Snyder v. Lovercheck
In Snyder v. Lovercheck, 992 P.2d 1079, 1088 (Wyo. 1999), the Court addressed as an issue of first impression whether a purchaser of realty could even bring a claim of negligent misrepresentation, a tort action, against a seller when the relationship between the parties arises in contract.
The Court held that the contractual relationship is controlling. When purchasers of realty sign contracts with disclaimers and merger clauses stating that the purchaser is not relying on the representations of the sellers or their agents as to the condition of the property, the contract has allocated the risks of loss resulting from the purchaser's reliance on the seller's representations to the purchaser.
In reasoning to our ultimate conclusion, the Court had an extended discussion of the distinction between duties arising by tort and those arising by contract.
The Court said:
Tort law proceeds from a long historical evolution of externally imposed duties and liabilities. Contract law proceeds from an even longer historical evolution of bargained-for duties and liabilities. The careless and unnecessary blanket confusion of tort and contract would undermine the carefully evolved utility of both.
In tort, the legislatures and the courts have set the parameters of social policy and imposed them on individual members of society without their consent. The social policy in the field of contract has been left to the parties themselves to determine, with judicial and legislative intervention tolerated only in the most extreme cases. Where there has been intervention, it has been by the application of well established contract doctrines, most of which focus on threats to the integrity of the bargaining process itself such as fraud or extreme imbalance in bargaining power.
(Snyder v. Lovercheck, 992 P.2d at 1087.)