In October 2002, while Andy was waiting for his bar results, he helped Bob Bennett try a civil rights case in Milwaukee. They represented the mother of a man who had committed suicide in prison. Bob and Andy won a jury verdict for her of over $2 million. And Andy was hooked. He loves his clients.
Andy and the civil rights team have achieved unprecedented success in cases against cities and counties for constitutional violations. These include representing Frank Baker and Desiree Collins against the City of St. Paul after they suffered injuries in police K9 attacks. Andy also takes on jails and correctional medicine companies on behalf of families who lose loved ones to suicide.
Excessive force cases against police and correctional officers have been a large part of Andy’s practice for almost twenty years. In 2019, the team obtained the highest result in the nation for a police shooting death following the murder of Justine Ruszczyk by Minneapolis Police Officer Mohamed Noor.
When he is not suing state actors, Andy is suing those who hurt or kill people through careless illegal conduct. These cases include a six-year-old girl who lost her life in a kiddie pool when she sat on an uncovered drain, the wife and children of a young father who was killed and other people who were hurt when the I-35W Bridge collapsed, motor vehicle crash victims and the mother of a seven-year-old boy who drowned in an unguarded apartment swimming pool, and whose older son nearly drowned at the same time.
Together, Andy, Bob and their team have won through trial or settlement some of the largest awards in Minnesota history.
$7.5 Million Settlement; Pope v. Chauvin, Arradondo & MPD: United States District Court, District of Minnesota (2023): In 2017, John Pope displayed no aggressive or threatening actions when Derek Chauvin struck him multiple times in the head before choking him around his neck and pinning him to the floor with his knee – the same tactic used to murder George Floyd in 2020. MPD was called to Pope’s residence for a domestic dispute where they found Pope on his phone, relaxing on the floor of his bedroom. During Pope’s tearful cries for help, none of the other MPD officers intervened during Chauvin’s use of excessive force nor did MPD in the aftermath having obtain video evidence of the incident.
$6.2 Million Settlement; Olthoff v. Warnygora, et al. U.S Federal Court (2020): On July 29, 2019, Shawn Olthoff was the subject of a CERT Team call-out. He was sleeping on his side, unarmed, when officers entered his mother’s trailer, and raised his hands in the air upon police command. While his hands were raised, Carlton County Sgt. Warnygora proceeded to shoot Olthoff twice in the armpit. He remains paralyzed from the chest down.
$2.3 Million Settlement; Lynas v. Stang, et al., District of Minnesota (2020): Our client’s son was struggling from alcohol and drug withdrawal while he was an inmate at Sherburne County Jail. He made it known that he was suffering mentally and having suicidal thoughts. Neither the Jail or MNeD provided the proper treatment or well-being checks. He committed suicide in his cell 11 days after his arrest. Robins Kaplan and it’s attorneys hope that the $2.3 million settlement will prompt jail reforms in the future.
$2.25 Million Combined Settlement; Bunker v. Keilwitz, et al.: Secured a $2.25 million combined settlement at mediation for a jail suicide case. In 2017, our client’s daughter committed suicide while at Beltrami County Jail. The inmate made it known upon and after jail admission that she struggled with serious medical and mental health needs, including suicidality. Neither the correctional facility nor the MEnD medical staff provided proper care or took the recommended steps to ensure the safety of the inmate in the week leading up to her death.
$1.6 Million Settlement; Boudin v. Ottertail County Sheriff’s Dept., et al. District of Minnesota (2020): Our client, Kameron Boudin, was a victim of excessive use of police force when officers entered his home in 2018. Boudin was lying on his bedroom floor when an officer laid on top of him and began striking him multiple times in the face and forehead for not complying with police commands, which Boudin was physically unable to do because of the police officer on top of him. The force of the strikes required Boudin to receive surgery, including the removal and replacement of his face due to multiple fractures.
$1.375 Million Settlement; Code v. Chauvin, Arradondo, Johnson & MPD: United States District Court, District of Minnesota (2023): In 2017, Zoya Code was not resisting arrest when former MPD officer, Derek Chauvin, used excessive forced by slamming her head into the ground and torquing her handcuffed wrists upward and behind her head while she was face down on the ground. Chauvin then pinned his knee to the back of her neck and placed in “hobble” restraint with no just cause for almost five minutes. Chauvin and other officers involved were not disciplined for their actions.
