The Carbon County landowner who lost a civil suit alleging four hunters trespassed by passing through the airspace above his ranch has hired three appeal attorneys, including one who clerked for Supreme Court Justices Samuel Alito and Brett Kavanaugh.

The three lawyers filed papers in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit to represent Elk Mountain Ranch owner Fred Eshelman’s Iron Bar Holdings company. Chief Judge Scott Skavdahl of the U.S. District Court for Wyoming ruled against Eshelman, who had sued four Missouri men who corner crossed to hunt public land enmeshed in his 22,045-acre ranch. Eshelman appealed the judgment to the 10th circuit in Denver.

The moves suggest Eshelman is serious in pursuing the case through the highest levels of the legal system.

All of the attorneys work for Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer, which has offices in Denver, Washington, D.C. and other cities. The company earned recognition as one of the country’s top firms dealing with appeals.

Here’s a sketch of the new players in the 2-year-old case.

R. Reeves Anderson graduated from North Carolina State University as valedictorian. He earned a Master’s degree from Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland and got his law degree from Yale. He is a partner in the firm’s appellate and Supreme Court division and has appeared before the high court at least 50 times, according to a company profile.

A student of law, his research and articles about cases have drawn praise. The firm, known for its volunteer work, appointed him to its pro bono committee in 2011. He was a member of the team that won a civil rights verdict for protesters injured by Denver police during George Floyd protests in 2020.

Senior Associate Sean A. Mirski, who works in the firm’s D.C. office, brings experience clerking for Supreme Court Justice Alito and for Kavanaugh when the latter was on the bench of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. He was special counsel for the U.S. Department of Defense, is a scholar and student of U.S. foreign policy and a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School. Forbes put him on its list of “30 under 30” up-and-comers for law and policy in 2019.

Brian Williams, a magna-cum-laude BYU alum, earned his law degree at Georgetown Law Center, where he graduated with honors. He lives in Denver and some of his pro-bono work with advocacy groups has aimed to strengthen gun safety.

The trio replaces former Eshelman attorneys Theresa Wardon Benz and Kristin Arthur. Iron Bar Holdings’ opening brief is due by Nov. 6. Eshelman attorney Greg Weisz remains on the team.

Corner crossing is the act of stepping from one section of public land to another over the common corner with two pieces of private property, all arranged in a checkerboard pattern. Eshelman sued the hunters, even though they did not set foot on his land during hunts in 2020 and 2021, claiming their passing through airspace above his property constituted trespass.The hunters claimed the federal Unlawful Inclosures Act of 1885 prevents landowners from blocking access to public land in such situations, a defense with which Skavdahl agreed.

Angus M. Thuermer Jr. is the natural resources reporter for WyoFile. He is a veteran Wyoming reporter and editor with more than 35 years experience in Wyoming. Contact him at or (307)...

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  1. They violated his “airspace” during the corner crossing? How is this different than an airplane flying over someone’s property?

  2. This has taken on a life that is just ridiculous. This man thinks he should impose whatever he wants on whoever. Trampling of Rights and determination to own public lands by having total control of access is his objective. It is just wrong. The Supreme Court should throw this to the wind and say that in reality it is total Nonsense .

  3. Eshelman is willing to throw millions at the problem of keeping public lands for his exclusive private use. That apparently includes hiring politically connected lawyers. Perhaps, he thinks that if he can not win on the merits of the case he can win on the connections of these fancy, connected lawyers.

  4. If a person never touches the property of another, it’s very hard for me to see how this will be called trespass, regardless of any high-paid attorneys. It’s apparent that the plaintiff here is so wealthy he can’t believe he isn’t getting his way. I would hope this case resolves to show that money can’t buy everything. We will see, I guess.

    1. If somebody uses a zipline to cross your driveway that wouldn’t really be trespass? They’re not touching the property and using only an apparatus (like a ladder) so I guess that would be allowable.

  5. This seems to be coming down to the argument over ownership of airspace. Since air itself is mobile — what is owned; is the space measurable; does airspace also move with its contents; but (mostly) what are the boundaries of this owner’s arrogance and self-importance?

  6. While this case may be “solved” with rulings based on the UIA of 1885, that is not the end of the matter. At question remains a clearer definition of public access to remaining public lands after the transition from the era of settlement to the current era of public lands in public hands. The current debate over the implied existence and/or control of an “airspace” as a feature of land ownership is only an exercise in semantics. What about the 160 acre homestead in the creek bottom that ‘controls’ access to the public lands on top of the mountain? Where is the beginning point for sorting out all the ‘gray’ areas? When the dust settles, the “value” of a lot of Western land may need to be revisited. If virtually free access to vast amounts of public land is no longer a part of the value of ownership of specific pieces of property?

  7. My fellow Wyoming attorneys and I always got a laugh when an opponent hired “high powered” out of state lawyers to litigate cases. The truth is that Wyoming has very capable trial and appellate attorneys that are every bit a match against any other attorneys in the nation. In this instance, Eshelman apparently believes that using out of state lawyers will ensure his success. All it will get him is a big fat bill that might pinch even his pocketbook.

    1. Yes. Ryan Semerad of Casper, Wyoming an attorney for the hunters, is a match for these fancy-pants politically connected supposed hotshots.

  8. Another entitled billionaire! Bullying the American people for his benefit.
    Every American should be horrified at what could happen if this goes Eshleman’s way.

    Keep Public Lands in Public Hands.

  9. good luck there, Fred but hi-toned DC lawyers can sure recognize a fool and his money. An oilman’s matra is drill-drill-drill … the DC lawyers will be clamoring bill-bill-bill.