Minnesota Lawyer Honors 11 Robins Kaplan Attorneys as 2022 Attorneys of the Year

December 22, 2022

Robins Kaplan LLP is pleased to announce that Michael Collyard, Patrick Arenz, Peter Schmit, Tara Sutton, Holly Dolejsi, Tim Purdon, David Prange, Christopher Larus, Benjamen Linden, Emily Tremblay, and Rajin Olson have been named 2022 Attorneys of the Year by Minnesota Lawyer.

This annual award recognizes recipients’ leadership skills, involvement in noteworthy cases, and commitment to public service. This year, Robins Kaplan had the highest number of attorneys recognized of all firms in Minnesota.

Michael Collyard is recognized for his role as lead trial counsel in Kelley v. BMO Harris Bank, N.A., in which he secured a $563 million jury verdict – the largest jury verdict in Minnesota history. The case arose out of one of the biggest Ponzi schemes in U.S. history involving former Wayzata fraudster Tom Petters. Petters was convicted and sentenced to 50 years in prison for fraud using accounts held at M&I Bank, which was acquired in 2011 by BMO Harris Bank. The jury found that BMO aided and abetted breaches of fiduciary duty by Petters and his cohorts in using an M&I checking account to launder nearly $74 billion in Ponzi scheme proceeds between 2002 and 2008.

Patrick Arenz is recognized for securing a precedent-setting result in Smits v. Park Nicollet. On September 7, 2022, the Minnesota Supreme Court issued a highly anticipated opinion in the case, holding that mental health providers owe patients a duty of reasonable care, and refusing to absolve that duty in cases of suicide. Over 10 national organizations and international experts filed amicus briefs on this high-profile issue, including the Brady Campaign and the American Medical Association. This decision improves the overall quality of mental health care in Minnesota by assuring the providers of those who seek mental health treatment have a duty of care.

Peter Schmit, Chair of the firm’s Personal Injury and Medical Malpractice Group, is recognized for his leadership skills and overall impact in the legal community. Over the past year, lawyers in his group achieved numerous multimillion-dollar confidential recoveries, and he was directly involved in cases resulting in over $45 million in damages. Schmit also serves as the Chair for the SMRLS Campaign for Legal Aid, raising awareness and financial support for an organization that provides free, high-quality legal services to low-income people.

Tara Sutton, Holly Dolejsi, and Tim Purdon are recognized for their pivotal role representing 28 Tribes in the national opioid litigation. Purdon, Co-Chair of American Indian Law and Policy Group, was one of the first to identify the opportunity for Tribes to exercise their sovereignty by bringing suit against the companies that created and drove the opioid epidemic. Dolejsi similarly provided a crucial role on the Law and Briefing committee, successfully opposing defendants’ myriad of motions to dismiss tribal claims. Early in the litigation, Robins Kaplan was appointed to serve on the Plaintiff’s Tribal Leadership Committee. As a lead negotiator for the committee, Sutton, Chair of the Mass Tort Group, led the team through months of mediation sessions that culminated on February 1, 2022, in a $589 million proposed settlement against the Big Three opioid distributors. On November 15, 2022, Robins Kaplan announced that the recent $3 billion settlement with Walmart will provide $77.9 million in additional compensation to Tribes across the nation.

David Prange, Christopher Larus, Benjamen Linden, Emily Tremblay, and Rajin Olson are recognized for their roles as defense trial counsel in MPAY Inc. v. Erie Custom Computer Applications, Inc. and Payroll World, Inc. On June 14, 2022, a Minnesota federal jury issued a complete defense verdict in favor of Erie Custom Computer Applications and Payroll World—two second-generation family-owned companies—dismissing $27.4 million in remaining claims in a significant software licensing dispute brought by MPAY. Including previously dismissed claims, total asserted damages in this case exceeded $160 million. The verdict allows defendants to continue to develop and license their industry-leading payroll processing software.

All attorneys will be honored at a reception at the Hyatt Regency Hotel on February 15, 2023.

Back to Top