Janel Dressen has 18 years of experience as a trial lawyer. She thrives as an advocate for her clients needing counsel and representation to resolve their business related ownership and employment disputes. Her top two strengths being “achiever” and “focus” means if you need to get something done, Janel will get it done for you with attention to the important details. Janel prides herself on being the most prepared person in the room, solving problems that lawyers and clients refer to as “challenging” and getting to know her clients and their businesses as much as they do. Janel’s clients can expect to receive focus, determination and desire for excellence when working with her.
Janel assists her clients to avoid and prepare for business and employment-related disputes and professional liability matters, and to prepare her clients for legal battles in and outside of the courtroom. She spends a significant amount of her time resolving family-owned and privately-held business disputes for owners that are in need of separation. Her experience in these matters, together with her empathy for her clients, results in strong client satisfaction even in the most difficult and emotional times of their lives.
Janel brings both courtroom and negotiating experience and common sense to the table to resolve business disputes, including negotiating, litigating, and resolving shareholder, partnership, LLC, officer, and director disputes; valuation and appraisal matters; professional liability matters; employment matters; business competitor disputes, i.e., non-compete agreement disputes and trade secret disputes; bank-related matters; and general and complex contract matters through various dispute resolution methods, including mediation, arbitration, and court trials.
Janel also counsels businesses, individuals, families, and boards of directors regarding risk management and avoidance, corporate governance, employment related and human resource matters, insurance coverage, and any other business or contract related disputes in an intended effort to avoid a dispute and/or effectively prepare for an inevitable dispute.
Janel has the unique experience of having served as litigation counsel to a large public corporation with litigation internationally. She directed and supervised the strategy and defense of varied types of litigation, with a special emphasis on national product matters, worked with counsel nationwide in the development of case and claims strategy, litigation plans, case budgets, cost management, and procuring the early resolution of cases through alternative dispute resolution. As corporate litigation counsel, she also counseled business groups, executives and other members of senior management with respect to litigation strategy, risk management, preventive measures, and compliance matters.
In a legal malpractice action, on behalf of defendants obtained complete dismissal of all but one minor claim on Rule 12 Motion to Dismiss, without having to conduct any discovery or incur significant expense. Following the Rule 12 Motion to Dismiss, Plaintiff stipulated to the dismissal of the remaining limited claim, with prejudice, without payment or receipt of anything in return.
Served as lead counsel to Melanie Barry and her trusts in highly publicized litigation and arbitration proceedings involving her ownership interests in Twin City Fan and other family-owned businesses and her marital dissolution from her husband of fifty-five years, pending in Minnesota and Florida, arising out of her former husband’s alleged misappropriation and abuse of corporate assets, 17 year extramarital affair and dissipation of marital assets, and his demand for a fair value buyout. All matters were fully resolved in early 2018 with a full separation of the parties and business interests.
Following a 5 day trial, Hennepin County District Court Judge Ivy Bernhardson ruled that Kim Lund was the “prevailing party” against her brother, Tres Lund, and various Lund’s entities, in a lengthy legal battle centered on the value of Kim Lund’s ownership interests and Tres Lund’s exercise of power and control over Kim’s interests. In the Court’s 54-page opinion concluding this complex shareholder dispute, the Court awarded Kim $45,225,000, which means that Lund’s must buy Kim Lund out over time for that price. The Court also awarded Kim her court costs.
Served as lead counsel for LLC and LLC owner in 2016 and 2017 in an arbitration proceeding commenced by claimant in Arizona alleging ownership and employment related claims and seeking millions of dollars in damages and legal fees and expenses. Obtained full defense verdict after multiple day arbitration proceeding with a panel of three arbitrators.
Represented company and President of company in arbitration proceeding commenced by claimant alleging various contract, ownership and statutory claims. Obtained full dismissal of all claims, with prejudice, in Respondents’ favor, and a full fee and costs award in Respondents’ favor in excess of $500,000.
Successfully defended Respondents in arbitration on claims seeking damages in seven figures for breach of non-compete agreement and tortious interference with non-compete agreement. Obtained complete dismissal of all claims and a full attorneys’ fee award in Respondents’ favor.
Negotiated settlement of claims substantially under the insurance policy limits against former bank officers and directors and obtained dismissal of all former bank officers and directors before action was commenced.
Obtained dismissal of action commenced against client in Texas and negotiated settlement of client’s claims in Minnesota action resulting in ongoing business agreement for client.
Successfully negotiated divorce involving business assets.
Successfully briefed and argued motion to dismiss in fraudulent transfer case relating to a mortgage real estate loan for case commenced in Florida state court.
Helped secure $1 million bail for defendant on behalf of the family of an underage sexual assault victim.
In 2014, obtained a complete dismissal, with prejudice, of Dr. Mark Johnson in an alleged fraud and kickback case against numerous Minnesota chiropractors in Minnesota.
In a breach of contract case in state court Minnesota, obtained an early dismissal with prejudice of First Premier Capital LLC.
