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Federal Court Judge Agrees to Stay Civil Case Against Noor Until Conclusion of Criminal Trial

March 26, 2019 09:39 AM

A federal court judge has agreed to a request to stay a civil case filed against former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor and others until after his trial on third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter charges has concluded. 

The request was filed by Noor's attorney's in August in U.S. District Court, and the Hennepin County Attorney's Office weighed in to support it.  

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RELATED: County Attorney's Office Supports Noor's Bid for Stay in Civil Lawsuit

The family of Justine Damond - the Australian woman killed in the July 2017 shooting - has filed a lawsuit in federal court against Noor, partner Matthew Harrity, former police chief Janee Harteau, current police chief Medaria Arradondo and the city.

In the lawsuit, Damond's father, John Ruszczyk, claims the defendants violated the Fourth and 14th Amendments. The lawsuit seeks damages in excess of $50 million.

RELATED: Noor Seeks Stay in Civil Lawsuit

In his order granting the stay, federal judge Tony Leung wrote that the matter is stayed until the criminal case against Noor "is resolved via dismissal, not guilty verdict, or sentencing following a guilty plea or guilty verdict, or until further order of the Court."

Noor, his partner Matthew Harrity and the other defendants in the case must answer or respond to the plaintiff's complaint no later than 45 days following the termination of the stay.

"This is a case of multifaceted difficulty for all parties involved," Leung wrote. "Understandably, Plaintiff wants to progress his case. That progression, however, is not appropriate currently for all the reasons discussed herein. The Court will, though, require periodic updates from the parties as to the status of the criminal case so as to be in position to reweigh the propriety of the stay at the appropriate time."

Noor attorney Thomas Plunkett said he did not have a comment on the ruling.

Robert Bennett, who represents John Ruszczyk, said that while his client will be disappointed, he will be respectful of the court's decision.

"It is in the middle of the night on Wednesday where my client sleeps," Bennett said via email. "But once John Ruszczyk awakes, I am sure he will be disappointed. But we all are respectful of the Court's consideration and judgment on this matter. Our client's vigorous search for justice will continue as soon as the Stay is lifted."

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Frank Rajkowski and Tim Vetscher

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