By Robert F. Bukaty, Associated PressIn the days following the December 2016 truck crash that killed two men in Minneapolis, two Minneapolis attorneys who represented the families of victims were given an unexpected windfall.
The trucking company that was towing the two men’s bodies when they died had agreed to pay $10.9 million to the families.
The amount was about $400,000 less than the attorneys were expecting to get.
The victims’ families, including Jonathon’s, had asked for about $150 million, which is what Marshall family attorneys had asked.
The award was a significant milestone, said David A. Pohlman, a lawyer who represented Jonathon, his wife, Sarah and their children.
It’s a very significant achievement, he said.
The Marshalls, along with another family of victims, won a settlement last month with the city of Minneapolis that allowed them to sue the city for the $10,000 that the city said they were owed for a $2.7 million claim they had filed in the civil lawsuit against the city.
Jonathon Marshalls parents, Dan and Jessica, who are represented by the Marshalls’ attorneys, were surprised by the award, which came about after years of negotiation.
It was the culmination of years of effort by the family to secure a settlement that would protect the family from legal liability and help them rebuild their lives, Jessica Marshalls said.
“It was something that was a lot bigger than just one person,” she said.
It also was the largest award for the family in U.S. history.
It was a small amount of money, said Mike Giese, an attorney for the Minneapolis police officer who was killed and a member of the Marshals family.
But it was the result of negotiations and discussions with the family.
“It took years, but we’ve made progress,” Gieses attorney, David Sperling, said.
“I think it was a win-win, but I would say it was an unexpected and surprising outcome,” Grieses attorney said.
Dan Marshalls father, David Marshals mother, and his brother, Kyle Marshalls were both on the truck that was driving to pick up the men’s remains.
The couple said the police officer was on the other side of the truck.
They said that after the accident, they and other family members were contacted by police to see if they had any information about what happened.
“We’re still waiting for answers,” David Marshalls mother said.
“I don’t think we’ll ever know what happened, but if I had to guess, I’d say it wasn’t a good night for them.”
A judge in Minneapolis ruled in April that the family could pursue claims against the police officers and city for what they said was their negligence.
A jury awarded the Marshells $10M against the City of Minneapolis and $7M against two Minneapolis police officers, but the jury did not award any punitive damages.
The city appealed to the U.P. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.
The court denied the appeals.
The decision in that case was reversed in April.
The Marshalls sued the city and the officers for violating the families’ civil rights.
In the decision in the case, U. P. Court Judge Michael Osterloh wrote that the Marshains did not have standing to sue, and the plaintiffs lacked standing.
He said the city had no duty to protect them from the harm they suffered because of the negligence of the police department.
The court noted that the lawsuit had been filed in late 2015, and it was likely the city would have been able to avoid the lawsuit if it had not settled.
A decision on whether to allow the case to proceed would come later this year.
“There was no law in place, but there was a law that was not enforced,” Dan Marshalls attorney, Mike Griese, said, referring to the law that allowed the police to not sue the families in civil lawsuits.
“We hope to prevail on the merits.”
The Marshells’ lawyer, Giesed, said the court has not decided whether to grant the appeals court’s request to review the case.
He added that the case is expected to be decided this spring.