The Great Trials Podcast

Patrick Arenz | Richard H. Tholen, M.D. v. Assist America, Inc. | $27.8 million verdict

January 25, 2022

This week, your hosts Steve Lowry and Yvonne Godfrey interview Patrick Arenz of Robins Kaplan LLP (https://www.robinskaplan.com/).

 

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Episode Details:

Patrick Arenz of Robins Kaplan LLP shares how he successfully represented Twin Cities, Minnesota plastic surgeon Richard H. Tholen after he was denied emergency medical evacuation by Assist America, Inc. for a severe knee injury, which resulted in an above-the-knee amputation. In April 2015, Richard "Dick" Tholen dislocated his knee on a zipline course in Mexico and attempted to use his American Medical Association membership privilege to initiate Assist America's emergency medical evacuation services, which are available to transport members when an international hospital is unable to meet the U.S. standard for medical care. It took more than 35 hours for a licensed doctor to evaluate Dick's injuries. After multiple conversations with Assist America's medical coordinators and the local hospital's improper use of a hard cast on Dick's soft tissue injury, he was denied transport. Taking matters into his own hands, Dick took a commercial flight back to his Minnesota home and was evaluated by doctors who determined that he had a significant blood clot behind his knee. On May 18, 2015 — approximately one month after he sustained the injury — Dick underwent an above-the-knee amputation. In spite of Assist America Inc.'s attempts to blame Dick for the loss of his leg and misrepresent the facts in a published case study, a U.S. District Court of Minnesota jury found Assist America, Inc. negligent and guilty of breach of contract. In November 2021, the jury assigned $10 million in punitive damages to Assist America, Inc. and awarded Dick a $27,882,915.49 verdict, which was the largest personal injury verdict in Minnesota history. 

 

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Guest Bio:

Patrick Arenz:

In an era of litigators, Patrick Arenz is a trial lawyer. According to IAM, Patrick is an “excellent, thorough, and focused cross-examiner.” He handles high-stakes disputes for a diverse set of clients, ranging from Fortune 100 companies to small inventor-led companies and individuals. His practice focuses on patent and copyright infringement matters, trade secret misappropriation, breach of contract disputes, and business and individual tort cases. He is equally adept at representing defendants, and has handled competitor-versus-competitor patent cases on both sides of the “v.” His cases have garnered media attention from outlets including The New York Times, Star Tribune, and even “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.” Based on his accomplishments, Patrick was selected for the Minneapolis/St Paul Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 list and the inaugural Bloomberg Law 40 Under 40 list, named a Minnesota Attorney of the Year in 2018, included on the IAM Patent 1000: The World’s Leading Patent Professionals list, and named a Legal Media Group Americas Rising Star 2019 Winner for Best in Litigation: Trial Lawyer. 

Patrick has honed his trial skills in courtrooms across the country and spent his early career working alongside renowned trial lawyers, like Ronald J. Schutz. He has since tried a wide range of cases, including patent infringement, breach of contract, personal injury, and felony-criminal defense cases. In 2021, he served as lead trial counsel in a personal injury case wherein his team secured a $27.8 million jury verdict on behalf of Dr. Richard Tholen, a top Twin Cities plastic surgeon, who endured an amputated leg after Assist America refused to evacuate him for proper medical care. This verdict has been reported as the largest personal injury verdict in Minnesota history. In 2020, he secured a complete victory in an arbitration for celebrity chef, Chloe Coscarelli, and her business entity that restored her 50% ownership in the “by Chloe” restaurant company she founded and was previously valued in excess of $60 million; enjoined the company from selling retail products; and awarded Chloe a $2.2 million in attorneys’ fees and costs. He also obtained a final judgment in excess of $2 million in favor of his client following a jury verdict against a former employee accused of misappropriating confidential information. In 2016, he tried a breach of license dispute over unpaid royalties, and obtained a $5.7 million verdict that settled on appeal for $13.5 million. Many of Patrick’s cases have resolved successfully before trial, driven by his preparation and readiness for trial. 

Patrick is also adept at handling high-stakes appeals. He has argued at the Eighth Circuit, Ninth Circuit, Federal Circuit, and Minnesota Supreme Court and Court of Appeals. In 2020, for example, Patrick obtained a reversal and remand from the Eighth Circuit in Tholen v. Assist America, in which Patrick also serves as trial counsel for Dr. Tholen in his defamation claim. In 2021, Patrick achieved a reversal and remand from the Minnesota Court of Appeals in Smits v. Park Nicollet, finding a triable issue in a wrongful death action over Park Nicollet’s duty to provide reasonable medical care to its mental health patient and his family.

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Free Resources:

Stages Of A Jury Trial - Part 1

Stages Of A Jury Trial - Part 2

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