Thursday, May 22, 2008

Summary 2008 WY 57

Summary of Decision issued May 22, 2008

Summaries are prepared by Law Librarians and are not official statements of the Wyoming Supreme Court.

Case Name: Hendricks v. Hurley

Citation: 2008 WY 57

Docket Number: S-07-0178

Appeal from the District Court of Laramie County, the Honorable Nicholas G. Kalokathis, Judge.

Representing Appellant (Plaintiff): Bruce S. Asay of Associated Legal Group, LLC, Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Representing Appellees (Defendants): Raymond W. Martin of Sundahl, Powers, Kapp & Martin, LLC, Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Facts/Discussion: Ryan Hendricks was electrocuted after touching an ungrounded well head at his grandparents’ home. Ryan’s mother filed a claim against the grandparents, the Hurleys, alleging they failed to use reasonable care in inspecting the well and supervising Ryan.

Summary Judgment on the Duty to Inspect: The Hurleys had a duty to disclose only if they knew or had reason to know of the defects. Mrs. Hendricks presented no admissible evidence other than her own assertions. In light of the failure to prove a duty, the district court properly granted summary judgment for the Hurleys on Mrs. Hendricks’ first negligence claim.
Negligent Supervision:
Mrs. Hendricks asserted a general common law duty to supervise relying on Daniels and Dellapenta. The Court disagreed noting that the determining factor in both cases was the foreseeability of harm to the plaintiff. In the instant case, the Court concluded that there was no evidence showing the Hurleys knew or had reason to know about the dangerous condition of the well. Absent evidence establishing a genuine issue of material fact on the question of whether immediate emergency assistance would have saved Ryan, the summary judgment was appropriate.
Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress:
Absent proof the Hurleys knew or had reason to know of the dangers that existed because of the faulty wiring, Mrs. Hendricks cannot recover for negligent infliction of emotional distress. The limited exception recognized in Larsen was not applicable in the instant case.
Loss of Consortium:
In Wyoming, a claim for loss of consortium is derivative of the injured party’s claim. Since the injured party’s claim failed, the loss of consortium claim was properly dismissed.

Holding: Mrs. Hendricks failed to prove a duty. Absent evidence on the question of whether immediate emergency assistance would have saved the victim, summary judgment was appropriate. The limited exception recognized in Larsen was not applicable. The loss of consortium claim was properly dismissed because the injured party’s claim failed.


J. Kite delivered the decision.

Link: .

[SPECIAL NOTE: This opinion uses the "Universal Citation." It was given an "official" citation when it was issued. You should use this citation whenever you cite the opinion, with a P.3d parallel citation. Please note when you look at the opinion that all of the paragraphs are numbered. When you pinpoint cite to a quote, you should cite to this paragraph number rather than to any page number. If you need assistance in putting together a citation using the Universal Citation form, please contact the Wyoming State Law Library.]

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