Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Summary 2011 WY 154

Summary of Decision November 9, 2011

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Summaries are prepared by Law Librarians and are not official statements of the Wyoming Supreme Court

Case Name: DeLoge v. State of Wyoming ex rel. Wyoming Workers’ Safety and Compensation Division

Citation: 2011 WY 154

Docket Number: S-11-0072


Appeal from the District Court of Carbon County, Honorable Wade E. Waldrip, Judge

Representing Appellant (Petitioner/Claimant): Vaughn H. Neubauer of Laramie, Wyoming.

Representing Appellee (Respondent): Gregory A. Phillips, Wyoming Attorney General; John W. Renneisen, Deputy Attorney General; James M. Causey, Senior Assistant Attorney General.

Date of Decision: November 9, 2011

Facts: The appellant, an inmate in the Wyoming State Penitentiary, was working in the kitchen at the time of his injury. He and another inmate began arguing verbally and the appellant was injured when the other inmate struck the appellant in the face with his head. The appellant did not touch or assault the other inmate in the course of this exchange. The appellant appeals the district court’s decision affirming the conclusion of the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) that the appellant’s injuries were the result of illegal activity and were therefore not compensable under the Wyoming Worker’s Compensation Act.

Issues: Whether the appellant’s injuries were the result of “illegal activity” under Wyo. Stat. 27-14-102(a)(xi)(E) (2011), therefore precluding the appellant from recovering workers’ compensation benefits

Holdings: At the time of the incident, criminal battery was defined as follows:

(b) A person is guilty of battery if he unlawfully touches another in a rude, insolent or angry manner or intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury to another.

Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 6-2-501(b) (2007). It need not be considered the touching intentionally, knowingly or recklessly caused bodily injury to the appellant, because the stipulated facts clearly show that appellant was unlawfully touched in a rude, insolent or angry manner.

The appellant was injured in the course of an argument that ended with a fellow inmate head-butting him, causing injuries to his nose and neck. Because this head-butt was a battery under the criminal statute then existing, and therefore an illegal activity, the appellant is not eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.


This case carries the caveat: The incident occurred before Wyo. Stat. 6-2-501 was amended in 2009, and the analysis in this opinion may not necessarily apply under the present version of the statute.

J. Voigt delivered the opinion for the court.

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