Friday, August 02, 2013

Summary 2013 WY 93

Summary of Decision July 31, 2013

Justice Davis delivered the opinion for the Court. Reversed and Remanded.


Docket Number: S-12-0258


Appeal from the District Court of Natrona County the Honorable Catherine E. Wilking, Judge

Representing Appellant: Hampton M. Young, Jr., Attorney at Law, Casper, Wyoming

Representing Appellee: Amanda W. Wiley of Taylor | Anderson, LLP, Denver, Colorado

Date of Decision: July 31, 2013

Facts: Appellant Kelvin Bourke sued his former employer Grey Wolf Drilling Company, LP, for fraud and wrongful termination in the Seventh Judicial District Court. Unbeknownst to Bourke, Grey Wolf had been sold to a foreign corporation, Precision Drilling,1 which affected the venue of this action under Wyoming Statute § 1-5-107. Precision Drilling was not a resident of Wyoming as Grey Wolf had been. Precision Drilling moved to dismiss the case for improper venue and failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. The district court granted the motion on both grounds. Bourke claims that the district court erred in dismissing his complaint for improper venue, and that his claims were summarily dismissed when he should have been granted leave to amend his complaint.

Issues: Appellant states the issues as follows: A. Whether the venue outlined in Wyo. Stat. § 1-5-107 is mandatory, requiring a case filed in the improper County be dismissed. B. Whether or not the Court abused its discretion by denying Plaintiff’s Motion to Amend.

We believe the issues are more aptly summarized as follows: 1. Was venue proper in Natrona County? 2. If venue was not proper, should the district court have transferred the case to a proper venue? 3. Did the district court err as a matter of law in reaching the merits of a motion to dismiss on W.R.C.P. 12(b)(6) grounds after it determined that the case had to be dismissed on venue grounds?

Holdings: We affirm the district court’s dismissal for improper venue, but we conclude that the court erred as a matter of law when it reached the merits of the case after determining that it had to be dismissed on venue grounds. We accordingly reverse and remand for entry of a dismissal without prejudice based only upon improper venue.

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

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