Rancher’s Wrongful Death Lawsuit Dismissed in Idaho

The wrongful lawsuit death of an Idaho rancher has reached a settlement resulting in the federal case being dismissed.

A judge in Idaho dismissed the lawsuit on Nov. 20 after a settlement was reached with the family of rancher Jack Yantis, Adams County, its sheriff and the two deputies.

On Nov. 1, 2015, Jack Yantis, 62, was shot by two deputies when he was attempting to euthanize a bull that had been hit by a car on an open range highway near the town of Council.

An autopsy following the shooting showed that Yantis was shot 12 times. However, accounts from the shooting remain murky. The two deputies say that Yantis disobeyed orders and pointed a rifle at the pair and fired. Lab results also revealed Yantis to have a blood alcohol of .104 at the time of his death.

No charges were filed against the deputies by the state’s Attorney General because there was not enough evidence to charge Brian Wood and Cody Roland. Both have since left the sheriff’s office.

Yantis’ family later filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the sheriff’s department and former deputies in 2017 alleging the following:

The deputies shot with intent to kill Yantis, rather than to warn or injure him.

  • After the shooting, Roland handcuffed Donna Yantis and held a gun to her head; Wood handcuffed Yantis' nephew Jack Paradis and put his AR-15 semi-automatic rifle to the back of Paradis’ head. Both thought the deputies would kill them.
  • The sheriff was aware that Roland and Wood were together for more than an hour after the shooting, but made no effort to separate them before they gave statements.
  • Both deputies falsely claimed Yantis had shot Roland. “In reality, Deputy Roland was unharmed.”
  • The sheriff was “deliberately indifferent” to the deputies’ lack of, or improper, training.

Yantis’ widow, Donna, declined to comment on specifics of the settlement telling The Lewiston Tribune that the end of the legal action won’t bring closure for her family’s loss. “No amount of money can replace him,” Donna says of her late husband.

For more on the Yantis case read the following stories:

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