Seay v. Vialpando, No. 4738

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
Writing for the CourtBefore GUTHRIE; ROSE
Citation567 P.2d 285
PartiesDonald SEAY and Ingrid Seay, Appellants (Plaintiffs below), v. Augustin VIALPANDO and Ralph Anderson, Appellees (Defendants below).
Docket NumberNo. 4738
Decision Date03 August 1977

Page 285

567 P.2d 285
196 U.S.P.Q. 794
Donald SEAY and Ingrid Seay, Appellants (Plaintiffs below),
v.
Augustin VIALPANDO and Ralph Anderson, Appellees (Defendants below).
No. 4738.
Supreme Court of Wyoming.
Aug. 3, 1977.

Page 286

Stuart S. Healy, of Kennedy, Connor & Healy, Sheridan, for appellants.

John E. Stanfield, of Smith, Stanfield & Scott, Laramie, for appellee-Augustin Vialpando.

George J. Millett, of Pence, Millett & MacMillan, Laramie, appeared for oral argument; and Horace M. MacMillan, II, Laramie, signed the brief, for appellee-Ralph Anderson.

Before GUTHRIE, C. J., and McCLINTOCK, RAPER, THOMAS and ROSE, JJ.

ROSE, Justice.

Donald and Ingrid Seay brought suit against Augustin Vialpando and Ralph Anderson in connection with the design of a home, which Anderson had built for appellants. Appellants sought actual and punitive damages for a violation of their common-law copyright in certain architectural blueprints. In the alternative, appellants sought damages for conversion of the blueprints, and stated a further cause of action seeking quantum meruit recovery. Appellees filed separate motions for summary judgment, and appellants filed a cross-motion for summary judgment. Appellees' motions were granted. We will reverse the summary judgments since we find that there is a genuine issue as to the material fact concerning the publication of the blueprints.

In 1973, Donald Seay, according to his own talents and initiative, drew the plans and blueprints for the home he intended to build for himself in Laramie, Wyoming; and he hired Mr. Ralph Anderson to construct

Page 287

the exterior of the house. Vialpando was hired to paint the exterior. During the course of construction, copies of the blueprints were supplied to Messrs. Vialpando and Anderson, as well as to a bank loan officer and to other contractors constructing various parts of the home. Some minor changes were made in the original plans after consultation with Anderson and his wife, but the appellants' basic, original, Spanish-motif exterior design was retained. The record discloses that the plan copies bore only Seay's name and a date, and that when such copies were distributed the Seays neither granted nor denied appellees the right to copy the ideas expressed in them. Sometime after the Seay home was completed, Anderson used the appellants' plans to construct the exterior of a home for Vialpando. In their depositions, both appellees represented that they did not think they were doing anything wrong by incorporating exterior features of the Seay home into the Vialpando house, and they admitted using the plans for this purpose.

In reviewing the record on appeal from the granting or denial of a summary judgment, we must look at the record from a viewpoint most favorable to the party opposing the motion. Tri-State Oil Tool Industries, Inc. v. EMC Energies, Wyo., 561 P.2d 714; Shrum v. Zeltwanger, Wyo., 559 P.2d 1384; and Bluejacket v. Carney, Wyo., 550 P.2d 494. When a motion for summary judgment is before us, we have exactly the same duty as the trial judge and, assuming the record is complete, we have exactly the same material and information in front of us as he did. Hunter v. Farmers Insurance Group, Wyo., 554 P.2d 1239, 1244. The moving party has the burden of showing the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Hunter v. Farmers Insurance Group, supra, at 1243; and Knudson v. Hilzer, Wyo., 551 P.2d 680, 685. The fact that both parties have moved for summary judgment does not mean that there is no genuine issue of fact. This determination is a question of law that must be decided by the court, irrespective of what either of the parties may have thought about the matter. 10 Wright and Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure: Civil § 2720, at 459-461 (1973). Our task, then, is to first determine whether appellees sustained their burden of showing that there was no genuine issue of fact. If not, and there is a genuine issue of fact, then neither party was entitled to summary judgment. In pursuing this inquiry, we are guided by certain principles which we established in Johnson v. Soulis, Wyo., 542 P.2d 867, 872:

". . . (F)or purposes of ruling upon a motion for summary judgment a fact is material if proof of that fact would have the effect of establishing or refuting one of the essential elements of a cause of action or defense asserted by the parties. Such a fact would necessarily affect the application of the appropriate principle of law to the rights and obligations of the parties. In considering a motion for summary judgment it is appropriate for a court to identify the essential elements of the plaintiff's cause or of the defense asserted, and to then determine the materiality of any fact in the light of whether it will establish or refute one of those essential elements. If it does not have that effect, it would not be a material fact in the controversy, and a genuine issue with respect to that fact, no matter how sharp, would not foreclose the granting of a motion for summary judgment."

