Bogdanski v. Budzik, S-17-0049

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
Writing for the CourtDAVIS, Justice.
Citation408 P.3d 1156
Parties Mariusz BOGDANSKI, Appellant (Plaintiff), v. Damian BUDZIK, Appellee (Defendant). Mariusz Bogdanski, Appellant (Plaintiff), v. FedEx Ground Package System, Inc., Appellee (Defendant).
Decision Date24 January 2018
Docket NumberS-17-0050,S-17-0049

408 P.3d 1156

Mariusz BOGDANSKI, Appellant (Plaintiff),
v.
Damian BUDZIK, Appellee (Defendant).


Mariusz Bogdanski, Appellant (Plaintiff),
v.
FedEx Ground Package System, Inc., Appellee (Defendant).

S-17-0049
S-17-0050

Supreme Court of Wyoming.

January 24, 2018


Representing Appellant: Collin C. Hopkins of The Law Offices of Collin Hopkins, P.C., Riverton, WY* ; Milo W. Lundblad and Jerome A. Urbik of Brustin & Lundblad, Ltd., Chicago, IL; and Cameron S. Walker of Schwartz, Bon, Walker & Studer, LLC, Casper, WY. Argument by Mr. Urbik.

Representing Appellee: Paul Kapp and Patrick M. Brady of Sundahl, Powers, Kapp & Martin, LLC, Cheyenne, WY. Argument by Mr. Kapp.

Before BURKE, C.J., and HILL, DAVIS, FOX, and KAUTZ, JJ.

DAVIS, Justice.

¶1] Mariusz Bogdanski and Damian Budzik were codrivers of a commercial semi-truck that was involved in an accident on Interstate 80 east of Evanston, Wyoming. Bogdanski was injured in the accident and filed an action against Budzik, alleging that his negligence caused the accident. He also sued FedEx Ground Package System, Inc. (FedEx), the company whose trailers they were hauling, alleging both direct negligence and vicarious liability for Budzik's negligence. The district court granted summary judgment to both Budzik and FedEx, and Bogdanski appeals the order in favor of FedEx. We affirm summary judgment in favor of Appellee Budzik, and the summary judgment on Bogdanski's direct negligent training claim. However, we reverse the ruling granting summary judgment against FedEx on Bogdanski's claim of vicarious liability for Budzik's claimed negligence, and we remand to the district court for further proceedings.

ISSUES

[¶2] We restate the issues raised by this appeal as follows:1

1. Can Bogdanski maintain a direct negligence claim in addition to a vicarious liability claim when FedEx has stipulated that it will be vicariously liable for Budzik's negligence, if any?

2. Did the district court err in granting FedEx's motion for summary judgment on Bogdanski's vicarious liability claim?

FACTS

[¶3] In February of 2011, Mariusz Bogdanski and Damian Budzik were employed as commercial truck drivers by BZ Trucking, Inc., a company operating out of Burbank, Illinois. Bogdanski was the more experienced driver and began working for BZ Trucking in 2005. Damian Budzik obtained his commercial

[408 P.3d 1158

driver's license in 2008 and began working for BZ Trucking that same year.

¶4] For the first year of Budzik's employment with BZ Trucking, he was provided on-the-job training by being paired with more experienced drivers. Budzik was paired with one driver for the first three months of his training, and then with Bogdanski for the remainder of the year. After Budzik completed his year of training, he and Bogdanski remained driving partners.

[¶5] In 2011 BZ Trucking had a contract with FedEx to use BZ's trucks and drivers to haul FedEx trailers. Pursuant to that contract, Budzik and Bogdanski picked up two FedEx trailers in Bedford, Illinois to be delivered to Sacramento, California, on February 16, 2011. The trip was to be non-stop with Bogdanski and Budzik each driving alternating eleven-hour shifts. A shift change occurred at about 2:00 a.m. on February 17th in Rawlins, Wyoming. Budzik completed an inspection of the tractor and trailers, and then took over driving while Bogdanski rested in the truck's sleeper compartment.

[¶6] When Budzik began his driving shift in Rawlins, it was snowing, but not heavily. As Budzik continued to drive west on Interstate 80, it began to snow more heavily, reaching what Budzik described as a six out of ten in severity, with snow accumulating on the road's surface. About thirty miles east of Evanston, Wyoming, Budzik came upon traffic stopped in both westbound lanes. He was driving approximately forty-five to fifty miles per hour when he encountered the stopped traffic, and he activated his flashers and pulled from the right lane into the left to allow a greater distance over which to stop the truck.

