Appeal from the District Court of Campbell County. The Honorable John R. Perry, Judge.
Representing Appellant: C. John Cotton, Cotton Law Office, P.C., Gillette, Wyoming.
Representing Appellees: Patrick T. Holscher, Schwartz, Bon, Walker & Studer, LLC, Casper, Wyoming.
Before BURKE, C.J., and HILL, KITE[*], DAVIS, and FOX, JJ.
BURKE, Chief Justice.
[¶1] Appellant Enrique Herrera was injured while working for Gilligan's LLC, under the supervision of Robert Phillipps. Mr. Herrera filed suit seeking to recover damages for his injuries. Gilligan's sought summary judgment on the primary basis that, as Mr. Herrera's employer, it was immune from suit pursuant to the Wyoming Worker's Compensation Act. Mr. Phillipps also asserted that the Act shielded him from the negligence claim bye Mr. Herrera, and that Mr. Herrera had not presented facts sufficient to establish Mr. Phillipps' liability as a co-employee under the Act. Mr. Herrera claimed that Appellees were not immune because he was not an employee of Gilligan's under the statutory definition found in the Wyoming Worker's Compensation Act because he was not legally authorized to work in the United States and Gilligan's did not have a reasonable belief that he was authorized to work in the United States. The district court granted summary judgment for Gilligan's and Mr. Phillipps. Mr. Herrera challenges that decision in this appeal. We will reverse.
[¶2] Mr. Herrera presents two issues:
1. Did the District Court err in ruling that Gilligan's LLC is entitled to Worker's Compensation immunity?
2. Did the District Court err in ruling that there is no genuine issue of material fact as to the co-employee liability of Robert Phillipps?
Gilligan's and Mr. Phillipps agree with Mr. Herrera's statement of the issues, but further assert that the first issue may be refined as follows:
1.a. Did the Legislature, in enacting Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 27-14-102(a)(vii) (LexisNexis 2007), contemplate employer compliance with Federal law regarding documentation of the work status of employees thereby incorporating the Federal provisions? And, if the answer to this is " Yes," then,
1.b. Under Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 27-14-102(a)(vii), does the required " documentation in the employer's possession" include a properly completed I-9 form as required by the United States Department of Justice?
[¶3] On June 5, 2007, Mr. Herrera was working for Gilligan's as a pipe fuser. He was working with a crew to clean out a four-inch pipe using a compressor to blow a cleaning plug, called a " pig," through the pipe. The pig got stuck in the pipe and Mr. Herrera suggested they cut the pipe at the ...