Ryan Schwartz and Blaine Burgess of Williams, Porter, Day, and Neville recently won a case in which their client was being sued for $5.2 million due to a motor vehicle accident between a pickup truck and a semi truck.
The trial took place in Fremont County, with the honorable Juge Jason Condor presiding.
The plaintiff alleged that, on January 6, 2014, the defendant, while driving his pickup truck, struck the semi truck that the plaintiff was operating. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant was knowingly negligent and, due to icy roads, crashed into the semi.
Blaine Burgess tried the majority of the case, from start to finish, receiving support from Schwartz towards the end.
In their defense, Burgess and Schwartz stated that their client was proceeding as traffic allowed but, due to icy roads, the defendant drifted into the other lane. While this was an unfortunate accident, it was just that – an accident. Schwartz and Burgess argued that their client did not knowingly or intentionally crash into the plaintiff.
After deliberating for approximately three hours, the jury came back with a verdict in favor of the defendant, stating that she was not negligent and the plaintiff would receive no monetary compensation.
This was just another example of the proficiency of WPDN attorneys and, in fact, it was one of four victories that WPDN was awarded within a ten-day period.
Scott Klosterman of Williams, Porter, Day, and Neville recently won a Medical Malpractice trial, in which he represented a neurosurgeon from Cody, Wyoming.
The two-week jury trial took place in Park County, Wyoming and it was presided over by the Honorable Judge Bill Simpson.
The plaintiff in the case alleged the physician breached the standard of care, with respect to the medical care and treatment of said patient/plaintiff.
According to the suit, the plaintiff alleged that when he underwent a back surgery, the doctor was negligent and he breached the standard of care, which caused a tear in the plaintiff’s fecal sac, resulting in a CSF (Cerebrospinal) Leak. At the time of the surgery, the plaintiff was in his forties and he claimed that as a result of the procedure and the leak that came from it, he sustained significant injuries, pain, suffering, a loss of enjoyment of life, and more.
In the case that was presented to the jury, the plaintiff requested damages in the amount of $2.1 million. Klosterman tried the case on behalf of the surgeon, which took two weeks to be fully presented. At the end of the trial, once the case went to the jury, they deliberated for less than one hour and delivered a verdict in favor of the doctor.
This latest win is just another example of WPDN attorneys fighting for the people of Wyoming with integrity, character, and the highest standards of quality.
Scott Ortiz and Zara Mason, with Williams, Porter, Day, and Neville, recently won a case representing the law firm that was being sued by a Native American Tribe.
The tribe made allegations against their former law firm that, in 2019, the firm had stolen a million dollars of the tribe’s money out of a trust account.
When the tribe failed to prove that WPDN’s client stole money from their trust, they switched tactics and accused their former firm of grossly overbilling the tribe over a period of 7 years. The case was tried over one week in July of 2022 in Lander, Wyoming. After an hour, the jury came back with a verdict that stated WPDN’s client did not overbill the tribe, nor did they wrongfully take any tribal funds. WPDN then sued the tribe’s new attorneys for slander, and that case was quickly settled. The tribe itself was sanctioned for making such an egregious allegation.
The jury unanimously agreed with their client. According to Ortiz, “It was tragic that, after three decades of dedicated service, our client was put in the position to have to defend themselves.”
Steve Emery of Williams, Porter, Day, and Neville recently won a discrimination lawsuit involving a young man who sued his former company by attempting to use the Affordable Care Act.
Emery represented a weed and pest control district that employs seasonal workers every summer to perform various jobs. One employee was disenfranchised with the company and attempted to sue Emery’s client for discrimination.
The plaintiff made allegations against the company for discrimination under the Affordable Care Act, alleging that he was denied health insurance because he was Native American. Nobody who worked for the company seasonally was provided with health insurance. The plaintiff submitted a complaint to the US Department of Labor in 2018. The Secretary of Labor reviewed his complaint, rejected it, and found that he was not discriminated against.
Disagreeing with that decision, he requested a hearing, which took place in July 2019. It was tried over two days. The employee hired an attorney from Washington DC who specializes in whistleblower cases. Nevertheless, the judge who presided over the case ruled that the employee was not discriminated against. Emery had successfully defended the case for his client. The employee recently appealed that decision as well, filing a 55-page brief about why the judge was wrong. It is being sent to the next level of review but judging by the past two decisions, it will likely be ruled against as well.
