RB, JR., an infant, by and through his next friends, ROBBY & CORRINA BROWN, Appellants (Plaintiffs),
BIG HORN COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 3, Appellee (Defendant).
from the District Court of Big Horn County The Honorable
Steven R. Cranfill, Judge
Representing Appellants: Philip E. Abromats and Letitia C.
Abromats of Philip E. Abromats, P.C., Greybull, Wyoming.
Argument by Ms. Abromats.
Representing Appellee: Nicholas T. Haderlie and Christopher
C. Voigt of Crowley Fleck PLLP, Sheridan, Wyoming. Argument
by Mr. Haderlie.
BURKE, C.J., and HILL, DAVIS, FOX, and KAUTZ, JJ.
RB and his friends were enjoying some of the exhilarating
qualities of ice on the sidewalk at Greybull Middle School
when RB fell and suffered a broken tooth, fractured nose, and
some facial lacerations. He sued Big Horn County School
District No. 3 (School District), alleging that it was
negligent in failing to remove the ice that had accumulated
on the sidewalk. The district court granted the School
District's motion for summary judgment, and RB appeals.
1. Is the failure to file a W.R.C.P. 56.1 statement of
undisputed material facts fatal to RB's appeal?
the question of whether there was a natural accumulation of
snow and ice a fact issue that should have been submitted to
the Greybull snow removal ordinance establish a heightened
duty of care?
RB's comparative negligence a fact issue that must go to
On February 20, 2014, RB and his classmates left the Greybull
Middle School gymnasium after their P.E. class and were
returning to the classroom building next door. While they
were between buildings, RB and some friends spotted a patch
of ice on the sidewalk and began running and sliding on it.
According to one student, the group was having a contest to
see who could slide the farthest, and another student
testified that they were sliding to see who could "do
the coolest trick." RB took his second turn to slide,
lost his balance, and fell on the ice, breaking a tooth,
fracturing his nose, and lacerating his face.
The ice patch was described as large and of varying
thickness. It was obvious and not hidden from view in any
way. RB and other witnesses testified that it did not appear
as if anyone had done anything to make the accumulation of
ice worse than it would have been naturally. One witness,
however, testified that the students, including RB, had taken
snow from the grass and sprinkled it onto the ice in order to
make it more slippery. Ice melt had been applied to the patch
by School District maintenance personnel.
[¶5] The Town of Greybull had 0.01 inches of snow on
February 20, 2014, the day of the accident. There was no snow
the previous day. The greatest amount of precipitation
received in Greybull in February was 0.08 inches on February
9. The maintenance director for the School District and other
witnesses testified that the district's practice is to
remove snow and apply ice melt daily when snow or ice is
present. There is no evidence in the record that it failed to
do so on the day of the accident.
We apply the following standard of review to a district
court's grant of summary judgment in a negligence case:
We review a summary judgment in the same light as the
district court, using the same materials and following the
same standards. Gayhart v. Goody, 2004 WY 112,
¶ 11, 98 P.3d 164, 168 (Wyo. 2004). Summary judgment is
proper only when there are no genuine issues of material
fact, and the prevailing party is entitled to judgment as a
matter of law. Id. . . . .
. . . .
Summary judgments are not favored in negligence actions and
are subject to exacting scrutiny. Erpelding v.
Lisek, 2003 WY 80, ¶ 10, 71 P.3d 754, 757 (Wyo.
2003). However, even in negligence actions, "where the
record fails to establish an issue of material fact, [and
when the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law],
the entry of summary judgment is proper." Allmaras
v. Mudge, 820 P.2d 533, 536 (Wyo. 1991) (alteration in
original) (citing MacKrell v. Bell H2S Safety, 795
P.2d 776, 779 (Wyo. 1990)).
Amos v. Lincoln Cty. Sch. Dist. No. 2, 2015 WY 115,
¶ 15, 359 P.3d 954, 958-59 (Wyo. 2015) (some citations
I.Is the failure to file a W.R.C.P. 56.1 statement of