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Family of two Wisconsin brothers slain in Missouri settles $2M wrongful-death suit

Jessica Shumaker//May 27, 2020

Family of two Wisconsin brothers slain in Missouri settles $2M wrongful-death suit

Jessica Shumaker//May 27, 2020

A wrongful-death lawsuit stemming from the July 2019 murder of two Wisconsin brothers in Missouri has resulted in a $2 million settlement.

On May 15, Judge Ryan W. Horsman approved a $2 million settlement in the case stemming from the deaths of Nicholas and Justin Diemel, of Shawano County, Wisconsin.

The plaintiffs are Pamela Diemel, the brothers’ mother; Lisa Diemel, Nicholas Diemel’s wife; and their company, Diemel’s Livestock LLC. In November 2019, they filed suit in Caldwell County Circuit Court against Garland Nelson, of Braymer, whom prosecutors allege killed the brothers; his mother, Tomme Feil; and J4S Farm Enterprises Inc., Feil’s company, which employed Nelson.

According to their lawsuit, Diemel’s Livestock had provided cattle to the defendants, for which the defendants were supposed to pay $250,000.

In June 2019, the defendants sent a check to the Diemels, made out to their company, but it could not be cashed because it was water-damaged, the suit alleged. Even if the check could have been cashed, the defendants’ account did not contain sufficient funds to cover the amount for which the check had been written, according to the suit.

Nelson invited the brothers to travel to Missouri to receive payment for the cattle, then shot the brothers at a meeting at his farm on or about July 21, 2019, the suit alleged.

The brothers’ remains were later found both on the Braymer farm and in Nebraska. Nelson was charged with two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of abandonment of a corpse, among other charges.

The plaintiffs alleged in the suit that Feil and J4S were negligent in their supervision of Nelson, employing him despite knowing that he’d previously committed fraudulent cattle transactions.

Nelson previously had been convicted of a felony for cattle fraud for selling livestock mortgaged or pledged to farm-credit agencies. An order of protection also had been entered against him for allegations of stalking and harassment.

The plaintiffs also brought counts of battery against Nelson.

Brett Emison of Langdon & Emison in Lexington, who represented the plaintiffs, said focusing on the defendants’ negligence was key to obtaining the result. From the outset of the case, there was no expectation or certainty that there was insurance coverage, he said.

“We just did our best to focus on the negligence aspect, to try and bring the claims we had within potential coverage available,” Emison said, adding that his firm is pleased with the settlement.

“No amount of money will replace the loss of these two men or fill the hole that is left in their family,” he said. “While the criminal case against Garland Nelson is still pending, we hope this result offers some amount of closure to the parents of Nicholas and Justin Diemel and provides support for Nicholas Diemel’s wife and four children.”

Christopher P. Rackers of Schreimann, Rackers & Francka in Jefferson City represented Feil and her farm. He did not respond to a message seeking comment.

John D. Cooney of Brown & James in St. Louis is representing Nelson. He declined to comment.

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Wrongful Death

Venue: Caldwell County Circuit Court

Case Number/Date: 19CL-CC00043/May 15, 2020

Judge: Ryan W. Horsman

Caption: Pamela Diemel, Lisa Diemel and Diemel’s Livestock LLC v. Tomme Feil, J4S Farm Enterprises Inc. and Garland Nelson

Plaintiffs’ Attorneys: Brett Emison and Brennan Delaney, Langdon & Emison, Lexington

Defendants’ Attorneys: Christopher P. Rackers, Schreimann, Rackers & Francka, Jefferson City (for Feil and J4S Farm Enterprises Inc.); John D. Cooney, Brown & James, St. Louis (for Nelson)

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