WPDN Attorney Thomas Rumpke successfully defended his client in a $1.7 million personal injury case.
In 2020, a plaintiff alleged Rumpke’s client did not provide adequate signage letting the public know that an area of sidewalk was unpaved and not open to public use. The plaintiff was injured while riding her bike, asking for $1.7 million in damages.
Rumpke, attorney for the defendant, argued that it was the plaintiff’s actions, not the lack of action by his client, that led to her injuries. Rumpke argued that the plaintiff was not riding carefully nor paying attention to the road upon which she was riding. Had she been paying attention, she would have noticed the large break in the path. Given the fact that Rumpke’s client did, in fact, provide all necessary signage, the jury determined that the defendant did not cause the injuries to the plaintiff.
The case was dismissed.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words and nobody knows that more than WPDN partner Frank Neville. Neville, in addition to his work as one of the most well-respected attorneys in Wyoming and beyond, is also a part-time photographer. His love and dedication to the craft has led the rest of WPDN to bestow upon him an incredible gift.
“The partners of my firm got together, unbeknownst to me, and arranged to sponsor the naming of the brand new photography suite at Casper College after me,” Neville said. “The Dick and Marialyce Tobin Visual Arts Center was donated by Dick and Marialyce Tobin, obviously. However, they have different labs and teaching areas within it and Casper College offers the naming rights to those areas. And my firm, knowing that I love photography, agreed to sponsor the naming of it.”
For Frank Neville, this was an incredible honor. The law will always be his first passion, but photography is certainly a close second.
“I got my first camera when I was probably about six or seven years old,” he shared. “It was an old Kodak Brownie. I don’t know why, but I’ve always just had an interest in photography. But I was never really able to pursue it until I started practicing [law]. And even then, I didn’t pursue it very much because, number one, I was always busy; and number two, that was before digital cameras came in, so we were dealing with film cameras.”
Meaning, actually photographing and developing the photos were costly and time consuming.
“It was a lot of work and it was very expensive,” Neville stated. “So every shot, you had to think about it. Because you know you’re gonna pay for it every time you take a shot.”
But photography, like most things, evolved.
“In the late nineties, the digital movement really came into being,” Neville remembered. “And that’s when I got my first digital camera and was able to really pursue photography with a passion.”
That passion has endured for decades. And though the equipment has changed, the artist’s eye has not…even though Neville doesn’t actually think he has an artist’s eye [he does].
“I don’t think I’m good,” Neville laughed. “People tell me that I am but I’m never satisfied with the pictures that I take. I take pictures for my own enjoyment. I think most photographers do. It’s the pleasure of the process, first of all – finding a composition of something and then being able to frame it upright and dial in the exposure and the shutter speed and so forth. And then, to see the results of that; it just gives you pleasure if you’re lucky and you get a good shot.”
Neville could not answer the question as to his most favorite photo that he has taken but he did offer to opine as to his best shot: “It’s the next one I take.”
Neville stated that that he prefers to shoot landscapes as opposed to people, but he has been known to make exceptions.
“Just in the last year or two I’ve started trying to teach myself how to take pictures of people,” Neville stated. “So I’ve started to take pictures of my favorite people, and my favorite favorite person to take pictures of is my beautiful wife. She’s very photogenic and I love taking pictures of her.”
Photography may not be defined as a love language, but actual photographers know that’s exactly what it is. To take a picture is to capture something he sees as beautiful and then share it with the world. That’s what Frank Neville loves doing almost as much as practicing law. His partners knew this, which is why they wanted to honor him the way that they did.
“I was shocked,” Neville revealed. “Totally shocked. I get sort of choked up every time I think about it. They kept it a total secret and it’s just incredible. They worked with my daughter, Denise Bressler, who is the Executive Director of the Casper College Foundation, to arrange this.”
Neville said the dedication took place a little while ago, and while he was blown away by the act of it being named after him, he was even more blown away by the photography suite itself.
“The photography suite at Casper College is state-of-the-art,” Neville beamed. “They have the latest, most advanced computers and digital printers and they have an absolutely tremendous setup for actual film photography. Film is starting to make a comeback, so students can learn how to use film and develop it. They have darkrooms and they have enlargers. And it’s just amazing. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is one of the more advanced photography suites for students in the nation.”
