Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Summary 2014 WY 41

Summary of Decision March 25, 2014

Justice Davis delivered the opinion of the Court. Affirmed.

Case Name: STATE OF WYOMING ex rel. WEST PARK HOSPITAL DISTRICT and YELLOWSTONE BEHAVIORAL HEALTH CENTER v. BRYAN A. SKORIC, Park County and Prosecuting Attorney, in his official capacity

Docket Numbers: S-13-0110, S-13-0153

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

Appeal from the District Court of Park County, the Honorable Norman E. Young, Judge

Representing Appellants: Larry B. Jones and Chris Edwards of Simpson, Kepler & Edwards, LLC, the Cody, Wyoming division of Burg Simpson Eldredge Hersh and Jardine, P.C., Cody, Wyoming. Argument by Mr. Jones.

Representing Appellee: James F. Davis, Deputy Park County Attorney, Cody, Wyoming.

Date of Decision: March 25, 2014

Facts: In these consolidated appeals, Appellants West Park Hospital District and Yellowstone Behavioral Health Center challenge the district court’s denial of their petition for a writ of mandamus directing the Park County Attorney to commence court proceedings and to appear at initial emergency detention hearings under Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 25-10-109 (LexisNexis 2013), as well as to appear and prosecute the case in chief at the involuntary hospitalization hearings under Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 25-10-110 (LexisNexis 2013).

Issues: 1) What are the statutorily required duties of a Wyoming county attorney in civil commitment proceedings under Wyo. Stat. Ann. §§ 25-10-109 and 110? 2) Did the district court abuse its discretion in denying Appellants’ petition for writ of mandamus?

Holdings/Conclusion: We agree with Appellants that the statutes in question do require a county attorney’s office to participate in civil commitment proceedings as they claim it should. However, we also find that the statutes are ambiguous, and that the district court therefore did not abuse its discretion by refusing to issue a writ of mandamus. Therefore, although we disagree with the district court as to the county attorney’s duty in civil commitment cases, we affirm.

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

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