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The POWER 30: Richard Ruohonen

Minnesota Lawyer//February 22, 2021//

The POWER 30: Richard Ruohonen

Minnesota Lawyer//February 22, 2021//

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Personal injury practices are no exception to the hit to normal everyday activities inflicted by COVID. But jury trials are not quite a thing of the past, since Bloomington lawyer Richard Ruohonen tried the first few jury trials in the state in Hennepin County last fall, winning a $265,000 verdict after a $10,000 offer.  Plexiglass was everywhere, masks were mandatory, and jurors were sitting spread out around the courtroom. Ruohonen said he felt safe.

The trial was an uninsured motorist claim against the plaintiff’s own insurer. On the TSR Injury Law website, Ruohonen, who has a reputation for ferocity, stated: 

“You do not get Jake from [insurer] when you file a claim with [it]. Instead, they call you a liar, they tell you that you are not hurt or if you were it was only for six weeks, they say it was all preexisting and then they pay a lot of money to hire a doctor to say the same thing. So, sometimes you have to let the people of your community speak. And they did, and did it loudly with masks on. They told [the insurer] the way it treated its own customer was not acceptable.”

He also recently accomplished a $3.041 million arbitration award for a 53-year-old nurse who was rear-ended by a semi-truck on highway 94 at highway speeds. She was hit so hard that her vehicle was pushed into a truck in front of her which pushed into another car, thereby totaling all three vehicles. She suffered a mild traumatic brain injury, affecting her career and home life. Her whole life has changed and she can only work every other day, Ruohonen said. Ruohonen attributes the outcome to the fact that his witnesses — family, co-workers and doctors — were all great people.

The case was arbitrated because he could not get into court, Ruhonen said, and without trial dates there are few if any meaningful settlement offers. He called for support  from judges on helping to move settlements, saying that his firm is not taking low-ball offers but will come back at the insurers for misconduct. “We’re going to bad faith them,” he said. “It’s super-frustrating.” 

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