When the suite was dedicated to him, Neville said, it was one of the best days of his life.
“It was mind blowing,” he laughed. “I was never so proud. A lot of my partners were able to attend, which made me feel great. But also having my daughter and family members there was just great. She ran the ceremony and I was just a very, very proud person. I was proud of my firm and I was proud of my daughter.”
He should have been proud of himself, as well. Colleagues don’t do that kind of thing (and they certainly don’t spend that kind of money) for people who don’t deserve it. But Frank Neville more than deserves it. As one of the premiere attorneys in Wyoming and beyond, Neville has built his own reputation, and the reputation of WPDN, as one of the most trusted, well-respected establishments in the Rocky Mountain region.
But as good of an attorney as Frank Neville is, he’s an even better human being. And don’t tell him this…but he’s a pretty good photographer as well.
Neville offered his immense gratitude to his colleagues at WPDN. He could wax poetic for days to his friends and his partners for the honor that they bestowed upon him. He could offer them a thousand words of thanks.
But he’d rather just give them a picture.
WPDN Carl Edelman Spotlight
Putting the ‘Law’ in ‘Lost Soul’
“After graduating undergrad, I was a lost soul,” began Carl Edelman, the newest attorney at Williams, Porter, Day, and Neville.
He said it in jest, but it’s quite possible that’s how he actually felt at the time. He was searching for his ‘thing.’ He was looking for his purpose. He would find it, eventually. But it took a little while. Upon graduating college, Edelman began a career in banking. It lasted about 8 months. Following that, he wasn’t quite sure what to do with his life.
So, he followed in his parents’ footsteps.
He became an attorney.
Edelman’s mom and dad were both attorneys; dad a prosecutor, mom a defender of ‘the little guy.’ Edelman himself, personality-wise, was somewhere in between.
“My parents didn’t really push me in the direction of being an attorney, but I was always told that I should be one because apparently I was stubborn and liked to argue,” Edelman stated. “But I now see that as not really being that beneficial of a skill; you have to be willing to compromise.”
That’s a lesson that Edelman learned very quickly in his career as an attorney; a career that began after graduating from the University of Wyoming College of Law. He graduated in 2021 and passed the bar exam later that year.
And then, he got to work.
Edelman moved to Gillette during his last year of law school and began working for a small law firm in the city, which he continued to work at after he graduated.
“It was awesome,” Edelman said of the experience. “It’s pure chaos in the sense that you really only have one mentor and one person to lean on. The beauty of WPDN is that you’ve got 20 people around who have been doing it way longer than I have, so I can always ask anybody a question. There, I had to go out and find clients, and it’s hard to sell a 25-year-old to somebody and prove to them that I can provide the legal services that they need.”
Still, that’s exactly what he did, and he gained a lot of experience in doing so.
After about six months, Edelman moved back to Cheyenne with his then-fiance and began working for the Attorney General.
“I did primarily just advising work there,” Edelman stated. “So I didn’t really practice law in the sense of getting in a courtroom or advising single clients. It was just dealing with different agencies around the state.”
Still, the work that he did there, and the experience and lessons that he picked up, were vital to his career at that point in time.
“The biggest thing I learned while working for the AG was the importance of good interpersonal skills with a broad majority of people,” he said.
Eventually, Edelman garnered the attention of Williams, Porter, Day, and Neville.
“I ran into one of the partners down here in Cheyenne, Tom Rumpke,” Edelman remembered. “He was actually on the bench in Gillette when I was practicing up there. We chatted at the store for, like, five minutes, and then I think I gave him a call or sent him an email a week or so later and said, ‘Hey, if you guys are ever looking to hire, I’d love to have an opportunity to interview, or at least give you guys a resume.”
They say that ‘In life, timing is everything,’ and the timing of Edelman’s career path synced up perfectly with the timing of WPDN opening an office in Cheyenne.
“It was very lucky,” Edelman said. “Tom reached out to me and started setting up interviews with all the folks up in Casper. I also spoke with Sean Scoggin, who was heading up the opening of the WPDN office in Cheyenne. I met with him and Blaine Burgess, and a few other guys. I interviewed with everybody, and a few days later, they extended the offer.”
