from the District Court of Sweetwater County The Honorable
Richard L. Lavery, Judge
Representing Appellant: Pro se
Representing Appellees: Richard H. Honaker, Honaker Law
Offices, LC, Rock Springs, Wyoming
DAVIS, C.J., and FOX, KAUTZ, BOOMGAARDEN, and GRAY, JJ.
Rex Rammell, D.V.M., filed a complaint against his former
employer, Mountainaire Animal Clinic, P.C., its sole
shareholder and president, Paul Zancanella, D.V.M., and its
office manager, Vicky Zancanella, collectively Mountainaire,
asserting multiple claims including breach of express
contract and tortious interference with contract. The
district court entered partial summary judgment against Dr.
Rammell on all his claims except the breach of express
contract claim. Shortly before trial, it dismissed that claim
as a sanction for willful obstruction of discovery and fraud
upon the court. Dr. Rammell appeals the summary judgment
ruling on his tortious interference claim and the dismissal
of his breach of express contract claim. We affirm.
Dr. Rammell presents six issues on appeal, which we summarize
and restate as two issues.
1. Did the district court err in entering summary judgment
against Dr. Rammell on his tortious interference claim?
2. Did the district court abuse its discretion in dismissing
Dr. Rammell's remaining claims as a sanction for his
Mountainaire addresses these two issues and offers two
additional issues in response:
1. Does Appellant's false certification concerning the
transcript of trial court evidence, and failure to include
the transcript in the record, render his notice of appeal
jurisdictionally defective, requiring dismissal of this
2. Should the trial court's decision be summarily
affirmed because of Appellant's failure to present a
proper record, including a transcript, for this appeal?
Mountainaire is a veterinary clinic located in Sweetwater
County. Dr. Rammell is a veterinarian, and he was hired by
Mountainaire pursuant to an employment agreement dated
November 14, 2016. The agreement was for a term of one year
and provided as follows concerning termination:
This agreement shall terminate immediately upon the
occurrence of any of the following events:
A. The denial, refusal, suspension, revocation or restriction
of Employee's license to practice veterinary medicine in
the State of Wyoming.
B. The death of Employee.
C. The mutual agreement of Employer and Employee, in writing,
D. Disability of Employee which continues for a period of 30
consecutive days or more.
E. The failure or refusal of Employee to diligently perform
the duties of his employment and provisions of this
F. The end of the term of this agreement.
G. Notwithstanding any of the foregoing, if Employer
determines that continued employment of Employee is not
desirable for any reason, such employment may be terminated,
with or without cause, upon sixty (60) days prior written
notice to Employee.
On April 19, 2017, Dr. Zancanella, in his capacity as
Mountainaire's president, met with Dr. Rammell and
terminated his employment. On July 5, 2017, Dr. Rammell filed
a complaint against Mountainaire and against Dr. Zancanella
and Vicky Zancanella in their individual
capacities. The complaint asserted claims for breach
of express contract, breach of implied contract, tortious
interference with contract, intentional infliction of
emotional distress, and negligent infliction of emotional
distress. Mountainaire answered and counterclaimed for breach
of the employment agreement's non-compete clause and for
a $10, 000 salary advance it had made to Dr. Rammell. It also
applied for and was granted a preliminary injunction
enjoining Dr. Rammell from directly or indirectly providing
services that would compete with Mountainaire within a
fifty-mile radius of the clinic.
On June 8, 2018, Mountainaire filed two summary judgment
motions, one on its $10, 000 claim for a salary advance
refund, and the other against all of Dr. Rammell's
claims. The district court granted Mountainaire summary
judgment on all claims except a part of Dr. Rammell's
breach of implied contract and his breach of express contract
claims. Shortly thereafter, it granted Mountainaire's
motion to reconsider the breach of implied contract ruling
and entered summary judgment in its favor on that
claim. That decision left only Dr. Rammell's
breach of express contract claim for trial.
A few weeks before the August 27, 2018 trial, Mountainaire
filed a motion for an order to show cause as to why Dr.
Rammell's remaining claim should not be dismissed. In
support of its claim for dismissal, Mountainaire alleged that
Dr. Rammell flagrantly violated the court's preliminary
injunction by offering veterinary services within a few miles
of the Mountainaire clinic, that he provided false discovery
answers regarding those services, and that he self-issued
invalid trial subpoenas. Mountainaire subsequently
supplemented the motion with allegations that Dr. Rammell
gave false discovery answers concerning income he had earned
since the termination of his employment with Mountainaire.
On August 15, 2018, the district court held an evidentiary
hearing on Mountainaire's motion, and on August 20th, it
issued its order ruling on the motion. The court found that
Dr. Rammell had issued invalid subpoenas but that he had done
so unintentionally, and it did not sanction him for that
conduct. The court further found that Dr. Rammell had
violated the preliminary injunction, but it concluded that
the violation was not grounds for dismissal and otherwise
ordered no sanction for it.
With respect to discovery responses concerning income he had
earned since his dismissal from Mountainaire, the court found
the responses ranged from "evasive and misleading to
outright false." For this discovery violation, the court
dismissed Dr. Rammell's only remaining claim of breach ...