William Mitchell College of Law, J.D., 2008, Summa Cum Laude
University of Notre Dame, B.A., 2005, Dean's List
- Lambda Alpha Honor Society
Bar & Court Admissions
- U.S. District Court District of Minnesota
- U.S. Court of Appeals 8th Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals Federal Circuit
Aaron Thomas is a member of the Business Litigation section and practices principally in the following areas:
- Business litigation and corporate disputes
- Religious Institutions and Financial Restructuring
- Banking litigation
- Commercial real estate litigation
- Professional liability litigation
- Environmental and land use litigation
As part of his litigation practice, Aaron has handled a variety of disputes involving corporate matters, commercial loans, business contracts, commercial leases and real estate matters and has successfully represented a broad range of clients in all phases of litigation from pre-trial motion practice through trials and appeals.
Business Litigation and Corporate Disputes
Aaron represents individual and corporate clients in all manners of corporate and commercial disputes, including matters involving corporate governance, shareholder and partnership disputes, employment contracts, supply and distribution agreements and general contract claims. His current and recent representative work includes:
Successfully representing one of the premier junior capital providers in the U.S. in its enforcement of a put-right provision obligating a corporation to redeem the client’s shares of Series A Preferred Stock.
Defending one of the country’s largest coffee retailers in connection with a shareholder’s exercise of dissenters' rights following a short-form merger, a transaction valued at $340 million.
Assisting in the successful representation of a large bottling company in connection with shareholder derivative suits challenging its merger with one of the world’s largest food and beverage companies, a transaction valued at $7.8 billion.
Religious Institutions and Financial Restructuring
Aaron has significant experience navigating the many legal issues affecting religious organizations. Over the past several years, Aaron has worked with other members of the Briggs team to develop and coordinate state-of-the art, step-by-step processes and procedures for efficiently and effectively: identifying and investigating clergy abuse; working with key Church governance councils; developing and implementing crisis-management and media strategies; creating and adopting innovative and leading child protection policies and protocols; and successfully representing an archdiocese in all manner of high-stakes legal proceedings, achieving unprecedented results in the process. His current and representative work includes:
- Working with the leadership of Catholic entities to help institute key reforms aimed at protecting children, restoring trust of the Faithful in the local Church, caring for victims, and enhancing transparency.
- Investigating the factual and legal merits of historical accusations against an archdiocese spanning a period of more than 70 years.
- Preparing hundreds of claim-by-claim analyses to assess claim value, credibility, cognizability, third-party liability, fault allocation and other potential legal challenges to aid successful negotiations of hundreds of abuse claims and coverage challenges.
- Navigating, as a part of a Briggs team, the key challenges in a large diocesan bankruptcy case and, in the processes, successfully defending every single first-impression challenge asserted against the debtor, including defeating efforts by the creditor’s committee to: (i) substantively consolidate all of the parishes and Catholic entities and schools within the archdiocese’s region; (ii) petition for derivative standing to pursue avoidance actions; and (iii) pursue confirmation of a competing plan that sought to essentially liquidate the archdiocese.
- Assisting in the resolution of a bankruptcy case that required the navigation and resolution of disputes among a dizzying number of different constituencies, including more than 420 abuse claimants and hundreds of parishes, benefit plan claimants, insurers and other interested parties. In the process, Briggs negotiated the largest insurance buyback and settlement agreements of any diocesan bankruptcy case, settled disputes with trustees of the archdiocese’s medical benefit plan, resolved claims against the archdiocese’s general insurance fund, negotiated disputes over ownership of bequeathed funds and achieved compromise on inter-parish loan fund claims.
- Achieving, as part of a Briggs team, a consensual plan of reorganization on behalf of an archdiocese that includes unprecedented insurance settlements and calls for a historic trust containing more than $210 million for victims while protecting parishes and Catholic entities through broad channeling injunctions.
Aaron has successfully defended and prosecuted a myriad of litigation matters on behalf of financial institutions of all sizes, from local credit unions to large national lenders. His current and recent representative work includes:
Prosecuting a complex commercial mortgage foreclosure and breach of contract ligation on behalf of a national bank and obtaining damages in excess of $12 million on summary judgment.
Successfully defending a national bank against tortious interference and related claims in a multimillion dollar litigation stemming from a commercial borrower’s attempt to sell bank collateral.
Successfully defending claims that a national bank succeeded to declarant liabilities for alleged construction defects involving a large condominium project after the execution of a deed in lieu of foreclosure agreement.
Commercial Real Estate Litigation
Aaron has experience representing commercial landlords and tenants in various litigation matters to enforce contractual and statutory rights and remedies. Aaron has also represented real estate development, construction and project management companies in litigations involving alleged construction defects and personal injury. His current and recent representative work includes:
Successfully defending, at trial and on appeal, a commercial landlords efforts to evict a large commercial tenant for its alleged material breaches of a lease and obtaining an award of attorneys’ fees and costs.
