Attorneys

Education

University of Minnesota Law School, J.D., 1984, Magna Cum Laude

University of Chicago, B.A., 1981, With Honors

Bar & Court Admissions

  • Illinois
  • Minnesota
  • U.S. District Court District of Minnesota
  • U.S. District Court Northern District of Illinois
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 5th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 7th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 8th Circuit
Overview
Experience
Affiliations
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Jim is chair of the firm's Antitrust, Franchise and Distribution practice group, is a former director of the firm, and is in charge of Briggs and Morgan’s pro bono programs. Jim concentrates his litigation and counseling practice principally in the areas of: 

  • Antitrust law
  • Franchise law
  • Dealer/distribution/sales representative law

Jim has more than 30 years of experience in his practice areas, along with a background in economics.

He has been involved in a number of large antitrust cases ranging from price fixing to group boycotts to predatory pricing claims and has extensive experience in Section Two attempts to monopolize claims based upon predatory hiring of sales force. Jim counsels a number of clients on a variety of antitrust issues, including bundled rebate plans, price discrimination and other pricing practices. He has handled, from both a plaintiff and defense side, numerous cases involving enforcement of covenants not to compete. He has handled DOJ Antitrust investigations, state attorney general investigations and FTC Hart-Scott-Rodino reviews. Jim has first chaired federal jury trials in antitrust and other commercial cases, has handled numerous arbitrations, and has argued appeals in the Seventh and Eighth Circuits, as well as in several state appellate courts.

Approximately half of Jim's practice centers on franchise/dealer litigation where he represents franchisors in disputes with franchisees and manufacturers in disputes with dealers, distributors or sales representatives. On a national scope, he has handled cases venued in Florida, North Carolina, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Missouri, Kentucky, Texas, Maine, Colorado, New Jersey and Ohio, as well as Minnesota. Jim counsels clients on matters involving the Minnesota Franchise Act, the Minnesota Sales Representative Act, the Minnesota Heavy and Utility Equipment Manufacturers and Dealers Act, the Minnesota Agricultural Equipment Dealership Act, the Wisconsin Fair Dealership law, a number of state motor vehicle and power sport dealer's acts, and other industry specific dealer and distribution laws. He has extensive experience in a variety of industries, including school graduation products and yearbooks, ID card printers and card issuance solutions, biometric recognition solutions, medical devices, beverage bottlers, distributors and manufacturers, powersport vehicles, automobiles, motorcycles, motorcycle trikes, recreational powerboats, trailer trucks, ATVs and other recreational vehicles, consumer food products and various franchise systems ranging from retail diet centers to convenience food stores, and drive through hamburger restaurants. He counsels and represents automobile dealers under the Minnesota Motor Vehicle Dealers Act. Jim has extensive experience enforcing arbitration clauses in franchise, dealer and distribution agreements.

Jim is a Rule 114 Certified Neutral who handles a number of mediations through the Hennepin County District Court Pro Bono Mediation Program. Jim is a member of the Commercial Panel of the American Arbitration Association's National Roster of Arbitrators.

Jim has been an adjunct professor at Hamline University School of Law, where he designed curriculum specific to franchise law and taught franchise law. He is admitted to practice in Illinois, Minnesota and the federal districts of Minnesota and Northern Illinois, as well as the 5th, 7th and 8th Circuit Courts of Appeal. He is a member of the American Bar Association, the ABA Antitrust Section and the ABA Forum on Franchising. Jim is listed in The Best Lawyers in America for his work in the area of Franchise Law and Litigation - Antitrust, and he is consistently listed in Minnesota Super Lawyers.

Jim is past president of the Saint Paul Jaycees and also was legal counsel secretary and board member of the St. Paul Festival and Heritage Foundation from 1999 through 2002. He was a member and chair of the Briggs Recruiting Committee for eight years and the Associate Training and Evaluation Committee for five years, and also served as secretary of the board. Currently Jim is Briggs and Morgan’s pro bono coordinator and chair of the pro bono committee. In March 2016, Jim received the Hennepin County Bar Association's Pro Bono Publico Distinguished Service Award for "career-long work on behalf of the community." Additionally, he is a board member of Call for Justice, LLC and is a member of the MSBA Legal Assistance to the Disadvantaged (LAD) Committee, serving on its Diversity Sub-Committee. Jim served as Antitrust Counsel to the Saint Paul Chamber of Commerce Pioneer Press Task Force. He is a council member and treasurer of the MSBA Antitrust Law Section. Jim also serves on the Antitrust Law Seminars Advisory Board for Strafford.

