Justia Consumer Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Wyoming Supreme Court
Berg v. Torrington Livestock Cattle Co.
This was the second of two related lawsuits filed by Torrington Livestock Cattle Company (TLCC) against Daren and Jennifer Berg. In the first suit, Daren was found liable for breach of contract, conversion, and fraud. The court entered judgment in the favor of TLCC in the amount of $517,635, but the judgment remained unsatisfied. While the first suit was pending, the Bergs signed a promissory note with the First Bank of Torrington. As collateral, the bank acquired security interests in a variety of the Bergs' property, including livestock and ranching equipment. Later, the bank assigned the promissory note to TLCC. After the Bergs did not make the first payment, TLCC commenced the instant action, alleging breach of contract for promissory note and to enforce security agreement. The district court determined that no material issues of fact existed and TLCC was entitled to summary judgment. The Supreme Court summarily affirmed the judgment of the trial court based upon the deficient brief offered by the Bergs and their failure to follow the rules of appellate procedure. View "Berg v. Torrington Livestock Cattle Co." on Justia Law
Broderick v. Dairyland Ins. Co.
Appellant was physically injured as a result of an accident caused by an underinsured motorist. Prior to the accident, Appellant purchased a Dairyland Insurance Policy through his insurance agent, Jonathan Schrack. Although Appellant requested full coverage, the policy did not include underinsured motorist coverage. When the other driver's insurance did not fully cover Appellant's damages, Appellant sued Dairyland and Schrack (Defendants), raising numerous theories as to why he should recover under the Dairyland policy. The district court granted Defendants' motions for summary judgment. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding, inter alia, (1) Wyoming's uninsured motorist statutes unambiguously do not require insurers to provide underinsured motorist liability coverage; (2) Appellant's failure to read the policy was available as a defense to Defendants as to Appellant's negligence and contract claims against them and barred application of the doctrine of promissory estoppel; and (3) the doctrine of reasonable expectations was not available to alter the unambiguous terms of the policy. View "Broderick v. Dairyland Ins. Co." on Justia Law
In re Estate of Graves
Decedent, as CEO of Corporation, purchased a cell phone retail outlet from Creditor for which Creditor accepted a promissory note from Corporation. Decedent signed the note as personal guarantor but died before completing payments. Two related legal actions followed: a California civil suit and this Wyoming probate action. Creditor filed a breach of contract action in California and a timely claim with Decedent's Estate in the Wyoming action. Creditor, however, failed to bring suit within thirty days after the date the Estate mailed a notice of rejection of the claim as required by Wyo. Stat. Ann. 2-7-718. Creditor then added the Estate as a defendant in the California action. In Wyoming, the probate court ruled that Creditor had not complied with section 2-7-718, that the Estate was not added to the California lawsuit until after the filing window had closed, and that Creditor should not receive equitable relief from strict application of the statute. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err when it declined to provide Creditor equitable relief under Wyo. Stat. Ann. 2-7-703(c) from application of the statute of limitations found in section 2-7-718. View "In re Estate of Graves" on Justia Law
Vogel v. Onyx Acceptance Corp.
The Wyoming Division of Banking performed a Wyoming Uniform Consumer Credit Code compliance examination of Onyx Acceptance Corporation and determined it was improperly charging its Wyoming customers fees for making payments by telephone or internet. The Division ordered Onyx to stop charging the fees and refund the fees collected. The Office of Administrative Hearings issued a recommended order granting summary judgment for the Division. Consistent with the recommended decision, the administrator of the Code issued an order finding that Onyx violated the Code when it charged the fees. The district court reversed, concluding that the fees were not covered by the Code and, therefore, Onyx did not violate the Code by charging them to customers who opted to pay by phone or internet. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Onyx did not violate the Code and summary judgment in its favor was appropriate. Remanded. View "Vogel v. Onyx Acceptance Corp." on Justia Law
Smith v. Lewis Auto Body
Anthony Smith was involved in an accident that caused extensive damage to his vehicle, which was insured by State Farm. The vehicle was taken to Lewis Auto Body for repairs, after which State Farm determined that the car was a total loss. State Farm requested that Lewis release the vehicle. In response, Lewis requested payment from State Farm amounting to $30,816 for labor and storage. Lewis then asserted a lien against the vehicle in the amount of $30,816, conducted a lien sale, and obtained title to the vehicle. Smith filed a complaint for replevin and conversion. The district court granted summary judgment to Smith, finding Lewis did not file a valid lien and did not provide proper notice of the sale. Lewis then filed a complaint for money judgment against Smith. In response, Smith filed an emergency petition to prohibit the sale or other disposition of the vehicle. The district court consolidated the actions and awarded damages to Lewis in the amount of $20,516, including $15,240 in storage fees. On appeal, the Supreme Court reversed, holding that Lewis was not entitled to accumulate storage charges after the date that a demand was made for the return of the automobile. Remanded.