Dispositions Other than by Published Opinions | October 6

October 5, 2021

Courts and More Vol. 1 | No. 39 | October 6, 2021

Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals

Division I

119,295  –  Lajuana G. Reeves, Petitioner/Appellant, v. Multiple Injury Trust Fund and the Workers’ Compensation Court of Existing Claims, Respondent/Appellees. Proceeding to Review an Order of The Workers’ Compensation Court of Existing Claims.  Petitioner/Appellant, Lajuana G. Reeves (“Claimant”), appeals an order of the three-judge panel of the Workers’ Compensation Court of Existing Claims (“Panel”), vacating the order of the trial court that awarded her MITF benefits.  The Panel determined that Claimant was a previously physically impaired person as a result of an obvious and apparent injury to the right knee.  However, the Panel concluded that Claimant’s combined injuries did not constitute permanent total disability.  In this appeal, the Court will address a single issue.  That issue is whether the decision of the Panel includes sufficient findings of fact to allow for a meaningful judicial review.  We hold that the findings of fact are insufficient, and, therefore, affirm the Panel’s Opinion. by PRINCE, J.; GOREE, P.J., and MITCHELL, J., concur.  September 30, 2021

119,540  –  Janice Allen, Plaintiff/Appellee, v. Gregory A. Davis, Defendant/Appellant. .  Appeal from the District Court of Okmulgee County, Oklahoma.  Honorable Pandee Ramirez, Trial Judge.  Defendant/Appellant, Gregory A. Davis, appeals an order granting summary judgment in favor of the Plaintiff/Appellee, Janice Allen.  Davis owned a home titled in his name alone.  Allen and Davis cohabitated in the home until Davis was incarcerated, at which time Allen continued to reside in the home.  Allen obtained a homeowner’s insurance policy in her name on the property.  While Davis was incarcerated, the home was completely destroyed by fire and State Farm tendered payment to Allen pursuant to the insurance policy.  Allen sued to retain the insurance proceeds.  In response, Davis argued that, since he was the titleholder to the property, proceeds for loss of the home should be awarded to him.  The trial court granted summary judgment to Allen and awarded her all of the insurance proceeds.  We hold that, in the event there was an agreement between Allen and Davis for Allen to “maintain and protect the home on behalf of Davis”, then summary judgment for Allen was not proper because the term “protect” may reasonably be construed to include the duty to purchase property insurance.  Based on the evidentiary record, an issue of fact exists as to whether Davis may claim an interest in a portion of the insurance proceeds.  Therefore, the order granting summary judgment is REVERSED AND THE MATTER IS REMANDED for further proceedings consistent with this Opinion. Opinion by PRINCE, J.; GOREE, P.J., dissents and MITCHELL, J., concurs.  September 30, 2021

119,728  –  Kirt Thacker, an individual, Plaintiff/Appellant, v. Randy Cowling, individually, Bailey Dabney, individually Salesha Wilken, individually CNHI, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company, successor in interest to Newspaper Holdings, Inc. d/b/a/ The Claremore Daily Progress, and Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc. D/b/a The Claremore Daily Progress.  Defendants/Appellees.  Appeal from the District Court of Rogers County, Oklahoma.  Honorable Russell Vaclaw, Trial Judge.  Appellant Kirt Thacker, a former Rogers County Commissioner, appeals the trial court’s June 16, 2021 Order granting the media Appellees’ alternative motions to dismiss the Appellant’s claims for defamation, false light invasion of privacy, abuse of process, malicious prosecution, civil conspiracy, and a claim under 38 O.S. § 108 (“grand jury libel”).  This Court holds that the trial court did not err when it granted the Appellees’ motions to dismiss because the Appellant’s claims were time-barred pursuant to the applicable statutes of limitations.  Assuming the allegations set out in the Petition to be true, the Appellant has failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.  Despite the Appellant’s arguments to the contrary, in the absence of definitive guidance from the Oklahoma Supreme Court, this Court holds that the discovery rule—which would have tolled the statutes of limitations—does not apply to the instant case.  Even if the discovery rule applied, and the applicable statutes of limitations were tolled, the Appellant’s case would nevertheless be dismissed in accordance with the dismissal procedure set forth in the Oklahoma Citizens Participation Act (“OCPA”), 12 O.S. §§ 1430 et seq.  For these reasons, the trial court’s Order is affirmed.  Opinion by PRINCE, J.; GOREE, P.J., and MITCHELL, J., concur.  September 30, 2021

