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Owner of Stolen Vehicle Does not Owe a Duty to Victims of Crash
The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the District Court granting summary judgment to our client, the owner of a stolen vehicle.  
 
The Plaintiff on behalf of herself and her two minor children filed suit against our client who left her car unattended with the motor running in her private driveway while she briefly returned to her home to retrieve her pocketbook. In the interim, a methamphetamine user, stole her vehicle and later got into a high-speed chase with the police, which ended when the car he was driving collided with a vehicle driven by the plaintiff, mother. The complaint alleged that our client breached a duty to them of due care by leaving her car unattended with the keys in the ignition. The district court granted the motion for summary judgment filed on behalf of our client on the basis that no duty was owed to the appellants under either the common law or by statute, and that the Plaintiff`s act of leaving her keys in her car with the motor running was not the proximate cause of the accident.
 
The Wyoming Supreme Court decided that our client did not owe a duty to the Plaintiffs:
 
"We cannot agree with the [Plaintiffs] that the [Defendant] “essentially deliver[ed] [the] vehicle” to a drug-impaired thief. The fact that the [Defendant`s] conduct may have contributed in some way to the accident that occurred does not make her morally culpable. Certainly, [the thief], who was driving the vehicle at a high rate of speed in an attempt to elude the police, was in a better position to prevent the harm to the appellants than was the [Defendant]. In truth, the same can be said about the police officer or officers involved in the pursuit. And sadly, the same can even be said about [the Plaintiff] because the accident occurred at an intersection that [the Plaintiff] entered against a red light."
 
The Supreme Court refused to impose a duty upon our client in the circumstances presented in this case stating, "It must be remembered that the imposition of a duty not to leave the motor running in a vehicle in one’s driveway would apply across the board, and would create potential liability for every person in Wyoming who, on a cold winter day, starts his or her car to warm it up and defrost the windshield before driving upon the public highways."
 
Supreme Court Reverses District Court and Remands for Hearing on Permanent Total Disability
Our client, Tyler L. Stallman, was injured in a car accident that occurred in the course of her employment. After receiving a 22% permanent partial impairment award from the Wyoming Worker’s Compensation Division (Division), she sought permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits. The Division denied her application stating that she had not complied with the statutory work search requirements. Ms. Stallman requested a contested case hearing. Both parties submitted motions for summary judgment. After a hearing, the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) concluded as a matter of law that Ms. Stallman had not timely submitted documentation showing she had sought work and granted summary judgment for the Division.

Brian Hunter sought review on behalf of Ms. Stallman in the district court, which affirmed the OAH’s ruling. We then pursued her appeal to the Wyoming Supreme Court, claiming the OAH ruling granting the Division’s summary judgment motion was arbitrary, capricious and contrary to the evidence.

Specifically, it was argued that the Division improperly denied her application for benefits when she did not submit her work search documentation on the date it arbitrarily imposed—a date weeks before the statutory deadline for submitting her application. We argued that the OAH erred in upholding the denial based upon its incorrect finding that she had failed to provide her work search documentation as required by Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 27-14-405(h)(iii).

The Supreme Court held that Ms. Stallman’s work search submission was timely. and that she was entitled to a hearing and the opportunity to present evidence showing that she actively sought work.  Upon remand, the Wyoming Workers` Compensation Division withdrew its objection.  
 
The case is 2012 WY 147 (Wyo. 2012). 
Jury Decides in Favor of Defendant in Carbon Monoxide Case
Julie Tiedeken and Sean Scoggin obtained a defense verdict following a trial to a twelve person jury.  The case involved claims by Plaintiff`s that a heating/HVAC contractor was liable for damages they alleged to have incurred as a result of a malfunctioning heater/furnace in their rented apartment.  Plaintiffs claimed that the furnace malfunctioned and caused carbon monoxide to build up in their home and that they suffered carbon monoxide poisoning and claimed permanent cognitive defects as a result of the exposure.  
  
The jury found that our client was not liable for Plaintiffs` injuries and damages.   

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