[¶7] The traffic ahead of Budzik remained stopped for around five to ten minutes. When the traffic began to move again, Budzik found that he could not get his truck to move. He tried for about one to two minutes to get it moving and then woke Bogdanski to ask for help. Bogdanski described what happened next:

Q. So he woke you up. Did he want you to do something? What did he want you to do?

A. He needed my help.

Q. Did you—to do what?

A. Just to—we were—we work in a team, so I needed to sit down and decide what is going to be our next step.

Q. And did you do that?

A. Yes. We were going to inspect the truck to see why the truck is not able to move forward.

Q. So after he woke you up and you got out of the sleeper compartment, from there, where did you go?

A. It was wintertime, so I needed also some time to dress myself properly. I went out, exited.

* * *

Q. So I take it, somehow it was decided that you had to go out?

A. That period of time, Damian was assigned to be a driver. I went—when one is assigned, the other one did not take over and sit back behind the wheel.

Q. Because of the hour restrictions, right?

A. Yes. So I was off duty.

Q. So the plan was that you were going to go out of the truck and try and figure out why you were not getting traction?

A. Basically, I also was at that point more experienced than Damian. I wanted to go outside and look around the truck and—trying to figure out why the truck can't move forward.

[¶8] When Bogdanski exited the truck, he found all of the truck and trailer exterior lights were on, including the emergency lights, the pulsating lights, and the headlights. He inspected the entire exterior of the truck and trailers and confirmed that the only problem was that the driver wheels were spinning. He then concluded they would need to place chains on some of the tires to get the truck moving and that they would also need to place warning triangles to secure the truck's location.

[¶9] The chains and warning triangles were kept on a catwalk between the tractor and the trailers, and Bogdanski climbed onto the catwalk to get them. While Bogdanski was on the catwalk, another commercial truck driven

[408 P.3d 1159

by Viktor Marinov rear-ended the stopped tractor-trailer. The impact threw Bogdanski from the catwalk, and he landed on the shoulder of the road. He was taken by ambulance to a hospital in Evanston, Wyoming, where he was treated and released. The next day he and Budzik drove the truck, without trailers, first to Salt Lake City and then back to Illinois. Upon his return to Illinois, Bogdanski applied for and received Illinois workers' compensation medical and disability benefits for injuries to his right shoulder, right hip, cervical spine, lumbar spine, and left arm.

¶10] In February of 2013, Bogdanski filed an action in the Superior Court of California, Sacramento County, against Viktor Marinov, the driver of the other truck involved in the accident, as well as a number of parties associated with Marinov. On February 10, 2015, Bogdanski filed a complaint in the Third Judicial District, Uinta County, Wyoming, against many of the same parties named in the California action, and added Budzik and FedEx.2 Bogdanski's claims against FedEx included direct negligence and vicarious liability for Budzik's alleged negligence.3 In the count concerning FedEx's vicarious liability, the complaint alleged that Budzik "carelessly and negligently":
a. Negligently drove on roads in weather conditions that made it highly probable that his truck would become stranded on the highway;

b. Failed to pull onto the shoulder when it became apparent that heavy traffic and road conditions were going to force him to stop his truck and become stranded on the highway;

c. Failed to heed mandatory tire chain requirements; and

d. Failed to activate his lights and/or emergency flashers so as to be visible to other vehicles on the highway.

[¶11] Bogdanski's claim against Budzik was for negligence. In that count, the complaint alleged Budzik "carelessly and negligently":

a. Failed to pull on to the shoulder when traffic stopped;

b. Failed to drive in the right lane;

c. As Mr. Marinov testified, failed to turn on his lights and/or emergency flashers to warn other vehicles on the highway that he was stranded;

d. Negligently attempted to continue driving on terrain and in weather conditions that made for reduced traction; and

e. Failed to utilize traction aids to prevent his truck from becoming stranded.

[¶12] On May 11, 2015, FedEx filed a written stipulation in which it agreed to be responsible for Budzik's negligence, if any such negligence were found. The stipulation stated:

1. On February 17, 2011, Damian Budzik was employed by BZ Trucking, Inc., an independent contractor who provides services to FedEx Ground. Mr. Budzik was driving a tractor with plate number 1000349 (State of Indiana), and that tractor was at the location of the accident that is the subject of the Complaint ....

