Friday, August 02, 2013

Summary 2013 WY 91

Summary of Decision July 24, 2013

Justice Burke delivered the opinion for the Court. Reversed and remanded.


Docket Number: S-12-0256


Appeal from the District Court of Fremont County, the Honorable Timothy C. Day, Judge

Representing Appellant: Gregory A. Phillips, Attorney General; Robin Sessions Cooley, Deputy Attorney General. Argument by Ms. Cooley.

Representing Appellee: John M. Burman, Director, Ethan Doak and Matthew Pennell, Student Interns, University of Wyoming, College of Law Legal Services Program. Argument by Mr. Doak.

Date of Decision: July 24, 2013

Facts: Appellant, the Department of Family Services (Department), denied child care assistance benefits to Appellee, Lisa Kisling, because her participation in a graduate-level educational program rendered her ineligible for receipt of such benefits. The Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) upheld the denial of benefits after a contested case hearing. Ms. Kisling petitioned for review of that decision in the district court, and the district court reversed the OAH’s decision after finding that the Department was equitably estopped from denying benefits to Ms. Kisling. The Department appeals from the district court’s order, contending that the issue of estoppel was not raised before the OAH, and that the district court should not have considered it.

Issues: The Department presents three issues for our review, which we discuss in the following order: Did the Department correctly conclude, as a matter of law, that its statutes and rules precluded Ms. Kisling from receiving child care assistance benefits while she attended law school? Did the district court err when it considered the issue of equitable estoppel on review of the Department’s decision? Did the district court err when it determined that the Department was equitably estopped from terminating, and thereafter denying, Ms. Kisling benefits while she attended law school? Ms. Kisling states the issues in a substantially similar manner.

Holdings: The district court’s order reversing the OAH’s decision upholding the Department’s denial of benefits is reversed, and we remand to the district court with instructions that an order be entered affirming the OAH’s decision.

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

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