One involved a client who suffered a traumatic brain injury in the workplace; after years of litigation, the case settled for eight figures. Ruohonen secured $12 million for another client who lost his leg on the job. A third case involved a client who sustained a severe dominant arm injury during a commercial vehicle collision. The client accepted a $1 million settlement shortly before trial.
“Dealing with the emotional effects [of a serious injury] can be a really traumatic thing,” Ruohonen says. “Getting the client the most compensation you can so their life can be easier, in the long run, is a lot of work.”
Ruohonen’s clients matter a great deal to him. “You become part of the family in some cases, especially when you litigate them over years,” he says. “It’s nice to know you made a difference in someone’s life.”
That emotional connection inspires Ruohonen to fight hard — as does his competitive spirit. The two-time national champion in curling doesn’t like to back down from a fight.
“I get pretty upset when my clients aren’t treated well,” he admits. “And nobody will outwork me on a case where I feel my clients aren’t being treated fairly.”
Ruohonen also succeeded in day care injury cases in 2022, an area he considers a specialty and a passion. “I’ve seen so many tragic incidents,” he says. Over the years, he has testified at the state Legislature to promote changes to daycare liability and insurance law.
Though he confesses that he sometimes works “too hard,” Ruohonen doesn’t regret his time fighting for his clients. “When you see that smile on your client’s face after it’s over,” he says, “it’s all worth it.”
Read more about Minnesota Lawyer’s superb class of Attorneys of the Year for 2022 here.