As Founding and Managing Partner of Ciresi Conlin, Katie’s known for practicing at the intersection of science and the law. She pinpoints the advantages and disadvantages of each case, quickly and efficiently. In order to know how to maneuver your client’s case, you also need to understand your opponent’s path. Seeing through the pitfalls while recognizing the advantages both sides face helps to refine the business goals and litigation strategies for any dispute. Plus, after decades in practice, Katie’s learned that the best litigation strategy may be an unconventional one. When not working, Katie can be found at her northern Minnesota cabin, running, or encouraging her three children in some new adventure.
Examples of business, contract, and environmental disputes:
Trial counsel for the Otto Bremer Trust and its three Trustees defending against a Petition filed by the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office (“AGO”), which sought removal of Trustees for alleged breaches of trust and fiduciary duty concerning the Trust’s prior pursuit of a potential sale of Bremer Financial Corporation (“BFC”) and other aspects of their administration. After a four-week trial and submission of post-trial briefing, the Court denied the AGO’s Petition and its various allegations against the Trustees, finding, among other things, that the Trustees’ prior administration did not violate their fiduciary duties and their pursuit of a potential sale of BFC was not a breach of trust, an abuse of discretion, or a violation of the settlor’s intent. Instead, the Court found that the Trustees acted in good faith to protect and enhance the Trust. The Court ultimately denied removal of two of the trustees, but removed the third on the basis that it served the best interest of the Trust and its beneficiaries. Read more about the decision, which one commentator called a “stunning win for the Otto Bremer Trustees and the two Trustees left in charge,” here.
Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness v. Minnesota DNR: Lead Counsel for Minnesota environmental rights act case against Minnesota Department of Natural Resources alleging that DNR’s existing rules and regulations will fail to protect the water, land, and air from material harm caused by copper mining on the edge of the Boundary Water Canoe Area. (2020)
Dietary Supplement Class Action: Defense of dietary supplement company from allegations of false or misleading advertising in violation of consumer protection laws. (2020)
Lead Trial and Appellate Counsel representing White Bear Lake Restoration Association against Minnesota DNR in an action to enforce the Minnesota Environmental Rights Act seeking to prevent further destruction and impairment of White Bear Lake and the underlying aquifers. The over three week trial resulted in a finding that DNR violated MERA by violating many environmental laws and materially harming the Lake and underlying aquifer, resulting in equitable relief. (2017) Supreme Court affirmed trial court in 2020, with case reverting to Court of Appeals. (2013-20)
Ligons v. Minnesota Department of Corrections: Ciresi Conlin was appointed lead counsel in a class action on behalf of Minnesota prisoners seeking treatment for chronic Hepatitis C, a highly contagious and fatal disease that affects up to 10 percent of the incarcerated population. The class action, based on the Eighth Amendment, challenged the Department of Corrections’ policy of treating only those at an advanced stage of Hepatitis C. Shortly before trial, Ciresi Conlin secured a settlement compelling the DOC to provide potentially life-saving medication to qualifying prisoners at all stages of the disease. (2019)
Metropolitan Council, Hennepin County, Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority v. Twin Cities & Western Railroad: Represented the Council, Hennepin County and HCRRA regarding colocation of freight and light rail in the Bass Lake Spur and Kenilworth Corridor for the Southwest Light Rail Transit Project. (2018)
St. Paul Public Schools/Silva: Negotiated Separation Agreement on behalf of Valeria Silva, the Superintendent of Saint Paul Public Schools, providing her at least $787,500 in payments and benefits from the School District. Represented by Mike Ciresi, Katie Crosby Lehmann and Mat Korte on behalf of the firm. (2016)
Sightpath Medical, LLC v. Precision Lens, et al.: Represented Defendants in a business-to-business dispute involving defense of breach of confidentiality agreement, tortious interference with contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and other claims. Settlement obtained weeks before trial set to begin. (2015)
Mondelēz International, Inc.: Worked along with a team of inside counsel for Mondelēz International, Inc. in a negotiation and/or then potential litigation dispute with Kraft Foods Group, Inc. involving a wide variety of intellectual property and treatment of certain provisions of key contracts impacting worldwide rights. Settlement was reached and involved, among other things, a division of IP by product and country across the world, agreed treatment of certain provisions of key contracts as they relate to contemplated transactions by the involved parties, and future treatment of key contract provisions. (2015)
Kraft Foods Group, Inc./Mondelēz International, Inc. v. Starbucks Coffee Company: Counsel represented Kraft in a three-year arbitration regarding a breach of contract after Starbucks unilaterally terminated its agreement, cutting off Kraft’s exclusive rights to sell, market and distribute Starbucks roast and ground coffee in grocery and other retail outlets. The arbitration resulted in a $2.7 billion cash award to Kraft.
Represented mineral rights owners in a putative class action against the State of North Dakota and others for the alleged unlawful taking of mineral interests along navigable waters in the State. Our clients claimed that the State and others wrongfully claimed title to their mineral interests and wrongfully leased those interests for the extraction and production of oil and gas. Case was dismissed.
Examples of patent litigation representation:
Amneal Pharmaceuticals and Kashiv Pharma: Represented Amneal Pharmaceuticals and Kashiv Pharma in a Hatch-Waxman patent dispute brought by Purdue Pharma over a generic drug, which successfully concluded.
Mondelēz International, Inc. v. Kellogg: Lead Counsel representing Mondelēz International, Inc. in a patent dispute against Kellogg over a patent on a resealable cookie package. Argued appeal to Federal Circuit. Case was dismissed.
Ricoh Corp. v. Pitney Bowes Inc.: Trial counsel for Pitney Bowes defending a patent infringement case involving communications and control within Pitney Bowes’ mailing machines. The case was tried in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, Trenton Division, with Judge Brown presiding. The jury returned a verdict of invalidity in favor of Pitney Bowes finding anticipation of all 18 asserted claims. In addition, during trial, the Court entered summary judgment of anticipation of four additional claims. Jury decision was affirmed in a post-trial memorandum by the district court and summarily affirmed by the Federal Circuit.
Pitney Bowes Inc. v. Hewlett Packard Co.: Trial counsel for Pitney Bowes in which Pitney Bowes obtained $400 million and certain intellectual property from Hewlett Packard in settlement of a patent dispute over laser jet printers.
*Past results are reported to provide the reader with an indication of the type of litigation we practice. They do not and should not be construed to create an expectation of result in any other case, as all cases are dependent upon their own unique fact situation and applicable law.
Case results before 2015 were obtained while Katie was at her former firm.
**Being named to the list or receiving the award is not intended and should not be viewed as comparative to other lawyers or to create an expectation about results that might be achieved in a future matter.