Edelman does not lack confidence but, as a self-appointed ‘Lost Soul,’ it was at first hard to believe that a firm with the reputation that WPDN has would be interested in him.
“I was shocked,” he stated. “I’ve always thought incredibly highly of WPDN. Everybody around the state, be it in the legal community or outside of it, knows of this firm. So it was really, really exciting.”
After he got the news, Edelman went over to his parents’ house to give them the news.
“I went over there to play cards,” he remembered. “That’s when I told them, and my dad said, ‘Well, I was hoping I would be the one to teach you how to be a trial attorney, but Pat Murphy is the best one in the state, so you’re lucky there.’”
Indeed, he is. Attorneys like Pat Murphy, Craig Silva, Ryan Ford, Scott Ortiz, and so many more attorneys are at Edelman’s disposal and that is one of the most exciting things about taking the job with WPDN, Edelman said.
“The reputation of WPDN has always been one of professionalism, with smart attorneys and great advocates,” Edelman said. “They’re smart people. They’re good people. And that’s been my experience to a tee with them. I prefer to now be the quietest person in the room, to try and soak up everything from everybody because they have all just seen so much, and they are so wise.”
Edelman now has the opportunity to learn from the attorneys of Williams, Porter, Day, and Neville. But they won’t be his only resources. He will also have, as he’s always had, his parents.
“More than anything, my parents have taught me temperance,” he stated. “They showed me how important it is to keep your cool and to remember that cooler heads will prevail.”
Edelman learned a lot about the law prior to joining WPDN. Some would say he was born into this line of work. Now, he’s primed to learn even more as he begins to stand alongside some of Wyoming’s most respected attorneys.
And even though Carl Edelman, admittedly, put the ‘law’ in ‘Lost Soul,’ he has truly found himself at Williams, Porter, Day, and Neville, and his future is incredibly bright. Edelman was searching for his purpose after he graduated college. He found it, eventually. He found his career. He found his ‘thing.’ He found his purpose.
The irony, of course, is that it was there the whole time, just waiting for him to catch up.
Paralegal/Legal Assistant – Cheyenne Office
We’re looking for an organized, detail-oriented, reliable, proactive and experienced paralegal to play an important role on our legal team. Our caseload is growing and the ideal candidate for this position is organized, professional, responsible and committed to helping us meet all of our clients’ needs.
Responsibilities & Duties:
- Assist with the discovery process by requesting, organizing and summarizing medical records and bills by creating medical chronologies, preparing and organizing exhibits and organizing and coordinating witnesses.
- Prepare legal documents, correspondence, and pleadings such as interrogatories, requests for production, subpoenas and deposition notices under the supervision of a lawyer. Coordinate the collection, review and production of documents and responding to discovery requests
- Assist in performing administrative duties such as answering phone calls and keeping case filing system organized so all documents are readily accessible
- Acting as liaison among all parties including court or other neutrals for scheduling and sharing information
- Assisting with trial preparation including the assembly of exhibits, witness binders and appendices for depositions and court filings
- Compiling information and preparing statistics, charts, graphs and other summaries to detail the findings
Qualifications & Skills:
- Experience in legal services under an attorney or lawyer in a law firm setting is preferred.
- Associate Degree in Paralegal Studies is preferred but not requred or certification by an industry recognized organization such as NALA
- Experience in using legal database software
- Excellent organizational skills and time-management skills
- Excellent oral and written communication skills
- Attention to detail and accuracy.
- Ability to follow direction and procedures
- Ability to prioritize workload and assignments
- Analytical skills
- Critical thinking skills
- Stress tolerance
Please send a cover letter and resume to firstname.lastname@example.org
Scott Ortiz of Williams, Porter, Day, & Neville in Casper, Wyoming became a member of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers (IATL) in 2022.
The International Academy of Trial Lawyers limits membership to 500 Fellows from the United States in addition to Fellows from nearly 40 countries across the globe. IATL seeks out, identifies, acknowledges, and honors those who have achieved a career of excellence through demonstrated skill and ability in jury trials, trials before the court, and appellate practice. Members are engaged in civil practice on both the plaintiff’s and the defendant’s side of the courtroom, and the trial of criminal cases. The Academy invites only lawyers who have attained the highest level of advocacy. A comprehensive screening process identifies the most distinguished members of the trial bar by means of both peer and judicial review. Scott Ortiz has been evaluated by his colleagues and the judges in his jurisdiction and has been highly recommended as possessing these qualifications and characteristics.
