Wrongful Death Advocate



Minneapolis attorney Jim Behrenbrinker had never handled a police excessive-force case until December, 2006, when Katie Felder contacted him, seeking justice for her late son, Dominic Felder. He had been shot and killed by two Minneapolis police officers.

“She was so sincere and strong-willed in having me listen to her story, I couldn’t turn her down,” said Behrenbrinker, who has been in solo practice since 2000, primarily handling personal injury and employment discrimination cases.

The case proved to be the most significant one of his career. Last October, a federal court jury awarded just over $1.8 million to the Felder family – one of the highest payouts ever in a lawsuit stemming from officer misconduct in Minneapolis.

The jury found officers Jason King and Lawrence Loonsfoot used excessive force when they shot Dominic Felder seven times. Felder, who was unarmed, was believed to be having a nervous breakdown. The jurors found both officers liable for excessive force, assault and battery, awarded just over $1 million for the family’s loss, plus $800,000 in punitive damages. (City attorneys have since filed motions indicating they plan to ask for a new trial, a reduction to $105,300, or less, or both.)

The officers had been cleared of criminal charges by a grand jury, and an internal MPD investigation found their actions justified.

During the trial, Behrenbrinker and co-counsel Douglas Micko presented two forensic experts who testified that the officers’ accounts of the shooting did not match the evidence. “When I started interviewing some of the people who had information concerning the shooting, it became apparent to me that the incident couldn’t have occurred the way the police said it did,” Behrenbrinker said.

Since the verdict, Behrenbrinker said he has been contacted by “at least 10″ different families in Minnesota and other states seeking representation in similar cases.

Behrenbrinker gave credit to fellow civil rights lawyer Micko and his firm, Minneapolis-based Schaefer Law Firm, LLC. “I wouldn’t have been able to take on the case without them.”

Original Article at MinnLawyer.com