St. Cloud business, former SCSU student head to trial for a second time

A federal court case that resulted in more than $111 million being awarded to a former St. Cloud State University student following a trial last year will once again be heard in front of jurors.

Court documents show defendant St. Cloud Orthopedic Associates has filed a motion for a new trial regarding non-economic damages in a case involving Anuj Thapa, who sued after receiving care from the defendant back in 2017, claiming he has permanent leg damage.

According to the motion, the defendant alleges there were evidence errors, attorney misconduct at the trial as well as the size of the verdict, claiming the jury’s verdict was “motivated by passion and prejudice” and was excessive.

Documents uploaded to the federal court website earlier this month show Thapa has chosen to decline an offer to remit the jury’s previous award of non-economic damages from $110 million to $10 million and to instead proceed with a new trial for non-economic damages.

A judge has ordered the economic damages awarded by the jury worth more than $1.25 million isn’t affected by the decision to have a new trial.

As previously reported by 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS, Thapa was awarded more than $111.25 million by a federal jury in May of 2022 for past and future medical expenses, pain, disability, emotional distress and more.

Thapa says, in January of 2017, he was taken to St. Cloud Orthopedics for a fractured leg he suffered while playing soccer. He underwent surgery but still felt “severe, difficult-to-control pain in his left lower leg,” according to his lawsuit. However, he was discharged the next day and told to come back if his symptoms worsened.

After six days, he went back because his pain was as bad as when he left and it “got to the point where he couldn’t stand the pain any longer,” the lawsuit continued. The following morning, a different physician performed surgery and found Thapa had acute compartment syndrome and the muscles in part of his leg were gray and had no contractility.

His lawsuit says he’s endured more than 20 surgeries since then but still has severe, disabling, permanent damage to his leg, which he blamed on St. Cloud Orthopedics’ failure to properly care and treat him, as well as its failure to properly inform him about the risks of discharging him instead of continuing treatment.

After that trial, a federal jury agreed with Thapa, awarding him the nine-figure sum.

A status conference is currently scheduled for the morning of Jan. 9 in Minneapolis.