Judge dismisses lawsuit over Wyo. bear mauling
Written byCasper Star-Tribune/Greenwire
A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit claiming that a fatal bear mauling was due to the negligence of federal researchers.
Wyoming law protects the government from liability, U.S. District Judge Nancy Freudenthal ruled this week.
In June 2010, Erwin Evert of Park Ridge, Ill., was killed by a 430-pound grizzly bear about a mile from a cabin he owned near the Shoshone National Forest in Wyoming. The bear, which had been trapped, tranquilized and studied by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team, had just reawakened before it mauled Evert.
Evert's widow, Yolanda Evert, filed a $5 million wrongful death lawsuit, arguing that researchers should not have trapped the bear so close to a trail and cabins. She also alleged that they took down warning signs prematurely.
But under Wyoming law, researchers had no duty to warn that a bear had been trapped and released in the area, Freudenthal said.
Emily Rankin, Yolanda Evert's attorney, said she is evaluating the judge's decision.