About Strain Morman Law Firm
Strain Morman Law Firm is rooted in the belief that we serve our clients the way we want to be served. We believe every client needs unparalleled and personalized legal counsel when it comes to their specific battle.
Our seasoned lawyers are well-versed in various legal fields and are committed to delivering proper representation. Based in Sturgis, SD, we can handle anything, from business and trial litigation to personal injury and estate planning.
Dale L. Morman (1927-2009)
Dale L. Morman, a founding partner of the Morman Law Firm, was born in Crofton, Nebraska, in April 1927. In January of 1945, he was drafted into the U.S. Army, serving after World War II until 1947. He began his studies at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, South Dakota, upon returning to the United States. Again, in 1950, he was asked to serve his country during the Korean War. In the fall of 1952, he resumed his studies at the University of South Dakota. In 1954 he received his Bachelor of Arts Degree and Bachelor of Law Degree. At this time, he was admitted to the South Dakota State Bar. He then moved to Pierre, South Dakota, in 1955 and was appointed Stanley County State’s Attorney. In August of 1956, he went into partnership with Percy Helm in Sturgis, South Dakota. Mr. Morman held one elected position – Meade County State’s Attorney 1958-1962 and one appointed position – Sturgis City Attorney 1965-1966. In 1967, he began his affiliation with Keith Smit and commenced the practice known as Morman and Smit. We added subsequent attorneys over time, and in 1995, his practice was renamed the Morman Law Firm.
Dale was very active in all civic aspects in the City of Sturgis and Meade County. He developed a reputation for being a preeminent estate planner, probate attorney, corporate law, and trial lawyer. He served as a mentor for many attorneys who practiced under him and had a lasting impact on the people who he considered to be his friends. Dale was also an active pilot and skeet shooter, attending numerous tournaments across the western United States during his hay day. He continued his passion for skeet shooting and hunting over the years. Mr. Morman passed away on May 21, 2009.
Keith R. Smit (1941-2021)
Keith R. Smit had been practicing law in Sturgis for over 43 years and was considered one of the preeminent corporate and probate attorneys in South Dakota. Mr. Smit was born in Alta, Iowa, in June of 1941. He attended the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, South Dakota, where he received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration in 1964 and majored in Economics. In 1967, he received his Juris Doctor and was admitted to the South Dakota State Bar. He came to practice with Dale L. Morman in Sturgis, South Dakota. According to Mr. Morman, “I had to hire him as a partner, or he was going to open up a law office across the street and put me out of business!” Mr. Morman wisely chose the former, and the two worked together until Mr. Morman died in 2009. He immediately put his experience in running businesses to work. His tax planning and probate planning background created a unique opportunity for legal services for clients in the Black Hills and West River area.
Over the years, Mr. Smit was actively involved in the community, donating his time and financial assistance to public improvement projects, such as the Sturgis Community Center, Woodle Field and Jeff Smit Memorial Track, and other economic projects. He has, on numerous occasions, held the position of Sturgis City Attorney, working under different mayors to promote and develop economic projects which have benefited the City of Sturgis specifically, and the area in general. Keith consulted with practicing attorneys at the Strain Morman Law Firm in estate planning, probate law, corporate law, real estate law, and banking
Meet the Lawyers
His peers have recognized Michael Strain as one of South Dakota’s outstanding trial lawyers. In 1995, he was selected as South Dakota Trial Lawyer of the Year. He has also been labeled as “Super Lawyer” by the Great Plains Super Lawyers Magazine. Mr. Strain has developed a stellar record as a trial attorney in civil and criminal jury trials throughout his career, trying over 100 cases to verdict and bringing numerous others to settlement. His litigation practice has ranged from minor car accidents to civil rights litigation, medical malpractice cases, business litigation cases, and murder trials. Mr. Strain has obtained numerous “not guilty” verdicts in criminal trials and has brought many substantial civil verdicts and settlements. His litigation practice is focused on business litigation, civil rights, personal injury, medical malpractice, and criminal law. From 2002 to 2007, Mr. Strain won 19 civil jury trials in a row.
A few examples of Michael’s cases include
Grassili v. Barr, et al.: Obtained a $4,505,522 jury verdict (including punitive damages) in a civil trial against the California Highway Patrol for retaliation against a citizen. Pretrial offer, $0.
Family Products LLC v. Infomercial Ventures Partnership: Won in arbitration against Family Products for misuse of intellectual property rights and breach of contract relative to the showing of the John Beck Real Estate Infomercials. Said arbitration resulted in a confidential settlement between the parties.
- Lone Wolf v. Duckwall Alco Stores, Inc.: Obtained a $2,000,000 verdict in Federal District Court in Nebraska for a Native American who slipped and fell at the Defendant’s store.
- Klutman v. Sioux Falls Storm: Obtained a $500,000 verdict for a youth whose knee was injured at the Sioux Falls Arena while playing clinic football.
- Harvey v. Manning.: Obtained a $150,000 verdict for a trip and fall in Douglas, Wyoming.
- Fasthorse v. Hook: Obtained a $175,000 verdict for a woman who was T-boned and had $6,000 in chiropractic expenses.
- Loen v. Sandbolt: Obtained a $135,000 verdict for a woman who was rear-ended with $7,000 in medical expenses.
Bad Faith Insurance
Bertelsen v. Allstate Insurance Company: Obtained a $1,650,000 jury verdict (including punitive damages) in a civil trial against Allstate Insurance Company for failing to pay the medical benefits due under their auto policy. Said jury verdict ultimately resulted in a confidential settlement between the parties.
- State v. Hoadley: Mr. Strain was instrumental in obtaining a life sentence for Darrel Hoadley, where his Co-defendants received the death penalty.
- Strain has received numerous “not guilty” verdicts in criminal jury trials.