Lindell and Lavoie LLP
James Lindell and James Lavoie met in law school at the University of Minnesota in 1977. After graduation they went their separate ways but renewed their friendship and became law partners in 1997. They’ve been winning cases and earning accolades ever since.
They believe their small (five-lawyer) law firm is a good place to practice with a culture that stems from them. They have a family atmosphere and a similar, straightforward outlook, Lavoie said. “We’ve each had our share of million-dollar cases,” he said.
One of the more recent cases was a bilateral below the knee amputation caused by Heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT) where the blood-thinning medicine actually has the opposite effect, resulting in clots and gangrene. That case, venued in North Dakota, was resolved with a confidential settlement of more than $1 million, Lindell said. (The state has a $500,000 damage cap on pain and suffering and the client had heavy economic damage.)
With more than 70 years of combined experience, Lindell and Lavoie have some thoughts on how personal injury practice could be improved. The first idea that comes to mind is to amend or repeal Minn. Stat. 573.01, which denies survivorship of a claim if the plaintiff dies in a way that is unrelated to the tortious wrongful conduct. “The defense can wait the plaintiff out,” Lavoie said. A bill addressing the survivorship issue was before the legislature at Minnesota lawyer’s deadline.
Bad faith claims against insurers are another area where the law could be more favorable to plaintiffs, Lavoie and Lindell say. They think that insurers don’t always act in their insured’s best interest (first-party bad faith) and make spurious claims in other cases (third-party bad faith).
They would also like a return to joint and several liability, instead of the joint liability now provided in Minn. Stat. 604.02, which may limit the plaintiff’s recovery. It’s particularly important in dram shop cases, Lindell said.