First Interstate Bank Building
401 West 19th Street, Suite 300
Cheyenne, Wyoming 82001
Phone: (307) 635-2876

Practice Areas

The firm is experienced in litigating cases in the following practice areas:

Types of Cases

WRONGFUL DEATH

If your loved one has died, it is a very significant loss for you. You may have lost their financial support. You most certainly lost their love and companionship. In Wyoming, if the death was caused by the negligence or fault of another and the loved one is your spouse, child, parent or sibling, you will likely be entitled to damages for your loss. If the loved one was a more distant blood relative with whom you had a close relationship, you may also be entitled to compensation.

The lawyers at Wolf, Tiedeken & Woodard, LLP have handled many wrongful death cases. Rick, Robert and Rhonda understand these are difficult cases for their clients, and we handle them with compassion. We will work with you to fully determine the extent of loss you have suffered - both financially and in the loss of the relationship that meant so much - and help you receive fair compensation.

Here are a few examples of wrongful death cases we have successfully pursued:

Coordes v. Zenith Freight Lines, LLC, and Ronda Winebarger: Represented surviving spouse in wrongful death action where tow-truck driver was fatally struck by a semi-truck while he was attempting to remove a disabled vehicle on Interstate 80. Case presented extensive issues on accident reconstruction and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR), including logbook violations and hours of service compliance. Driver falsified records in direct violation of the law.

Swackhammer v. Allwire, Inc.: Represented the surviving family in wrongful death action on behalf of a father killed while operating an industrial take-up or spooling machine. Operation of the machine required the deceased to stand in an area dangerously exposed to a rotating reel. Case alleged defective machine design because it lacked basic safety guards and automatic shut off mechanisms intended to protect the life of the operator, among other defects.

Estate of Timothy v. Shine, M.D., et al.: Wrongful death due to medical malpractice of gynecologist. Arbitration award for surviving spouse of a 38-year-old woman who died after undergoing laparoscopic surgery. Allegations of negligence included failure to timely diagnose and treat a post-operative infection resulting from bowel injury during surgery.

Estate of Fiorini v. J.B. Kirchenslager: Represented the surviving family in a wrongful death case of a mother of five children who was killed when she was rear-ended by a semi-truck driver on Interstate 25. Plaintiff alleged that the collision was a result of the truck driver's violation of safety regulations. Defendant argued the tail lights were not operating on the trailer being towed by decedent's vehicle. Accident reconstruction and trucking experts were hired to assist with those issues.

Estate of Stevenson v. E.H. Oftedahl & Sons: Represented family in a wrongful death case. While working on a road construction site on Interstate 80, decedent was crushed and killed by equipment operated by her employer, who was a subcontractor on the project. The case dealt extensively with highway construction safety policies, practices, and training, and involved issues of liability of the general contractor for safety on a federal highway project. The employer could not be sued by the family due to Workers' Compensation immunity.

Estate of Mills v. Carbon County Clinic, LLP: Represented the surviving family of a 59 year old woman in a medical malpractice wrongful death case. It was alleged that decedent's doctor failed to order standard diagnostic tests based upon her symptoms, and because of the much delayed diagnosis, decedent's colorectal cancer was too advanced for successful treatment.

Hill v. Mad River Boat Trips, Inc.: Assisted in representation of surviving family in a wrongful death recreation/rafting accident of a young husband who died while on a recreational rafting trip in Jackson Hole. Confidential resolution reached prior to trial. In addition, there was an insurance coverage dispute wherein plaintiff claimed the policy of insurance provided limits of $500,000 and the insurer claimed the policy only had a $250,000 per person limit. The matter was later resolved in plaintiff's favor.

Estate of Wilhelm v. Banner Health System, et al.: Wrongful death as a result of emergency room negligence.

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PERSONAL INJURY

An accident causing a serious injury changes your life in ways that you never before imagined. You may suffer from lost wages and a future loss of earning capacity. There will be medical bills that need to be paid. You may need surgery and rehabilitation. Throughout your recovery and into the future, you will probably experience pain and emotional stress. Your personal injuries and emotional stress may impact your relationship with your family and friends, and you will likely be unable to enjoy many of the activities that make your life seem worthwhile. Unfortunately, some of these changes in your life may be permanent.

If your injury was caused by the negligence or fault of another person, company or governmental entity, you are entitled to financial compensation for all of your damages. The lawyers at Wolf, Tiedeken & Woodard, LLP are experienced in helping clients get the compensation they deserve.

Below are examples of personal injury cases we have successfully resolved;

LeBeaumont v. Cheyenne Frontier Days, Inc.: Represented personal injury plaintiff who suffered a back injury as a result of being roped by a Cheyenne Frontier Days volunteer and being pulled by his horse during a parade. Defendant alleged plaintiff was at fault and that plaintiff was not injured by the incident. A jury found defendant 80% at fault and found plaintiff's damages to be $425,000.

