Dispositions Other Than By Published Opinion | March 1, 2023

Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals

Division I

Division II

120,639 – Lamar Central Outdoor, LLC, Plaintiff/Appellant, vs. The City of Oklahoma City, an Oklahoma municipal corporation, Defendant/Appellee, and LCO Outdoor Advertising, L.L.C., d/b/a Boulevard Media Company, Intervenor/ Appellee.  Appeal from an order of the District Court of Oklahoma County, Hon. C. Brent Dishman, Trial Judge.  Appellant Lamar Central Outdoor, LLC, appeals a trial court decision dismissing its petition with prejudice on all of its propositions.  Lamar owns and operates outdoor advertising signs in Oklahoma City and seeks to invalidate an Agreed Journal Entry of Judgment entered in Oklahoma County Case No. CV-2019-2807, 2445 W I-44, LLC v. The City of Oklahoma City, by way of declaratory and injunctive relief.  Lamar alleges that decisions to rezone the property involved in the 2445 case to allow a certain billboard were unlawful because they conflict with local and state law, violations which negatively impact its business by (1) decreasing the value of its digital and non-digital leases and billboards nearby, and (2) impairing “the reasonable use and enjoyment of these private property interests.”  As a stranger to the 2445 proceedings, Lamar must be afforded the opportunity to show the basis for its collateral attack as a party whose established property rights would be affected.  And Lamar has standing to proceed because, as the Supreme Court concluded in Cox Oklahoma Telecom, LLC v. State ex rel. Oklahoma Corp. Comm’n, 2007 OK 55, ¶ 7, 164 P.3d 150, a party is considered aggrieved on the issue of standing “by competition resulting from an unlawful action of a government agency.”  For these reasons, we must reverse the dismissal and remand the case for further proceedings.  REVERSED AND REMANDED FOR FURTHER PROCEEDINGS.  Opinion from the Court of Civil Appeals, Division II, by WISEMAN, P.J.; BARNES, V.C.J., and HIXON, J., concur. Feb. 28, 2023

Division III

120,466 – In the Matter of: A.S., Z.S., A.S., Z.S., Alleged Deprived Children, Tressie Shaffer, Appellant, v. The State of Oklahoma, Appellee. Appeal from the District Court of Tulsa County, Oklahoma.  Honorable Theresa Dreiling, Trial Judge. Tressie Shaffer, the natural mother (Mother), seeks review of the trial court’s order, following a jury trial, terminating her parental rights to all four of her children.  On appeal, Mother claims her procedural due process rights were violated based on the court’s evidentiary rulings.  Five years prior to the jury trial to terminate Mother’s parental rights, the father (Father) of Mother’s youngest child was charged with child abuse for shaking the child, and Mother was charged with permitting child abuse for leaving the child in his care.  Following separate trials, Father was acquitted, and Mother was convicted and sentenced to eighteen months imprisonment.  Mother appeals the termination of her parental rights alleging the court should not have excluded evidence of Father’s criminal acquittal, and the court should not have allowed the use of the phrase “shaken baby syndrome.”  Mother claims the evidentiary rulings created due process violations.  We find Mother’s procedural due process rights were not violated by the court’s evidentiary rulings as Mother had a meaningful and fair opportunity to defend herself.  Mother’s preference for different evidentiary rulings does not mean she was deprived of a fair process.  Mother’s rights were terminated on five separate statutory grounds, and Mother does not contend the evidence was insufficient to support any of the jury verdicts.   Our review of the evidence finds  the necessary clear and convincing evidence for each statutory ground.  Accordingly, the trial court’s order is AFFIRMED. Opinion by MITCHELL, C.J.; PRINCE, P.J., and BELL, J., concur. Feb. 22, 2023

120,727 – (Consolidated with 120,731) Mid-Continent Casualty Company, Plaintiff/Appellee, v. Wilson Paving & Excavating, Inc. and Wilson Excavating, LLC, Defendants/Appellants, Steven L. Broom, Labor Ready Central, Inc. Labor Ready Central, III, L.P. and True Blue, Inc., Defendants. Appeal from the District Court of Tulsa County, Oklahoma.  Honorable Daman H. Cantrell, Trial Judge. The facts that gave birth to this consolidated appeal stem from a commercial insurance policy coverage dispute and the claims by the insured for breach of contract and for bad faith that were spawned by the dispute.  Although the procedural history of this case is long and complicated, the issues in this appeal are limited to whether the insured has standing to prosecute the bad faith claim and, if so, whether the trial court properly granted summary judgment in favor of the insurance carrier on the bad faith claim.  Separate appeals were timely filed by the Parties from the applicable rulings by the trial court.  On October 25, 2022, the Supreme Court entered an Order that consolidated the separate appeals and designated Case No. 120,727 as the surviving Case, and also directed that the consolidated appeal would continue as a summary disposition case under Oklahoma Supreme Court Rule 1.36.  After de novo review of the record and applicable law, we hold that the trial court properly ruled in favor of the insured and against the insurance carrier with respect to the various standing challenges.  On the other hand, the trial court erred in granting summary judgment in favor of the insurance carrier and against the insured on the bad faith claim.  The particular facts of this case arise subsequent to the resolution of issues of law that were presented concerning the duty to defend and the coverage issues and now primarily present a factual dispute as to reasonableness of the insurer’s conduct.  In light of the differing inferences that the facts demonstrate, we are unable to determine, as a matter of law, the reasonableness of the insurer’s decision not to defend its insured in the prior third party tort action.  Thus, we AFFIRM, IN PART, REVERSE, IN PART, AND REMAND the case for further proceedings consistent with this Opinion. Opinion by PRINCE, P.J.; MITCHELL, V.C.J., and SWINTON, J., concur. Feb. 28, 2023

Division IV