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Attorneys of the Year: Kay Nord Hunt

Lommen, Abdo, Cole, King & Stageberg

Kay Nord Hunt had a banner year in 2013. Hunt’s appellate work on both sides of the “loss of a chance” doctrine over 30 years culminated in a precedent-setting decision by the Minnesota Supreme Court.

Hunt represented 7-year-old cancer patient Jocelynn Dickhoff, whose pediatrician did not diagnose a suspicious lump or refer her to a specialist for nearly a year. The lump turned out to be a rare and aggressive form of cancer. The parents alleged Jocelynn would have had a greater chance for survival if diagnosed earlier.

On May 31, the Supreme Court released the landmark ruling in Dickhoff v. Green that said a patient may recover for the loss of a chance when a physician negligently deprives her of a chance of recovery or survival. Jocelynn died in July.

“She was a tough little girl,” Hunt said.

Previously, she represented physicians and an adult patient in such cases.

“You can see the other side because you’ve been on the other side,” she said.

Also last year, Gustavus Adolphus College honored Hunt with its Distinguished Alumni Citation. Previous recipients include Supreme Court Justices J.R. Magney and G. Barry Anderson and Gov. Harold LeVander. In addition, the state Supreme Court also appointed her to its Advisory Committee on the Rules of Civil Appellate Procedure.

Hunt said she “fell into” appellate law just before Minnesota established a Court of Appeals in the early 1980s.

“I was very fortunate because I was able to start handling and arguing cases very early,” she said.

Hunt chairs the appellate practice group at Lommen, Abdo, Cole, King & Stageberg, where the breadth of cases gives her lots of variety.

“It’s really being able to take what’s been presented at the trial court level and present it to the appeals court,” she said.

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