Attorneys Khale Lenhart and Erin Berry recently obtained summary judgment on behalf of a payroll company involved in a personal injury action. The lawsuit alleged plaintiff sustained serious injuries after falling from the roof of a construction project due to defendants’ failure to provide adequate training, supervision, and equipment. The plaintiff asserted that by employing the supervisor on the jobsite, the payroll company exercised control over the jobsite and had a duty to provide training, supervision and safety equipment. The plaintiff also claimed the payroll company acted willfully and wantonly and was liable for punitive damages.
The United States District Court for the District of Wyoming found that the supervisor on the job site was not an employee of the payroll company under Wyoming law. Instead, the payroll company only provided income and benefits work for the supervisor and did not assume safety duties on the jobsite. Based on this finding, the court held that the payroll company owed no duty to the plaintiff and was not liable for the plaintiff’s injuries as a matter of law. Additionally, the court held that there was no evidence of willful and wanton misconduct.