BRUCE B. WILLIAMS, Appellant (Plaintiff),
LAURA L. SUNDSTROM, as Campbell County Coroner, Appellee (Defendant).
from the District Court of Campbell County The Honorable
Thomas W. Rumpke, Judge
Representing Appellant: Pro se.
Representing Appellee: Carol Seeger, Deputy Campbell County
Attorney, Gillette, Wyoming.
BURKE, C.J., and HILL, DAVIS, and KAUTZ, JJ., and BLUEMEL,
Appellant Bruce B. Williams filed a public records request
with Campbell County Coroner Laura L. Sundstrom (hereinafter
"the coroner"), seeking disclosure of the verdict
and case docket she prepared after examining the body of a
woman shot by law enforcement. Mr. Williams was dissatisfied
with the document he received in response to his request and
filed a "Motion for Reasonable Response" with the
district court. He requested that the court order the coroner
to produce a case docket "of sufficient detail" so
he could "evaluate the performance of the government,
including the coroner." The district court dismissed the
action pursuant to W.R.C.P. 12(c), and Mr. Williams appealed.
This case has a number of procedural anomalies. We have
determined that Mr. Williams was actually requesting relief
in mandamus, and, even though he failed to follow the
pleading requirements, the district court had jurisdiction
over the action. On the merits, we conclude that, although
the district court incorrectly denominated its decision as a
dismissal under Rule 12(c) rather than a summary judgment,
its decision was correct because the coroner produced all of
the information required by statute.
The issues in this case are:
Mr. Williams invoke the jurisdiction of the district court by
filing his "Motion for Reasonable Response"?
the coroner have a clear duty to provide the level of detail
in the verdict and case docket requested by Mr. Williams?
Nikki Jo Burtsfield died in a law enforcement shooting on May
20, 2015. The coroner examined the body the next day and
prepared the verdict and case docket on July 11, 2015. She
listed the manner of death as homicide and the cause of death
Exsanguination due to multiple gunshot wounds to the torso. A
gunshot wound to the anterior abdomen. Perforations of the
small intestinal loops and mesenteries. Perforation of the
right internal iliac artery and vein. Massive intrabdominal
hemorrhage. A gunshot wound to the anterior right lower
chest. Perforations of the right hemidiaphragm, right lobe of
liver, transverse colon, duodenum and upper posterior right
On August 14, 2015, Mr. Williams filed a public records
request with the coroner, seeking the verdict and case
docket. The coroner was out of town, and the official verdict
and case docket was locked in her file cabinet. Two deputy
coroners created a new verdict and case docket with "the
information for Mr. Williams [they] believed could be
released on a verdict and docket form pursuant to Wyoming
state statute." The deputies' verdict and ...