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Burnett v. Burnett

Supreme Court of Wyoming

May 16, 2017

WALLACE R. BURNETT, Appellant (Plaintiff),
v.
JOHN E. BURNETT, Individually and as Successor Trustee to the Lillian M. Burnett Living Trust, Dated April 12, 2002; JUDY L. BABEL; CAROL A. BURNETT WOODWARD; DAVID BURNETT; and BURNETT RANCH, INC. Appellees (Defendants).

         Appeal from the District Court of Albany County The Honorable Jeffrey A. Donnell, Judge

          Representing Appellant: Pro se.

          Representing Appellees: Mitchell H. Edwards, Nicholas & Tangeman, LLC, Laramie, Wyoming; Ryan L. Ford, Williams, Porter, Day & Neville, P.C., Casper, Wyoming; Marty L. Oblasser, Corthell and King Law Office, P.C., Laramie, Wyoming.

          Before BURKE, C.J., and HILL, DAVIS, FOX, and KAUTZ, JJ.

          BURKE, Chief Justice.

         [¶1] In this appeal, Wallace Burnett challenges the district court's order dismissing his complaint against Appellees. Because of Mr. Burnett's failure to present cogent argument and to comply with the Wyoming Rules of Appellate Procedure, we will summarily affirm the district court's order and grant the Appellees' request to award costs and attorney fees.

         FACTS

         [¶2] Mr. Burnett owned 11 of the 604 outstanding shares of Burnett Ranch, Inc. The other shares were owned by his three siblings and his son. In 2015, Mr. Burnett filed suit against his siblings and his son. He presented claims for a preliminary injunction to prevent the transfer of corporate assets, an accounting, a minority shareholder derivative action, damages, and a winding-up of the corporation and sale of its assets. In an amended complaint, he added a claim for determination of ownership of the corporate shares. In response to Mr. Burnett's amended complaint, Appellees filed a motion to dismiss. Following a hearing, the district court granted the motion. Mr. Burnett appealed.

         DISCUSSION

         [¶3] Mr. Burnett is acting pro se in this appeal.

A pro se litigant is entitled to some leniency from the stringent standards applied to formal pleadings drafted by attorneys. However, there must be a reasonable adherence to the procedural rules and requirements of the court. Hodgins v. State, 1 P.3d 1259, 1262 (Wyo. 2000). This Court will impose sanctions including, but not limited to, summary affirmance, pursuant to W.R.A.P. 1.03 on pro se litigants who fail to comply with these rules. Id. at 1262-63.

Young v. State, 2002 WY 68, ¶ 9, 46 P.3d 295, 297 (Wyo. 2002). Mr. Burnett has not provided cogent argument to support his claims on appeal, and he has not complied with our rules of appellate procedure. As a result, we will summarily affirm the district court's decision.

         [¶4] W.R.A.P. 3.05(b) provides as follows:

Appellant shall, contemporaneously with filing its brief in the appellate court and service of that brief upon appellee, file with the clerk of the trial court and serve on all parties and the appellate court clerk a designation for transmission of all parts of the record, without unnecessary ...

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