WYOMING LAW HIGHLIGHTS


FAULT/COMPARATIVE FAULT

W.C.A. 1-1-109 codifies Wyoming's comparative fault rule. Specifically, that rule states "Contributory fault shall not bar a recovery in an action by any claimant or the claimant's legal representative to recover damages for wrongful death or injury to person or property, if the contributory fault of the claimant is not more than fifty percent (50%) of the total fault of all actors. Any damages allowed shall be diminished in proportion to the amount of fault attributed to the claimant." Thus, if a plaintiff has 50% of the fault, he/she still recovers. A finding of 51% to Plaintiff bars his/her recovery.

The jury will be informed of the consequences of the comparative fault.

Each defendant is liable only to the extent of that defendant's proportion of the total fault.

LIMITATION PERIODS

Bodily Injury 4 Years W.C.A.1-3-105(a)(iv)

Libel/Slander 1 Year W.C.A. 1-3-105(a)(V)(A)

Fraud 4 Years W.C.A 1-3-105(a)(iv)(D)

Injury to Personal Property 4 Years W.C.A. 1-3-105(a)(iv)(B)

Contracts 10 Years (written) 8 Years (oral) W.C.A. 1-3-105 (a)(i), (ii)

Assault/Battery 1 Year W.C.A. 1-3-105(a)(v)(B)

Medical Malpractice 2 Years W.C.A. 1-3-107(a)(i)

Wrongful Death 2 Years W.C.A. 1-38-102(d)

Products Liability 4 Years W.C.A. 1-3-105(iv)(C)

MINOR SETTLEMENTS

We recommend that any payments exceeding $5,000 be submitted for court approval. W.C.A. 3-3-108 states that any person under obligation to pay or deliver money to a minor "for whom no conservator has been appointed" may not pay more than $5,000 unless specified enumerations apply. Our advice, if its $5,000.00 or more, you will need the Court to appoint an conservator and then have the court approve the settlement terms. This is best practice.

DISCOVERY

Service Must Be Made in 90 Days of Filing of Complaint

Wyoming is an Initial Disclosure State patterned after the FRCP

Discovery Requests and other efforts must be proportional

Privilege Logs Required

Expert Draft Reports are not subject to production

Communications with Experts and Counsel are not subject to production

Retained Experts must produce reports; non-retained experts are exempt

Experts Can be deposed even if an expert is not required to produce a report

INSURANCE AND FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY

Proof of financial responsibility for owners and users of motor vehicles on Wy. roads

Minimum limits for financial responsibility laws are $25,000/$50,000/$20,000 (PD)

Uninsured Motorist Coverage is required with minimums $25,000/$50,000/$20,000

UM coverage can be rejected by the insured

BAD FAITH CLAIMS

Wyoming recognizes both First-Party and Third-Party Bad Faith actions

Third-Party Bad Faith must be pursued by the insured or by way of assignment

Third-Party Bad Faith does not lie until the insurer fails to pay the excess judgment

A stipulated judgment entered by the insured, with notice to the insurer, may be a basis for third-party bad faith

First-Party Bad Faith exists when (1) the absence of any reasonable basis for denying the claim is shown; and (2) the insurer's knowledge or reckless disregard of the lack of a reasonable basis to deny a claim is found

"Fairly Debatable" defense exists and is an objective standard

JURY COMPOSITION AND RULES

You must preserve your right to a jury trial in Complaint or Answer

A verdict must be unanimous

If you pay $50.00 filing fee, you get a 6 person jury in District Court

If you pay $150.00 filing fee, you get a 12 person jury in District Court

You can have a jury trial in Circuit Court by paying the appropriate filing fee

Jurors can submit written questions during trial

Juror Questionnaires only in "appropriate cases"

Lawyer conducted voir dire allowed, but under Judge's control

Each "party" is entitled to three (3) peremptory challenges

Jurors must be citizens of the U.S. and at least 18 years old

Jurors must be a resident of the state and county for 90 days before summons

Jurors must possess sufficient knowledge of English Language

Jurors must not be convicted felons

COLLATERAL SOURCE DOCTRINE

The collateral source rule applies in Wyoming. A claimant's receipt of collateral source payments or benefits does not serve to reduce his/her recovery. Haderlie v. Sondgeroth, 866 P.2d 703 (Wyo. 1993); Miller v. Campbell County, 901 P.2d 1107, 1112 (Wyo. 1995).

MISCELLANEOUS

There are no "caps" on damages

Punitive Damages can be recovered if conduct is willful and wanton

Wyoming is not a "no-fault insurance" state

No pre-judgment interest statute for most type of lawsuits

Post Judgment interest rates determined by W.C.A. 1-16-102(a)

Seat Belt use is inadmissible W.C.A. 31-5-1402(f) in civil action

Rule 68 Offers of Settlement "costs" do not include Attorney's Fees

There is no Wyoming statute that would require disclosure of limits pre-suit

EXPERIENCE | INTEGRITY | STRENGTH

#StatuteofLimitations #ComparativeFault #PunitiveDamages #BadFaith #MinorsSettlements #Discovery #Insurance #FinancialResponsibility #Jury #CollateralSource

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