Judge cuts 'shockingly excessive' jury award; new trial sought


Minnesota college student Anuj Thapa is seeking a new trial against Sartell, Minn.-based St. Cloud Orthopedic Associates after a judge cut his jury award from $110 million to $10 million, according to a Dec. 29 report from the StarTribune.

The judge slashed Mr. Thapa's jury award in October, calling it "shockingly excessive." The original verdict was the largest medical malpractice verdict in Minnesota's history. 

The $111.3 million in damages included $110 million for pain and suffering. The judge's ruling did not affect $1.25 million that Mr. Thapa received for economic damages.

In 2017, Mr. Thapa had surgery performed by on-call orthopedic surgeon Chad Holien, MD. Mr. Thapa claimed that despite expressing concerns about severe pain following the procedure, he was discharged from the hospital. 

Six days later he returned and a different surgeon, Matthew Hwang, MD, discovered that Mr. Thapa experienced acute compartment syndrome. Mr. Thapa underwent more than 20 surgeries and has been left with permanent damage. 

He later filed a lawsuit against the system in 2019 for failure to appropriately evaluate his symptoms and diagnose and treat his acute compartment syndrome.

Now, Mr. Thapa has opted for a new trial. If he had accepted the $10 million award, he would not have been allowed to appeal the judge's reduction, but he can following the new trial.

"While we respect the court's order, we didn't think it properly recognizes the full scope of his injuries, and it didn't fully embrace the importance of jury verdicts in the civil justice system," Brandon Thompson, Mr. Thapa's lawyer, told the Star Tribune. 

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