Division II

119,534 – IC Bus of Oklahoma, LLC, and IC Bus of OK a Navistar Inc. Co. (Own Risk #19208), Petitioners, v. Steven W. Bachlor and the Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Commission, Respondents.  Appeal from the Workers’ Compensation Commission.  IC Bus of Oklahoma, LLC, and IC Bus of OK a Navistar Inc. Co. (collectively, Employer) seek review of an order of the Workers’ Compensation Commission vacating in part and affirming in part an order of an administrative law judge.  We reject Employer’s argument that an award of continuing medical maintenance (CMM) cannot be made in the absence of an award of permanent partial disability.  We further conclude the Commission’s determination regarding CMM is supported by substantial evidence.  Finally, we reject Employer’s argument that, under the circumstances of this case, the Commission’s order should be vacated to the extent it orders CMM with a doctor that Employer did not choose.  Consequently, we sustain the Commission’s order.  SUSTAINED.  Opinion from Court of Civil Appeals, Division II, by BARNES, J.; WISEMAN, P.J., concurs, and BLACKWELL, J., concurs specially.  September 30, 2021

119,318 – In the Matter of the Guardianship of M.H.L.J., minor child:  Lex Larue Allen, Sr., Cross-Petitioner/Appellant, v. Shonna N. Jones, Petitioner/Appellee.  Appeal from the District Court of Oklahoma County, Hon. James M. Siderias, Trial Judge.  Appellant Lex Larue Allen, Sr., the paternal great-grandfather of M.H.L.J., appeals from the “Order Granting Guardianship December 16, 2020” in which the trial court granted the petition for guardianship of the person filed by Appellee Shonna N. Jones, the child’s step-grandmother.  Based on the law and our review of the designated record on appeal, we conclude the trial court did not abuse its discretion in appointing Ms. Jones guardian of the person of the child.  Accordingly, we affirm.  AFFIRMED.  Opinion from Court of Civil Appeals, Division II, by BARNES, J.; WISEMAN, P.J., and BLACKWELL, J., concur.  September 30, 2021

Division III

118,531  –  Central Systems, Inc., an Oklahoma Corporation; Stanley Dobbs and Janie Dobbs, as husband and wife, Plaintiffs/Appellees, v. Shields Systems, LLC, an Oklahoma Limited Liability Company; Esysco of Oklahoma, Inc., an Oklahoma Corporation; Rodney W. Dobbs, an individual and in his official capacity for Shields Systems, Inc. [sic] and Esysco of Oklahoma, Inc.; and William A. Phillips a/k/a Tony Phillips, an individual and in his Official capacity for Esysco of Oklahoma, Inc., Defendants/Appellants. Appeal from the District Court of Oklahoma County, Oklahoma.  Honorable Aletia Haynes Timmons, Trial Judge. Defendants/Appellants appeal from the trial court’s order appointing a receiver to oversee the business operations of Plaintiff Central Systems, Inc. (CSI) and Defendant Shield Systems, LLC, in an on-going business/familial lawsuit.  On July 12, 2018, Plaintiffs filed the instant “Emergency Application” requesting the appointment of a receiver for CSI.  After a hearing, the trial court continued the proceedings so the parties could attempt to resolve their disputes.  Plaintiffs filed a second emergency application for the appointment of a receiver in September 2018.  After conducting three days of hearings in early October 2018, the trial court deferred ruling on the receiver application until November 20, 2018, again so the parties could attempt to resolve their disputes.  In November 2018, the trial court extended the deferral of its decision to January 2019.  From January through July 2019, the parties filed seven joint reports in which they agreed to extend the trial court’s deferral decision regarding the appointment of a receiver.  In October 2019, Plaintiffs filed their third emergency motion for the appointment of a receiver and the trial court conducted a hearing on October 11, 2019.  On December 3, 2019 – 508 days after Plaintiffs first sought the “emergency” appointment of a receiver – the trial court issued its order appointing a receiver over CSI and Shield Systems.  We hold the record does not support any finding that a receiver was necessary (a) to prevent a manifest wrong imminently impending, or (b) because Plaintiffs were incapable of being fully compensated by money damages or such damages were too speculative.  REVERSED. Opinion by BELL, J.; SWINTON, C.J., concurs, and PEMBERTON, P.J., concurs in result. September 30, 2021

119,065  –  Terri Jean Fitzwilson, Petitioner, v. AT&T Corp, Old Republic Insurance Co., and The Workers Compensation Commission, Respondents.  Proceeding to review an order of the workers compensation commission. Petitioner/Claimant Terri Jean Fitzwilson (Claimant) appeals from an order of the Workers’ Compensation Commission (WCC) denying compensability related to an injury sustained while employed by Respondent AT&T Corp. (Employer).  Following a remand from a different division of this Court, the commission affirmed an order of the administrative law judge (ALJ) determining that Claimant’s injury was not compensable as an aggravated pre-existing condition.  We REVERSE AND REMAND the case to the ALJ to enter an order of compensability pursuant to 85A O.S. § 2 (9) (b) (6). Opinion by SWINTON, C.J.; BELL, J., concurs and PEMBERTON, P.J., dissents.  October 5, 2021

Division IV

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