Having jurors hear a top Twin Cities plastic surgeon describe the ordeal that led to the amputation of his leg was critical in the strategy that secured the doctor a $27.8 million verdict, according to Patrick Arenz, a partner at Robins Kaplan.
Dr. Richard Tholen suffered a traumatic knee dislocation while ziplining Mazatlán, Mexico, in 2015. Assist America, an emergency medical evacuation services provider, refused to fly Tholen back to the United States. Tholen received poor medical care in Mexico and had to arrange his own return trip, causing a delay that resulted in an above-the-knee amputation.
“The key was to ensure that Dr. Tholen could tell his story in his own voice: what he went through in Mexico, why he needed help from Assist America and what he endures every day from the harm he suffered as a result of Assist America’s indifference and incompetence,” says Arenz, lead counsel in the federal trial that concluded in November.
In a powerful moment, Arenz says, Tholen “stepped down from the witness stand and showed the jury his prosthetic and what he goes through each day to put it on and take it off.” Tholen continues his medical practice but the injury and amputation have reduced his ability to work to some degree.
Arenz last year also won a bench trial in a bankruptcy case preventing investors from buying celebrity chef Chloe Coscarelli’s “by Chloe” trademark, after obtaining an arbitration award reinstating her 50% ownership in the “by Chloe” vegan restaurant chain.
“High-stakes trial work is what our firm has done for over 80 years,” Arenz says. “We thrive on simplifying the complex. And we’re often at our best when we’re pursuing justice in a David-versus-Goliath fight. Both of these principles were at the forefront of the Dr. Tholen and Chef Chloe cases. Rewriting the odds is what we do at Robins Kaplan.”
Read more about Minnesota Lawyer’s superb class of Attorneys of the Year for 2021 here.
Gain access to all of our great content with a month-to-month subscription. Start your subscription here.