Court Takes Action in Boll Weevil Case

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The following summaries of recently filed local and 10th Circuit opinions were compiled by Oklahoma City attorney John Gatliff. Oklahoma Supreme Court

For the week ended Jan. 19 In the matter of the application of the Oklahoma Boll Weevil Eradication Organization for approval of $5 million Oklahoma Boll Weevil Eradication Organization Assessment Note, series 1998, No. 92,135. 1999 OK 1. The procedures followed by the Oklahoma Boll Weevil Eradication Organization (OBWEO) in obtaining an assessment note complied with the Oklahoma Boll Weevil Eradication Act. The court validated all aspects of the OBWEO's transaction, including the application hearing for the note, statutory authorization to sell bonds, compliance with restrictions on maturity and payment terms, approval by the attorney general and state auditor and inspector, assessment referendum among cotton farmers, and equality of assessment. The dissent contended the court lacked personal jurisdiction because the OBWEO failed to provide personal notice of the application hearing to each cotton grower eligible to vote in the referendum. The dissent also reasoned that the OBWEO had not shown that the assessment referendum voting limitation was within the special-interest exception to the "one- person, one-vote" rule. Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals For the week ended Jan. 19 Denise D. Dye vs. Coleman E. White, No. 90,378. Veteran's disability pay received to compensate service-related injuries may be included in gross income for the calculation of a disabled veteran's child support obligations. 38 U.S.C. section 5301 limitation on assignment or apportionment of benefits to another beneficiary is not applicable to the court's child support computation. Federal law does not preempt including veteran's disability benefits in child support computations. Oklahoma's child support guidelines do not specifically exclude veteran's disability benefits. Affirmed. James H. Moss vs. Affiliated Food Stores, Liberty Mutual Insurance and the Workers Compensation Court, No. 91,631 The trial court did not err by relying on reports by the employer's medical experts while the claimant was still receiving treatment from his treating physician. Workers Compensation Court Rule 15 does not apply because the court's determination of overpayment was not based on the employer's application to terminate temporary total disability benefits, but was part of the adjudication of the claimant's permanent partial disability claim. Based on the medical reports, the trial court had no competent evidence for its order establishing the ending date of the claimant's temporary total disability period. The trial court also failed to base its partial permanent disability calculation on an adjudication of all injured body parts. Reversed in part and remanded. Max C. Tuepker, d/b/a Max C. Tuepker PC vs. Gary D. Baer, No. 91,857. The trial court issued a post-judgment order granting attorney's fees and costs to a party winning at trial but which subsequently lost his prevailing party status under 12 O.S. section 936 after the Court of Civil Appeals reversed and remanded the case on a substantive issue. Under the statute, attorneys' fees and costs may only be awarded to a prevailing party. Reversed. Attorney General Office For the week ended Jan. 19 Requested by the Honorable Ed Apple, chairman, the Honorable Bob Anthony, vice chairman, and the Honorable Denise Bode, commissioner, Oklahoma Corporation Commission, No. 98-37. 1. 17 O.S. section 139.103(D)(2), which prevents the commission from reviewing rates of local exchange telecommunications services that provide 15 percent or more of the access lines in the state, does not facially violate Oklahoma Constitution Article V, section 51, which prohibits laws granting exclusive rights, privileges or immunities to any person or entity. Pursuant to equal protection analysis, the class is not restricted. …