Federal Civil Lawsuits Against Kyle Rittenhouse in Wisconsin
Two civil lawsuits have been filed against Kyle Rittenhouse and others, stemming from Rittenhouse’ self-defense shootings of three men who assaulted him during the Kenosha riots. One of the lawsuits was filed by attorneys for Gaige Grosskruetz, who was wounded after pursuing Kyle Rittenhouse and while pointing his pistol at Kyle. The Grosskruetz lawsuit was filed in 2020. An amendment to the complaint was filed on February 14, 2021, adding Rittenhouse’ name. The other lawsuit was filed by attorneys representing the estate of Anthony Huber, who attacked Rittenhouse with a skateboard after pursuing Rittenhouse while he was on the ground, just after fending off another attack. The lawsuit was filed August 17, 2021. By chance both lawsuits are being held before Judge Lynn Adelman.
Judge Lynn Adelman is a well know Democrat. He was appointed as a federal judge in 1997 by President Clinton. In 2020, he published a political paper railing against the Supreme Court. The Seventh Circuit mildly censured Adelman for publishing the political document, as judges are supposed to maintain a public image of political neutrality. Adelman is 83 years old. Before he became a federal judge, he was a Democratic state senator in Wisconsin, representing Milwaukee, and a private attorney. Judge Adelman dismissed the lawsuit against the Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm in the John Doe investigations case, where Chisholm actively persecuted Republicans for political purposes. Adelman applied the absolute immunity doctrine for prosecutors, established by the Supreme Court in 1976, to stop the lawsuits.
Judge Adelman has a reputation of being fair as a judge, despite being an ideological and political Democrat.
The Grosskruetz case was filed over two years ago. In this situation, a case can be dismissed if the defendants are not served a summons within 90 days. After two years, Judge Adelman told the plaintiffs to serve Rittenhouse within 21 days, or he would dismiss the case against Rittenhouse. The plaintiffs failed to serve Rittenhouse. Then the plaintiffs filed for an extension, as well as an amended complaint, adding Rittenouse’ name. It is unknown if Judge Adelman will grant the extension. From madison.com (AP):
Attorneys for a man shot and injured by Kyle Rittenhouse during a protest in 2020 are asking a federal judge to give them more time to serve Rittenhouse with a civil lawsuit, alleging that he is purposefully trying to evade them.
Attorneys for Gaige Grosskreutz filed the request on Wednesday, the deadline that U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman had given them to serve the lawsuit on Rittenhouse and the other defendants. Grosskreutz added Rittenhouse as a defendant last week in the lawsuit that also targets the city of Kenosha and local officials.
The second lawsuit against Kyle Rittenhouse, police departments, and various governments in Kenosha, Wisconsin, is about the death of Anthony Huber. From fox6now.com:
Huber died after he was shot by Rittenhouse. Anthony Huber’s father, John Huber, alleges that Rittenhouse, who was 17 at the time of the shootings, conspired with law enforcement to cause harm to protestors. John Huber is seeking unspecified damages from city officials, officers and Rittenhouse.
Because of Judge Adelman’s history, many are concerned Adelman is acting as a partisan in the matter of the Huber lawsuit against Kyle Rittenhouse. Judge Adelman felt compelled to publish his comments about those concerns. From Judge Adleman’s Decision and Order in the Huber case:
The subject matter of this case is well known. The shooting of Jacob Blake, the resulting protests (which gave way to rioting and arson), and the actions of Kyle Rittenhouse were extensively examined by news outlets. Rittenhouse was charged with crimes, including first-degree intentional homicide, for shooting Huber and the other two men, and his criminal trial was highly publicized. As a result, members of the public may be familiar with the events at issue and believe that plaintiff’s allegations, which I describe below, are contrary to the facts reported in the news or leave out important details. For this reason, I again stress that a court confronted with a motion to dismiss a complaint must accept the plaintiff’s factual allegations as true and ignore outside evidence that may contradict them. That would include matters reported in the news and evidence presented during Rittenhouse’s criminal trial. Moreover, some may find certain of plaintiff’s allegations—such as his allegation that law enforcement conspired to have armed civilians use violence against protestors—hard to believe. But this is not the stage of a civil case at which the court weighs evidence or decides whether the plaintiff is likely to be able to prove his allegations. Rather, so long as the facts alleged by the plaintiff are not fantastic or delusional, the court must accept them as true. Deciding whether the allegations are true or false comes later in the case, after all sides have had a chance to present their evidence.
The two cases against Kyle Rittenhouse appear to be ideological and fantastical to many. A jury in Kenosha found Rittenhouse not guilty of numerous charges, including a bogus charge of firearms possession, which was not even a crime. The standard of proof in a civil lawsuit is much lower.
A source in Kenosha, who is intimately familiar with the case, expects the City of Kenosha to fight the cases in court, not to settle, as often occurs.
Much may depend on what insurance the City of Kenosha has. Because this is a federal case, the jury pool will come from much of Wisconsin, not just Kenosha. Judge Schroeder, who presided over the Rittenhouse criminal trial, is also a Democrat, appointed by a Democrat governor. In this correspondent’s opinion, Judge Schroeder did an excellent job, in spite of intense pressure from the left and his history as a Democrat.
Now, another Democratic Judge is presiding over two civil cases about the same events. It is premature to grade Judge Adelman. He appears to be following correct procedure in these two cases. The cases appear to be ideological and fantastical, given the documents filed. Our system allows for ideological and fantastical cases to be filed. Many have complained about that reality. It was not always the case. This correspondent believes reform is necessary, but the reality of the judicial system, as it is, must be dealt with at present.
About Dean Weingarten:
Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of Constitutional Carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.