Mr. Smith has been litigating employment cases before administrative agencies and in state and federal courts for more than two decades. He has demonstrated expertise in representing plaintiffs in a broad range of employment litigation, including discrimination and harassment cases. He has represented plaintiffs in complex, employment-discrimination class actions. He has been involved in national class action litigation against Ford Motor Company, Control Data, First Union Bank, Heinrich Envelope, Northwest Airlines, Dakota Pork, and others. Many of these cases have resulted in seven figure settlements. Mr. Smith was selected to join a national panel of attorneys to represent claimants in a nationwide, sex discrimination class action against Smith Barney.
Criminal Defense and Civil Rights
In the criminal and civil rights arena, Mr. Smith has defended individuals charged with everything from DWI, drug possession, sex crimes, assault, theft and homicide. He has represented individuals in connection with what is reported to be the most significant terrorism investigation since 9/11. He has fought for individuals' 1st Amendment right to speak out against government officials on matters of public concern. In conjunction with the invaluable assistance of The Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights under Law, created in 1963 by executive order of President John F. Kennedy, and lawyers from two large law firms, he has challenged a local municipality's public contracting practices on behalf of black business owners. Mr. Smith has fought just as vigorously on behalf of individuals subject to police misconduct, including police brutality and racial profiling. He recently negotiated a six-figure settlement on behalf of two clients in a high-profile case against two Minneapolis police officers.1 Mr. Smith successfully litigated a case of first impression in Minnesota that raised the question of whether police officers were entitled to official immunity from a claim of race discrimination under the Minnesota Human Rights Act. State v. Mounds View, 498 N.W.2d 503 (Minn. Ct. App. 1993).
In addition to his employment, criminal, and civil rights practices, Mr. Smith has substantial experience litigating personal injury cases. He has represented individuals in cases involving medical malpractice, car accidents, wrongful death, and bike accidents.
Mr. Smith's broad experience also encompasses extensive appellate work. He has advocated for his clients before the Minnesota Supreme Court, the Minnesota Court of Appeals, and the federal Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. A representative sample of his published and unpublished opinions include State v. Moorhead State University, 455 N.W.2d 79 (Minn. Ct. App. 1990)(court upheld award of more than $160,000.00 for sex discrimination); State v. Mounds View, 498 N.W.2d 503 (Minn. Ct. App. 1993)(official immunity does not bar discrimination claim under Minnesota Human Rights Act in racial profiling case); Davis v. State, 500 N.W.2d 134 (Minn. Ct. App. 1993)(court upheld dismissal of tort claim against Minnesota Department of Corrections); and Leiendecker v. Asian Women United of Minnesota, 731 N.W.2d 836 (Minn. App. 2007)( tort claims were not subject to the counterclaim rule); State of Minnesota v. John R. Olson, A04-1152, filed May 10, 2005 (conviction reversed on multiple charges, including aiding and abetting aggravated robbery and assault); and Mahamed v. Anderson, 612 F.3d 1084 (8th Cir. 2010) (court dismisses officer’s appeal of denial of qualified immunity from INS detainee’s excessive force claim).