Helping people overcome loss, pain, and grief is the purpose of my professional life. I understand how hard it can be to trust again after the kind of harms my clients suffer and I recognize the courage it takes to try and move on. Each family and case I have leaves an indelible mark on my heart. I consider it a privilege to help those I represent tell their story, find a measure of justice, and secure their future.
Kathleen Flynn Peterson is devoted to providing advocacy for people dealing with pain, suffering and loss. As a former registered nurse, Kathleen understands that providing the best possible care requires speaking up for patients’ needs and speaking out against institutional problems in the medical system. Kathleen advocates against health care injustices by focusing on representing individuals and families who experience injury or death as a result of medical negligence. Her medical/legal background, along with a commitment to courtroom excellence and a deep dedication to her clients and their families, allows Kathleen to make an important difference in the lives of the clients she represents. Kathleen’s exceptional advocacy is in all areas of medical negligence with a particular emphasis on babies born with birth injuries, birth trauma, cerebral palsy, and other medical injuries.
As a result of her outstanding advocacy, Kathleen was selected for membership in many prestigious, invitation-only trial lawyer organizations and serves as a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, the American Board of Trial Attorneys, the International Society of Barristers, the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, and the American Bar Foundation. She also is certified as a Civil Trial Specialist by the Civil Litigation Section of the Minnesota State Bar Association and is a frequent, sought-after speaker and lecturer on trial litigation strategies.
Kathleen has been an active member of the Minnesota Association for Justice, serving as their past president, and the American Association for Justice, formerly the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, the nation’s largest plaintiffs trial bar. In 2007, Kathleen served as the national president of this organization. She has been a member of their Board of Governors for 29 years, has served multiple terms on their Executive Committee, as well as chairing the organization’s educational arm for several terms. In 1999, she was honored with the association’s prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award.
Her leadership skills in navigating birth, labor, and delivery cases has led to numerous recognitions and awards for her contributions to the legal profession. Kathleen has been consistently recognized by Minnesota Super Lawyers since 2003, and was named a Top 10 Minnesota Super Lawyer (2017-2018) and a Top 50 Women Minnesota Super Lawyer (2010-2018). She has also been named one of 500 Leading Lawyers in America by Lawdragon (2005-2018) and one of the Top 250 Women in Litigation by Benchmark Litigation (2013-2014, 2018). Kathleen was also named to Minnesota Lawyer’s 2015 “Circle of Excellence,” honoring the multiple years the publication has named her an “Attorney of the Year.”
Proud of the work she has done standing by the side of those who need her help to receive justice, Kathleen takes great pride in her family. Married to her husband Steve for 39 years, Kathleen is a mother to two grown sons and grandmother of two grandchildren. She considers her roles as a daughter, wife, mother, and grandmother among her greatest achievements. Kathleen has also devoted countless hours to the broader community through her work as a legal educator and leader and as a board member of Minneapolis’ Children’s Theatre Company.
Kathleen settled a claim for a woman who suffered loss of significant portions of all four limbs. The case settled for $18 million.
Represented a 51-year-old woman who suffered a catastrophic brain injury following a failed tracheostomy procedure. The woman had undergone surgery at a Minnesota hospital to repair a brain hemorrhage, which was by all accounts successful though she still required ventilatory support for breathing. About a week after the surgery, doctors in the hospital performed a procedure called a bedside percutaneous tracheostomy to allow for longer-term ventilator support while the woman recovered. During the procedure a large artery in the woman’s neck was severely damaged, leading to massive loss of blood and a global brain injury. She is left catastrophically impaired, blind and totally dependent on others for round-the-clock care. The case settled for $9.5 million.
Obtained a settlement for a three-year-old child who suffered a hypoxic brain injury during her birth. When labor stalled, the obstetrician made repeated attempts at a vacuum delivery. When these attempts failed, instead of ordering an immediate C-section, the obstetrician had the exhausted mother continue to push for another 30 minutes. During this time, the baby’s heart rate continued to drop and she was born in distress. An MRI confirmed that she had suffered a hypoxic brain injury which resulted in cerebral palsy, permanent neurological injuries, and developmental delays. This North Dakota case settled at mediation for $5.6 million, an amount that will allow the child’s parents to provide the care this child will require for the rest of her life.
