Thursday, January 17, 2013

Summary 2013 WY 8

Summary of Decision January 17, 2013

Justice Burke delivered the opinion for the Court. Reversed and remanded. Justice Voigt respectfully dissented.


Docket Number: S-11-0232


Appeal from the District Court of Teton County, Honorable Timothy C. Day, Judge.

Representing Appellant: P. Richard Meyer and Robert N. Williams, Meyer & Williams, Attorneys at Law, P.C., Jackson, Wyoming. Argument by Mr. Meyer.

Representing Appellees: Cameron S. Walker, Schwartz, Bon, Walker & Studer, LLC, Casper, Wyoming; Timothy E. Herr, Herr & Zapala, LLP, San Jose, California; and David G. Lewis, Jackson, Wyoming. Argument by Mr. Walker.

Date of Decision: January 17, 2013

Facts: Appellant, Edward Venard, filed suit against Appellees in Wyoming district court to recover damages for personal injuries sustained during a paragliding lesson. Appellees filed a motion to dismiss seeking to enforce a forum selection clause contained in a “Release, Waiver and Assumption of Risk Agreement” that Mr. Venard had signed as a condition of his membership with the United States Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association (USHPA). Several of the Appellees had signed similar agreements with USHPA, but none of the Appellees was a party to the agreement between Mr. Venard and USHPA. Based upon the forum selection clause, Appellees contended that California was the appropriate forum for litigation of the dispute. The district court agreed and granted motion to dismiss. Mr. Venard challenged that decision in this appeal.

Issue: Did the district court abuse its discretion by granting Appellees’ Motion to Dismiss based on a forum selection clause in the Release, Waiver and Assumption of Risk Agreement signed by Mr. Venard?

Holdings: The forum selection clause contained in the agreement between Mr. Venard and USHPA is not enforceable as between the parties to the present litigation. Appellees were not parties to that contract and did not consent in advance to the jurisdiction of the California courts. Accordingly, the Court concluded that the district court abused its discretion in dismissing the complaint. The Court reversed and remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Justice Voigt respectfully dissented. To read the full opinion and dissenting opinion, please click on the URL link above.

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

[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. You will also note when you look at the opinion that all of the paragraphs are numbered. When you need to provide a pinpoint citation to a quote the universal portion of the citation will use that paragraph number. The pinpoint citation in the P.3d portion will need to have the reporter page number. If you need assistance in putting together a citation from this, or any future opinion using the Universal Citation form, please contact the Wyoming State Law Library and we will provide any needed assistance]

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