$2M settlement reached in Diemel brothers’ wrongful death lawsuit

Posted at 5:59 PM, May 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-18 19:11:15-04

A $2 million settlement has been reached in the wrongful death lawsuit filed last year in Caldwell County Circuit Court by the family of Wisconsin brothers who were murdered on a Braymer, Missouri, farm.

The money will be paid from a Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Company policy, according to a copy of the settlement.

The court approved the settlement — including $809,406.24 in attorney’s fees and expenses with the remaining $1,190,593.76 to be split among the Diemel brothers’ family members, including Nick’s four children — last Friday.

The Diemel brothers’ family filed a wrongful death lawsuit Nov. 26, 2019 , against Nelson and his mother, Tommie Sue Feil, as well as the family’s business, J4S Farm Enterprises.

The brothers’ mom, Pamela, and Nick’s wife, Lisa, are the plaintiff’s in the lawsuit along with the Diemel brothers’ cattle company, Diemel’s Livestock LLC.

A motion for settlement in the case was filed May 8 and a Caldwell County judge approved the settlement May 15.

An attorney for the Diemel family released the following statement Monday to 41 Action News:

The murder of Nicholas and Justin Diemel was a tragedy that never should have occurred and could have been prevented entirely by J4S Farm Enterprises, Inc.

Garland Nelson had history of fraud and violence. In 2015, an order of protection was entered against Nelson in response to allegations of stalking and harassment. In October 2016, Nelson was convicted of a felony for cattle fraud in selling livestock mortgaged or pledged to farm credit agencies. When Nelson was paroled from prison in March 2018, the terms required that he not incur new credit charges or open additional lines of credit and that he not possess a firearm or ammunition.

Shortly after Nelson’s release from prison, his mother formed J4S Farm Enterprises, Inc., which Garland Nelson used to resume dealing in cattle.

Nelson defrauded Diemel’s Livestock, LLC out of $250,000 worth of cattle. After Nelson provided a water damaged check that could not be cashed, Nelson suggested the Diemels come to Missouri to receive payment in person. At some point during the meeting, Nelson obtained a firearm and murdered Nicholas and Justin Diemel.

We are pleased to be able to obtain this result for the Diemel family. We focused heavily on the negligence of J4S. The company knew of Nelson’s history of cattle fraud and violence and never should have allowed Nelson to participate in the business. Nelson was a threat to the community and J4S was irresponsible in permitting Nelson to do business with Diemel Livestock that ended in the murder two outstanding men.

No amount of money will replace the loss of these two men or fill the hole that is left in their family. 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.

Brett A. Emison, attorney for the Diemel family

The Diemel brothers were killed in July after flying to Kansas City to check out cattle in the care of Nelson at the JS4 Farm in Braymer, Missouri.

Nelson was charged in October with two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of abandonment of a corpse, two counts of tampering with physical evidence, two counts of armed criminal action and one count of unlawful possession of a firearm in connection with Nick’s and Justin’s deaths.

Nelson, who previously served time in federal prison for illegally selling mortgaged cattle, was not permitted to posses a gun as a convicted felon.

He also was charged with tampering with a motor vehicle for allegedly driving the Diemel brothers' rental car from the farm and abandoning it still running in a commuter lot near Holt, Missouri.

Nick Diemel's remains were found on the J4S Farm property, but Justin Diemel's remains were discovered No.v 15 by a rancher in Nebraska inside a tub of dirt on a trailer sold in Missouri.

An inaccurate report had placed the settlement at $4 million, but the Diemel family attorney and court records obtained by 41 Action News confirm that the settlement is for $2 million.