In the 1980s, the Minnesota Legislature adopted an expert affidavit rule requiring plaintiffs within 180 days of commencing suit to obtain and serve a detailed expert affidavit outlining the opinions of their experts.
“It’s quite a task to comply with it,” said Schmit. “Before, if you spoke to an expert and answered interrogatory sentences with two or three sentences, that was sufficient. Now you need these affidavits or you’ll face motions to dismiss from the defense.”
But that’s OK, he said. “I like to get out in front of those things before we even notify the other side.”
For 33 years, Schmit has worked on behalf of others in cases involving medical malpractice, civil rights, and personal injury practice. He currently chairs Robins Kaplan’s National Personal Injury and Medical Malpractice Group, which consists of lawyers, nurses, doctors, paralegals and others who advocate for injured consumers. In the last year, lawyers in his group achieved numerous multimillion-dollar confidential recoveries — including over $15 million in damages for individuals harmed by medical negligence in cases overseen by Schmit himself.
“We recently had a case involving the failure to diagnose cancer in a young woman,” he said. “We were able to obtain a very good recovery that will benefit her and her family. We were happy that we were able to obtain it without having to go to trial.”
Away from the office, Schmit serves as the chair for the SMRLS (Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services) Campaign for Legal Aid, raising awareness and money that goes toward free legal services for low-income people.
Read more about Minnesota Lawyer’s superb class of Attorneys of the Year for 2022 here.