Paul Dworak won an important civil rights opinion from the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, involving unlawful police takedowns. Paul wrote and argued the appeal prior to departing his old law firm and establishing Storms Dworak LLC.
In Karels v. Storz, the officer twisted the plaintiff’s arm behind her back and body slammed her onto concrete steps with such force he snapped her humerus into pieces. The officer did so to effectuate her arrest for non-violent misdemeanor charges. The District of Minnesota correctly denied the defendants qualified immunity on a summary judgment motion, and the Eighth Circuit just affirmed that denial. The opinion can be viewed here: Karels v. Storz.
This is the third Eighth Circuit victory this year for the partners at Storms Dworak. Jeff Storms achieved the other two victories on back to back days in August 2018. Those cases were Michael v. Trevena and Rokusek v. Jansen. All three appeals were for civil rights violations involving serious injuries to the plaintiffs by law enforcement. All three involved violent takedowns to non-violent suspected misdemeanants.
In Michael v. Trevena, the plaintiff was unlawfully arrested and subjected to excessive force, which resulted in a broken arm from the improper use of a baton by one of the arresting officers. The District of North Dakota initially dismissed the lawsuit on qualified immunity grounds. Storms achieved the major accomplish of convincing the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals that the lower court erred, and the 8th Circuit reversed the North Dakota court’s opinion on both the unlawful arrest and excessive force claims. The opinion can be viewed here: Michael v. Trevena.
In Rokusek v. Jansen, the plaintiff was put in an improper “double-chicken-wing,” and slammed head-first to the ground. The plaintiff suffered two lost teeth as a result. There, the District of South Dakota correctly denied the state trooper’s motion for summary judgment, and the 8th Circuit affirmed that denial. Storms Dworak LLC teamed up with Jeffrey Montpetit of SiebenCarey on this matter. The opinion can be viewed here: Rokusek v. Jansen.
Paul and Jeff have become instrumental in shaping civil rights law in the Eighth Circuit, pertaining to unlawful police takedowns. Their efforts will provide a clearer path towards justice for victims of police brutality in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri, and Arkansas.