Friday, November 30, 2012

Summary 2012 WY 152

Summary of Decision November 30, 2012

Justice Voigt delivered the opinion for the Court. Affirmed.

Case Name: KATRINA LUCERO and EL and IL, by and through their next Friend, Guardian and Mother, KATRINA LUCERO v. NANETTE HOLBROOK

Docket Number: S-12-0062


Appeal from the District Court of Natrona County, Honorable Catherine E. Wilking, Judge.

Representing Appellant: John I. Henley of Henley Law Firm, P.C., Casper, Wyoming.

Representing Appellee: Julie Nye Tiedeken and Brian J. Hunter of McKellar, Tiedeken & Scoggin, LLC, Cheyenne, Wyoming. Argument by Ms. Tiedeken.

Date of Decision: November 30, 2012

Facts: Nanette Holbrook, the appellee, left her car unattended with the motor running in her private driveway while she briefly returned to her home to retrieve her pocketbook. In the interim, Colbey Emms (Emms), a methamphetamine user, stole her vehicle. Emms later got into a high-speed chase with the police, which ended when the car he was driving collided with a vehicle driven by Katrina Lucero (Lucero), one of the appellants, and mother of EL and IL, also appellants. Lucero filed a complaint on behalf of herself and her children alleging that the appellee breached a duty to them of due care by leaving her car unattended with the keys in the ignition. The district court granted the appellee’s motion for summary judgment on the basis that no duty was owed to the appellants under either the common law or by statute, and that the appellee’s leaving of her keys in her car with the motor running was not the proximate cause of the accident.

Issues: Did the district court appropriately grant the appellee’s motion for summary judgment?

Holdings: The appellee’s conduct was not proscribed by statute and therefore does not result in the violation of a statutory duty of care. The harm suffered was not a foreseeable consequence of the appellee’s conduct, nor was it closely connected to the conduct. The appellee’s actions are not deserving of moral blame. Imposing a duty on the appellee under these circumstances would substantially burden her and Wyoming residents in general. The Court concluded that the appellee did not owe the appellants a common law duty of care to protect them from the harm that occurred in this case, and therefore affirmed the district court’s grant of summary judgment.

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

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