MacDonald v. United States: Premises liability personal injury case filed against the United States under the Federal Tort Claims Act. Represented a visitor to Yellowstone National Park who was injured when a dead tree fell on top of his vehicle while driving on a major roadway in the Park. Government argued it was immune from liability and not at fault for failing to remove the dead tree. Plaintiff argued the Park failed to follow its written hazardous trees policy. Settled.

Hynes v. Energy West, Inc.: Premises personal injury liability case. Co-counsel for a young couple who suffered devastating burns following a natural gas explosion and fire in an apartment building. Jury verdict of $5,316,086. Upheld on appeal to Tenth Circuit.

LaFave v. Subaru of America, Inc., Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., and Fuji Heavy Industries U.S.A., Inc.: Represented owner of a 1989 Subaru in a product liability personal injury case. Plaintiff was backed over while putting items in her trunk. We alleged the vehicle was defective because it would start and run without depression of the clutch, and while in forward or reverse gear.

Stegman v. United States of America: Represented a woman vacationing in Grand Teton National Park who suffered personal injury in a collision with a Bureau of Land Management vehicle. Suit was filed against the United States under the Federal Tort Claims Act, resulting in one of the largest judgments ever granted in a trial on a federal tort claim in Wyoming - $843,000.

Steffens and Jordal, v. Tracy Brown and Alliant Foodservice, Inc.: Co-counsel in representation of a young woman and her mother's estate in wrongful death action in which their vehicle was struck from behind on Interstate 80 by a semi-truck operated by a fatigued driver. Confidential resolution reached prior to trial.

Tony Kim v. Jolliff Transportation, Inc., Burlington Motor Carriers, Inc., and Larry M. Maloney: Represented young Air Force officer who sustained a serious traumatic brain injury when his vehicle was struck head on by a semi-truck. Case involved complicated issues of corporate structure and parent/subsidiary liability.

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MEDICAL MALPRACTICE/NEGLIGENCE

If the medical care you received is not within the accepted standard of care and causes you injury, you need a lawyer who has experience handling medical malpractice cases. Because these cases require the testimony of multiple experts and extensive preparation, they are one of the most difficult types of cases to handle. Experience is essential.

The lawyers at Wolf, Tiedeken & Woodard, LLP have reviewed hundreds of potential medical negligence cases and have successfully pursued many medical malpractice cases. They understand the requirements for success in this complicated area of the law and are well respected by colleagues.

The firm has represented clients injured by surgeons, family medicine specialists, urologists, radiologists, neurosurgeons, internal medicine, orthopedics, obstetrics, pediatrics, and other specialties.

Case Examples:

Hollett v. Banner Health System, Community Hospital of Torrington, Pioneer Medical Clinic, and Karen E. Brungardt, D.O.: Emergency room medical malpractice. Physician failed to diagnose a life threatening infection in 39 year old woman, resulting in catastrophic injuries, including bilateral below knee amputations; loss of fingers on both hands; facial disfigurement and scarring; brain damage and neurologic injury; scarring and disfigurement of her extremities; and other physical and mental disabilities. Confidential settlement.

Estate of Timothy v. Shine, M.D., et al.: Wrongful death due to medical malpractice of gynecologist. Arbitration award for surviving spouse of a 38-year-old woman who died after undergoing laparoscopic surgery. Allegations of negligence included failure to timely diagnose and treat a post-operative infection resulting from bowel injury during surgery.

Petrossi v. Casper Medical Imaging, LLP: Successfully represented a young woman in a radiology medical malpractice case who alleged that delay in the diagnosis of breast cancer resulted from the misreading of a series of annual mammograms.

Estate of Mills v. Carbon County Clinic, LLP: Represented the surviving family of a 59 year old woman in a medical malpractice wrongful death case. It was alleged that decedent's doctor failed to order standard diagnostic tests based upon her symptoms, and because of the much delayed diagnosis, decedent's colorectal cancer was too advanced for successful treatment.

Estate of Wilhelm v. Banner Health System, et al.: Wrongful death as a result of emergency room negligence.

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WORK ACCIDENTS

Unfortunately, there are many accidents causing serious injuries and deaths on Wyoming work sites. Because of immunity for employers who have provided worker's compensation benefits, work accidents require investigation into the responsibility of third parties, including supervisory co-employees who have acted willfully and want only to cause the injury.

The lawyers at Wolf, Tiedeken & Woodard, LLP have experience in investigating and handling many types of work accidents causing death or personal injury cases. They will help you determine whether a party causing the accident can be held responsible for the damages you have suffered.

