Supreme Court reverses Sheridan District Court ruling in August 2012 death

(Cheyenne, Wyo.) — COP Wyoming, LLC, and Roger Ross can be held responsible for the emotional distress upon the family of a man killed on a Ranchester job site in 2012, the Wyoming State Supreme Court says. On Wednesday, the Wyoming State Supreme Court reversed a Sheridan County District Court ruling that previously stated emotional damage to Charley Collins, whose son Brett Collins was killed in 2012, was covered by Workers Compensation and not COP Wyoming or Ross. Brett Collins was killed after an incident on Aug. 20, 2012, when co-employee Ross was operating a large track hoe excavator to excavate inside a trench box on a Ranchester job site. Ross instructed Brett Collins to enter the trench box and work there while Ross was operating the track hoe. Ross struck Brett Collins in the head with the bucket of the track hoe, severely injuring him. Charley Collins was notified, and he immediately came to the aid of his son and attempted to administer first aid, according to court documents. In spite of those efforts, Brett Collins died. Brett Collins' estate received worker’s compensation benefits as a result of his death. Charley Collins also sued COP Wyoming and Ross, alleging they negligently inflicted emotional distress upon he and his family. Charley Collins, father of Brett Collins, filed suit against COP Wyoming, LLC, and Roger Ross for emotional damages following his son's death. The Sheridan County District Court dismissed Collins' claim, but on Collins' appeal, the Wyoming State Supreme Court disagreed this week. "Charley Collins’ claim for emotional injury is based upon a duty to him that is independent of the covered death of his son, Brett Collins, and it is not barred by worker’s compensation immunity. The decision of the district court to dismiss this case is reversed," the Supreme Court stated. *Feature photo: Wyoming State Supreme Court Building h/t Wikimedia /