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Home / Special Sections / Attorneys of the Year / 2022 Attorneys of the Year: Rachel Barrett and Brandon Thompson
Rachel Barrett (left) and Brandon Thompson, Ciresi Conlin LLP
Rachel Barrett (left) and Brandon Thompson, Ciresi Conlin LLP

2022 Attorneys of the Year: Rachel Barrett and Brandon Thompson

Within a few weeks of arriving to attend St. Cloud State University, Nepali student Anuj Thapa played a game of indoor soccer with fellow Nepali students and suffered a fractured leg.

After emergency surgery, Thapa was released from St. Cloud Hospital the next day, even though he continued to suffer acute pain and neurological symptoms.

Six days later, Thapa’s doctors diagnosed his condition as “compartment syndrome,” a swelling inside the leg that had severe implications. As a result, surgeons had to conduct more than a dozen corrective surgeries that have left him struggling with disabilities associated with his leg.

Ciresi Conlin LLP attorneys Brandon Thompson and Rachel Barrett won a $111 million medical malpractice verdict against Thapa’s provider, St. Cloud Orthopedic Associates, last year. The case illustrated system failure rather than poor treatment.

“It wasn’t that these providers did something intentionally wrong,” Thompson said, “but their oversight in discharging Mr. Thapa ignored his serious and concerning symptoms, causing him a huge injury.”“

Barrett said she and Thompson argued that the doctors and staff should have recognized the compartment syndrome after the surgery, not days later. They also illustrated several instances of poor oversight and malpractice.

Medical challenges changed the trajectory of Thapa’s life. Barrett said in the aftermath of his injury, he was forced to withdraw from college classes and, when he resumed his studies, could no longer pursue a degree in mechanical engineering, a revered profession in Nepal, because of chronic pain and other daily symptoms.

Thompson said Thapa’s story and personality played a role in winning the case. “I think that one of the biggest reasons we were able to achieve the result that we did is because of him,” Thompson said. “He is a tremendous individual. He’s caring, thoughtful, articulate, and that showed through. The jury wanted to help him and that’s exactly what they did.”

Read more about Minnesota Lawyer’s superb class of Attorneys of the Year for 2022 here.

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