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Wyoming removes due process protection for companies

Posted by Clyde Hutchins | Feb 24, 2020 | 0 Comments

During the Wyoming 2020 Budget Session, the legislature has been considering Senate File 11. As of the date of this post, Senate File 11 has been passed out of the Senate and delivered to the House for consideration. It is expected to be approved by the House and signed by the Governor to become effective July 1, 2020. 

What Senate File 11 does is remove due process protections for companies that are suspected of violating the Wyoming Consumer Protection Act. As the Consumer Protection Act is currently written, if the Wyoming Attorney General thinks that a company is violating the act, it is required to give the company an opportunity to correct the problem without civil litigation. This has been the law for nearly 50 years in Wyoming and is the law in many other states. It is the way that reasonable people conduct themselves. Before filing suit, a plaintiff will typically give notice to the opposing side with a written demand. Senate File 11 strips away this reasonable procedure. Instead of giving companies an opportunity to correct whatever problem it is that the Attorney General has with the company, the Attorney General will simply file suit against the company. Senate File 11 will also allow ex parte temporary restraining orders. ("Ex parte" means done without the other party's knowledge- in other words, secretly.). 

The problem with SF 11 is that it causes companies and businesses to have to engage in wasteful, expensive and unnecessary litigation. Instead of acting reasonably and requesting that companies and businesses correct or explain what appears to be questionable business practices, the Attorney General wants to simply file suit. What a waste and how unfair it is to small Wyoming businesses. 

I expect Senate File 11 will pass since little has been presented in opposition to this bill. It was rushed through the judiciary committee over the holidays, and pushed quickly in the session before the various business interests could become acquainted with the bill and effectively present their reasons for opposing it.

If you are a Wyoming business and want to protect your company from the excesses of the Wyoming Attorney General's Office, please call Harmony Law at 970-488-1857.

About the Author

Clyde Hutchins

Clyde Hutchins is the founder of Harmony Law. Mr. Hutchins started his legal career in Cheyenne, Wyoming as a law clerk for the district court judges. Mr. Hutchins then entered private practice with a Wyoming based litigation and business law firm. Later, Mr. Hutchins went to Alaska, where he was the chief litigator for a firm that engaged in bond law, corporate law, securities law, and municipal law. The State of Wyoming hired Mr. Hutchins from Alaska to represent the State of Wyoming in the national tobacco arbitration and act as its tobacco settlement attorney. While in that position, as a hobby, he developed an enforcement unit for consumer protection for Wyoming residents. Mr. Hutchins moved to Colorado in 2016 and founded Harmony Law, LLC. Harmony Law is primarily engaged in civil litigation. It is also a general practice firm in the areas of business law, estate planning, consumer law and family law. Harmony Law is active in all state and federal courts throughout Wyoming and Colorado.

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Harmony Law engages in litigation in Wyoming and Colorado. If you have a serious dispute or have been sued, feel free to call 970-488-1857 and speak with Mr. Hutchins.

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