Mills v. Reynolds

In Mills v. Reynolds, 837 P.2d 48, 52 (Wyo. 1992), the Court held 27-14-104(a) unconstitutional as it violated the equal protection clause of Article 3, Section 27 of the Wyoming Constitution by treating similarly situated people differently and violated Article 1, Section 8 of the Wyoming Constitution by denying access to courts when it granted co-employees complete immunity from suits, including immunity for intentional acts and for willful and wanton misconduct. Mills, 837 P.2d at 49, 54. In reaching this conclusion, the Court stated: ".We do not perceive that complete immunity for co-employees who were acting within the scope of their employment was the least onerous means by which the objective of the Act could be achieved. Section 27-14-104(a) precluded employees from bringing suit against co-employees who committed intentional torts while they were acting within the scope of their employment. In essence, that provision permits an employee to intentionally harm a co-employee without being concerned about civil liability. While such immunity may slightly decrease the number of lawsuits filed by employees and increase the number of employees who will be guaranteed compensation, it severely burdens the State's undeniable interest in prohibiting an individual from committing an intentional tort without the possibility of liability. armony in the work place may actually be enhanced if an employee knows that the worker next to him will be legally accountable for some of his actions, and, even though the parties have not presented facts concerning insurance costs and the financial status of the worker's compensation fund, we would be hard pressed to hold that those objectives could be attained only under a scheme which provided complete immunity to employees. In summary, the legislature's grant of complete immunity to co-employees, which includes immunity for intentional acts and for willful and wanton misconduct, infringed upon the fundamental right to access to the courts. Such an infringement triggers application of the strict scrutiny test. Under that test, we are unable to identify a compelling state interest which would permit complete immunity for coemployees.." (Id. at 55)