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The POWER 30: Nate Bjerke

Minnesota Lawyer//June 22, 2023

Nate Bjerke

Nate Bjerke, TSR Injury Law

The POWER 30: Nate Bjerke

Minnesota Lawyer//June 22, 2023

TSR Injury Law

Nate Bjerke’s career trajectory sounds like the plot of a John Grisham novel. He started out as a defense lawyer, representing insurance companies in catastrophic product liability cases. There came a time when he zeroed-out three plaintiffs in a row — a quadriplegic, a paraplegic, and the family of a dead 16-year-old girl.

It was an inflection point. “I felt like in order to do my job well I had to put my empathy in a box,” Bjerke said.

By May 2023, the civil trial system was “pretty much back” after COVID-19, Bjerke said, but he has not tried a case since June of 2022. That seems to be that the playing field is different. Verdicts are bigger and that means more settlements. But if the case is tried, the results may be extreme, he said. “Strike outs are much more common and home runs are more common. There have been some low disappointing verdicts.” Bjerke finds that jurors are ”fed up” with people being treated unfairly.

Some serious injury cases are close to trial or have settled, Bjerke said. One is a serious brain injury a man suffered at a power plant. He was up in the air on a scissors lift near a garage door when someone opened the door, knocking the man to the concrete ground. He is blind and requires 24-7 care at a cost of $60,000 per month. Bjerke said the case settled for a significant, but confidential, amount.

Another case now scheduled for July is about an injury at a Spam plant in Austin, Minnesota. A man was standing on a torque lift that was open in the back. A spring broke in a switch on the floor, causing the lift to run into a concrete ballast. The 27-year-old lost his foot.

There are more disastrous events injuring clients, including boating and traffic accidents, a propane explosion, and a toddler brain damaged by lead paint, Bjerke said. If the cases settle, the results surely will be significant, but confidential.

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