Kathleen settled a medical negligence case involving a Midwest hospital, wherein the released parties’ alleged care and treatment of a mother during labor and delivery resulted in developmental delays and cerebral palsy for their child. The case settled for $4.25 million.
Obtained a $1.25 million settlement for a now 69-year-old Minnesota woman who experienced a severe massive intracranial hemorrhage on the left side of her brain. Once the hemorrhage was identified the defendant neurosurgeon failed to remove most of it because he operated on the wrong side of the brain. Defendant doctor denied any wrong doing. The client experienced bilateral ataxia (lack of voluntary coordination of muscle movement), bilateral dysmetria (lack of coordination and inability to gauge distance leading to “overshooting” and “undershooting” the intended position), balance and walking difficulties, and partial dysarthria (difficulty articulating words) because the defendant doctor failed to remove the hemorrhage timely and injured healthy brain tissue when the doctor was operating on the wrong side of the brain. Defendant doctor argued that our client’s deficits would have been the same because the severe hemorrhage caused our client’s deficits and they were not caused by the doctor.
Kathleen achieved a $500,000 settlement for a 46-year-old woman and her husband following a 31-month delay in diagnosing our client’s endometrial cancer. Our client was diagnosed with a genetic condition that increased the likelihood of her developing endometrial cancer. Because of that diagnosis she elected to have her uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries removed to reduce the likelihood of developing endometrial cancer. Tissue from the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries were sent to pathology to diagnose potential cancer following their removal. Endometrial cancer was present in the tissue submitted to the pathologist but the pathologist failed to diagnose it, resulting in a delay in diagnosing our client’s cancer. The Defendant argued the pathologist’s failure to diagnose the endometrial cancer did not change our client’s prognosis or course of cancer treatment.
Represented a 43-year-old woman who suffered a catastrophic injury after what should have been a relatively simple surgical procedure. The woman lost all use of her dominant arm, developed an unrelentingly painful nerve disorder, and was forced to withdraw from her Ph.D. program at the University of Minnesota. The case was settled for $5.075 million.
Client v. Gene Kirkpatrick The District Court, East Central Judicial District in North Dakota, issued an opinion on July 8 in a civil action for damages for wrongful death, ordering judgments of $4,406,139.50 as compensation for economic damages, $5 million as compensation for non-economic damages and the maximum $250,000 for exemplary damages. The family of Dr. Philip Gattuso of Fargo, N.D., who was killed in October 2009, had sought damages in the civil action following the July 2011 conviction of conspiracy to murder and life sentencing of the defendant, Gene Kirkpatrick, of Jones, Okla. Kirkpatrick had arranged for his son-in-law, Dr. Gattuso, to be killed following the death of his daughter Valerie, Dr. Gattuso’s wife, to attempt custody of their young daughter. Valerie Gattuso had passed away in March 2009 following complications from surgery. We also represented the Gattuso family in that medical malpractice lawsuit, which had settled confidentially.
Kathleen obtained a $2,500,000 settlement in a medical malpractice case involving the survival action and death of a young woman.
Kathleen represented the family of a 36-year-old wife and mother who died due to the negligence of Monticello Big Lake Community Hospital, now New River Medical Center and obtained a $4,623,924 verdict on their behalf. Kathleen brought suit against the hospital on behalf of the woman’s surviving child and husband in an effort to help them rebuild their lives after their devastating loss. The money the jury awarded will allow the father to continue to provide his child with the care and comfort they need following their mother’s death.
Kathleen’s client suffered permanent, life-changing injuries because her doctor and medical clinic failed to property treat her seizures, which she developed following an angiogram procedure. EEGs confirmed the presence of seizure activity and her client developed increasing confusion and cognitive impairment. While under the care of her original doctor and clinic the seizure activity never stopped. The correct diagnosis of non-convulsive status epilepticus finally occurred after our client’s care was transferred to Mayo Clinic, and only then were her seizures controlled. By that time, her client’s continuing cognitive impairment prevented her from returning to her specialized professional employment. Kathleen obtained a $4,000,000 settlement for the client to replace her significant lost income and cover the ongoing medical and rehabilitative care she will need the rest of her life.
