As a member of Moss & Barnett’s litigation team, Stuart helps businesses and individuals resolve legal disputes. He focuses on defending professionals litigating cases involving false allegations of legal and accounting malpractice, contractual or commercial disputes, contested computer/digital forensic or e-discovery matters, fraud (including mail and wire fraud as predicates for RICO and state-RICO civil claims), fiduciary duty claims, unfair competition, misappropriation of trade secrets, and negligence. Before joining Moss & Barnett, Stuart worked as a legal aid lawyer, gaining first-chair experience in dozens of trials, contested motions hearings, mediations, arbitrations, depositions, and informal ADR negotiations.
During law school, Stuart worked at a Spanish-language legal aid hotline and clerked for a prosecutor’s office, where he focused on a white collar fraud and tax evasion prosecution. He also published an academic article criticizing the methodology of studies utilizing statistical proxies to measure the risk of fraud and corruption for corporate compliance programs.
- Wrote a motion to dismiss for a top 10 accounting firm that resulted in the plaintiff dropping claims for securities fraud, fraudulent misrepresentation, and negligent misrepresentation against the client.
- Defended a fraud, legal, and accountant malpractice, breach of fiduciary duty, and negligence claim brought against a top 10 accounting firm by a former client whose payment of millions of dollars in insurance premiums to an offshore captive insurance company owned by a family trust resulted in a tax fraud investigation by the Internal Revenue Service. Successfully opposed the plaintiff’s motion to seek treble damages and attorneys’ fees under RICO and the New Jersey state racketeering statute and wrote a counterclaim and a motion to compel production that helped motivate the plaintiff to agree to settle.
- Counseled a top Minnesota accounting firm responding to a subpoena from the Securities and Exchange Commission related to alleged securities fraud by a business that it audited. Collected, analyzed, and produced hundreds of thousands of records on a tight timeline, requiring quick analysis and removal of privileged data related to other clients and other non-responsive information.
- Secured a favorable settlement agreement from a local financial institution on behalf of an accountant whose employment was terminated based on allegations of fraud. Utilized data disclosed by the company during the investigation to refute claims of wrongdoing by the client and to develop claims that the company had violated the Fair Labor Standards Act and the terms of an employment contract in order to reach a favorable settlement that included a settlement payment and a favorable reference for future employers.
- Successfully moved for a preliminary injunction protecting a small business from a former employee’s violation of a contractual non-compete agreement and requiring the production of electronic devices for forensic analysis, which revealed evidence to support claims for violation of the Minnesota Trade Secret Act, unfair competition, interference with economic advantage, deceptive trade practices, conversion, and civil theft.
- Worked with computer forensics professionals to scope and price various methodologies for defense experts to analyze voluminous technical data disclosed by Yahoo, Google, and other non-party technology companies in response to subpoenas duces tecum served by an opposing party who accused client of online defamation and computer fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. §2701 (Stored Communications Act) and 18 U.S.C. §2511 (Electronic Communications Privacy Act).
- Managed a computer forensics investigation and used the results at mediation to secure the return of confidential and proprietary settlement on behalf of a Minneapolis-based holding company whose former employee had taken copies of spreadsheets and other documents containing confidential and proprietary business information to start a competing business.
- Prepared a memorandum regarding methodological flaws in the computer forensic evidence collection, storage, and analysis techniques of a rural Minnesota police department on behalf of a felony criminal defendant in a case where inculpatory electronic evidence was gathered, but exculpatory evidence was intentionally spoliated by witnesses as a result of law enforcement’s failure to preserve forensic data as required by best practices recognized by the United States Department of Justice and federal law enforcement agencies. Engaged computer forensic expert witness to attempt to recover deleted data and to testify on behalf of the defense with respect to the breaches of best practices by the police who investigated the case.
- Defended a Minnesota commodities trading firm in a six-figure arbitration claim for railroad demurrage, storage, and other surcharges that the client allegedly caused by using non-compliant railcars to pick up cottonseed at a Texas facility. Secured complete dismissal on the argument that the claim was untimely under the National Grain and Feed Association arbitration rules, the written contract between the parties, and Texas law on the accrual and tolling of statutes of limitations.
- Pursued a claim for defective and tardy construction work on behalf of a nonprofit organization in outstate Minnesota. Took and defended party and expert depositions and appeared as the lead lawyer at a contentious mediation in which the defendant angrily denied all liability and walked out before returning to make the demanded settlement sufficient to cover the cost of remediating faulty work and hiring a replacement contractor to complete construction.
- Negotiated a $20,000 settlement in a pro bono case that began as an effort to force return of a several-hundred-dollar security deposit from a former landlord. Used third-party discovery and statistical analysis of voluminous energy usage data to assert additional claims based on consumer fraud and landlord-tenant statutes and to force the defendants to withdraw their counterclaims under threat of Rule 11 sanctions.
- Brought a motion that resulted in client being awarded relief from a judgment pursuant to Minn. R. Civ. P. 60.02 on the basis that the judgment was the result of the opposing party’s fraud on the court.
- Assisted in a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act investigation with analysis of voluminous financial documents and related communications written in Portuguese and Spanish.
- Prepared an analysis of New York laws limiting or precluding an award of breach of contract damages for a Twin Cities-based technology company involved in a dispute with a customer who initially demanded millions in damages, resulting in a favorable settlement of the dispute.
- Secured a preliminary injunction prohibiting the Minnesota Department of Health from enforcing a statute against construction professionals on the basis of a complaint alleging that the new law violates the equal protection and due process guarantees of the Constitution of the State of Minnesota.
- Won an order dismissing a harassment restraining order petition that alleged a legal aid client had assaulted the petitioner with a deadly weapon. Used photographs of each party’s injuries and other evidence gathered by police to impeach petitioner’s claims that client had used a weapon or excessive force when exercising the right of self-defense against the petitioner’s attempt to forcibly enter client’s home.
- Secured a domestic violence order for protection on behalf of a legal aid client after a two-day trial in which neutral third-party witnesses were used to impeach respondent’s testimony that he had not been abusive and that the client’s photographed and medically documented injuries had been caused by sports practice.
- Impeached the testimony of a party moving for a preliminary injunction by cross-examining them on electronic communications (text, email, and Facebook messages) that directly contradicted their sworn testimony, resulting in an agreement to dismiss on terms favorable to the client.
- Successfully defended legal aid client in an eviction trial by presenting evidence of housing code violations and failure to make repairs by the landlord, resulting in a verdict that permitted the client to continue her lease.
University of Minnesota Law School, J.D.; magna cum laude; editor, Minnesota Journal of International Law
University of Minnesota College of Liberal Arts, B.A., Political Science and Sociology
- U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota
- Spanish and Portuguese
News & Insights
- Star Tribune, 01.07.2020
- Summer 2018 Firm Newsletter, 08.22.2018
- Minnesota Journal of International Law, Vol. 22, No. 1, p. 247, 2013, 02.21.2013
- Minnesota State Bar Association
- Hennepin County Bar Association
- Volunteer lawyer, Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid, LegalCORPS, and Volunteer Lawyers Network