Obtaining summary judgment in favor of a commercial landlord with respect to its claims for anticipatory breach of a lease agreement, specific performance and declaratory judgment.
Successfully defending an action commenced by a commercial tenant for alleged violations of a declaration of easements and restrictions and a reciprocal easement and operating agreement.
Professional Liability Litigation
Aaron represents professionals, including architects and engineers, in defending against claims of professional negligence. His current and recent representative work includes:
Successfully defending an engineering firm against a multi-million dollar negligence claim asserted by a City following a slope failure at an MSW landfill.
Successfully defending an engineering firm against professional negligence claims arising out of the design and construction of a cell phone antenna.
Successfully defending an engineering firm against professional negligence claims arising out of runway/taxiway reconstruction projects at airports in North Dakota and South Dakota.
Environmental and Land Use Litigation
Aaron has assisted in the defense and prosecution of several environmental litigations in a range of matters. Recent representative environmental work includes:
Counseling a large multi-national corporation regarding asbestos liabilities and attendant indemnification and insurance obligations arising out of a stock purchase agreement.
Defending a large chemical company in litigation involving a superfund site and potential CERCLA and related liability under a state solid waste disposal act.
Defending one of the nation’s largest disposers of biomedical waste in a breach of commercial lease litigation involving, among other things, the scope of permitted uses for the treatment and processing of biohazardous wastes.
While in law school, Aaron was an assistant editor for the William Mitchell Law Review and an executive editor for the Journal of the National Security Forum. Aaron was also champion of the William Mitchell Corporate Appellate Moot Court Competition, a national quarter-finalist in the Ruby R. Vale Inter-School Moot Court Competition, a Burton Legal Writing Award Nominee for best motion practice memorandum and a research assistant to Professor A. John Radsan.
Honors & Awards
- 2018 Attorney of the Year, Minnesota Lawyer
- Named one of "America's Top 100 Bet-the-Company Litigators"
- Minnesota Rising Star, Minnesota Super Lawyers
- North Star Lawyer, Minnesota State Bar Association
- Pro Bono Award, Briggs and Morgan, 2010
- Obtained summary judgment in favor of a commercial landlord with respect to its claims for anticipatory breach of a lease agreement, specific performance and declaratory judgment.
- Prosecuted a complex commercial mortgage foreclosure and breach of contract litigation on behalf of a national bank and obtained damages in excess of $12 million on summary judgment.
- Represented bank in pursuing misrepresentation and contractual claims against entity and its principals who sold lease participations to bank where it was later revealed that lessee operated a Ponzi scheme.
- Successfully defended claims that a national bank succeeded to declarant liabilities for alleged construction defects involving a large condominium project after the execution of a deed in lieu of foreclosure agreement.
- Successfully prosecuted foreclosure action involving agricultural property and contentious priority dispute with other lender.
Commercial Real Estate Litigation
- Successfully defended an action commenced by a commercial tenant for alleged violations of a declaration of easements and restrictions and a reciprocal easement and operating agreement.
- Successfully defended through trial and appeal, a commercial landlord's action to evict a commercial tenant for its alleged material breaches of a lease and obtained an award of attorneys' fees and costs.
- Represented homeowners in construction defect action against contractor in arbitration and obtained judgment for all damages sought.
Professional Liability Litigation
- Successfully defended an engineering firm against a multi-million dollar negligence claim asserted by a city following a slope failure at an MSW landfill.
- Successfully defended an engineering firm against professional negligence claims arising out of the design and construction of a cell phone antenna at the top of a water tank.
- Assisted in the successful representation of a large bottling company in connection with shareholder derivative suits challenging its merger with one of the world's largest food and beverage companies, a transaction valued at $7.8 billion.
- Successfully represented one of the premier junior capital providers in the U.S. in its enforcement of a put-right provision obligating a corporation to redeem the client's shares of Series A Preferred Stock.
Minnesota State Bar Association, Member
Hennepin County Bar Association, Member
American Bar Association, Member
In addition to other pro bono work, Aaron has handled child custody and spousal maintenance disputes and a criminal appeal as a Special Assistant State Public Defender. Aaron has also successfully prosecuted an FLSA action and an unemployment benefit appeal.
- Co-Author, "Duty to Mitigate," Minnesota State Bar Association Deskbook on Business Disputes: Claims & Remedies (2d ed. 2015, updated 2019)
- July 9, 2019
- January 15, 2019
- July 5, 2018
- May 15, 2018
- July 10, 2017
- July 5, 2016
- October 22, 2015
- November 18, 2008