Awarded a complete dismissal of T. Denny Sanford, William Kelly and Steve Alpeter on claims against them on personal guarantees for in excess of $8,000,000 by arbitration panel after a full arbitration hearing.
Successfully defended two directors of a closely-held Minnesota company in a breach of fiduciary duty and Minn. Stat. 302A.751 (unfair prejudice) trial in state court in Minnesota. The trial’s court’s dismissal of claims against Janel's clients was affirmed on appeal.
Successfully obtained payment of $318,000 on behalf of client in a business fraud case against her ex-husband arising out of their divorce in approximately 90 days of representation.
Obtained judgment on motion and without a trial in client’s favor in excess of $430,000 in Minnesota state court.
Successfully negotiated a business break-up on behalf of client among two business owners of a closely-held Minnesota business after one day of trial in Minnesota state court.
On behalf of former bank officers and directors, successfully defended and resolved negligence and breach of fiduciary duty demands from the FDIC to former directors and officers of closed-down banks.
Work with several employers to defend against and prosecute non-competition agreement claims.
Board Member, Vice President and Secretary, Edina Swim Club (2014-2017)
Chair of the Board of Directors, The Academy of Whole Learning (2014-2017)
Volunteer, Mary’s Place Legal Advice Clinic
Volunteer, Legal Aid Society
Volunteer, Feed My Starving Children
Member, Federal Bar Association
Member, Hennepin County Bar Association
Member, Minnesota State Bar Association
Section Council Member - Civil Litigation, Minnesota State Bar Association and Co-Author of Civil Litigation Practice Tips
Chair, Private Business Governance Committee, Minnesota State Bar Association's Business Law Section
Member, Minnesota Women Lawyers
Member, Minnesota Mother Attorneys Association
Contributing author to Business Divorce Litigation, Chapter 26 of Recent Developments in Business and Corporate Litigation, 2020 Edition
6/5/2020 Minnesota Lawyer - Janel Dressen was interviewed by Todd Nelson on the topic "Breaking the Ice: Crisis management dominates in pandemic."
The Eighth Circuit Further Strengthens the Mandatory Expert Affidavit Requirements In Litigation Against Attorneys, Minnesota Lawyer and Finance & Commerce - Partner Content, August 2019
Don't Be The Next Lunds & Byerlys: Lessons learned from the Lunds shareholder litigation, Bench & Bar of Minnesota, June 2019
3/27/2019 Minneapolis Star Tribune - Janel Dressen was quoted in news article "Minnesota Supreme Court declines to review $45 million award in Lund family dispute."
The Use Of A Special Litigation Committee Under The Revised Minnesota LLC Act, Minnesota Lawyer Partner Content, September 2018
7/24/2018 Minnesota Lawyer - Janel Dressen was quoted in news article "Supreme Court rejects tossing officials out for closed meetings."
7/18/2018 Minneapolis Star Tribune - Janel Dressen was quoted in news article "Minnesota Supreme Court says Victoria council members can stay despite many Open Meeting Law violations."
Be Careful What You Wish For: The "Power" To Dissociate Under Minnesota's Revised LLC Act, Attorney At Law Magazine, Minnesota Edition, June 2018
5/10/2018 Chanhassen Villager - Janel Dressen was quoted in news article "Are open meeting law violations enough to force Victoria councilors from office? Minnesota Supreme Court decides."
5/4/2018 Minneapolis Star Tribune - Janel Dressen was quoted in news article "Victoria open meetings case heading to Minnesota Supreme Court."
Janel Dressen featured in Minnesota Lawyer: Attorneys of the Year; Link to PDF of article; February 2018
Stop Delaying: The Need for An Operating Agreement Under the Revised MN LLC Act, republished in The LLC & Partnership Reporter (f/k/a The PUBGRAM) page 48, by the American Bar Association Section of Business Law, October 2017
Stop Delaying: The Need for An Operating Agreement Under the Revised MN LLC Act, Minnesota Lawyer - Partner Content, August 2017
Stop Lawyering Me, Attorney At Law Magazine, Minnesota Edition, June 2017
Minnesota court rejects DLOM in major buyout case, BVWire Issue #177-3, June 21, 2017
Understanding an Owner's Right to Information and Records in Private Companies, C-Level Magazine, Minnesota Edition, September 2016
Structure Matters, Just Ask The Three Little Pigs, Attorney At Law Magazine, Minnesota Edition, July 2016
Going the Distance: Application of the Business Judgment Rule, Attorney At Law Magazine, Minnesota Edition, January 2016
LLC Members Beware: Your Statutory Right to Information Is About to Change, Attorney At Law Magazine, Minnesota Edition, March 2015
Judge Sets $1 Million Bail, Blasts Former Tennis Coach, Star Tribune, December 12, 2014. Read more.
Former Tennis Coach Back in Police Custody, WCCO, December 12, 2014. Read more.
Ex Visitation Tennis Coach Won't Stop Violating Restraining Order, MyFox9, December 12, 2014.