Case Examples:

Bertagnolli v. Louderback and Westbrook: Co-counsel in industrial/workplace accident where mine worker suffered a below the knee leg amputation after heel was caught in underground mine equipment. Suit filed against plaintiff's supervisors for requiring him to work closely around a moving underground shuttle car, which should have been "locked out". Case was initially dismissed by trial court due to the high standard of liability required of co-employees under Workers' Compensation immunity laws. It was appealed to Wyoming Supreme Court. The Supreme Court ruled in plaintiff's favor and reinstated the case.

Schwartz v. RAG Coal West, Inc: Co-counsel in litigating case for Campbell County worker severely injured in an industrial accident at a mine. Confidential settlement.

Estate of Stevenson v. E.H. Oftedahl & Sons: Represented family in a wrongful death case. While working on a road construction site on Interstate 80, decedent was crushed and killed by equipment operated by her employer, who was a subcontractor on the project. The case dealt extensively with highway construction safety policies, practices, and training, and involved issues of liability of the general contractor for safety on a federal highway project. The employer could not be sued by the family due to Workers' Compensation immunity.

Riedel v. Questar Exploration and Production Company, et al.: Industrial/workplace accident which resulted in wrongful death. Represented the parents of a 22 year old young man killed while working on an oil rig.

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INSURANCE CLAIMS

Although you purchase many different kinds of insurance to give peace of mind, there are times that insurance companies refuse to pay for the insurance coverage you believe you bought. It can happen in all kinds of insurance, especially disability, uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage and property insurance. In those situations, it becomes necessary to have a lawyer help you get the full benefit of your insurance coverage.

The attorneys at Wolf, Tiedeken & Woodard, LLP, have handled a variety of insurance coverage and bad faith claims against insurance companies. They can help you understand the terms of your policy, which we all know can be especially frustrating in a time of crisis. They can also assist you in getting the coverage you deserve. If the company will not respond reasonably, Rick, Robert or Rhonda can help you by filing a lawsuit to get the insurance company to fulfill its obligations.

Case Examples:

Boner v. Hartford Life and Accident Insurance Company: Insurance company discontinued plaintiff's disability insurance payments and disputed that he was totally disabled. Since the disability policy was provided through his employer, plaintiff required assistance in complying with the procedures of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). Although plaintiff submitted extensive evidence that he was completely prevented from engaging in any occupation or employment for which he was qualified or may reasonably become qualified, the insurance company refused to reinstate benefits. We filed suit on plaintiff's behalf and the case was resolved shortly thereafter.

Zimmerman v. Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association: After receiving disability insurance payments for approximately 10 years, defendant terminated plaintiff's long term disability benefits claiming there was a lack of evidence that plaintiff continued to be totally disabled. A lawsuit was filed when defendant continued to deny plaintiff benefits.The case settled.

Baxter v. Life Insurance Company of North America: Plaintiff sued the insurance company for breach of contract and bad faith for its refusal to pay benefits under a group disability insurance policy. The company alleged plaintiff was not entitled to make certain claims due to the provisions of the federal law, ERISA. The U.S. District Court ruled in Plaintiff's favor.

Ball v. State Farm Fire and Casualty: Suit was filed on behalf of plaintiff to recover insurance proceeds it claimed as a result of a fire which destroyed the building where they operated their business. The dispute arose as a result of plaintiffs' allegation that the brochure they were provided stated that the insurance benefits were greater than those asserted by the insurance company. The case settled before trial.

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OIL, GAS AND MINING ACCIDENTS

Oil, Gas, and Mining are hazardous industries. Our firm has represented clients who were injured or killed while working in these industries. Because of the complexity of the laws, regulations, equipment, and intricate business structure in the oil, gas and mining industries, it is important that lawyers handling these matters be experienced in the area. Wolf, Tiedeken & Woodard, LLP has that experience.

Case Examples:

Schwartz v. RAG Coal West, Inc: Co-counsel in litigating case for Campbell County worker severely injured in an industrial accident at a mine. Confidential settlement.

Riedel v. Questar Exploration and Production Company, et al.: Industrial/workplace wrongful death. Represented the parents of a 22 year old young man killed while working on an oil rig.

Bertagnolli v. Louderback and Westbrook: Co-counsel in industrial/workplace accident where mine worker suffered a below the knee leg amputation after heel was caught in underground mine equipment. Suit filed against plaintiff's supervisors for requiring him to work closely around a moving underground shuttle car, which should have been "locked out". Case was initially dismissed by trial court due to the high standard of liability required of co-employees under Workers' Compensation immunity laws. It was appealed to Wyoming Supreme Court. The Supreme Court ruled in plaintiff's favor and reinstated the case.

