Alaska

Wyoming

 

 

 

Statutes of Limitations (WYOMING)

 

Personal Injury - 4 yrs. [W.S.§ 1-3-105]

Wrongful Death - 2 yrs. (from date of death) [W.S.§ 1-38-102]

Property Damage - 4 yrs. [W.S.§ 1-3-105]

Written Contracts - 10 yrs. [W.S.§ 1-3-105]

Oral Contracts - 8 yrs. [W.S.§ 1-3-105]

Contract of Sale (goods) and Breach of Warranty - 4 yrs. (from tender of delivery) [W.S.§ 34.1-2-725]

 

The statute of limitations is triggered when the claimant knows or has reason to know of the existence of a cause of action; that is, the statute begins to run when the claimant is chargeable with information which should lead him to believe he has a claim [Lieberman v. Mossbrook, 208 P.3d 1296 (Wyo. 2009)].

 

Statute of Repose (Products) (WYOMING)

 

None.

 

Admissibility of Expert Testimony (WYOMING)

 

Daubert and its progeny is guidance for the WY courts’ determination whether to admit or exclude expert testimony [Bunting v. Jamieson, 984 P.2d 467 (Wyo. 1999)]

 

 

 

 

Causes of Action (WYOMING)

 

Strict Liability – Rest. (2nd) of Torts, 402A has been adopted.  One who sells any product in a defective condition unreasonably dangerous to the user (or to his property) is subject to liability for physical harm thereby caused to the ultimate user (or to his property) if: (1) the seller is engaged in the business of selling such a product; and (2) the product is expected to and does reach the user or consumer without substantial change in the condition in which it is sold [Ogle v. Caterpillar Tractor Co., 716 P.2d 334 (Wyo. 1986)].

 

Negligence - In a products liability action premised on negligence, Plaintiff must prove that Defendant breached a duty of care owed to him and thereby proximately caused him to be injured.  Manufacturer is required to exercise reasonable care in the planning, designing, and manufacturing of a product in order to ensure that it is reasonably safe to use.  The duty of Defendant is simply to exercise that care which a reasonably prudent person would under the same circumstances [McLaughlin v. Michelin Tire Corp., 778 P.2d 59 (Wyo. 1989)].

 

Breach of Warranty – Wyoming has adopted the standard UCC express Warranty [Wyo. Stat. § 34.1-2-313]; implied Warranty of Merchantability [Wyo. Stat. § 34.1-2-314]; implied warranty of fitness for particular purpose [Wyo. Stat. § 34.1-2-315].  A seller's warranty (express or implied) extends to any person who may reasonably be expected to use, consume, or be affected by the goods and who is injured by breach of the warranty [Wyo. Stat. § 34.1-2-318].

 

Definition of “Defect” (WYOMING)

 

A defective product is a product which is “not reasonably safe,” or is “unreasonably dangerous” to the user.  If a product is safe for normal handling and consumption, it is not defective.  A product is defective when, at the time of sale or distribution, it contains a manufacturing defect, is defective in design, or is defective because of inadequate instructions or warnings. A product is defective in design when the foreseeable risks of harm posed by the product could have been reduced or avoided by the adoption of a reasonable alternative design and the omission of the alternative design renders the product not reasonably safe [Campbell v. Studer, Inc., 970 P.2d 389 (Wyo. 1998)].

 

Liability of Sellers (WYOMING)

 

Any entity involved in the chain of distribution (manufacturer, distributor, retailer, etc.) is strictly liable [see Comment 1 to Rest. 2d of Torts 402A].  Strict Liability applies to bailment [Gray v. Snow King Resort, 889 F. Supp. 1473 (D. Wyo. 1995)].

 

 

Defenses (WYOMING)      

 

Comparative Negligence – Wyoming follows modified comparative negligence (Damages are diminished in proportion to Plaintiff’s fault, but Plaintiff cannot recover if he is 51% at fault) [W.S.§ 1-1-109].  “Fault” includes acts or omissions, determined to be a proximate cause of death or injury to person or property, that are in any measure negligent, or that subject an actor to strict tort or strict products liability, and includes breach of warranty, assumption of risk and misuse or alteration of a product [W.S.§ 1-1-109]

 

Economic Loss Doctrine (ELD) (Product Destroys Only Itself) (WYOMING)

 

ELD is a judicially created doctrine providing that a purchaser of a product cannot recover from a manufacturer damages that are solely economic in nature under tort theories of negligence or strict liability. [Magestro v. N. Star Envtl. Const, 649 N.W.2d 722 (Wis. Ct. App. 2002)].  A claim for pure economic loss where the damage is only to a defective product does not lie on a theory of negligence or strict liability. [Continental Ins. v. Page Engineering Co., 783 P.2d 641 (Wyo. 1989)]. 

 

Malfunction Theory (Using Circumstantial Evidence to Prove Defect) (WYOMING)

 

Plaintiff may show a defect either by presenting evidence of a specific defect or by inference.  A prima facie case that a product was defective and that the defect existed when it left the manufacturer’s control is made by proof that, in the absence of abnormal use or reasonable secondary causes, the product failed to perform in the manner reasonably to be expected in light of its nature and intended function [Rohde v. Smiths Med., 165 P.3d 433 (Wyo. 2007)].

 

Design Defects (WYOMING)                                                                                                

 

A product is defective when, at the time of sale or distribution, it is defective in design.  A product is defective in design when the foreseeable risks of harm posed by the product could have been reduced or avoided by the adoption of a reasonable alternative design and the omission of the alternative design renders the product not reasonably safe [Campbell v. Studer, Inc., 970 P.2d 389 (Wyo. 1998)].

 

Wyoming Supreme Court stated that it does not follow a risk-benefit theory [Sims v. General Motors Corp., 751 P.2d 357 (Wyo. 1988)].

 

There is no duty upon a manufacturer to adopt every possible new device which has been then conceived or invented; negligence cannot be proven because there is a better way later demonstrated. [Maxted v. Pacific Car & Foundry Co., 527 P.2d 832 (Wyo. 1974)].

 

Failure to Warn (WYOMING)

 

A product is defective when, at the time of sale or distribution, it is defective because of inadequate instructions or warnings [Campbell v. Studer, Inc., 970 P.2d 389 (Wyo. 1998)].

 

Plaintiff may show a “defect” by establishing that the manufacturer failed to warn about dangers associated with the product. Unlike traditional strict liability claims, a claim for failure to provide adequate warnings incorporates some negligence components in determining whether a warning is necessary and/or whether the warnings provided were adequate [Rohde v. Smiths Med., 165 P.3d 433 (Wyo. 2007)]. 

 

Failure to warn cases have two separate requirements of causation: (1) a product for which there was no warning must cause the injury complained of; and (2) Plaintiff must show that a warning would have altered his behavior [Abraham v. Great Western Energy, LLC, 101 P.3d 446 (Wyo. 2004)].

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Independent Cause of Action for Evidence Spoliation (WYOMING)

 

Wyoming does not recognize independent tort claims for spoliation of evidence [Coletti v. Cudd Pressure Control, 165 F.3d 767 (10th Cir. 1999)].