Court Summaries, 082021 WYBJ, Vol. 44 No. 4. 34

AuthorAnna Reeves Olson
PositionVol. 44 4 Pg. 34

Court Summaries

No. Vol. 44 No. 4 Pg. 34

Wyoming Bar Journal

August, 2021

Anna Reeves Olson

Park Street Law Offices Casper, Wyoming

Lacie Archer & Emily Farley v. Kallista Mills, as the Wrongful Death Personal Representative of Carrie Linn, deceased.


2021 WY 75

June 9, 2021

After Carrie Linn died, her niece, Kallista Mills, was appointed as her wrongful death representative in a civil action (the "appointment action"). Mills then brought a wrongful death action against Linn’s husband, Mr. Linn, alleging that he had negligently caused Mrs. Linn’s death. A year later, Mills and Mr. Linn settled their suit and filed a motion to dismiss the wrongful death action.

Immediately before the filing of the motion to dismiss, Linn’s daughters, Lacie Archer and Emily Farley, filed a motion to intervene in the wrongful death action; however, the district court denied their motion.

On appeal, the Supreme Court affirmed and noted that once a party is named the wrongful death representative, that party may bring a wrongful death action. Actions for wrongful death are brought by and in the name of the decedent’s wrongful death representative for the exclusive benefit of beneficiaries. The wrongful death statutes do not permit anyone other than the wrongful death representative to bring a wrongful death action.

Here, Mills was appointed the wrongful death representative for Linn. As Linn’s daughters, Archer or Farley, would have also qualified to act as the wrongful death representative, either could have intervened in the appointment action as a matter of right. However, neither of them sought to intervene in the appointment action.

Instead, Archer and Farley sought to intervene in the separate wrongful death action. However, the wrongful death statutes only allow one plaintiff in wrongful death actions—the wrongful death representative. Terefore, Mills is Linn’s wrongful death representative and Archer and Farley’s intervention was properly precluded.

Robin Meeker Gaston, as Personal Representative for the Estate of Robert Meeker v. Life Care Centers of America, Inc.


2021 WY 74

June 7, 2021

In January 2018, Robin Gaston filed a survival action against Life Care Centers of America, Inc., d/b/a Westview Health for injuries that Robert Meeker suffered while in Westview’s care. Over a year later, in May 2019, she moved to amend the complaint to add a wrongful death claim. Westview opposed the motion and also filed a motion for summary judgment in the survival action asserting Gaston was not the real party in interest because she had not been appointed as the personal representative of the estate by the probate court. The district court denied Gaston’s motion to amend and dismissed the survival action because she was not the real party in interest.

On appeal, the Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s denial of Gaston’s motion to amend but reversed the district court’s dismissal of Gaston’s survival action. The Court held that the district court erroneously dismissed Gaston’s survival action on the grounds she was not the real party in interest because Westview’s objection was untimely. The Court reasoned that Gaston filed her survival action on January 19, 2018, and the basis for Westview to object to Gaston as the real party in interest was apparent when the action was commenced. Yet, Westview waited nearly a year and a half to raise its objection in its motion for summary judgment. By the time Westview filed its summary judgment motion, the parties had engaged in extensive discovery and submitted their pre-trial memoranda, and trial was scheduled to begin in less than two months. Therefore, the motion was untimely and should have been denied.

Sue Ann Page v. Lindsey Meyers & Calvin John Page, III S-20-0221 2021 WY 73 June 7, 2021

Sue Ann Page is the surviving spouse of Calvin Page, who died intestate in September 2015. Calvin Page and Lindsey Meyers are Mr. Page’s children from a previous marriage. Mr. Page worked for Tata Chemicals (Tata) and entered into a contract for a life insurance plan through Tata several decades...

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