2. If the vehicle is found to have been negligently operated while performing actions within the scope of the agency relationship between FedEx Ground and Damian Budzik, FedEx Ground agrees to be responsible for any such negligence.

3. This stipulation will not be shown or read to the jury.

[¶13] On August 1, 2016, Budzik filed a motion for summary judgment, asserting that he was entitled to coemployee immunity because Bogdanski had received workers' compensation benefits for his injuries. Bogdanski opposed the motion. He...

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20 practice notes
  • Mantle v. N. Star Energy & Constr. LLC, S-18-0101
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • March 12, 2019
    ...issues of material fact, and the prevailing party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Bogdanski v. Budzik , 2018 WY 7, ¶ 18, 408 P.3d 1156, 1160 (Wyo. 2018) (quoting Uinta County v. Pennington , 2012 WY 129, ¶ 11, 286 P.3d 138, 141-42 (Wyo. 2012) ).The party requesting summary judg......
  • Prancing Antelope I, LLC v. Saratoga Inn Overlook Homeowners Ass'n, Inc., S-20-0052
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • January 7, 2021
    ...v. N. Star Energy & Constr. LLC , 2019 WY 29, ¶ 110, 437 P.3d 758, 794–95 (Wyo. 2019) (quoting Bogdanski v. Budzik , 2018 WY 7, ¶ 18, 408 P.3d 1156, 1160 (Wyo. 2018) ). [¶18] "The party requesting summary judgment bears the initial burden of establishing a prima facie case that no genuine i......
  • Quynn v. Hulsey, S19G1612
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Georgia
    • November 2, 2020
    ...plaintiff cannot pursue a negligent entrustment claim under the state's system of allocating comparative fault); Bogdanski v. Budzik , 408 P.3d 1156, 1163 (A) (Wyo. 2018) ("Under either theory, the liability of the principal is dependent on the negligence of the agent. If it is not disputed......
  • Quynn v. Hulsey, S19G1612
    • United States
    • Georgia Supreme Court
    • November 2, 2020
    ...plaintiff cannot pursue a negligent entrustment claim under the state's system of allocating comparative fault); Bogdanski v. Budzik , 408 P.3d 1156, 1163 (A) (Wyo. 2018) ("Under either theory, the liability of the principal is dependent on the negligence of the agent. If it is not disputed......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
20 cases
  • Mantle v. N. Star Energy & Constr. LLC, S-18-0101
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • March 12, 2019
    ...issues of material fact, and the prevailing party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Bogdanski v. Budzik , 2018 WY 7, ¶ 18, 408 P.3d 1156, 1160 (Wyo. 2018) (quoting Uinta County v. Pennington , 2012 WY 129, ¶ 11, 286 P.3d 138, 141-42 (Wyo. 2012) ).The party requesting summary judg......
  • Prancing Antelope I, LLC v. Saratoga Inn Overlook Homeowners Ass'n, Inc., S-20-0052
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • January 7, 2021
    ...v. N. Star Energy & Constr. LLC , 2019 WY 29, ¶ 110, 437 P.3d 758, 794–95 (Wyo. 2019) (quoting Bogdanski v. Budzik , 2018 WY 7, ¶ 18, 408 P.3d 1156, 1160 (Wyo. 2018) ). [¶18] "The party requesting summary judgment bears the initial burden of establishing a prima facie case that no genuine i......
  • Quynn v. Hulsey, S19G1612
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Georgia
    • November 2, 2020
    ...plaintiff cannot pursue a negligent entrustment claim under the state's system of allocating comparative fault); Bogdanski v. Budzik , 408 P.3d 1156, 1163 (A) (Wyo. 2018) ("Under either theory, the liability of the principal is dependent on the negligence of the agent. If it is not disputed......
  • Quynn v. Hulsey, S19G1612
    • United States
    • Georgia Supreme Court
    • November 2, 2020
    ...plaintiff cannot pursue a negligent entrustment claim under the state's system of allocating comparative fault); Bogdanski v. Budzik , 408 P.3d 1156, 1163 (A) (Wyo. 2018) ("Under either theory, the liability of the principal is dependent on the negligence of the agent. If it is not disputed......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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