University of Minnesota Law School, J.D., Magna Cum Laude
- Dean's List
University of Wisconsin, B.A.
Bar & Court Admissions
- U.S. District Court District of Minnesota
- U.S. Court of Appeals 1st Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals 8th Circuit
- Honorable Natalie E. Hudson, Minnesota Court of Appeals
Ben Gurstelle is a member of the Business Litigation and Financial Institutions and Real Estate sections, and the Bankruptcy and Financial Restructuring practice group. He practices primarily in the areas of:
- Bankruptcy, workouts and financial restructuring
- Creditors’ rights and remedies
- Financial litigation
- Trust and estate disputes and litigation
Bankruptcy, Workouts and Financial Restructuring
Ben represents debtors, creditors, landlords, equipment lessors, strategic partners, bidders and buyers, and other interested parties in all aspects of Chapter 11 bankruptcy cases across the country. His experience includes first-day motions, case administration, asset sales, relief from stay, executory contract and unexpired lease issues, claims issues, disclosure statements, plan confirmation, post-confirmation issues and appeals. Ben also has significant and unique experience representing a religious institution debtor in its chapter 11 reorganization case.
He also regularly represents secured and unsecured creditors in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy proceedings, including lien-stripping actions, relief from stay motions, non-discharge actions, plan negotiation, debt reaffirmation, and issues relating to student loans. Ben also has experience representing creditors and interested parties in Chapter 15 cross-border bankruptcy proceedings.
As for bankruptcy litigation, Ben has significant experience representing businesses and individuals in adversary proceedings, including fraudulent transfer, preference and other "clawback" cases.
He also has experience representing lenders and other parties in distressed transactions and loan workouts and restructurings outside of bankruptcy. His experience includes helping parties address agricultural issues as they intersect with bankruptcy, including agricultural liens, the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA) and the Packers and Stockyard Act (PSA).
Ben also serves as a member of the Bankruptcy Practice Committee for the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Minnesota.
Commercial Litigation and Appeals
He has represented plaintiffs and defendants in complex litigation in state and federal courts, as well as in mediation and arbitration. Ben has successfully litigated cases through trial, obtained dismissals through motion practice and obtained favorable mediation results. He has also argued several appeals.
Ben’s wide-ranging experience includes representing parties in state-court receiverships, commercial lease disputes, construction-related disputes, and commercial and consumer finance actions, including cases involving complex mortgage buyback disputes, FDCPA, FCRA, federal and state consumer protection laws, and commercial and residential foreclosure statutes.
Ben also has significant experience in trust and estate litigation. He has successfully represented trustees and individuals in cases related to trust and estate asset disposition, claims of breach of fiduciary duty, undue influence, lack of testamentary capacity, fraud, breach of trust and breach of contract.
Honors & Awards
- Rising Star, Minnesota Super Lawyers: Bankruptcy: Business
- North Star Lawyer, Minnesota State Bar Association, 2012, 2014-2016
- Next Generation Program Participant, National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges, 2017
- Ben currently represents a large religious organization debtor in its Chapter 11 proceeding. As part of the Briggs team, Ben successfully defended several first-impression and unique challenges including (i) defeating an effort to substantively consolidate parishes and other non-debtor religious entities and schools with the debtor, both in bankruptcy court and on appeal to the United States District Court and Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals; (ii) defeating an effort by the creditors’ committee to obtain derivative standing to pursue avoidance actions; and (iii) preventing confirmation of a competing plan. The Briggs team ultimately helped the debtor reach a consensual joint plan of reorganization proposed with the creditors’ committee that includes hundreds of millions of dollars in insurance buyback and settlement agreements and other funds.
- Achieved dismissal of a series of lawsuits by borrowers against national mortgage lender challenging the validity of mortgage foreclosures under theories including "show me the note," improper assignment of the mortgage, quiet title and slander of title.
- Agent's counsel for a national bank in connection with a $95 million secured, syndicated revolving credit facility to a large dairy cooperative.
- Currently representing individuals in a will contest concerning matters of testamentary capacity, and alleged undue influence and forgery.
- Defended a national loan servicer and obtained dismissals in numerous consumer mortgage defense actions involving TILA, RESPA, FDCPA, FCRA, federal and state consumer protection laws, and residential foreclosure statutes.
- Defended agricultural commodity trader in preference actions and in defending claim objections in Chapter 11 bankruptcy cases across the country.
