We provide innovative thinking and creative litigation strategies to businesses and individuals nationwide facing complex disputes.
Our litigation team advises and represents clients of all sizes in trials, arbitrations, mediations, negotiations, and on appeal in matters ranging from complex multiparty commercial conflicts to disputes between individuals. We successfully defend and prosecute matters in state and federal courts and in arbitrations nationwide, and we have litigated many of the leading and defining cases in Minnesota jurisprudence.
We focus on achieving the best possible outcomes for our clients by providing top-quality, cost-effective, and customized approaches to each engagement. The firm’s structure and staffing enable us to form efficient litigation teams that place the strongest talent on every case. Our lawyers also leverage the experience of team members from our bankruptcy, business law, corporate finance, family law, real estate, and wealth preservation groups.
Sometimes, it is in our clients’ best interests to avoid litigation. For that reason, a cornerstone of our litigation practice is comprehensive counseling to assess litigation risk in advance. Whether minimizing the likelihood of going to trial or reducing our clients’ exposure, we focus on our clients’ bottom line without compromising their position should litigation arise.
Our state-of-the-art technology and software streamlines our case management and enhances our efficiency. We use technology to simplify and effectively communicate complex issues to juries, judges, and arbitrators. Our technology also provides a communications platform for effective and efficient information sharing with our clients.
Our areas of litigation experience include:
- Arbitration and mediation
- Business and commercial litigation
- E-discovery and record retention
- Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
- Family law
- Intellectual property
- Professional liability
- Real estate
- Shareholder rights
- Telephone Consumer Protection Act
- Trade secrets
- Unfair competition
- Utilities and telecommunications
- Wealth preservation and estate planning
- Will and trust contests
- Defense of $8 million claim for theft of trade secrets, employee disloyalty, breach of non-solicitation agreement, and aiding and abetting. Our client, a large truck parts supply company, hired the top two managers of one of its branch offices, with employment to start after a new branch office was built out by client. After waiting in place for three and a half months, the managers resigned from plaintiff’s branch without notice and immediately began recruiting plaintiff’s employees – and were successful in getting 55 percent of the workforce to join our client. The managers and all employees were “at will,” but one of the managers had a non-solicitation agreement, and the new employees brought customer lists with them. Plaintiff contended that the employee “lift out” irreparably destroyed their business in the state where the branch office was located. After a three-week jury trial in federal court, the jury returned a defense verdict on all counts.
- Ponzi auditor exonerated. In re Kelley (Bankr. D. Minn. 2015; File No. 12-0X008). After the collapse of a massive Ponzi scheme, the bankruptcy trustee sued an auditor of one of the special purpose entities used to conduct the fraud alleging the CPA had negligently failed to detect the fraud, causing damages of $116 million. After a two-week trial, the arbitration panel rejected the claim and awarded a total defense victory to the CPA firm.
- High-damage lawsuit defeated. A CPA firm was sued when several years of audits it performed did not uncover a massive lapping scheme involving a revolving line of credit from a bank. The accounting firm faced claims for the thefts and massive consequential damages from the audit client, its shareholders, the lender, and the holding company that acquired the lender. We quickly negotiated a resolution with the audit client’s shareholders in return for the audit client dropping its claim. We then won a jury verdict against the bank and sustained a dismissal of the holding company’s claim in a ruling by the state supreme court.
- Breach of contract trial. A major manufacturer of private label food products was sued by its former business partner for breaching their joint venture agreement. The partner’s damage claim exceeded $34 million. During the six-week trial, our team of trial lawyers convinced the court that the partner’s expert had made substantial errors and had limited the damages awarded to $275,000, less than had been offered in settlement and 1 percent of the amount claimed. Our efficiency in handling large cases was further confirmed when the partner’s financial records disclosed that the plaintiff’s attorneys’ fees were approximately double the amount of our fees.
- Employer wins in non-compete fight and back pay. Our client hired a new salesperson. Shortly after the salesperson started working, his former employer, a competitor in the same industry, sued the salesperson and our client, claiming breach of a non-compete agreement, and sought to prevent the salesperson from working for anyone in the industry anywhere in the world for a full year. The former employer actually secured a court order that temporarily forced the salesperson, who had also become our client, to stop working. After a hearing where we were able to present the full facts, the court declared the non-compete agreement unenforceable, allowing the salesperson to return to work immediately. He was also awarded back pay of more than $31,000 for the time he was wrongfully prevented from working, and his new employer was awarded more than $36,000 in attorneys’ fees for having to defend the case.
- Settling a former shareholder’s claims. The majority owner of a successful company was sued by a former minority shareholder she had previously bought out. The plaintiff alleged that his rights as a minority shareholder were violated before he sold his stock. In a case of first impression, the plaintiff claimed that he had been illegally terminated from his employment and was entitled to lost salary. He also claimed emotional distress damages for having been forced off the board of directors, and he argued that his stock sale did not preclude either claim. Our team of trial lawyers first persuaded the court to dismiss the employment claim, and then resolved the rest of the claim successfully. Decisive developments in the case included locating the plaintiff’s pertinent medical records and forcing the production of his personal diary, which revealed multiple sources of distress beyond his employment termination.
- Swift action protects brand, shuts down IP infringement. When the brand name of a highly successful food product was misappropriated to sell an energy drink to young people as a faux illicit substance, our litigation and trademark teams combined forces, obtained an immediate temporary restraining order, and quickly obtained a preliminary injunction in federal court. The result was the entire removal of the infringing product from shelves within days.