We have previously recognized the property right commonly referred to as a common-law copyright, and have applied it to blueprints and drawings. Vic Alexander & Associates v. Cheyenne Neon Sign Co., Wyo., 417 P.2d 921. The appellees do not challenge this principle of...

To continue reading

Request your trial
25 practice notes
  • Connett v. Fremont County School Dist. No. 6, Fremont County, No. 4892
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • July 11, 1978
    ...is complete, we have exactly the same material and information in front of us as he did . . . .' Seay v. Vialpando and Anderson, Wyo., 567 P.2d 285, 287; Hunter v. Farmers Insurance Group, Wyo., 554 P.2d 1239, 1244, and Knudson v. Hilzer, Wyo., 551 P.2d 680, Page 1100 We inquire from the vi......
  • Roussalis v. Wyoming Medical Center, Inc., No. 96-219.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • April 20, 2000
    ...WMC, the burden to demonstrate clearly the absence of any genuine issue as to 4 P.3d 229 any material facts. Id.; Seay v. Vialpando, 567 P.2d 285, 287 (Wyo.1977). WMC must demonstrate clearly the absence of any genuine issue as to any material facts by using only admissible evidence to supp......
  • Stratman v. Admiral Beverage Corp., No. 87-247
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • August 24, 1988
    ...in favor of the opposing party, Leithead v. American Colloid Co., supra, 721 P.2d 1059, this is not such a case. Seay v. Vialpando, Wyo., 567 P.2d 285 (1977). Having determined Page 988 that litigable issues of fact exist, appellant is no more entitled to summary judgment than was Admiral. ......
  • Timmons v. Reed, No. 4681
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • September 13, 1977
    ...is complete, we have exactly the same material and information in front of us as he did. . . ." Seay v. Vialpando and Anderson, Wyo., 567 P.2d 285, 287; Hunter v. Farmers Insurance Group, Wyo., 554 P.2d 1239, 1244, and Knudson v. Hilzer, Wyo., 551 P.2d 680, Page 116 We inquire from the view......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
25 cases
  • Connett v. Fremont County School Dist. No. 6, Fremont County, No. 4892
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • July 11, 1978
    ...is complete, we have exactly the same material and information in front of us as he did . . . .' Seay v. Vialpando and Anderson, Wyo., 567 P.2d 285, 287; Hunter v. Farmers Insurance Group, Wyo., 554 P.2d 1239, 1244, and Knudson v. Hilzer, Wyo., 551 P.2d 680, Page 1100 We inquire from the vi......
  • Roussalis v. Wyoming Medical Center, Inc., No. 96-219.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • April 20, 2000
    ...WMC, the burden to demonstrate clearly the absence of any genuine issue as to 4 P.3d 229 any material facts. Id.; Seay v. Vialpando, 567 P.2d 285, 287 (Wyo.1977). WMC must demonstrate clearly the absence of any genuine issue as to any material facts by using only admissible evidence to supp......
  • Stratman v. Admiral Beverage Corp., No. 87-247
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • August 24, 1988
    ...in favor of the opposing party, Leithead v. American Colloid Co., supra, 721 P.2d 1059, this is not such a case. Seay v. Vialpando, Wyo., 567 P.2d 285 (1977). Having determined Page 988 that litigable issues of fact exist, appellant is no more entitled to summary judgment than was Admiral. ......
  • Timmons v. Reed, No. 4681
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • September 13, 1977
    ...is complete, we have exactly the same material and information in front of us as he did. . . ." Seay v. Vialpando and Anderson, Wyo., 567 P.2d 285, 287; Hunter v. Farmers Insurance Group, Wyo., 554 P.2d 1239, 1244, and Knudson v. Hilzer, Wyo., 551 P.2d 680, Page 116 We inquire from the view......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT