Distad v. Cubin

In Distad v. Cubin, 633 P.2d 167 (Wyo. 1981), the Court was faced with reviewing various standards of care set forth by statute, ordinance, and administrative regulation and how they might affect the applicable duty of care in a medical malpractice action. Ultimately, the Court held that the effect of a violation of statute, ordinance, or regulation which defines a standard of conduct in negligence actions would be resolved under the Restatement of Torts (Second). Distad, at 175. Thus, the Court concluded that the district court had properly instructed the jury that the unexcused violation of state and federal laws defining the standard of conduct of a reasonable man may be relevant evidence bearing on the issue of negligent conduct because such a holding was consistent with the Restatement of Torts (Second) 288B(2). Distad, at 176. The Court recognized the proposition that when a conglomeration of circumstances are relied on in order to find the statutory or regulatory violation, use of the negligence per se doctrine is not desirable. "If a positive and definite standard of care has been established by legislative enactment administrative regulation whereby a jury may determine whether there has been a violation thereof by finding a single issue of fact, a violation is negligence per se; but where the jury must determine the negligence or lack of negligence of a party charged with the violation of a rule of conduct fixed by legislative enactment from a consideration and evaluation of multiple facts and circumstances by the process of applying, as the standard of care, the conduct of a reasonably prudent person, negligence per se is not involved."