Articles Posted in Wyoming Supreme Court

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court entering partial summary judgment against Rex Rammell on all his claims against his former employer, Mountainaire Animal Clinic, P.C., its president, and its office manager except Rammell's breach of express contract claim and then dismissing that claim as a sanction for willful obstruction of discovery and fraud upon the court, holding that the district court did not err. Specifically, the Court held (1) deficiencies in Rammell's certification did not mandate dismissal of his appeal; (2) defects in Rammell's notice of appeal did not mandate dismissal; (3) the district court did not err in entering summary judgment against Rammell on his tortious interference claim; and (4) the district court did not abuse its discretion in dismissing Rammell's breach of express contract claim as a sanction for discovery violations. View "Rammell v. Mountainaire Animal Clinic, P.C." on Justia Law

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In this appeal brought by Alex Mantle and Marjorie Mantle the Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed and remanded in part the district court's decision as to various post-trial issues in ongoing litigation arising from a soured business deal. The Court held (1) the district court lacked subject matter jurisdiction to offset the judgments when that issue was pending in the Supreme Court in Mantle I; (2) with respect to Killmer Settlement Funds, (a) there was no reviewable order in the record regarding whether the Garlands had standing to assert a direct claim against Karl Killmer, and (b) the Mantles did not have a superior security interest in the Killmer Settlement Funds by operation of the “general intangibles” clause of the FNB security agreement; (3) the district court did nor when it awarded North Star Energy & Construction, LLC's attorneys, The Kuker Group, their attorney fees from a portion of the Killmer Settlement Funds; and (4) the district court did not err when it issued a nunc pro tunc order that removed Marjorie Mantle’s name from the order that disbursed the Killmer Settlement Funds. View "Mantle v. North Star Energy & Construction LLC" on Justia Law

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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 judgment of the district court in favor of Sellers in this case involving a purchase of residential property, holding that the district court did not err in the proceedings below. After Buyers purchased residential property from Sellers, Buyers alleged that Sellers failed to comply with the requirement in the purchase contract that “Seller…complete a fully functional water well prior to closing” and thus breached the contract. The district court entered judgment in favor of Sellers. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court (1) did not err in ruling that Sellers completed a functional well by closing and thus did not breach the purchase contract; and (2) did not commit reversible error by excluding particular testimony or exhibits offered by Buyers. View "Schell v. Scallon" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the jury verdict awarding Basic Properties, Inc. $200,000 in damages for Essex Holding, LLC’s refusal to consent to amend restrictive covenants to allow Basic to develop one of its lots in a shopping center. The Court held (1) Essex timely filed its notice of appeal; (2) Basic had standing to assert its counterclaim; (3) the district court did not err when its submitted Basic’a counterclaim for breach of contract to the jury; (4) the jury instructions rejecting Essex’s theory regarding a void amendment did not constitute plain error; (5) cumulative error did not result in an excess verdict or a verdict contrary to law; (6) the district court properly granted basic’s motion for judgment as a matter of law on Essex’s anticipatory repudiation claim; (7) the district court did not err in its award of attorney fees and costs to Basic; and (8) the district court properly denied Essex’s Wyo. R. Civ. P. 60(b) motion. View "Essex Holding, LLC v. Basic Properties, Inc." 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 district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Defendants on Plaintiff’s complaint claiming fraud, negligent misrepresentation, conversion, and civil conspiracy, holding that the district court did not err in granting summary judgment on Plaintiff’s claims. Plaintiff, Action Snowmobile & RV, Inc. (Action), filed this complaint against Defendants, Most Wanted Performance, LLC and one of its owners (collectively, Most Wanted) regarding the circumstances under which Most Wanted purchased Action. The district court concluded that Action had failed to provide any evidence that would support the claims in the complaint and, therefore, granted summary judgment for Most Wanted. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that summary judgment was properly granted in favor of Most Wanted because Most Wanted presented a prima facie showing that there were no genuine issues of material fact regarding any of the claims in Action’s complaint and Action failed to produce competent and admissible evidence demonstrating that any material facts were in dispute. View "Action Snowmobile & RV, Inc. v. Most Wanted Performance, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed and remanded in part the district court’s judgment reversing the decision of the circuit court cancelling the mobile home sale between Respondent and Petitioner upon finding that the parties made a mutual mistake in drafting their contract, holding that the district court erred when it found that Petitioner breached the contract. Specifically, the Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s reversal of the circuit court’s finding of a mutual mistake of the parties, holding that the district court did not err in determining that the circuit court improperly applied the doctrine of mutual mistake. The Court, however, reversed the district court’s decision to hold Petitioner in breach of the contract before Respondent’s performance was due and, conversely, found that Respondent breached the contract, holding that the district court made a clearly erroneous finding of fact and as a matter of law. View "Larson v. Burton Construction, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s order granting Heather Hope Schumacher’s motion to enforce a settlement agreement she entered into with Cowboy’s LLC after Cowboy’s failed to pay Schumacher the money as agreed. Schumacher claimed that her divorce decree awarded her certain property, that her ex-husband failed to convey the property to her, and that she had filed lien statements against the disputed property, which was then owned by Cowboy’s. The parties eventually reached a settlement agreement requiring Cowboy’s to pay Schumacher $98,742 in return for her release of all liens against the property. When Cowboy’s failed to pay Schumacher as agreed, Schumacher sought an order requiring Cowboy’s to comply with the settlement agreement. The district court ordered Cowboy’s to perform as agreed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Schumacher’s liens were valid and enforceable; and (2) the “deemed denial” of Cowboy’s motion to set aside the order enforcing the settlement agreement was properly denied. View "Cowboy's LLC v. Schumacher" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed and remanded in part the decision of the district court granting summary judgment to Anethesiology Consultants of Cheyenne, LLC (ACC) on its breach of fiduciary duty claim and on Dr. Ronald Stevens’ defamation counterclaim. ACC filed suit against Dr. Stevens and Cassandra Rivers alleging nine causes of action. Dr. Stevens counterclaimed against the members of ACC, alleging several causes of action, including defamation. The district court granted summary judgment for ACC on its first three causes of action and granted summary judgment for the counterclaims defendants on all of Dr. Stevens’ counterclaims. On appeal, the Supreme Court held (1) summary judgment was improperly granted on the fiduciary duties claims; (2) summary judgment was properly granted on the defamation counterclaim; and (3) the trial court erred in excluding certain email evidence. View "Stevens v. Anesthesiology Consultants of Cheyenne, LLC" on Justia Law