Jeff Storms knew he was going to be a lawyer from the time he was 5 years old. He jokes that he’s always been argumentative. Growing up, he saw the injustice of racial and economic disparities around him and knew he wanted to do something about it. “I’ve always believed in sticking up for people and fighting back against bullies,” says Storms, a partner at Newmark Storms Dworak LLC.
That determination has served Storms well as a civil-rights litigator, including as a member of the team that brought a civil suit on behalf of George Floyd’s next of kin, recovering a historic $27 million dollar settlement.
Storms in part played a procedural role given his understanding of the process in Minnesota. Based on his previous civil rights work, including a nearly identical case of prone restraint in Minneapolis, he also provided historical context that was relied upon to build the civil case.
The microscopic lens on the case created its own kind of pressure. In addition to handling hearings in court, Storms advocated for the family on CNN, MSNBC and other national media outlets.
Storms’ work on the Floyd case led him to a similar role on the civil suit on behalf of the family of Dante Wright. “It’s been very humbling for great lawyers across the country and in Minnesota to trust me with this kind of work,” he said.
This past year, Storms served as lead attorney on Hunziker v. Doherty, a civil rights and medical malpractice case regarding the horrific death of a child placed by Hennepin County into the foster care system.
One of the challenges of foster care litigation, according to Storms, is the misperception that children in foster care don’t have someone who loves them, so there is no one to benefit from litigation. “That couldn’t be further from the truth,” Storms says. “This child had loving siblings and grandparents.” Hennepin County has settled the suit. The case continues against Allina.
Read more about Minnesota Lawyer’s superb class of Attorneys of the Year for 2021 here.
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