kbennett@gaskinsbennett.com
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J.D., William Mitchell College of Law
B.A., St. Olaf College
Major: English

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Event-Badge---Kathryn-H.-BennettKatie is a civil trial lawyer with an active practice in federal and state courts.  A skillful advocate at all stages of the proceedings, she focuses her practice on the prosecution of federal civil rights matters and personal injury actions.  In 2014, Katie was named an “Attorney of the Year” by Minnesota Lawyer for her role on the Kucera Trial Team.   She was also named a “Rising Star” in 2015 and 2016 by Super Lawyers.

Katie joined G|B|B|S as an associate in 2011 after clerking with the firm while attending William Mitchell College of Law.  A four time letter winner and former captain of the St. Olaf College hockey team, Katie likes to mix it up.  She is successful both in and out of court and has been instrumental in securing millions of dollars for deserving clients of the law firm.  Katie is always looking for new challenges both on and off the ice.

Representative Experience

Smith v. Gorman et al.
U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota (2013)
Total Settlement: $3,075,000

Federal civil rights wrongful death action on behalf of the next of kin of David Cornelius Smith, who died at the hands of two Minneapolis police officers.  Smith was a mentally ill man, who had committed no crime, but was acting bizarrely at the Minneapolis YMCA.  The officers arrived, a struggle ensued, and Smith was ultimately handcuffed and placed in the prone position with weight on his back for 4 1/2 minutes.  The officers failed to monitor his condition during the restraint, and Smith died from complications of mechanical asphyxiation.  This is the second highest payout for a police brutality case in Minneapolis history.

Yang v. Chadbourne
U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota (2015)
Total Settlement $2,850,000 million

Federal civil rights action stemming from the January 25, 2014 incident where Brooklyn Park probationary police officer Jason Chadbourne panicked and fired his service weapon six times into a snow-covered vehicle was it backed slowly out of its parking space, hitting Shoua Yang three times.  Yang, along with his cousin and friend, were at a banquet hall for a Valentine’s Day party and  decided to leave after a fight broke out.  Chadbourne arrived on the scene and followed the men to determine if they were involved in the fight – they were not.  Chadbourne did not issue any commands to Yang and had no information that Yang had committed any crime.  Yet, Chadbourne positioned himself behind the snow-covered vehicle and fired six times – later claiming the vehicle was speeding in reverse at him – a claim unsupported and refuted by the evidence.  Yang was hit in the back, neck and shoulder and one of the bullets severed his kidney and almost killed him.

Kucera v. Jespersen, et al.
U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota (2014)
Total Settlement $2 million

Federal civil rights wrongful death action regarding the suicide of Kathryn Marie Schneider, a 28-year-old mother, who hanged herself at the Koochiching County Jail.

Baxter-Knutson v. Stearns County & MEnD Correctional Care, et al.
U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota (2016)
Total Settlement $1.45 million

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.  Kyle was a mentally ill man who was incarcerated at the Stearns County Jail for driving while intoxicated on November 13, 2010.  The following day, Kyle attempted suicide using a disassembled razor to slit his throat and both of his wrists.  He was found alive by jail personnel and was taken to St. Cloud Hospital for treatment of his physical injuries.  Kyle was returned to Stearns County Jail the same day.  Upon his return and over the next few weeks, Kyle was clearly a significant suicide risk.  He exhibited many red flags confirming he suffered from a significant and pervasive mental illness, in addition to the obvious and numerous staples, sutures and bandages over his recent self-inflicted wounds.  Nonetheless, Kyle did not receive the mental health treatment he required.  Instead, he was prematurely moved to general housing where access to razors could not be effectively prohibited.  Kyle obtained a razor on December 4, 2010 and used it to commit suicide by again slitting his own throat.  MEnD Correctional Care and Defendant Todd Leonard, MD held the contract with Stearns County to provide medical and mental health care to inmates.  The MEnD Defendants voluntarily paid $850,000 to settle this action and Stearns County paid $600,000.

McGerr v. Gordon S. and Pamela J. Jensen, Gordon R. Israelson, and Robert E. Cook
Hennepin County District Court (2011)
Total Settlement $918,000

On July 4, 2009, then 16-year-old Lisa McGerr was struck in the eye by a portion of an illegal and ultra-hazardous firework while she was spending the Fourth of July holiday weekend with her friend.  She was in the care, custody and control of her friend’s parents, Defendants Pamela and Gordon Jensen.  The Jensen family brought McGerr up to Defendant Gordon Israelson’s lake home where the illegal fireworks were ignited by Defendant Robert Cook.  Lisa McGerr suffered a damaging and disfiguring eye injury.  Liability was hotly contested by the Jensens and Gordon Israelson and all parties disputed Plaintiff’s damages.  Plaintiff settled with Cook and Israelson prior to trial and then prevailed against Gordon Jensen.  Ultimately, Plaintiff recovered over $900,000.

Boe v. Blum
Hennepin County District Court, Minnesota (2016)
Total Settlement: $100,000

Plaintiffs’ vehicle hit by a drunk driver causing neck and back injuries, among others, to two occupants.

Hines v. Raino
Hennepin County District Court, Minnesota (2016)
Total Settlement: $100,000 limits

Pedestrian in cross walk hit and knocked over by drunk driver sustained a facial laceration, a TBI and hairline fractures in her left foot.

Professional Recognition

Attorney of the Year – Minnesota Lawyer (2014)

Rising Star – Super Lawyers (2015 & 2016)

Memberships

Minnesota Women Lawyer (Leadership Committee 2014, 2015;  Equity Committee 2016)

Minnesota State Bar Association

Hennepin County Bar Association

Court Admissions

United States District Court, District of North Dakota

United States District Court, District of Minnesota

Minnesota

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