$550K Settlement; Myles Regenold v. City of Ankeny: Secured a $550,000 settlement in a wrongful shooting lawsuit. In 2019, Myles Regenold was not resisting arrest when police officers shot him in the arm, leaving him with permanent impairment. Audio from a body worn camera as well the location of the injury, implying Regenold was in a surrender pose, contributed to a successful settlement for our client, and the Robins Kaplan civil rights team.
$400K Settlement; Fillner v. City of Rochester, et al. District of Minnesota (2020): Our client was unresponsive in the back of her minivan when a City of Rochester police officer reached in and yanked her out and onto the pavement in one motion. She sustained physical injuries to her upper right arm bone including displacement and the bone being broken into three or more fragments. Surgery was required to repair and additional surgeries may be required in the future.
$350K Settlement; Alayna Albrecht-Payton v. Brooklyn Center Police Department, et al. (2021): Secured a settlement on behalf of Alayna Albrecht-Payton, a passenger of Duante Wright, who was shot at a traffic light by a former Minnesota police officer. The fatal shooting resulted in a crash that left our client will multiple injuries, both physical and emotional.
$270K Settlement; Mensing v. City of Mankato, et al. U.S. Federal Court (2019): Our client had consumed drinks and food on a night out before police responded to a report of an intoxicated man. Our client complied with police commands, but upon exited the establishment the officer placed our client’s left arm into an iron wrist lock which resulted in a complex fracture requiring open surgery to repair. Our client was never charged for a crime and incurred extensive medical bills and loss of wages.
$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 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)
$2.99+ Million; Castile v. Village of St. Anthony (2017): On July 6, 2016, Philando Castile was shot and killed by Jeronimo Yanez, a St. Anthony police officer, after being pulled over. Castile was shot numerous time after informing Yanez he had a permit to carry. The aftermath of the shooting was live-streamed via Facebook. (Prior to joining Robins Kaplan LLP)
$1.8 Million; Huber v. Sobiech, et al. U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota (2019): This was a jail suicide federal civil rights action on behalf of the next of kin of Brett Huber, Jr. who hanged himself at the Todd County Jail after manifesting symptoms of serious mental health issues. (Prior to joining Robins Kaplan LLP)
$3.5 Million; Gustafson v. Pederson Hennepin County District Court (2018): In October of 2017, Pederson negligently operated a semi-tractor and trailer combination on Highway 10 in Big Lake, Minnesota. Pederson, while making a left turn at 162nd Lane, stopped the semi-tractor and trailer and blocked westbound traffic on Highway 10, leading to a collision that severely injured James Gustafson. The tractor was owned by Pevito Transportation and was leased, along with the driver Pederson, to Cheesebrough Trucking, Inc. (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 St. 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)
$8+ Million; Taylor v. Minneapolis Golf Club Hennepin County District Court, Minnesota (2008): Robert Bennett and Andrew Noel represented the parents of Abigail Taylor in a wrongful death lawsuit arising out of severe injuries Abigail sustained while in the kiddie pool at the Minneapolis Golf Club on June 29, 2007. (Prior to joining Robins Kaplan LLP)
- "Sheriff’s Deputy Faces Suit after K-9 Attacked Another Officer," Minnesota Lawyer (September 12, 2023)
- "Family of inmate who died by suicide sues Sherburne County," Star Tribune (April 6, 2023)
- "Former Chisago County sheriff charged with sex assault sued over new blackmail allegations," Star Tribune (March 17, 2023)
- "Minnesota Officer Files Lawsuit After Being Bitten by K-9," U.S. News and World Report (March 16, 2023)
- "Hennepin County K-9 bit, infected Champlin police officer during pursuit, lawsuit says," Star Tribune (March 15, 2023)
- "Ankeny to pay $550,000 over 2019 police shooting of unarmed burglary suspect, lawyers say," Des Moines Register (September 23, 2021)
- "Calling police shootings accidental doesn’t equal an escape from liability, court records show," KSTP News (April 16, 2021)
- "KARE 11 Investigates: A prior gun and Taser police shooting mistake in Minnesota," KARE11 News (April 12, 2021)
- “Former Isanti chief, officer named in federal lawsuit after witness tampering, lying in court,” KSTP News (May 5, 2020)
- “St. Paul police union: Fired officers painted in ‘false and unfair light,’” Pioneer Press (June 14, 2019)
- “St. Paul to pay $520,000 to bystander attacked by police dog,” Star Tribune (September 28, 2018)
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