An otherwise healthy baby suffered severe and permanent neurological damage when a hospital and nurse/midwife made the decision to let his mother’s labor continue in a manner which injured the baby. The baby’s many physical and developmental special needs require round-the-clock care, adaptive equipment and a team of medical, educational and rehabilitative specialists. The $4.5 million settlement Kathleen obtained for the baby will allow him to be cared for through his life in manner which meets his complex needs and, additionally, reimburses state and private insurers for prior contributions to his care.
A hospital and clinic caused life-altering injuries to a newborn by failing to properly monitor fetal status and failing to perform a c-section delivery in a timely manner. The baby suffered severe perinatal asphyxia ischemic encephalopathy resulting in lifelong disability. Kathleen obtained a $3.7 million settlement that ensures the baby’s extraordinary needs for ongoing medical care and expenses for equipment and special services can be met.
Because of a hospital’s failure to properly monitor fetal status and perform a cesarean section in a timely fashion, a baby girl suffered severe and permanent neurological damage. The severity of her injuries means she will never be able to support herself or be capable of self-care. The $5 million settlement obtained on the baby’s behalf allows her family to provide her the close supervision and significant supportive care her medical condition requires, while paying back state agencies for prior necessary help they provided.
Kathleen’s client suffered permanent neurological damage because her care providers missed an aneurysm on her CT scan. Left untreated, the aneurysm ruptured after our client left the hospital, causing multiple complex problems including strokes and paralysis. The client and her husband received a $1.2 million settlement to help our client access needed ongoing care.
Kathleen represented the family of a 44-year-old man who died after the hospital he went to for treatment failed to diagnose and treat his pulmonary embolism. His family used some of the proceeds of the $1.7 million settlement obtained to purchase a permanent home, protecting them from the financial uncertainty caused by the untimely death of their husband and father.
A baby left with untreated jaundice suffered profound neurological injuries including Cerebral Palsy, quadriplegia and other delays. As a consequence, he will be care-dependent for life. A $1.7 million settlement obtained on his behalf provides for his future complex care needs while also paying back state agencies and private insurers for prior care contributions.
A 49-year-old father sought treatment for chest pains and related symptoms. He was released from care with no diagnosis or directions for further care. He died the next day and the cause of death was determined to be heart disease. Kathleen obtained a $1.475 million settlement to help care for the man’s surviving wife and provide education expenses for his surviving children.
Medical negligence occurring during the delivery of a baby boy caused cerebral palsy and other profound injuries. As a result the boy will never live independently and will always require significant medical and rehabilitative interventions. The $1.45 million settlement obtained on his behalf allows his parents to continue caring for their son at home and also allowed them to modify their home to make it handicapped accessible. In addition, the settlement reimbursed the state for funds it provided to help care for the child.
A 37-year-old father of three died after he was misdiagnosed with bronchitis while having a heart attack. Kathleen obtained a $2 million to provide the ongoing needs of his surviving wife and children.
A baby girl suffered irreversible neurological damage when the doctor and hospital involved in her delivery confused the baby’s heart-rate with her mother’s, leading to decision not to perform C-section. The $2 million settlement obtained allows the girl to remain under the care of her parents and receive the specialized services her complex medical condition requires.
The failure to properly treat a mother’s gestational diabetes during delivery caused a baby to suffer profound, life-changing injuries. Kathleen obtained a $2.2 million settlement which provides for the girl’s highly specialized care needs.
*Past results are reported to provide the reader with an indication of the type of litigation we practice. They do not and should not be construed to create an expectation of result in any other case, as all cases are dependent upon their own unique fact situation and applicable law.
Case results before 2019 were obtained while Kathleen was at her former firm.
**Being named to the list or receiving the award is not intended and should not be viewed as comparative to other lawyers or to create an expectation about results that might be achieved in a future matter.