The world was watching after George Floyd died May 25, 2020 on South Chicago Avenue in Minneapolis by police brutality. After being handcuffed he was placed face down on the street even though at that time he was being cooperative, had not committed a violent crime, did not pose a threat to anyone, and was not attempting to flee the scene.
He was arrested after purchasing some items at a convenient store with an allegedly counterfeited $20.00 bill. The convenience store employee called the police when he believed the bill to be counterfeit. Immediately after the police arrived, when they attempted to put Mr. Floyd in the police vehicle, he begged them not to do so since he was claustrophobic.
Instead of calming him down, the officer in charge forced him on the ground while another officer pinned him down with his feet and placed his knee on the neck of Mr. Floyd with all of his weight, causing Mr. Floyd’s foot to be off the ground.
The officer, Derek Chauvin, did so for eight minutes and fifteen seconds even after Mr. Floyd lost consciousness and after paramedics arrived at the scene. EMT paramedics could not revive him and he was pronounced dead.
There were several officers present at the time and none of them offered aid to Mr. Floyd. Bystanders, one of whom was an EMT, offered to help and the police would not allow their intervention.
These bystanders videotaped the actions of the police and in particular Mr. Chauvin while he leaned with the full weight of his body on the neck of Mr. Floyd until he stopped breathing. The coroner later determined the cause of death to be asphyxiation. The video tape was put on the internet and was watched throughout the world with horror.
In this article, we will be examining the wrongful death lawsuit that was brought forth by the family of Mr. Floyd.
Wrongful Death Laws in Minnesota
When death is caused by the wrongful action of a person in the state of Minnesota, a trustee is appointed to file suit obtaining written permission by the surviving spouse or next of kin. Mr. Floyd’s lawsuit was filed July 15, 2020 in the U.S. District Court of the District of Minnesota.
It was a federal court action since the rights of Mr. Floyd were violated with the 4th and 14th Amendments to the United States Constitution.
THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS FOR A WRONGFUL DEATH ACTION IN MINNESOTA
A wrongful death action in the state of Minnesota must be commenced within three years of the date of the death, pursuant to Minnesota State Statute 573.02.
An action to recover damages for a death caused by an intentional act, such as murder, may be commenced any time after the death of the decedent. However, if it is based on a wrongful action or negligence, it must be filed within three years after the date of death and not more than six years after the act by the defendant.
In contrast, a wrongful death lawsuit in Kentucky must be filed within one year after the date of death. In the event of a wrongful death claim arising out of a vehicle accident, such as car or truck accident, the statute is two years from the date of the accident or from the last date the benefits were paid pursuant to the personal injury policy afforded in Kentucky.
DAMAGES THAT ARE RECOVERABLE AFTER A WRONGFUL DEATH IN MINNESOTA AND KENTUCKY
Kentucky and Minnesota are very similar in damages that can be collected, which include the following:
- Funeral and Burial Expense
- Medical Bills that the deceased accrued prior to passing
- Loss of companionship, comfort and guidance
- Pain and suffering, mental anguish where the decedent lived for a period of time prior to death
- Loss of future income and household services along with benefits that would have been afforded the deceased has he lived a normal life span.
- Loss of companionship or otherwise known as a consortium claim can be filed by the surviving spouse or the surviving children under 18 years of age of the deceased.
PUNITIVE DAMAGES CAN BE RECOVERED IN A WRONGFUL DEATH CLAIM
In the state of Minnesota, a claim for punitive damages must be filed after the filing of the original civil action with a motion to amend the complaint. This would be based on gross negligence or intentional conduct.
The facts in the George Floyd case should substantiate a punitive damage claim.
SETTLEMENT OF WRONGFUL DEATH ACTION BY GEORGE FLOYD’S FAMILY
On March 12, 2021, the largest settlement in the history of the United States in a civil rights wrongful death lawsuit was awarded to Floyd’s family for violation of Mr. Floyd’s constitutional rights.
As reported in the Star Tribune, the wrongful death lawsuit cited “”reckless disregard” for his civil rights by using deadly force in non-deadly circumstances and that the city engaged in a culture of “killology,” failed to terminate dangerous officers and fostered a culture of racism”.
This settlement was approved by the Minneapolis City Counsel for the total sum of $27 Million. Through a call for justice by the Floyd family and the nation, a portion of the funds in the sum of $500,000 will be used by the residents of the neighborhood of 38th Street and Chicago Avenue where Mr. Floyd resided before his death to improve the business district.
In addition, the city of Minneapolis adopted police reforms after Floyd’s death and plans future reforms to avoid police brutality based on racism.
Interestingly, this settlement of momentous consequences occurred the same week that jury selection was taking place for the murder trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin, which had a tremendous emotional impact on the family of George Floyd in their pursuit of justice. It is hoped that this will be the beginning of a new day in our country to avoid this type of abuse of power, particularly abuse with racial overtones.
Who We Are
Flora Templeton Stuart Accident Injury Lawyers presents this blog to inform about the tragic death of George Floyd in the hope that his death will bring about needed reform. The great majority of our police officers perform their duty in the utmost conscientious manner and risk their lives each day to save the lives of others.
Since our law firm is licensed in Kentucky and Tennessee, we do file wrongful death claims for victims of negligent and intentional conduct that causes the death of another.
If you have lost a loved one due to the negligence, reckless, or careless acts of another, do not hesitate to contact our law firm today for a free consultation.