Standing Rock Case Decided by 8th Circuit Court of Appeals

On March 14, 2022, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit issued an opinion in a case involving claims against law enforcement and municipalities related to the Dakota Access pipeline protests.

Plaintiff Marcus Mitchell filed suit in the United States District Court for the District of North Dakota – Western against Morton County, the City of Bismarck, employees of the City and County in their official capacities, and a North Dakota Highway Patrol Sergeant in his official capacity.

The case had been dismissed at the district court level before any facts had been proven. Mitchell appealed, asking that the Court allow him to present his case in district court and prove the facts he alleged in his complaint to the district court.

The Court explained that during this type of procedural appeal, the facts as presented by the Plaintiff are presumed to be true because the facts are not at issue yet. Mitchell alleges the following facts: that during the on-going protests against the construction of an oil pipeline across Tribal land in North Dakota, law enforcement engaged in progressively more force against the protesters; that he positioned himself in front of women and elders in the crowd with his

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