The year 2021, however, produced a $6.7 million verdict in Hennepin County for a Minneapolis city employee whose leg was nearly severed from a maneuver by a truck owned by beverage distributor Bernick’s. Plaintiff Anthony Kelley was working on the street and a hose connected to a fire hydrant ran across the site. The Bernick’s truck caught the hose and continued driving. The hose broke off from the hydrant, flailed around the area and injured two people. Kelley required six surgeries over the next three years. His leg was reattached, but functioning is problematic.
Still, he is the “nicest human being I’ve ever met,” Hall said. He said the case had the highest stakes of his career and was also the most fulfilling. Getting enough jurors seated during COVID-19 was tough, and the trial was halted for four days when a member of the defense became feverish.
The jury allocated 70% fault to the driver of the Bernick’s truck, 20% to the city and 5% to Kelley.
The damages for past health care, wage loss, and pain and suffering were about $2.6 million. Future damages for loss of earning capacity and pain were about $4.16 million. Judgment for $6,735,519.77 was entered on Oct. 1, 2021.
The Hall law firm has also accrued noteworthy results in RFN (radiofrequency neurotomy) cases, with results in 2021 of about $1.6 million in three cases. RFN uses heat generated by radio waves to target specific nerves and temporarily turn off their ability to send pain signals. In cases where RFN is a necessary treatment, damages can grow because it must be repeated annually. It can be very helpful for the types of soft tissue injuries that result from car crashes.
The Hall firm is a leader in the state with this genre of cases. According to Hall, the firm is responsible for seven of the top 10 RFN cases in the state, including the three cases in 2021. Those three cases were a $600,000 from a St. Cloud case, $500,000 in federal court in St. Paul, and $515,000 also in the metro area.
There are two take-aways to note about the cases, Hall said. One is that insurers are asking for confidential settlements, which is unusual in automobile accidents. The other is that “pain and suffering matters,” Hall said. Juries are more respectful of those damages, which means that insurance companies are, too, he said.
Born and raised in St. Cloud, Hall has offices there, in Minneapolis and Edina. His father, Mike Hall Sr., is the firm’s founder. His late grandfather, Lawrence M. Hall, was a Minnesota House speaker, attorney, lobbyist and early Metropolitan Airports Commission member.