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Michael J. Van Patten v. Corby Gipson

June 23, 2011

MICHAEL J. VAN PATTEN, APPELLANT (PLAINTIFF),
v.
CORBY GIPSON, JOHN SHARISKY, AND MIKE WIXOM, APPELLEES (DEFENDANTS).



Appeal from the District Court of Sublette County The Honorable Marvin L. Tyler, Judge

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Kite, Chief Justice.

Before KITE, C.J., and GOLDEN, HILL, VOIGT, and BURKE, JJ.

NOTICE: This opinion is subject to formal revision before publication in Pacific Reporter Third. Readers are requested to notify the Clerk of the Supreme Court, Supreme Court Building, Cheyenne, Wyoming 82002, of typographical or other formal errors so correction may be made before final publication in the permanent volume.

[¶1] Michael Van Patten was injured while working on a drilling rig. He filed suit against several of his co-employees, including Corby Gipson, John Sharisky and Mike Wixom, claiming their willful and wanton misconduct caused his injuries. The district court held as a matter of law that the co-employees' acts or omissions were not willful and wanton and granted their motion for summary judgment. Mr. Van Patten appeals, claiming there were genuine issues of material fact precluding summary judgment. We affirm.

ISSUES

[¶2] Mr. Van Patten presents one issue for this Court's determination which we restate as follows:

Whether the district court erred in finding that the undisputed material facts demonstrate the co-employees' acts or omissions were not willful and wanton?

The co-employees state three issues which we paraphrase as follows:

I. Whether the district court correctly held their conduct did not constitute willful and wanton misconduct.

II. Whether the district court correctly found their violations of H&P International Drilling Company's (H&P) policies did not amount to willful and wanton misconduct.

III. Whether the district court correctly held that their individual acts could not be combined to establish willful and wanton misconduct on the part of each of them.

FACTS

[¶3] Mr. Van Patten worked for H&P as an entry level floorman. The co-employees also worked for H&P, Mr. Gipson as driller and direct supervisor of the rig crew, Mr. Sharisky as assistant driller and Mr. Wixom as derrickman. In May of 2007 they were all working on H&P rig 287 in Sublette County, Wyoming.

[ΒΆ4] On May 5, 2007, the rig manager directed Mr. Gipson and his crew to pressure wash the derrick during their shift. The crew went to the driller's cabin where they discussed the operation and filled out a job safety analysis and personnel hoisting pre-job checklist for washing the derrick. Either Mr. Sharisky or Mr. Wixom told Mr. Van Patten to put on the manrider, a harness worn around the torso with a board attached to it to sit on. The manrider was used to hoist personnel when work needed to be performed on the derrick above the rig floor, in this case washing the derrick. The manrider was hooked to a cable, the tugger line, which ran from a hydraulic hoist located on the rig floor up through the ...


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