from the District Court of Laramie County The Honorable
Thomas T.C. Campbell, Judge
Representing Appellant: Timothy C. Kingston, Law Office of
Tim Kingston LLC, Cheyenne, Wyoming; Patrick G. Reavey,
Reavey Law LLC, Kansas City, Missouri. Argument by Mr.
Representing Appellee: Peter K. Michael, Wyoming Attorney
General; Michael J. Finn, Senior Assistant Attorney General;
Elizabeth C. Gagen, Senior Assistant Attorney General.
Argument by Ms. Gagen.
BURKE, C.J., and HILL, DAVIS, FOX, and KAUTZ, JJ.
An independent hearing examiner with the Wyoming Department
of Workforce Services Labor Standards Appeals Division (WFS)
denied Ron Schmitz's request for damages on his claim
that the Wyoming Department of Corrections (DOC)
discriminated against him based upon his advanced age. Mr.
Schmitz filed a petition for review with the district court,
naming WFS as the only respondent. The district court granted
WFS's motion to dismiss on December 4, 2015, and several
months later, Mr. Schmitz filed a motion to amend his
petition for review to substitute or join DOC as respondent
in the action. The district court ruled it had no
jurisdiction to act on Mr. Schmitz's motion to amend
because the case was finally resolved upon WFS's
dismissal. Mr. Schmitz appeals to this Court from the
district court's orders dismissing WFS and denying his
motion to amend the petition for review.
We conclude that the district court's order dismissing
WFS was final and appealable. Because Mr. Schmitz did not
file a timely notice of appeal from that order, we do not
have jurisdiction over this matter. Consequently, we
Although Mr. Schmitz presents several issues on appeal, the
following issue is dispositive: Whether Mr. Schmitz's
failure to file a timely notice of appeal from the district
court's order dismissing the sole respondent, WFS,
results in this Court having no jurisdiction over this case.
This case has a very complicated course of proceedings, much
of which does not affect our decision. However, to provide
the proper context for our discussion, we will summarize the
various filings and rulings. Our recitation of the course of
proceedings should not be considered an opinion on the
propriety of the actions.
Mr. Schmitz was employed by DOC as a unit manager at the
Wyoming State Penitentiary from August 2007 until he resigned
in February 2012. During his tenure with DOC, Mr. Schmitz
applied for several promotions and transfers, but younger
people were hired for the positions. On May 20, 2011, Mr.
Schmitz, who was then 63 years old, filed two charges of age
discrimination. He filed the first charge with the Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) under the federal
Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), 29 U.S.C.
§§ 621 through 634. The second charge was filed
with both the EEOC and WFS. Mr. Schmitz's WFS claim
alleged a violation of the Wyoming Fair Employment Practices
Act, Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 27-9-101 through 106 (LexisNexis
WFS took the lead in investigating Mr. Schmitz's age
discrimination claims pursuant to a workshare agreement with
the EEOC. WFS obtained statements from Mr. Schmitz and DOC
and compiled documents related to its inquiry. The agency
ultimately determined there was probable cause to believe DOC
had discriminated against Mr. Schmitz because of his age. DOC
apparently requested a hearing on that decision.
WFS attempted to conciliate the matter and presented a
proposed settlement to both parties. DOC notified WFS that it
would not participate in conciliation and withdrew its
request for a hearing. On April 15, 2013, WFS sent both
parties a letter stating that, because DOC withdrew its
request for a hearing and conciliation efforts had failed,
WFS had administratively closed the case and sent it to the
EEOC for further processing.
The EEOC concluded there was "reasonable cause to
believe that there [was] a violation of ADEA" and also
attempted to conciliate the matter. However, DOC again
refused to participate in the conciliation process. EEOC
issued Mr. Schmitz a notice of "right to sue" on
January 24, 2014. Mr. Schmitz filed a civil action in the
First Judicial District Court for the State of Wyoming,
claiming DOC had violated the ADEA. The case was ...