- Defended company involved in the Tom Petters Ponzi scheme litigation for which substantial amounts are being sought under clawback theories.
- Defended corporate fiduciary against claims of fraud, negligent misrepresentation and breach of fiduciary duty.
- Defended mortgage lender/servicer in lawsuit related to alleged violations of TILA, RESPA, state foreclosure statutes, and other consumer fraud claims, and in breach of contract lawsuit related to sale of mortgages.
- Defended national bank in fraudulent transfer "clawback" actions arising under the bankruptcy code and uniform fraudulent transfer act in relation to bankruptcies filed by companies running an alleged Ponzi scheme.
- Defending a lender bank in trial court and on appeal to the Minnesota Court of Appeals and Minnesota Supreme Court in "clawback" action seeking to recover amounts paid to the bank per its loan participation agreement.
- Defending national manufacturer of boat parts in preference and fraudulent transfer actions in bankruptcy court.
- Ongoing counsel of financial institution in fraudulent transfer litigation arising out of Ponzi schemes. Representation includes internal investigations and development and implementation of legal strategies.
- Represent global agricultural industry client in bankruptcy adversary proceeding and defense of proof of claim involving contract cancellation and offset as a forward contract merchant under the bankruptcy code.
- Represent national bank in connection with multiple bankruptcies stemming from tax fraud conviction of Minneapolis-based real estate developer
- Represent regional bank as creditor in individual chapter 7 and 13 bankruptcy proceedings, including seeking relief from stay, reaffirmation, defending property valuation and lien stripping motions, and pursuing issues relating to bankruptcy plan terms.
- Represented a large food producer in both state and federal court, defending against alleged antitrust violations.
- Represented and successfully defended student loan lenders and servicers in bankruptcy adversary proceedings related to discharge of student loan debt.
- Represented a national bank and affiliates as creditors in receivership involving a $3.5 billion Ponzi scheme and in related Chapter 11 bankruptcies.
- Represented builder client in action commenced by homeowners association (HOA). Matter was confidentially resolved in client's favor at fourth mediation session one month before scheduled three-week jury trial.
- Represented building owner in lease dispute with tenant and negotiated favorable settlement for client.
- Represented high-end jeweler concerning claims arising out of cyber and internet fraud.
- Represented national bank as secured lender in Chapter 11 Bankruptcy proceedings for large-scale commercial real estate entities. Successfully obtained conversion of case to Chapter 7 and favorable plan and sale terms.
- Represented private lender and affiliates as creditors in receivership involving $3.5 billion Ponzi scheme and in related Chapter 11 bankruptcies in Minnesota.
- Represented private school in matter concerning defamation and anonymous Internet speech.
- Representing general contractor in dispute with subcontractor regarding subcontractor's breach of contract, fraud and failure to comply with Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry prevailing wage requirements.
Turnaround Management Association, Member
Federal Bar Association, Member
- Minnesota Chapter, Legal Education Committee
Minnesota State Bar Association, Member
- Bankruptcy Section
American Bankruptcy Institute, Member
- July 5, 2018
- September 1, 2016
- May 12, 2016
- March 9, 2016
- August 26, 2011
- November 18, 2010
- Alert: False Statement about One Asset does not Prevent Bankruptcy Discharge if Statement is not in WritingJune 5, 2018
- May 14, 2018
- ALERT: Supreme Court Resolves Circuit Split Regarding Breadth of “Securities Safe Harbor” Applied to Multi-step Transfers Involving Financial Institutions as Mere Conduit IntermediariesMarch 12, 2018
- ALERT: Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals Rejects “Reasonably Foreseeable” Standard for Extent of Notice to CreditorsFebruary 6, 2018
- ALERT: Supreme Court Decides That Payments Under Structured Dismissals Of Bankruptcy Cases Cannot Deviate From Ordinary Priority Rules Without Consent From All Affected CreditorsApril 7, 2017
- Alert: Supreme Court Finally Decides Whether Consent to Bankruptcy Court's Final Adjudication of "Stern Claims" Is ConstitutionalJune 11, 2015
- February 19, 2015
- June 12, 2014
- September 9, 2013
- Alert: Secured Creditor's Lien Cannot Be Avoided Based Solely on Creditor's Claim Being Disallowed for UntimelinessOctober 5, 2012
- Alert: Eighth Circuit Holds Prepaid, Perpetual Exclusive Trademark License an Executory Contract Subject to Rejection in BankruptcyOctober 5, 2012
- June 30, 2011