Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Summary 2012 WY 147

Summary of Decision November 20, 2012

Chief Justice Kite delivered the opinion for the Court. Reversed and Remanded.


Docket Number: S-12-0087

URL: http://www.courts.state.wy.us/Opinions.aspx

Appeal from the District Court of Niobrara County, Honorable Keith G. Kautz, Judge.

Representing Appellant: Brian J. Hunter of McKellar, Tiedeken & Scoggin, LLC, Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Representing Appellee: Gregory A. Phillips, Wyoming Attorney General; John D. Rossetti, Deputy Attorney General; Michael J. Finn, Senior Assistant Attorney General; Kelly Roseberry, Assistant Attorney General.

Date of Decision: November 20, 2012

Facts: Tyler L. Stallman was injured in a car accident that occurred in the course of her employment. After receiving a 22% permanent partial impairment award from the Wyoming Worker’s Compensation Division (Division), she sought permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits. The Division denied her application stating that she had not complied with the statutory work search requirements. Ms. Stallman requested a contested case hearing. Both parties submitted motions for summary judgment. After a hearing, the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) concluded as a matter of law that Ms. Stallman had not timely submitted documentation showing she had sought work and granted summary judgment for the Division.

Ms. Stallman sought review in the district court, which affirmed the OAH’s ruling. She then appealed to this Court, claiming the OAH ruling granting the Division’s summary judgment motion was arbitrary, capricious and contrary to the evidence. Specifically, she asserted the Division improperly denied her application for benefits when she did not submit her work search documentation on the date it arbitrarily imposed – a date weeks before the statutory deadline for submitting her application. She contended the OAH erred in upholding the denial based upon its incorrect finding that she has failed to provide her work search documentation as required by Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 27-14-405(h)(iii) (LexisNexis 2011).

Issues: Ms. Stallman states the issues for this Court’s determination as follows:

I. Whether the decision by the Office of Administrative Hearings to grant the Wyoming Division of Workers’ Compensation’s Motion for Summary Judgment was arbitrary, capricious, not in accordance with the substantial evidence presented and contrary to Wyoming Statute.

II. Whether the decision by the Office of Administrative Hearings to deny Ms. Stallman’s Motion for Summary Judgment was arbitrary, capricious and contrary to Wyoming Statute.

The Division asserts the OAH properly granted its motion for summary judgment, Ms. Stallman did not timely submit her application with the required documentation and it was not estopped from denying her claim.

Holdings: The Court held that Ms. Stallman’s work search submission was timely. The Court further held that she was entitled to a hearing and the opportunity to present evidence showing that she actively sought work. The Court reversed the district court’s order affirming the OAH’s order granting the Division’s motion for summary judgment and remanded for proceedings consistent with this opinion.

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

[SPECIAL NOTE: This opinion uses the "Universal Citation." It was given an "official" citation when it was issued. You should use this citation whenever you cite the opinion, with a P.3d parallel citation. You will also note when you look at the opinion that all of the paragraphs are numbered. When you need to provide a pinpoint citation to a quote the universal portion of the citation will use that paragraph number. The pinpoint citation in the P.3d portion will need to have the reporter page number. If you need assistance in putting together a citation from this, or any future opinion using the Universal Citation form, please contact the Wyoming State Law Library and we will provide any needed assistance]

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