45 Year-Old Biglaw Partner In Critical Condition With Coronavirus

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A partner at Baker Donelson has a confirmed case of COVID-19, and is in critical condition. Mark Frilot, 45, is a partner in the construction litigation practice at the firm’s New Orleans and Mandeville offices and was diagnosed with the disease on Thursday after initially being misdiagnosed with the flu.

Frilot first noticed symptoms on March 6th. The following day he went to a critical care center and was told he had the flu and given Tamiflu, prednisone and cough syrup to treat the disease. However, his symptoms only got worse and included deliriously talking to himself. He went to the emergency room where flu tests came back negative and he was told he was a candidate to be tested for coronavirus. Frilot was then diagnosed with both the coronavirus and double pneumonia. He’s currently sedated and on a ventilator.

Heaven Frilot, the lawyer’s wife, told Nola.com that her husband is “never, ever sick” and the seriousness of his case of COVID-19 shows, “It could happen to anybody.” It’s a warning she feels compelled to make as folks who perceived themselves as low risk for the disease haven’t always heeded health officials’ urging of social distancing. Heaven Frilot said seeing social media images of a Saint Patrick’s Day party in New Orleans that had to be broken up by police motivated her coming forward:

[Heaven Frilot] pleaded with people who think they are too healthy to be at risk to be aware that they still could be in danger and to listen to city leaders’ requests — if not to protect themselves, then for the sake of those who are vulnerable.

“Be aware,” Frilot said. “Please listen. So what if you have to stay home? This is a temporary thing — or hopefully (it will be), if people listen.”

According to Law.com, Baker Donelson has not had any other cases of COVID-19. The New Orleans and Mandeville offices of the firm are closed, and all of the firm’s employees are encouraged to work from home. John Hicks, Baker Donelson’s general counsel, said the firm is working with the authorities:

“We have been cooperating with the board of health in New Orleans to notify everyone who may have been in contact with him and assist them in whatever notifications they thought were appropriate,” Hicks said in an interview.

Firm employees who worked recently with Frilot were given tests for the disease and other firms Frilot has been in contact with have been notified of possible exposure.

The firm also noted they have a plan in place to prevent any disruption of legal services to their clients:

In a statement, Baker Donelson said it has a “comprehensive continuity plan” that will allow the firm to serve its clients. “Baker Donelson joins the rest of society in keeping those affected by COVID-19 in our thoughts and prayers and in hopes of an early return to normalcy,” the firm said.

Best wished to Frilot on a speedy recovery.

headshotKathryn Rubino is a Senior Editor at Above the Law, and host of The Jabot podcast. AtL tipsters are the best, so please connect with her. Feel free to email her with any tips, questions, or comments and follow her on Twitter (@Kathryn1).

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