Wyoming Motion for Summary Judgment
Summary judgment is proper only when there are no genuine issues of material fact and the prevailing party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Mountain Cement Co. v. Johnson, 884 P.2d 30, 32 (Wyo.1994); W.R.C.P. 56(c).
We review a summary judgment in the same light as the district court, using the same materials and following the same standards. "We examine the record from the vantage point most favorable to the party opposing the motion, and we give that party the benefit of all favorable inferences which may fairly be drawn from the record." Four Nines Gold, Inc. v. 71 Constr., Inc., 809 P.2d 236, 238 (Wyo. 1991).
Summary judgment serves the purpose of eliminating formal trials where only questions of law are involved. Blagrove v. JB Mechanical, Inc., 934 P.2d 1273, 1275 (Wyo. 1997); England v. Simmons, 728 P.2d 1137, 1141 (Wyo. 1986).
We review a grant of summary judgment by deciding a question of law de novo and afford no deference to the district court's ruling on that question. Sammons v. American Auto. Ass'n, 912 P.2d 1103, 1105 (Wyo. 1996); Blagrove, 934 P.2d at 1275.
For at least a quarter of a century, it has been the rule in Wyoming that:
for a summary judgment motion to be successful, the movant must make a prima facie showing that no genuine issue of material fact exists. Clark v. Industrial Co. of Steamboat Springs, Inc., 818 P.2d 626, 628 (Wyo.1991) (quoting TZ Land & Cattle Co. v. Condict, 795 P.2d 1204, 1208 (Wyo.1990)).
The burden thereafter shifts to the opposing party to demonstrate the existence of a genuine issue of material fact. Weber v. McCoy, 950 P.2d 548, 551 (Wyo.1997).
Gordon v. Spectrum, Inc., 981 P.2d 488, 491-92 (Wyo. 1999). See Wells v. Board of Trustees of Laramie County School Dist. No. 1, 3 P.3d 861, 864 (Wyo. 2000); Hittel v. WOTCO, Inc., 996 P.2d 673, 677-78 (Wyo. 2000); and Wood v. Trenchard, 550 P.2d 490, 492 (Wyo. 1976).
After a movant has adequately supported the motion for summary judgment, the opposing party must come forward with competent evidence admissible at trial showing there are genuine issues of material fact. Wyo..R.Civ.P. 56(e); Hyatt v. Big Horn Sch. Dist. No. 4, 636 P.2d 525, 528 (Wyo.1981).
The opposing party must affirmatively set forth material, specific facts in opposition to a motion for summary judgment, Boehm v. Cody Country Chamber of Commerce, 748 P.2d 704, 710 (Wyo.1987), and cannot rely only upon allegations and pleadings, Hyatt, 636 P.2d at 530, and conclusory statements or mere opinions are insufficient to satisfy the opposing party's burden. Boehm, 748 P.2d at 710. Downen v. Sinclair Oil Corp., 887 P.2d 515, 519 (Wyo. 1994).
A number of Wyoming cases invoke and apply these rules:
Simek v. Rocky Mountain, Inc., 977 P.2d 687, 689 (Wyo. 1999);
Smith v. Board of County Comm'rs of County of Sublette 891 P.2d 88, 91 (Wyo. 1995);
Sanchez v. Life Care Centers of America, Inc., 855 P.2d 1256, 1257 (Wyo. 1993);
Moore v. Lubnau, 855 P.2d 1245, 1248 (Wyo. 1993);
Oatts v. Jorgenson, 821 P.2d 108, 110-11 (Wyo. 1991);
TZ Land & Cattle Co. v. Condict, 795 P.2d 1204, 1208 (Wyo. 1990);
Claassen v. Nord, 756 P.2d 189, 194 (Wyo. 1988).