Robins Kaplan Secures $27.8 Million Jury Verdict on Behalf of Twin Cities Doctor

November 19, 2021

$27.8M Jury Verdict

Robins Kaplan LLP secured a $27.8 million verdict for its client 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.

Dr. Tholen suffered a traumatic knee dislocation while ziplining in Mazatlán, Mexico in 2015. As a member of the American Medical Association, he was the beneficiary of emergency medical evacuation services provided by Assist America—the nation’s largest provider of global medical emergency services with over 40 million members. Yet Assist America denied Dr. Tholen evacuation out of Mexico. As a result, Dr. Tholen was left to arrange for his own medical care in Mexico and transportation back to the United States. Without Assist America’s assistance, he received poor medical care and his return to the United States was delayed. This delay led to an above-the-knee amputation.

Partner Patrick M. Arenz served as lead trial counsel. On the verdict, he noted: “The tragedy that Dr. Tholen suffered did not have to happen. When he called Assist America and asked to be evacuated they should have honored his request. Had they done so he would have his leg today. We hope this verdict sends a message and will prevent a tragedy like this from happening in the future.”

The verdict includes $10 million in punitive damages. The case, Tholen v. Assist America, was tried in the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota. In addition to Arenz, the Robins Kaplan trial team included Emily E. Niles and Jessica L. Gutierrez.

Patrick M. Arenz


Chair, Recruiting/Hiring Committee

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