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The Supreme Court reversed the district court’s ruling granting summary judgment against FedEx Ground Package System, Inc. on Mariusz Bogdanski’s claim of vicarious liability of the claimed negligence of Damian Budzik and remanded the case to the district court for further proceedings. Bogdanski and Budzik were codrivers of a semi-truck that was involved in an accident in Evanston, Wyoming. The codrivers were hauling trailers owned by FedEx. Bogdanski sued Budzik, seeking damages for Budzik’s claimed negligence. Bogdanski also sued FedEx. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Budzik and FedEx. The Supreme Court (1) affirmed the summary judgment in favor of Budzik and the summary judgment on Bogdanski’s direct negligent training claim; but (2) reversed the summary judgment against FedEx on the vicarious liability for claimed negligence claim, holding that the evidence was sufficient to raise a genuine issue as to whether Budzik breached a duty. View "Bogdanski v. Budzik" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court sentencing Defendant to a prison term of four to six years, suspended in favor of six years of supervised probation, and ordering Defendant to pay restitution to her victim as a condition of her probation. Defendant pled guilty to exploitation of a vulnerable adult. In sentencing Defendant, the district court placed a number of conditions on her probations, including that Defendant pay restitution to the victim. On appeal, Defendant argued that the district court was without authority to setting her restitution payments at $500 per month, restricting Defendant from purchasing cable television or cell phone services, and directing that her recreational vehicles and trailers be liquidated. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion or exceed its authority in imposing the conditions at issue in this case. View "Anderson v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court sentencing Defendant to a prison term of four to six years, suspended in favor of six years of supervised probation, and ordering Defendant to pay restitution to her victim as a condition of her probation. Defendant pled guilty to exploitation of a vulnerable adult. In sentencing Defendant, the district court placed a number of conditions on her probations, including that Defendant pay restitution to the victim. On appeal, Defendant argued that the district court was without authority to setting her restitution payments at $500 per month, restricting Defendant from purchasing cable television or cell phone services, and directing that her recreational vehicles and trailers be liquidated. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion or exceed its authority in imposing the conditions at issue in this case. View "Anderson v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s order, entered after a jury trial, terminating Father’s parental rights to his infant daughter. The court held (1) the evidence in this case was clear and convincing and allowed the jury reasonably to find that Appellant was not a fit parent under the provisions of Wyo. Stat. Ann. 14-2-309(a)(iv); and (2) the Department of Family Services failed to comply its rule establishing deadlines for completing a case plan, but the error was harmless, and therefore, the district court did not err when it denied Father’s motion for judgment as a matter of law. View "Anastos v. State, Department of Family Services" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s conviction for one count of conspiracy to deliver a controlled substance, methamphetamine, thus rejecting Defendant’s claims of error on appeal. Specifically, the court held (1) the trial court did not abuse its discretion or commit plain error in admitting certain testimony into evidence; (2) the trial court did not err in denying Defendant’s motion to dismiss on Fifth Amendment double jeopardy grounds; and (3) plain error did not occur when a law enforcement witness offered his opinion that Defendant committed the crime of conspiracy to deliver methamphetamine. View "Garriott v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court convicting Defendant of three counts of aggravated assault and battery and one count of domestic battery and sentencing Defendant to enhanced penalties under the habitual criminal statute. The court held (1) there was sufficient evidence to support Defendant’s assault and battery convictions; (2) the district court did not commit reversible error when it allowed the jury to hear testimony of domestic violence expert and evidence that the victim had been abused in prior relationships; and (3) the district court did not impose illegal sentences. View "Thompson v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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At issue was whether this case presented a justiciable issue when the Supreme Court could not render a decision binding on a federal agency and could only offer an advisory opinion that may or may not ultimately bind the parties. Berenergy Corporation, which produced oil from several sites under oil and gas leases granted by the United States Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management (BLM), sought a declaratory judgment that the terms of its BLM oil leases provided it with rights