Articles Posted in Wyoming Supreme Court

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court dismissing Appellant's pro se complaint filed under the Declaratory Judgment Act alleging that the Wyoming Department of Corrections (WDOC) violated certain policies and procedures during disciplinary proceedings brought against him, holding that Appellant was not entitled to relief. Specifically, the Court held (1) Appellant did not have standing to seek a general declaration that the WDOC must abide by its own rules and regulations, and the district court properly considered standing in dismissing Appellant's complaint even though the WDOC did not raise the standing issue in its motion to dismiss; and (2) collateral estoppel and res judicata barred Appellant's claims that procedural violations occurred during his disciplinary proceedings. View "Bird v. Lampert" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court dismissed this case in which Appellant sought judicial review of the administrative denial of his request for preauthorization for the purchase of several unique items to treat his work-related injury, holding that this Court lacked jurisdiction because Appellant filed his petition for review in a district court that did not have jurisdiction. The Wyoming Workers' Compensation Division denied Appellant's requests, and the Office of Administrative Hearings upheld the Division's determinations. Appellant filed a petition for review in the district court of the county where he was injured. The district court denied the Division's motion to dismiss and affirmed the OAH decision on the merits. The dismissed the action and vacated the district court's order, holding that the statute that provides for judicial review of the OAH decision, Wyo. Stat. Ann. 16-3-114(a), placed jurisdiction in the district court of the county where the administrative action was taken or the district court of the county where Appellant resided. View "McCallister v. State, ex rel. Department of Workforce Services, Workers' Compensation Division" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) to uphold the suspension of Appellant’s driver’s license, holding that collateral estoppel did not bar the OAH from considering Appellants’ blood alcohol content (BAC) test results in the license suspension proceeding. In the companion criminal case, the municipal court dismissed Appellant’s criminal charges without prejudice without referring to the prosecution’s argument that a gap in the chain of custody of Appellant’s blood samples rendered the BAC test results inadmissible. On appeal from the OAH proceedings, Appellant argued that the OAH was collaterally estopped from considering the BAC test results in the license suspension proceeding. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding that all four collateral estoppel requirements were not met under the circumstances. View "Casiano v. State ex rel. Wyoming Department of Transportation" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the decision Board of Equalization (Board) reversing the determination of the Department of Revenue (Department) that use of camp spots at the Johnson County Fairgrounds for use during the annual Johnson County Fair and Rodeo was subject to sales and lodging taxation, holding that the Board correctly determined that the campsites and rent received therefrom were not subject to taxation because the Johnson County Fair Board (Fair Board) was not a “vendor” as defined by Wyo. Stat. Ann. 39-15-101(a)(xv). For each of the campsites at issue, the County charged $25 per week and did not collect sales or lodging taxes. The Department concluded that the Fair Board was a non-exempt lodging vendor statutorily obligated to collect sales and lodging taxes for the campsite rentals. The Board reversed, concluding that the Fair Board was not a vendor and therefore not obligated to impose a tax on the fees charges for the use of the campsites. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the Board’s determination that the Fair Board was not a vendor and was therefore not required to impose an excise tax was supported by the record. View "State, Department of Revenue v. Board of County Commissioners of Johnson County" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the district court upholding the decision of the Department of Health for Medicaid, holding that the Department did not act in accordance with law when it denied Lucile Anderson’s application to have her sons’ payment of her attorney fees treated as a return of assets. The Department found Anderson eligible for nursing home benefits but suspended her eligibility as a penalty for her transfer of assets at below fair market value. Anderson’s sons paid the attorney fees and costs Anderson incurred in her unsuccessful appeal, and Anderson applied to have that payment treated as a return of assets, which would shorten the penalty period. The Department denied the application. The district court affirmed the Department’s decision. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the Department erred in denying Anderson’s application because the Department’s Medicaid rules did not, as a matter of law, preclude the payment of Anderson’s attorney fees from being treated as a return of assets. View "Anderson v. State ex rel. Department of Health" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court affirming the decision of the Wyoming State Board of Equalization (state) reversing the decision of the Washakie County Board of Equalization (county board) reversing the valuations of the Washakie County Assessor classifying Taxpayers’ four properties as either residential or vacant residential for tax purposes, holding that Taxpayers’ property did not qualify for classification as agricultural lands. Taxpayers separately owned four parcels of land in Washakie County, Wyoming. In March 2014, the Assessor issued notices of assessment for Taxpayers’ properties classifying the parcels as either residential or residential vacant. The county board reversed the valuations, concluding that Taxpayers had demonstrated that their properties met the four requirements under Wyo. Stat. Ann. 39-13-103(b)(x)(B) to be taxed as agricultural land. The state board reversed. The district court affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Taxpayers failed to meet their burden to overcome the presumption in favor of the Assessor’s assessments. View "Helmut v. Mueller Limited Partnership v. Treanor" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the district court reversing the decision of the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) reversing the decision of the Wyoming Department of Family Services (DFS) terminating Appellant’s position as a fraud investigator, holding that the OAH’s determination that DFS lacked good cause for dismissing Appellant was supported by substantial evidence and complied with the law. DFS dismissed Appellant when it discovered that she signed daycare logs for her grandchildren that resulted in overpayment of DFS child care benefits to daycare providers in the amount of $196.95. The OAH reversed, concluding that DFS lacked good cause for dismissing Appellant. The district court reversed. The Supreme Court reversed the district court’s judgment and reinstated the OAH’s decision, holding the OAH’s determination was supported by substantial evidence and in accordance with the law. View "Lietz v. State ex rel. Department of Family Services" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the orders of the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) granting summary judgment to Air Methods/Rocky Mountain Holdings, LLC, EagleMed, LLC, and Med-Trans Corp. (collectively, Claimants) and ruling that the Wyoming Workers’ Compensation Division (Division) was required to pay the full amount billed by Claimants, holding that Wyo. Stat. Ann. 27-14-401(e), as severed, required the Division to pay Claimants the full amount of their billing for air ambulance services. Claimants, who operated air ambulance services in Wyoming, filed separate claims with the Division for services they provided to injured workers. The Division paid only the amounts permitted by its fee schedule, which were significantly less than the amounts billed. Claimants appealed. The OAH ruled (1) in accordance with a federal ruling that the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978 (ADA) preempted the Division’s air ambulance fee schedule, the Division was required to pay the full amount billed by Claimants; and (2) Air Methods was not entitled to pre- or post-judgment interest on its claims. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the OAH correctly ruled (1) section 27-14-401(e) was severable and, as severed, required Claimants to be paid the full amount they sought; and (2) it lacked statutory authority to award interest on the contested claims. View "Air Methods/Rocky Mountain Holdings, LLC v. State ex rel. Department of Workforce Services" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court reversed the order of the Wyoming Board of Equalization (Board) concluding that the issue disputed by the parties in this case was moot, holding that the Board exceeded its authority when it decided an issue that was not before it. Solvay Chemicals, Inc. appealed to the Board the Department of Revenue’s (DOR) assessment of the taxable value of soda ash produced at its trona mine in Sweetwater County, disputing the calculations the DOR used to determine the amount of the deduction for bagging some of the soda. After a contested case hearing, the Board requested supplemental briefs to address a question of statutory construction that had not been raised by either party. The Board then decided that the issue was whether Solvay was entitled to any bagging deduction at all. The Board ultimately concluded that because the governing statute did not allow for a separate deduction for bagging the issue was moot. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the Board exceeded its authority when it based its order on an issue not contested or addressed by either party during the contested case hearing. View "Solvay Chemicals, Inc. v. State Department of Revenue" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Medical Commission approving John Lysne’s worker’s compensation claim seeking coverage for knee replacement surgery, holding that the Commission’s finding that Lysne’s work injury caused his need for knee replacement surgery was supported by substantial evidence and not contrary to law. On appeal, the Workers’ Compensation Division argued that Lysne did not provide adequate proof that his need for knee replacement surgery was causally related to his work injury. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding that there was substantial evidence to support the Commission’s finding of causation and the Commission’s rejection of contrary medical evidence that the workplace injury was not causally related to Lysne’s requested surgery. View "State ex rel. Department of Workforce Services, Workers' Compensation Division v. Lysne" on Justia Law