Rose v. Exxon Mobil Corporation: Industrial workplace accident. Client's employer, an oil field service company, was hired by Exxon to work at its oil field site. After climbing to the top of a tank to gauge the oil level, plaintiff fell as a result of the unsafe condition of defendant's staircase, severely injuring his back.

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AUTOMOBILE ACCIDENTS

On a regular basis our firm represents many clients injured by the carelessness of other drivers. We are often able to resolve these claims favorably for the client without litigation. This saves the client time and money.

Case Examples:

Reyes v. Peak USA Energy Services Limited, et al.: Represented 50 year old gentleman injured in an automobile accident when he was hit by a drunk driver in a company vehicle. Plaintiff suffered a serious back injury, resulting in multiple surgical procedures.

Powell v. Ayars & Son Trucking, LLC and Melissa Jones: Represented a woman who sustained serious back injuries in a car accident when the vehicle in which she was a passenger was rear ended.

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TRUCKING ACCIDENTS

Trucking accidents require specific knowledge and experience with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, big rig operation, industry practices, accident reconstruction, and the intricate insurance issues involving trucking companies.

Case Examples:

Tony Kim v. Jolliff Transportation, Inc., Burlington Motor Carriers, Inc., and Larry M. Maloney: Represented young Air Force officer who sustained a serious traumatic brain injury in a trucking accident when his vehicle was struck head on by a semi-truck. Case involved complicated issues of corporate structure and parent/subsidiary liability.

Steffens and Jordal, v. Tracy Brown and Alliant Foodservice, Inc.: Co-counsel in representation of a young woman and her mother's estate in wrongful death action in which their vehicle was struck from behind on Interstate 80 by a semi-truck operated by a fatigued driver. Confidential resolution reached prior to trial.

Estate of Fiorini v. J.B. Kirchenslager: Represented the surviving family in a wrongful death case of a mother of five children who was killed when she was rear-ended by a semi-truck driver on Interstate 25. Plaintiff alleged that the collision was a result of the truck driver's violation of safety regulations. Defendant argued the tail lights were not operating on the trailer being towed by decedent's vehicle. Accident reconstruction and trucking accident experts were hired to assist with those issues.

Coordes v. Zenith Freight Lines, LLC, and Ronda Winebarger: Represented surviving spouse in wrongful death trucking accident case where tow-truck driver was fatally struck by a semi-truck while he was attempting to remove a disabled vehicle on Interstate 80. Case presented extensive issues on accident reconstruction and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR), including logbook violations and hours of service compliance. Driver falsified records in direct violation of the law.

Romanyszyn v. Jolliff Transportation: Wrongful death of a semi-driver who was hit head on by another semi-truck. Substantial recovery obtained for surviving spouse and family of deceased.

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PRODUCT LIABILITY

The manufacturer of defective products which cause injury can be sued. Our firm has handled many cases for clients injured by defective automobiles, machinery, smaller consumer products, drugs, and medical devices. Product liability is another specialized area of the law demanding experienced lawyers.

Case Examples:

Swackhammer v. Allwire, Inc.: Represented the surviving family in wrongful death action on behalf of a father killed while operating an industrial take-up or spooling machine. Operation of the machine required the deceased to stand in an area dangerously exposed to a rotating reel. Case alleged defective machine design because it lacked basic safety guards and automatic shut off mechanisms intended to protect the life of the operator, among other defects.

LaFave v. Subaru of America, Inc., Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., and Fuji Heavy Industries U.S.A., Inc.: Represented owner of a 1989 Subaru in a product liability personal injury case. Plaintiff was backed over while putting items in her trunk. Alleged vehicle was defective because it would start and run without depression of the clutch, and while in forward or reverse gear.

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MEDIATION

We are fortunate to have the civil justice system available in our country to resolve legal disputes. Although parties have a right to trial by jury or judge depending on the lawsuit, the majority of cases in our court system are settled prior to the trial date. Parties often want to move on with their lives. Mediation is a process available to help parties settle their differences outside the courtroom. The mediator does not decide the case. Instead, the mediator meets privately with the parties and their lawyers to help them reach a reasonable resolution that is satisfactory to all sides. Mediation is confidential, and any settlement is voluntary.

Mediation can help the parties settle any kind of case: personal injury, wrongful death, contract, medical malpractice, insurance, divorce, or custody.

As mediators, the lawyers at Wolf, Tiedeken & Woodard, LLP can use their vast legal experience to effectively communicate with the parties and their lawyers to help them reach a fair settlement. In addition to her legal experience, Rhonda Woodard has completed training programs in mediation. Both Rhonda Woodard and Robert W. Tiedeken have successfully mediated cases.

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The Wyoming State Bar does not certify any lawyer as a specialist or expert. Anyone considering a lawyer should independently investigate the lawyer's credentials and ability, and not rely upon advertisements or self-proclaimed expertise.

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