Justia Government & Administrative Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Wyoming Supreme Court

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court affirming the decision of the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) upholding the denial of Appellant's application to the Department of Workforce Services, Workers' Compensation Division for permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits, holding that the OAH's decision was not contrary to the overwhelming weight of the evidence. After Appellant injured his back the Division awarded him temporary benefits. When several years had passed without relief from his pain, Appellant appleid for PPD benefits. The Division denied Appellant's application. The OAH upheld the Division's denial of PPD benefits, concluding that Appellant failed to prove his work injury was the cause of his inability to return to employment and failed to prove that he timely filed his PPD application. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the OAH correctly calculated the limitations period under Wyo. Stat. Ann. 27-14-405(h)(ii); and (2) there was substantial evidence to support the OAH's conclusion that Appellant failed to prove that his injury was the cause of his inability to return to work. View "Camacho v. State, ex rel. Department of Workforce Services, Workers' Compensation Division" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the order of the district court affirming the order of the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) upholding the Department of Workforce Services, Workers' Compensation Division's (Division) final determination regarding compensability, holding that the OAH erred in its determination that equitable estoppel did not bar the Division from asserting the statute of limitations as a defense. The OAH affirmed the final determination of the Division denying benefits to Appellant on the grounds that Appellant did not file a claim for benefits within the one-year statute of limitations set forth in Wyo. Stat. 27-14-503(a). The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the Division was estopped from asserting the statute of limitations as a defense, and therefore, the OAH's conclusion that section 27-14-503(a) barred Appellant's claim was not in accordance with law. View "Sweetalla v. State ex rev. Department of Workforce Services, Workers' Compensation Division" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) denying Appellant's request for permanent partial disability benefits, holding that the OAH's decision was supported by substantial evidence and was not arbitrary or capricious. In denying Appellant permanent partial disability benefits the hearing examiner determined that Appellant had not established that because of his injury he was unable to return to employment at a wage of at least ninety-five percent of his monthly earnings at the time of his injury. On appeal, Appellant claimed that the hearing examiner should have found dispositive the undisputed fact that Appellant had applied for over fifty positions and still had no job. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the hearing examiner's decision was not contrary to the overwhelming weight of the evidence, and the district court did not err in affirming the hearing examiner's conclusion. View "Bollinger v. State, ex rel. Department of Workforce Services, Workers' Compensation Division" on Justia Law

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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