements unambiguously prohibited Plaintiffs from forming a new company and seeking other franchise opportunities while employed by TJI, and therefore, TJI properly terminated Plaintiffs’ employment for cause; and (3) TJI’s president and chief executive officer did not have apparent authority to allow Plaintiffs’ participation in a business venture unrelated to TJI and contrary to the terms of their employment agreements. View "Eby v. Taco John's International, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Medical Commission upholding the decision of the Department of Workforce Services, Workers’ Compensation Division (the Division) denying benefits for Appellant’s back surgery, holding that substantial evidence supported the Medical Commission’s (the Commission) determination that the procedure was “alternative medicine” for which benefits were properly denied. Appellant underwent artificial disc replacement to treat her work-related back injury. The Division denied compensation for the jury, finding that it was not reasonable and necessary medical treatment because the artificial disc and surgical procedure had not been approved by the FDA and because Appellant had not presented sufficient objective medical support for their use. The Commission affirmed the Division’s denial of compensation, determining that the procedure was an “off-label” use of medical services and “alternative medicine” for which Appellant did not prove adequate support. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the Commission erred in determining that implantation of non-FDA-approved artificial discs at adjacent levels of the lumbar spine was an “off-label” use of medical services; but (2) substantial evidence supported the Commission’s determination that Appellant failed to provide sufficient documentation of the procedure’s safety and effectiveness, rending it “alternative medicine” for which benefits were properly denied. View "Harborth v. State, ex rel., Department of Workforce Services, Workers’ Compensation Division" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s conviction of delivery of a controlled substance, methamphetamine, holding that Defendant was not denied his right to a fair trial due to prosecutorial misconduct. On appeal, Defendant argued that his right to a fair trial was violated and he was materially prejudiced because the prosecutor committed impermissible misconduct during closing argument by misquoting certain testimony and by attributing a statement to a witness that had not been introduced at trial. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding that there was no reasonable probability that the outcome of the trial would have been different absent the prosecutor’s statements challenged on appeal. View "Osterling v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court dismissed Mother’s appeal from the district court’s denial of Mother’s motion for an ex parte order granting her emergency custody of her two children, holding that Mother’s motion was not an appealable order. Father was awarded custody of the parties’ two children following the parties’ divorce. Mother later filed a motion for an ex parte order granting her emergency custody of the children, alleging, among other things, that Father was alienating the children from her. The district court denied the motion, and Mother appealed. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal, holding that it lacked jurisdiction because the order resolved only the issue of temporary custody. Further, the Court found that Husband was entitled to his reasonable attorney fees and costs of responding to this appeal. View "Wood v. Wood" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s conviction for aggravated assault and other misdemeanor offenses, holding that the district court did not err in instructing the jury and that the evidence was sufficient to support the conviction. Defendant’s convictions stemmed from an incident in which he led law enforcement on a high-speed chase, crossed the median of I-25, and drove against oncoming traffic. The Supreme Court affirmed and conviction but remanded for entry of judgment corrected to properly reflect the offense on which Defendant was convicted, holding that the district court (1) deviated from the jury verdict both in its oral ruling on sentencing and in its written judgment and sentence; (2) did not err in instructing the jury regarding the crime of attempted battery; and (3) did not err in denying Defendant’s motion for a judgment of acquittal because the jury’s verdict finding Defendant guilty of aggravated assault and battery was supported by sufficient evidence. View "Kite v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court denying Frank Deede’s motion to reduce the amount he owed Kerry Wallace, his former wife, pursuant to the terms of the parties’ divorce settlement agreement and the district court’s subsequent contempt orders, holding that the district court acted well within its equitable power and sound discretion when it denied Frank’s motion to modify amount due. Frank’s motion to modify amount due was based on Frank’s assertion that some of the underlying debt was forgiven. The district court denied the motion, finding that Frank had failed to prove that the amount due was incorrect or that Frank had established that he should be given credit against Bank of America debt. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying Frank’s motion to modify amount due; and (2) Kerry was entitled to an award of fees and costs because Frank failed to present a cogent argument on appeal. View "Deede v. Deede" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law