The mother of a teenager filed a lawsuit Friday seeking damages from the estate of Daunte Wright, claiming that Wright, who was killed by a Brooklyn Center police officer April 11, shot her son in the head at a north Minneapolis gas station in 2019, leaving him permanently disabled.
Jennifer LeMay filed the lawsuit on behalf of her son Caleb JaChin Duane Livingston, 18, whom the lawsuit said is "alive but has no function." The family no longer lives in Minnesota.
On May 14, 2019, the lawsuit claims, Wright fired a gun at the Full Stop gas station at 1818 N. Lowry Av. Livingston, who was visiting from Illinois, had stopped there to fill his tank. After a brief confrontation, he was shot.
The lawsuit maintains that at 9:19 p.m. that day, Wright intentionally shot at Livingston, striking him once in the head and causing "serious, disabling, and permanent injuries."
No one has been charged in the shooting. LeMay's lawyer, Mike Padden, claims in the lawsuit that a "plethora" of evidence points to Wright as the person who shot Livingston.
Messages left for Wright's mother, Katie Wright, and the family's attorney, Jeff Storms, were not returned.
According to court records, the lawsuit was filed May 4, but LeMay requested that it be sealed because of "plans to enter into negotiations" with lawyers for Wright's estate, along with the fact that the shooting remains under investigation. After LeMay withdrew her request, Judge Edward Wahl ordered the documents unsealed on May 21.
Police spokesman John Elder said Friday that the shooting case remains open.
A filing in the lawsuit claims that as young boys, Livingston and Wright were friends but had a falling out. In early May 2019, Livingston beat up Wright in front of others, the suit says. "It is believed that this was a significant factor/motive as to why Wright targeted and shot Livingston," the document said.
Wright, the suit says, was a member of a gang and had a significant criminal history beginning at age 12.
Public records show that Wright had an open aggravated-robbery case from December 2019 set for trial Aug 2. He pleaded not guilty March 2 of last year and posted bail, but his bail was revoked in July for possessing a firearm and failing to contact his probation officer. He was arrested and bonded out again in September.
There are images of Wright on social media pointing a Smith & Wesson 9-millimeter handgun, the lawsuit said.
As a result of the shooting, Livingston suffered "grievous and permanent injuries to his body and nervous system, past and future loss of earnings and earning capacity, past and future medical expenses, past and future pain, suffering, disability, disfigurement, humiliation, embarrassment, and severe emotional distress," the lawsuit said.
LeMay, who lived in Chicago at the time, spoke to the Star Tribune in November 2019 about her son's injury. To relieve pressure on Livingston's swollen brain, surgeons removed a large portion of his skull. After he was declared brain dead, he was taken off life support but survived.
He spent 33 days in the ICU at North Memorial Health Hospital in Robbinsdale, where the bill totaled more than $545,000 and caused a fight with her insurance company over who would pay.
"I didn't ask for my child to be shot," LeMay said at the time. "So I have literally liquidated everything that I have stored away for savings."
LeMay had her son transferred to a Chicago hospital and then a transitional facility. His mom said she saw signs of progress with her son opening his eyes, eating ice cream, responding to voices and sometimes giving a thumbs-up. Padden said Livingston's diagnosis is unresponsive wakefulness syndrome.
The lawsuit said that Livingston cannot meet his basic needs and his mother must handle all his personal affairs.
Wright, 20, was shot and killed by then-Brooklyn Center police officer Kim Potter, who reportedly believed she was firing at Wright with her Taser but shot him with her handgun. She has been charged with second-degree manslaughter.
Since his death, Wright's parents have been working with civil rights lawyer Ben Crump, the same lawyer who won a $27 million settlement from the city of Minneapolis for the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.
Staff writers Matt McKinney and Libor Jany contributed to this report.
Rochelle Olson • 612-673-1747