Summary of Decision May 23, 2012
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Case Name: CHRISTINE NODINE, Personal Representative of the Estate of DAVID NODINE v. JACKSON HOLE MOUNTAIN RESORT CORPORATION, a Wyoming Corporation
Docket Number: S-11-0265
Appeal from the District Court of Teton County, Honorable Timothy C. Day, Judge
Representing Appellant (Plaintiff/Defendant): Andrew L. Payne and Shannon T. Hays of Payne Mitchell Law Group, Dallas, Texas; Terry W. Mackey of Terry W. Mackey, P.C., Cheyenne, Wyoming
Representing Appellee (Plaintiff/Defendant): James K. Lubing and Leah K. Corrigan of Lubing & Corrigan, LLC, Jackson, Wyoming; Mikel L. Moore of Moore, Cockrell, Goicoechea & Axelberg, P.C., Kalispell, Montana
Date of Decision: May 23, 2012
Facts: Christine Nodine (Mrs. Nodine), whose husband was killed by an avalanche on a ski run at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort (JHMR), appeals the district court’s summary judgment order dismissing her wrongful death action. The district court dismissed the action because Mrs. Nodine, although duly appointed as personal representative of her husband’s estate in her home state of Texas, had not been appointed personal representative by the Wyoming state district court upon the filing of her wrongful death action and before the two-year period for filing the wrongful death action expired.
Issues: Mrs. Nodine presents the following issues on appeal:
1. Did the District Court err by applying the holding of Estate of Johnson, 2010 WY 63, 231 P.3d 873 (Wyo. 2010), to this case given that the opinion provides the ruling would have prospective application only and the cause of action in this matter accrued long before the publication of Estate of Johnson?
2. If Estate of Johnson applied, would the confirmation of Mrs. Nodine as personal representative by the District Court have related back to the initial filing of her timely state court complaint under the Wyoming Wrongful Death Act?
3. Did the District Court commit error when it concluded that a personal representative lawfully appointed by a Texas probate court, who then timely filed her wrongful death complaint, failed to meet the conditions precedent for bringing a Wrongful Death Act claim in Wyoming?
4. Did the District Court err in ruling that JHMR had standing to challenge Mrs. Nodine’s capacity?
Holdings: This Court’s decision in Johnson does not apply retroactively to strip Mrs. Nodine of her status as a properly appointed personal representative in her wrongful death action against JHMR. The Court reversed the district court order dismissing that action.
Justice Golden delivered the opinion for the court.
Thursday, May 24, 2012
Summary of Decision May 23, 2012