Chartered in 1954, the Academy’s general purposes are to cultivate the science of jurisprudence, promote reforms in the law, facilitate the Administration of Justice, and elevate the standards of integrity, honor, and courtesy in the legal profession.
At Williams, Porter, Day, and Neville, we do Wyoming Better. We are a Wyoming focused law firm, with deep roots in the state. For over 70 years, we have represented the pinnacle of representation in Wyoming.
Why do our attorneys, some of the best attorneys in the world, choose to stay in Wyoming? Is it the location? Is it the serenity? Is it the lakes and the mountains and the parks and the weather (it’s not the weather)? The truth is, it’s all of these things and more (except the weather). But it’s also because of the people. WPDN attorneys work tirelessly for the people of Wyoming, because they’re not just clients; they’re neighbors. WPDN is rooted in Wyoming and those roots matter to all of our attorneys.
“WPDN is a proud Wyoming firm,” said Kristi Fields, an associate at WPDN. “We are Wyoming’s firm. I take that to heart, and I try to represent WPDN, and Wyoming, as best I can. Every case is different. Every client is different and all of the challenges that come with a case are different. Some cases are headaches, some aren’t but we’re still learning something. And I think that’s actually really cool. I was telling my children that the other day- we’re all learning, and you don’t have to go to school to learn something.”
Scott Murray did go to school however; first in Wyoming, then New Hampshire, then back to Wyoming.
Murray grew up in Casper and attended the University of Wyoming before moving to New Hampshire to receive a Masters of Arts degree in Liberal Studies from Dartmouth College. But Wyoming was never too far from his heart.
“When I finished up my Master’s degree, I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in law and that I wanted to go to law school,” he said. “At the same time, having grown up in Casper and being a ‘Wyoming Guy,’ I knew that I wanted to make my way back. So [returning to UW] seemed like the perfect transition.”
So that’s what he did. Murray received his JD in 2011, worked for a few Casper-based law firms, and began working for WPDN in 2019.
He serves on multiple boards throughout the community as well, in addition to his work with WPDN. And he does that simply because he cares about his community.
“It’s important to me to be a part of the community and to help the area thrive,” Murray said. “Growing up in Casper and going to high school here, a lot of peoples’ goal is to get out; I think that’s common, really, regardless of where people grow up. A lot of people will leave their hometown and then come back and when I came back home after law school, I wanted to work to make it an attractive place for people to come.”
And if anyone knows how great of a place Casper, and Wyoming in general, is to live and grow up, it’s Patrick Murphy. Murphy has lived in Wyoming for the majority of his life. His family, much like the firm itself, has roots here that go back decades.
“I’m the oldest of 12 children,” Murphy revealed. “My dad was Dr. Joseph Murphy [who practiced] here in town, but I was born in Denver with two others, child number two and child number three. My parents thought Denver was too busy, that it was too crowded, so we came back to Casper. We settled here in Casper and my mom and dad had nine more kids. I went to the University of Notre Dame for my undergrad from ’72 to ‘76, but I came back to the University of Wyoming for law school and I’ve never left.”
Neither has Steve Emery. Emery’s grandfather moved to Casper in 1920 and actually helped build the building that WPDN currently occupies.
“There is a picture of my grandfather in the basement of this building,” Emery stated. My mother’s mother and stepdad built a house on 13th Street, between Center and Wolcott and, while it was being built, they pitched a tent where Casper College is now and spent the summer there. So, my family has been here over a hundred years.”
Once again, roots. But the men and women of WPDN don’t stay in Wyoming out of some sort of obligation.
They do it because they like living here.
“We are Wyoming lawyers,” Emery stated matter-of-factly. “Almost every attorney in this office is from Casper. Most of us went to NC [Natrona County High School] and all of us went to Laramie for law school. We’re very homegrown. We’re your friends and your neighbors, and your attorneys.”
And that is why our attorneys choose Wyoming. They’re not just choosing the state; they’re choosing you.