- Protecting a client’s $10 million business opportunity. Our client had negotiated a very favorable financing arrangement with a wholesaler of electronic goods. Key to the transaction was credit insurance issued by an international insurer. A few months into the arrangement, the credit insurer decided it wanted to withdraw from the deal in violation of its contract. We sued the credit insurer and obtained a temporary restraining order, which prohibited the insurer from withdrawing from the transaction. The case then quickly settled, which allowed our client to earn in excess of $10 million over the life of the arrangement.
- Successful resolution of non-compete/non-solicitation dispute. Our client was a top executive of a national retail grocery, supply chain, and wholesale distribution company. After leaving the company to take a position at one of its largest competitors, our client and his new employer were sued in federal court for breach of a non-competition and non-solicitation agreement, misappropriation of trade secrets, and interference with contractual relations. After persuading the court to refrain from issuing a temporary restraining order against our client that would have prevented him from working for the competitor, we successfully settled the dispute, and our client now enjoys unencumbered employment with his new employer.
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News & Insights
- Moss & Barnett Announces New Shareholders: Kathy Y. Allen, Kelly C. Engebretson, Brittney M. Miller, John M. Schmid, and Alex R. Schoephoerster01.20.2021
- The Best Lawyers in America, 08.20.2020
- Moss & Barnett Congratulates Our Lawyers Listed to Minnesota “Super Lawyers” and “Rising Stars” Lists for 202007.20.2020
- Moss & Barnett Congratulates Our Lawyers Selected for Inclusion in “The Best Lawyers in America” for 2020The Best Lawyers in America©, 08.15.2019
- Moss & Barnett Congratulates Its Lawyers Named to Minnesota “Super Lawyers” and “Rising Stars” Lists for 201907.05.2019
- Moss & Barnett Congratulates Its Lawyers Selected for Inclusion in “The Best Lawyers in America©” for 201908.15.2018
- Moss & Barnett Congratulates Its Lawyers Named to Minnesota “Super Lawyers” and “Rising Stars” Lists for 201807.05.2018
- Moss & Barnett Congratulates Its Lawyers Selected for Inclusion in “The Best Lawyers in America©” for 201808.15.2017
- Moss & Barnett Congratulates Its Lawyers Named to Minnesota “Super Lawyers” and “Rising Stars” Lists for 201707.05.2017
- Moss & Barnett Congratulates Its Lawyers Selected for Inclusion in “The Best Lawyers in America©” for 201708.15.2016
- Moss & Barnett Congratulates Its Lawyers Named to Minnesota "Super Lawyers" and "Rising Stars" Lists for 201607.05.2016
- Moss & Barnett Congratulates Its Lawyers Selected for Inclusion in "The Best Lawyers in America®" for 201508.18.2014
- Moss & Barnett Congratulates Its Lawyers Named to Minnesota "Super Lawyers" and "Rising Stars" Lists for 201407.07.2014
- Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers Webinar, 03.30.2021
- Minnesota CLE 2020 Civil Litigator Seminar Series | Raising Your Deposition Game, MN CLE Conference Center, 600 Nicollet Mall, Suite 370, Minneapolis, MN 55402, 01.28.2020
- How Can Innovations at the Intersection of Law and Technology Influence Practice, Pedagogy and Scholarship in Law?The New Realism in Business Law and Economics Conference, University of Minnesota Law School, Mondale Hall, 229 19th Avenue South Minneapolis, MN 55455, 11.07.2019
- Firm Counsel 2019 Fall Lunch Meeting, Fredrikson & Byron, 200 South Sixth Street, Suite 4000, Minneapolis, MN 55402, 10.30.2019
- Probate and Trust Disputes – The Litigator’s Guide to the Galaxy, Minnesota CLE Conference Center 600 Nicollet Mall #370 3rd Floor, City Center Minneapolis, MN 55402, 11.28.2018
- 2016 Appellate Practice Institute, 600 Nicollet Mall, Suite 370, Third Floor City, Center, Minneapolis, MN 55402, 03.18.2016
- Moss & Barnett Advocate (Winter 2021 edition), 02.25.2021
- Moss & Barnett Advocate (Winter 2021 edition), 02.25.2021
- Summer 2018 Firm Newsletter, 08.22.2018
- A Primer on Standing in Federal CourtThe Woman Advocate (Winter 2017, Vol. 22, Issue 2) (a publication of the American Bar Association Section of Litigation), 03.02.2017
- Summer 2016 Firm Newsletter, 07.18.2016
- Consequential, Special and Incidental DamagesBusiness Disputes: Claims and Remedies (2d ed.), 2015
- Moss & Barnett Fall 2014 Firm Newsletter, 10.01.2014
- Efficient Breach of Contract: If the Cost to Comply with a Contract Exceeds the Cost to Break It, What Can Be Done?Spring 2014 Firm Newsletter, 04.11.2014
- Minnesota State District Court Civil Practice Deskbook, Second Edition (2014)Minnesota State Bar Association Continuing Legal Education, 04.01.2014
- The Hennepin Lawyer, 11.01.2013
- Winter 2013 Firm Newsletter, 02.01.2013
- Professional Liability Insurance: A Compendium of State Law (Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota sections)Defense Research Institute, 10.01.2012
- Newsletter of the AICPA Private Companies Practice Section, 06.01.2012
- American Bar Association, Litigation Section, Professional Services Liability Litigation Committee, 06.01.2012
- Spring 2012 Firm Newsletter, 04.02.2012
- December 2011 Firm Newsletter, 12.01.2011
- Summer 2011 Firm Newsletter, 07.01.2011
- Spring 2010 Firm Newsletter, 04.01.2010
- May 2008, 05.01.2008
- July 2007, 07.02.2007
- October 2006, 10.02.2006