Court Summaries, 0220 WYBJ, Vol. 43 No. 1. 30

AuthorAnna Reeves Olson, Park Street Law Offices Casper, Wyoming
PositionVol. 43 1 Pg. 30

Court Summaries

Vol. 43 No. 1 Pg. 30

Wyoming Bar Journal

February, 2020

Anna Reeves Olson, Park Street Law Offices Casper, Wyoming

Rebecca Painter, M.D. v. Jody McGill & Kristina Stefka, M.D., ex rel. Wyo. Bd. of Medicine

2019 WY 108

S-19-0040, S-19-0041

October 24, 2019

In 2007, Dr. Rebecca Painter became a primary care physician for an elderly woman. Over the next eight years, Painter became the woman’s attorney in fact, co-trustee of her revocable trust and a joint owner of her bank accounts. Painter also charged her $60 an hour for these “financial management services” and eventually paid herself $42,725, including a $35,000 payment after the patient’s death.

The patient’s niece complained about Painter to the Wyoming Board of Medicine. Following a contested hearing, the Board concluded that Painter’s relationship with the patient violated various provisions of the Medical Practice Act and the Board’s administrative rules. The Board suspended Painter’s medical license for five years, imposed a $15,000 fine, and ordered her to pay one-half of the costs of the proceedings. Painter filed a petition for review with the district court, which affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded in part the Board’s decision. The district court concluded its written order with, “Tis final order constitutes the Judgment of the Court.” Painter appealed from the district court’s order to the Supreme Court and the Board filed a cross-appeal.

On appeal, the Board argued that the Court lacked jurisdiction because the district court’s order was not an “appealable order” under W.R.A.P. 1.05.

The Supreme Court agreed and concluded that it lacked jurisdiction because the district court’s order was not a final appealable order. The Court reasoned that for an order to be appealable under Rule 1.05, it “must affect a substantial right, determine the merits of the controversy, and resolve all outstanding issues.” Furthermore, “a judgment of the district court remanding an administrative proceeding to the agency for further proceedings is not an appealable order under W.R.A.P. 1.05.” As the district court’s order remanding the case to the Board to clarify certain matters, make further findings as to certain violations, and to decide matters in the first instance, it was not a final and appealable order. The Court then dismissed the appeal for lack of jurisdiction.

Paul A. Woodie & Kimberly A. Woodie v. Janet Whitesell

2019 WY 115

S-19-0047, S-19-0077

November 14, 2019

In 2011, Janet Whitesell sold her home in Idaho to the Woodies for $225,000. The Woodies delivered a promissory note to White-sell, which called for the Woodies to make 47 monthly installments. However, the Woodies only made five of the 47 payments.

In 2017, Whitesell filed suit against the Woodies and Mr. Woodie was served in Teton County. Shortly thereafter, Wyoming counsel entered his appearance on behalf of both Mr. and Mrs. Woodie. The Woodies later filed several motions to dismiss arguing, among other things, that the district court lacked subject matter and personal jurisdiction. The district court denied the motions to dismiss. Whitesell filed a motion for summary judgment and the district court granted summary judgment in her favor.

On appeal, the Supreme Court affirmed and held that the district court had properly denied the motions to dismiss. The Court stated that the Wyoming legislature has only limited a district court’s subject matter jurisdiction by vesting “exclusive original jurisdiction” in circuit courts for contract and other actions where the amount sought does not exceed $50,000. The legislature has not limited a district court’s jurisdiction over contract claims for contracts made or performed outside Wyoming. Accordingly, district courts have extensive subject matter jurisdiction, enabling them to consider all common law causes, except as otherwise limited by the legislature. In this case, Whitesell sued to enforce a contract, in particular a promissory note and Wyoming district courts have subject matter jurisdiction to adjudicate promissory notes and other contract cases as long as the amount in...

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