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Brandon Thompson, Ciresi Conlin
Brandon Thompson, Ciresi Conlin

The POWER 30: Brandon Thompson

Brandon Thompson had a slower year in 2021 than he did in 2020, which only means that last year he took in less than $16 million.

But, being medical malpractice cases, his settlements are generally confidential. There were no trials and thus no verdicts in 2021.

One such settlement was confidential and “very significant,” Thompson said, for a man who went in for coronary bypass surgery and ended up blind in both eyes. His optic nerve was damaged due to lack of oxygen which affected his blood pressure, heart rate and hemoglobin.

A case with particularly astounding facts was a man who went into the hospital with appendicitis and was to have his appendix removed. But another doctor performed a later surgery only to find the appendix intact. That case settled without being put in suit, Thompson said.

This year should be different. “We’ve got a slew of cases going to trial, from February through August,” Thompson said. If that seems a little intense, Thompson says, it’s fun.

At the time of Minnesota Lawyer’s deadline, Thompson was to begin trial of a man who became a tetraplegic after back surgery when the anesthesia was not administered correctly. While he was being intubated, his neck became extended which caused compression on his spinal cord, Thompson said.

And later in February, Thompson was scheduled for trial in the case of a brain injury suffered by Hennepin County District Court Judge Fred Karasov. Karasov was exercising at a fitness center in the Uptown neighborhood of Minneapolis when he went into cardiac arrest. Although the center had an AED defibrillator, it was not administered by staff. A nurse who was exercising at the center assisted Karasov but nobody at the center told her there was an AED, and let the nurse take over, Thompson said.

Thompson has been involved in prior law-changing malpractice cases. He was part of a team who prevailed in Wesely v. Flor in 2011. In that case, the Supreme Court held the safe-harbor provision in Minn. Stat. sec. 145.682, subd. 6(c) (2010), allowing the plaintiff to submit an expert affidavit from a different witness, which the District Court had ruled was not an “amendment.”

In 2020, in Popovich v. Allina, a divided Supreme Court said that a hospital may be vicariously liable on a theory of apparent authority for the professional negligence of independent contractors, including doctors. It was a monumental shift in the law, Thompson said, and meant that patients who are injured by medical negligence don’t have to be subject to hospitals’ “secret agreements” with independent contractors. The opinion is consistent with the majority of other states who have addressed the issue.

Medical malpractice litigation has been good to Thompson and he returns the favor. He thinks the Minnesota system works “doggone well.” The expert affidavit practice weeds out weak cases and the defense bar is experienced and sophisticated. “There’s nothing I can think of to change about the law,” he said.


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