SOL Lawyer Magazine_Summer 2022


DEFINING THE CONTOURS OF CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS In 2013, Storms’ work on a $3.075 million recovery for the next of kin of David Cornelius Smith was then the largest police brutality wrongful death settlement in Minnesota history. In 2018, Storms and his co-counsel secured a $1.5 million settlement with Hennepin County over the wrongful death of Kendrea Johnson, a six-year- old who died by ligature hanging while in foster care. Also in 2018, Storms accomplished the rare feat of winning at the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals on back-to- back days in two other civil rights cases, one of these cases being a reversal of the underlying district court opinion.

Storms argued and won a second reversal at the Eighth Circuit in 2021 on a matter he cannot comment on. Reversals on civil rights cases at the Eighth Circuit are very rare, and Storms has now done it twice in the past four years alone. Storms is being recognized for his work. He has been named a Minnesota Attorney of the Year four times and is the recipient of an AAJ Leonard Weinglass in Defense of Civil Liberties Award. He has also been named one of Minnesota’s Top 100 Super Lawyers for 2022. He knows, however, that his victories are really victories for defining the contours of the constitutional

rights protecting those who are often marginalized in our system of justice. Historically, the administration of justice has focused primarily on monetary damages for the aggrieved party, such as in 1991 when Rodney King was brutally beaten by police. Now Storms and his co-counsel regularly advocate for nonmonetary relief and community justice. In the Floyd settlement, the family pledged $500,000 from the settlement funds to be returned to the community with a focus on investing in the business district surrounding 38th Street and Chicago Avenue, where George Floyd was murdered.

Page 14 St. Thomas Lawyer

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