BALTAZAR GOMEZ, JR., ESTELLA GRIMALDO, ELENA GOMEZ, ELIZABETH FREEMAN, VERONICA FERRO, ZANDRA PEDROZA, ALICIA GOMEZ, YESENIA GOMEZ, and BALTAZAR GOMEZ, III, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
CROOKHAM COMPANY, an Idaho corporation, Defendant-Respondent.
from the District Court of the Third Judicial District of the
State of Idaho, Canyon County, Hon. Thomas J. Ryan, District
judgment of the district court is affirmed.
Law, PC, Nampa and Dinius & Associates, PLLC, Nampa, for
Appellants. Nathan T. Gamel argued.
& Burke, PA, Boise, for Respondent. James A. Ford argued.
family of Mrs. Francisca Gomez (the Gomezes) appeals a
decision of the district court granting Crookham
Company's (Crookham) motion for summary judgment on all
claims relating to Mrs. Gomez's death. The district court
held that Mrs. Gomez was working in the scope of her
employment at the time of the accident, that all of the
Gomezes' claims are barred by the exclusive remedy rule
of Idaho worker's compensation law, that the exception to
the exclusive remedy rule provided by Idaho Code section
72-209(3) does not apply, and that the Gomezes' product
liability claims fail as a matter of law because Crookham is
not a "manufacturer." We affirm.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
case arises from the horrific death of Mrs. Gomez during a
shift at Crookham on January 20, 2016. Crookham is a
wholesale seed distributor located in Caldwell, Idaho. Mrs.
Gomez was an employee of Crookham for more than thirty years
before her death.
early 2015, Crookham decided that a new picking table was
necessary to sort seeds more efficiently. A Crookham employee
fabricated the new table and it was installed in the
company's "Scancore" room in late 2015.
Although OSHA had previously cited Crookham for violating
machine guard safety standards and lockout-tagout protocol
with its former picking tables, the new picking table's
drive shaft was not fully guarded and Crookham did not
perform the required lockout-tagout procedures while
employees cleaned the table.
January 20, 2016, Mrs. Gomez was assigned to work in the
Scancore room. The employees' duties in that room
included cleaning the picking table between batches of
different varieties of seeds. To clean the picking table,
employees use an air wand to blow seeds upward from beneath
the table. During her shift, Mrs. Gomez was under the picking
table attempting to clean it when the table's exposed
drive shaft caught her hair and pulled her into the machine.
She died as a result of her injuries. OSHA subsequently
investigated Crookham and issued "serious"
violations to the company because it exposed its employees to
the unguarded drive shaft without implementing lockout-tagout
2016, the Gomezes filed their Complaint and Demand for Jury
Trial. The complaint set forth nine causes of action: (1)
negligent design; (2) failure to warn; (3) strict
liability-defective product; (4) strict liability-failure to
warn; (5) breach of implied warranty of fitness and/or
merchantability; (6) breach of express warranty; (7) strict
liability-abnormally dangerous activity; (8)
negligence/negligence per se; and (9) wrongful death.
moved for summary judgment. The district court issued a
memorandum decision explaining its grant of summary judgment
to Crookham. The district court held all of the Gomezes'
claims were barred by the exclusive remedy rule of
worker's compensation law, that the unprovoked physical
aggression exception to the exclusive remedy rule did not
apply, that Mrs. Gomez was working in the scope of her
employment when the accident occurred, and that the
Gomezes' product liability claims failed because Crookham
was not a manufacturer of the picking table for product
liability purposes. The district court entered a final
judgment dismissing all of the Gomezes' claims on October
3, 2017. The Gomezes timely appealed.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Court's review of a trial court's ruling on a motion
for summary judgment is the same standard used by the trial
court in originally ruling on the motion." Robison
v. Bateman-Hall, Inc., 139 Idaho 207, 209, 76 P.3d 951,
953 (2003). "Summary judgment is appropriate 'if the
movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any
material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a
matter of law.'" Taylor v. Taylor, 163
Idaho 910, 916, 422 P.3d 1116, 1122 (2018) (citing I.R.C.P.
56(a)). "A genuine issue of material fact exists when
the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a
verdict for the non-moving party." Marek v. Hecla,
Ltd., 161 Idaho 211, 220, 384 P.3d 975, 984 (2016);
see also Houpt v. Wells Fargo Bank, Nat. Ass'n,
160 Idaho 181, 186, 370 P.3d 384, 389 (2016) ("If
reasonable people could reach different conclusions or
inferences from the evidence, summary judgment is
inappropriate."). "This Court liberally construes
the record in favor of the party opposing the motion for
summary judgment and draws any reasonable inferences and
conclusions in that party's favor."
Robison, 139 Idaho at 209, 76 P.3d at 953.
The interpretation of a statute is a question of law over
which this Court exercises de novo review. The
objective of statutory interpretation is to derive
legislative intent. Legislative intent begins with the
literal language of the statute. To determine the meaning of
a statute, the Court applies the plain and ordinary meaning
of the terms and, where possible, every word, clause and
sentence should be given effect.
Id. at 210, 76 P.3d at 954 (internal citations
omitted). "Statutes which relate to the same subject are
in pari materia and they should be construed
together to effectuate legislative intent."
Deweyv. Merrill, 124 Idaho 201, ...