Should Tom Petters’ Legal Defense Costs Be Paid By the Corporations That He Harmed?, Attorney At Law Magazine, Minnesota Edition, January 2014
Pitfalls To Avoid In Appointing and Acting as a Special Litigation Committee, Attorney At Law Magazine, Minnesota Edition, October 2013
Ownership Disputes in Privately Held Companies, Minnesota CLE Deskbook, Representing the On-Going Business, First Ed., 2012
Selecting the Right Valuation Expert, Financial Poise Webinars, April 2021
Lessons Learned From Virtual Depositions, MSBA Civil Litigation Section CLE, October 2020
What Could Possibly Go Wrong? The Top 10 Ways to Better Manage Conflicts and Litigation Risks Between Executives and Employers, Minnesota Continuing Legal Education - 2020 Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute, September 2020
How to Avoid (or Mitigate) Shareholder Litigation: Lessons Learned from the Lunds Case, Minnesota Continuing Legal Education - The Business Law Institute Program, September 2020
LLCs A to Z: Member Rights, Fiduciary Duties, Oppression, Liability, Remedies, and Indemnification, Minnesota Continuing Legal Education, February 2020
How to Deal with Discovery Bullies, Minnesota Continuing Legal Education, November 2019
Prepping Clients and Crystalizing Issues for Resolution of Corporate Divorce & Complex Ownership Disputes through Mediation and Arbitration, 2019 Annual Meeting of the ABA Business Law Section, September 2019
How to Avoid (or Mitigate) Shareholder Litigation: Lessons Learned from the Lunds Case, Minnesota Continuing Legal Education Presenter, August 2019
Presentation: Fair Value Litigation: The Battle of the Experts; National Association of Certified Valuators and Analysts Minnesota Chapter Meeting, May 2019
Presentation: Oppression Liability: Lying, Cheating or Stealing is Not Necessary; 2019 Spring Meeting of the ABA Business Law Section (Presentation to Business Divorce Committee), March 2019
Presentation: Minnesota’s New, Uniform LLC Act- Chapter 322C: A Roadmap for Trial Court Judges (presented to Hennepin County District Court Judges); co-presenters Daniel Kleinberger and Adam Nodler, February 7, 2018
New LLC Law: Litigation Alert - Spotting and Addressing Liability Issues, Minnesota Continuing Legal Education Webcast, January 2018
Better Discovery: How to Deal with Discovery Bullies, Minnesota Continuing Legal Education Presenter, December 2017
Representing the Ongoing Business Deskbook Series: The Corporate Divorce – How to Navigate Ownership Disputes in Privately Held Companies, Minnesota Continuing Legal Education Presenter, February 2017
Business Law Series: Flex Your Fiduciary Duties - Options, Opportunities and Decision Points under the New LLC Act, Minnesota Continuing Legal Education Presenter, February 2017
New MN LLC Act: The Top 10 Key Terms to Include in an Operating Agreement as a Minority Owner, Minnesota Continuing Legal Education Presenter, May 2016
Flex Your fiduciary Duties: Options, Opportunities and Decision Points Under the New LLC Act, Minnesota Continuing Legal Education Presenter, May 2016
Business Law Series: New MN LLC Act - Rights of Minority Owners, Minnesota Continuing Legal Education Panelist, February 2016
Better Discovery, Minnesota Continuing Legal Education Presenter, February 2016
The New Minnesota LLC Act, Minnesota Continuing Legal Education Presenter, August 2015
Rights of Minority Owners under The New Minnesota LLC Act, Minnesota Continuing Legal Education Presenter, January 2015
Business Law Series: Reducing Litigation Risk for Directors and Officers- Limit It, Insure It, Transfer It, Minnesota Continuing Legal Education Presenter, February 2014
Business Law Series: Don’t Go Away Mad, Just Go Away – Terms to Consider When Negotiating Business Breakup, Minnesota Continuing Legal Education Presenter, February 2014
Lessons Learned from Rucker v. Schmidt, 794 N.W.2d 114 (Minn. 2011): The Duties of a “Quasi-Judicial Officers” a/k/a Attorney, to the Client, Opposing Counsel and the Court, Family Law Minnesota Continuing Legal Education Presenter, March 2013
Course Co-Chair, Mastering the Deposition Process from Beginning to End, Hennepin County Bar Association CLE, May 2011
Presenter: Expanding your Research Horizons: Efficient and Affordable Legal Research, Hennepin County Bar Association CLE, March 2011
Shareholder Disputes, Minnesota Continuing Legal Education Presenter: The Business from Cradle to Grave Series, November 2010
Important Litigation Tools Under Minnesota Law when Defending Directors and Officers Against Claims Alleged By Shareholders or The Company, 2010 Business Law Institute Presenter
Moderator, Introduction of Documentary Evidence at Trial, Hennepin County Bar Association CLE, May 2010
Acquisitions and Mergers: A Litigation Landmine, Minnesota Continuing Legal Education Presenter, November 2006