Friday, February 24, 2012

Summary 2012 WY 28

Summary of Decision February 23, 2012

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

Case Name: Vincent Rosty v. Shari Skaj and Steve Skaj

Citation: 2012 WY 28

Docket Number: S-11-0063, S-11-0136


Appeal from the District Court of Natrona County, the Honorable W. Thomas Sullins, Judge.

Representing Appellant (Defendant): Hampton K. O’Neill and Timothy M. Stubson, Brown, Drew & Massey, LLP, Casper, Wyoming. Argument by Mr. Stubson.

Representing Appellee (Plaintiff): Robert T. Ingram, Ingram Olheiser, P.C., Casper, Wyoming; Timothy W. Miller, Miller Law Office, Casper, Wyoming. Argument by Mr. Ingram.

Date of Decision: February 23, 2012

Facts: In these consolidated appeals, Appellant, Vincent Rosty, challenges the district court’s order entering default judgment and the district court’s denial of his motion to set aside entry of default and default judgment. Appellees, Shari and Steve Skaj, brought suit against R & R Roofing, Inc., Steve Rosty, and Appellant to recover damages caused when an idling dump truck that had been driven by Appellant was knocked into gear, pinning Ms. Skaj against a motor home. The complaint alleged that the dump truck and R & R Roofing were owned by defendant Steve Rosty, and that the truck was used by Appellant in his employment with the business. The complaint stated causes of action for negligence and negligent infliction of emotional distress, and sought to recover compensatory and punitive damages from all defendants.

Issues: Appellant presents the following issues:

Whether Appellant timely appealed the district court’s ruling denying Appellant’s motion to set aside entry of default and motion to set aside default judgment.

Whether the district court erred by permitting the hearing on default judgment to proceed when Appellees failed to provide notice to Appellant of the hearing as required by Rule 55(b)(2).

Whether the district court violated Appellant’s due process rights by entering default judgment without allowing Appellant a meaningful opportunity to present evidence on issues of fault and damages?

Whether the default judgment issued by the district court is void because of Appellees’ failure to properly serve the Appellant with the Complaint and Summons.

Whether the district court abused its discretion by failing to set aside the entry of default and the default judgment in this case.

Whether the district court’s award of punitive damages was permitted where the Appellees failed to provide any evidence of Appellant’s wealth.

Holdings: After careful review of the issues, the district court’s denial of Appellant’s motion to set aside default and default judgment was affirmed. The Court reversed that part of the district court’s order awarding punitive damages and remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Justice Burke delivered the opinion for the court.

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