superior to any obtained by Peabody Energy Corporation through its coal leases. The district court granted in part and denied in part both parties’ motions for summary judgment. Both parties appealed. The Supreme Court remanded the case for further proceedings before the district court, holding (1) Congress intended that the issues raised by Berenergy be decided by the Secretary of the Interior or its BLM designees; (2) there was no express consent by the federal government for the Secretary or the BLM to be made a party to suits such as this for the purpose of informing a congressionally approved decision by the district court; but (3) the court nonetheless remands this case for an evaluation of whether a federal agency may participate in this suit. View "Berenergy Corp. v. BTU Western Resources, Inc." on Justia Law

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Steven McLaren challenged his convictions for five felonies stemming from a bizarre and violent encounter with his girlfriend in 2014. McLaren owned 57 cats. He and his girlfriend, Jennifer Evans, referred to the cats as their “kids” or “the kid.” In March 2014, one of Mr. McLaren’s exotic Savannah kittens, Cameo, was sick, so he and Evans took it to a veterinary clinic for treatment. McLaren testified that he had injected “somewhere between a quarter and a third of a gram” of methamphetamine right before he noticed Cameo was ill, had not slept for days, and had been experiencing hallucinations since the night before. He was under the impression that Evans was attempting to harm or kill the kitten. After taking the kitten to the vet, McLaren and Evans drove around for a time. Though nothing seemed out of the ordinary at that time, McLaren came to a complete stop in the southbound lane in front of an oncoming Pepsi truck. Evans attempted to get out of the truck, but he pulled her by her hair back into the truck and locked the doors, telling her that her “kids deserved a better mother” and that she “was going to die today.” The Pepsi truck swerved around them, and McLaren turned off Highway 191, onto Wild Horse Loop. As he drove down Wild Horse Loop, Evans fought with McLaren and continued to attempt to get out, kicking the truck into park several times. McLaren also continued to hit and punch Evans; he grabbed her throat and forced her to the floorboard of the truck. At some point, McLaren opened the passenger door and Evans fell. She testified that McLaren stood over her, pulled her head to the left and the right, “trying to rip my head off,” and then let go. As soon as McLaren released her, Evans got up and ran toward Highway 191, where a truck stopped to assist her. When Evans arrived at the emergency room, she had two lacerations on her head and numerous bruises. Appealing his felonies, McLaren argued the trial court violated his due process rights when it failed to order a third competency evaluation and when it allowed defense counsel to assert a plea of not guilty by reason of mental illness (NGMI) against his will. He also argued the jury instructions contained structural error because they did not require the State to prove he did not act in a sudden heat of passion to establish attempted second-degree murder and that the trial court abused its discretion when it denied defense counsel’s motion for mistrial after McLaren’s outburst during trial. The Wyoming Supreme Court concluded that, while the trial court did not improperly fail to order a competency hearing, it violated McLaren’s due process rights when, in spite of McLaren’s numerous declarations that he did not wish to proceed with the NGMI plea, it allowed defense counsel to assert the plea at trial. View "McLaren v. Wyoming" on Justia Law

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A jury convicted appellant Donald Dean Foltz, Jr. of first-degree murder and the district court sentenced him to life without the possibility of parole. Foltz was accused of child abuse towards his girlfriend’s two-year-old son. Foltz appealed his conviction, arguing the district court erred when it denied his motion for judgment of acquittal because he contended the evidence was insufficient to support the charged against him. After review of the trial court record, the Wyoming Supreme Court found no reversible error and affirmed Foltz’s conviction. View "Foltz, Jr. v. Wyoming" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed Appellant’s conviction, rendered after a jury trial, for forgery, holding that there was insufficient evidence to support a conviction under the specific subparagraph of the forgery statute that Appellant was charged with violating. On appeal, Appellant argued that, to be convicted of forgery under subparagraph (ii) of the forgery statute, the “transfer” must cause the “writing” to “purport to be the act of another” and that the State never established the causal connection in this case. The Supreme Court remanded with instructions to enter a judgment of acquittal, holding (1) in the statutory phrase “transfers any writing so that it purports to be the act of another, the transfer must cause the writing to purport to be the act of another; and (2) applying this interpretation to the facts of this case, the evidence presented by the State was insufficient to support Appellant’s conviction. View "Riddle v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law