The words often used to describe Katie Bennett are “passionate” and “fighter.” With a focus on federal civil rights and catastrophic personal injury cases, she takes on tough opponents like police departments, insurance companies and other powerful wrongdoers to bring justice to those who have been harmed. A skillful advocate at all stages of the proceedings, Katie has worked on jail suicides, police shootings, and excessive force cases, as well as personal injury actions where individuals have suffered serious injury or death.
Fighting for the underdog is in Katie’s blood. From a young age, she watched her father, a nationally known civil rights and personal injury lawyer, battle on behalf of less powerful and marginalized clients. She and the team at Robins Kaplan have litigated record-breaking matters and she has been a champion in cases that have exposed patterns of corruption. In one well-known matter, where she represented Justine Ruszczyk and achieved a multi-million dollar settlement, she was able to shed light on the systemic problems within the Minneapolis Police Department that have now become commonplace items of news. The case highlighted the code of silence, victim shaming, failure to adhere to body worn camera policies, failure of command staff to discipline the officers which allowed a culture of wrong to flourish for many years, and the control the Police Federation has on the MPD.
Katie’s clients have a deep appreciation for her understanding of the human side of the tragedies they are going through. Her intelligent, strategic and organized approach allows them to reduce their anxiety and worry so they can focus on their personal healing and the needs of their families.
Katie has been recognized as Attorney of the Year by Minnesota Lawyer for her role on the Kucera Trial Team, a Rising Star of the Plaintiff’s Bar by the National Law Journal, and a Minnesota Rising Star since 2015 by Super Lawyers. The team at Robins Kaplan has also won the Elite Trial Lawyers Firm Award in the Civil Rights category by the National Law Journal.
It is clearly in Katie’s DNA to mix it up. Her grit, tenacity and leadership were evident in college, where she was elected captain of the St. Olaf Women’s hockey team and named to the MIAC Women’s All-Conference. Her determination both in and out of court have been instrumental in securing millions of dollars for deserving clients. She is always looking for new challenges, both on and off the ice.
$20 million; Ruszczyk v. Noor, et al. U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota (2019): On July 15, 2017, Justine Maia Ruszczyk was murdered by Mohamed Mohamed Noor, a Minneapolis Police officer. Justine had called 911 to report a possible sexual assault in the alleyway behind her home in the Fulton neighborhood of Minneapolis. Justine was murdered in the same alleyway. She was barefoot and wearing pink pajamas. She had not committed any crime. She had not displayed any aggression. She was unarmed. She posed no threat to Noor or his partner, Matthew Harrity, or anyone else on the scene. (Prior to joining Robins Kaplan LLP)
$2 million; Nass v. Cass County U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota (2019): Federal civil rights wrongful death regarding the suicide of Darren H. Benais, Sr. who ingested windshield washer fluid while in a Cass County transport van – a fact known by numerous Cass County correctional officers. Despite the knowledge, none of the COs did anything to address Mr. Benais’s ingestion of the toxic fluid. Instead, Mr. Benais was left where he fell on the floor of his cell, writhing in pain until his death. (Prior to joining Robins Kaplan LLP)
$350,000; Olsen v. Roddy U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota (2018): Trevor Olesen suffered a prolonged police K9 attack on May 26, 2016 that resulted in gaping wounds to his right leg. A portion of the K9 attack was captured by drone. The drone video shows Olesen being viciously attacked by K9 Jax, who was deployed on Olesen by Defendant Roddy, a K9 handler and police officer with the City of Fridley. (Prior to joining Robins Kaplan LLP)
$2 million; Baker v. City of St. Paul, et al. U. S. District Court, District of Minnesota (2017): On June 25, 2016, Frank Baker was viciously attacked by Paul Police officer Ficcadenti’s police K9 and kicked three times in the ribs by officer Palkowitsch, while he was trying to comply with the officers’ orders. (Prior to joining Robins Kaplan LLP)
$1.75 million; Sieff v. City of Chaska, et al. U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota (2017): On February 7, 2014 Dawn Marie Pfister was shot and killed by Brady Juell of the Chaska Police Department after obtaining a small folding knife with a 3 ¼ inch blade from Matthew Serbus who had held her hostage and menaced her with the same knife. (Prior to joining Robins Kaplan LLP)
$1.45 million; Baxter-Knutson v Stearns County & MEnD Correctional Care, et al. U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota (2016): Federal civil rights action brought on behalf of the next of kin of Kyle Allan Baxter-Jensen, who committed suicide at the Stearns County Jail in December of 2010 after previously attempting suicide within the same period of confinement and through the same means – self-inflicted neck wounds using a jail-issued razor. (Prior to joining Robins Kaplan LLP)
- “$2 million settlement reached in Cass County inmate death,” KSTP (March 7, 2019)
- “Anoka County Commissioners Settle Lawsuit Over Police K-9 Bite,” KSTP (September 17, 2018)
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