Denver attorney Hollynd Hoskins levels the playing field.
By Janalee Card Chmel
Publish Date: June 24, 2014
|Hoskins on the steps of Denver County Courthouse. Photo: Mark Woolcott|
When Hollynd Hoskins (B.A. communications multi-major ’87) was in second grade, she wanted to play soccer. Badly. The boys in her class played at recess every day and she joined in. So, when those boys formed a team, Hoskins naturally wanted to join that too.
“This was the early ’70s,” she recalls. “I wanted to be on the team and I’d try to go to practice but they weren’t sure what to do with a girl. The parents and coach had to have a big meeting about whether I could play, and my mom had to march down to the meeting. Ultimately, I got to play.”
Hoskins played soccer all the way through college—including two years as a Roadrunner—and she even received a scholarship to coach while she was still a student at MSU Denver.
That willingness to challenge the system has become Hoskins’ hallmark in Colorado courts as well. She has been named one of the Best Lawyers in America and one of the Top 50 Women Colorado Super Lawyers. She has tried everything from death-penalty cases to complex medical-malpractice lawsuits.
The essence of Hoskins seems to rest in her desire to “level the playing field,” whether that’s on a soccer field or in a courtroom.
“I’m a little bit of a bleeding-heart liberal,” she says, explaining a career that has included clerkships at the Legal Aid Foundation, the ACLU and the domestic violence unit at the Denver City Attorney’s office. Hoskins then spent more than a decade as a trial lawyer for the Colorado State Public Defender’s office. “I believe it’s important to give back to the community and to work for the indigent and less fortunate so that everyone can be on a level playing field. It’s important to the integrity of our system.”
Today, Hoskins is a shareholder of Leventhal, Brown & Puga, a Denver law firm specializing in medical-malpractice and personal-injury cases. Perhaps the most high-profile litigation of her career thus far involved numerous lawsuits she filed against a local hospital and physicians on behalf of 15 patients, who were infected with hepatitis C.
This litigation centered around a technician who was accused of stealing fentanyl, a narcotic used for anesthesia on surgical patients, then injecting herself with the drug. She would then refill the dirty syringe with a saline solution and return it to a surgical tray where it was then unknowingly administered to patients, infecting them with the hepatitis C virus.
Hoskins was adamant that the case go beyond compensating the victims to creating a safer environment for future patients.
“We wanted to make changes to prevent this from ever happening again,” says Hoskins. “We helped to hold the hospital and anesthesiologists accountable for the way they safeguard narcotics like fentanyl and to change their practice to secure them from diversion.”
Lauren Lollini was one of the victims represented by Hoskins.
“Hollynd truly cares,” says Lollini. “She cares about her clients and gets to know them as people, which helps their cases. She is a very protective lawyer and I felt like she always had my back. On the flip side, when we were deposing the anesthesiologists, she was a shark.
“Hollynd knows her stuff and she uses it for good.”