Trial Set For Woman Suing Casper, Officers For Son’s Wrongful Death
A judge on Thursday set the trial date next year for a woman who asserts the City of Casper and two police officers were negligent in the shooting death of her son in February 2018.
Natrona County District Court Judge Kerri Johnson, consulting with attorneys by videoconference, set a July 10 trial date of Linda Lennen's wrongful death lawsuit against the city and officers Cody Meyer and Jonathan Schlager.
During the half-hour hearing, Johnson also set deadlines for discovery and motions with the approval of Lennen's attorney Todd Hambrick, attorneys representing the city Hampton O'Neill and John Masterson, and Wyoming Assistant Attorney General Brian Marvel, who is representing the officers.
The setting of the trial date marks the first step in a long legal dispute played out in federal court and in state district court.
The dispute now centers on what Wyoming law means about negligence in wrongful death claims.
The case began in February 2018 when Meyers and Schlager shot dead Douglas Oneyear who was approaching them and wielding a toy sword on East Wyoming Boulevard.
A year later, Oneyear’s mother Lennen received the authority to be his wrongful death representative.
In June 2021, Lennen filed a complaint in state court asserting a claim for wrongful death.
Over the next year, the city, police department and officers filed motions to dismiss Lennen’s lawsuit.
But on July 6, Johnson issued an order denying the motions, and the Wyoming Supreme Court, upheld her decision.
Much of the evidence used in the state case was submitted in Lennen's federal civil lawsuit in which she claimed the officers used excessive force, the city failed to properly train the officers, and that she was seeking a wrongful death claim against the officers.
Chief Wyoming U.S. District Court Judge Scott Skavdahl who agreed in June 2021 that the officers acted appropriately under the circumstances, but he did not deal with a part of the defendants’ request regarding wrongful death claims under Wyoming state law. The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Skavdahl's decision.