Jim received his B.A. with honors in economics from the University of Chicago. He received his law degree magna cum laude from the University of Minnesota and was elected to Order of the Coif. He served as articles editor for the Minnesota Law Review. Jim practiced at Winston & Strawn in Chicago before joining Briggs in 1987.

Honors & Awards

  • The Best Lawyers in America
  • Minnesota Super Lawyers
  • 2016 Hennepin County Bar Assocation Pro Bono Publico Distinguished Service Award
  • North Star Lawyer, Minnesota State Bar Association

Experience

Antitrust

  • Extensive experience providing antitrust counseling on wide variety of Section 2 Sherman Act issues, including bundled rebate plans, loyalty rebates, potential predatory pricing issues, other potential predatory conduct and risk of finding of dangerous probability of success of monopolization.
  • Extensive experience counseling on a wide variety of antitrust issues, including: joint ventures; exclusive dealing contracts; potential anticompetitive impact of proposed mergers and Hart Scott Rodino compliance; agreements between competitors affecting price; vertical price restraints after Leegin; antitrust compliance by trade associations; and Noerr Pennington protected actions by competitors.
  • Extensive experience providing antitrust counseling on Robinson Patman Act compliance issues.
  • Obtained summary judgment dismissing Section 2 antitrust claims based upon an alleged sales force raiding in case venued in Federal Court, Southern District of Texas.
  • Defended Section 2 Sherman Act sales force raiding case and other alleged predatory acts in case venued in Federal Court, Southern District of Florida.
  • Co-tried two-week jury trial of Section 2 Sherman Act sales force raiding case, prevailing on Rule 50(b) Motion affirmed by Fifth Circuit. Taylor v. Jostens, 216 F.3d 465 (5th Cir. 2000).
  • Represented foreign manufacturer in connection with a three year Department of Justice Antitrust Division investigation that resulted in no action by the Division.
  • Represented acquired entity soft drink bottling company in FTC merger investigation that was not challenged by the FTC.

Franchise

  • Obtained full summary judgment on claims under the Minnesota and Wisconsin Franchise Act of selling an unregistered/undisclosed franchise based upon estoppel and summary judgment on earning claims for lack of reliance. U-Bake Rochester, LLC et al v. Utecht Bakeries, Civ. No. 12-1738 (ADM/SER), 2014 WL 223439.
  • Obtained summary judgment on claims under the Minnesota and Wisconsin Franchise Acts on statute of limitations grounds on action in Scott County.
  • Obtained summary judgment on vast majority of claims brought by former franchisee, including earnings claims, fraud claims, RICO claims arising out of franchise relationship. Physicians Weight Loss Centers of America v. Creighton, 1992 WL 176992, Bus. Franchise Guide (CCH) 9980.
  • Defeated claims by three largest regional franchisors that franchisor material breached franchise agreement by losing trademark protection of franchise name. Convenient Foods Mart Inc. v. C.F. Mrts of California, Inc., 1990 WL 115797, Bus Franchise Guide (CCH) 9599.
  • Numerous arbitrations on a variety of claims of violations of the Minnesota Franchise Act. 
  • Enforced a post term franchise non-compete against former franchisee who left for a competing system. Economou v. Physicians Weight Loss Centers of America, 756 F.Supp. 1026.
  • Represented Master Franchisee in litigation and ongoing disputes with national franchisor.
  • Enforced arbitration clause in franchise agreement. Sweet Dreams Unlimited Inc. v. Dial-a-Mattress International Ltd., 1 F.3d 639.

Dealer/Distribution

  • Regularly counsels worldwide manufacturer of recreational vehicles regarding compliance with motor and recreational vehicle dealer laws throughout the United States.
  • Successfully brought action under Minn. Stat § 80E.14 that prevented addition of automobile dealership within client's relevant market area.
  • Extensive experience counseling and handling claims as lead counsel for manufacturer under the Minnesota Heavy Utility Equipment Dealers Act. Lead counsel for manufacturer in Midwest Great Dane Trailers Inc. v. Great Dane Ltd. Partnership, 977 F.Supp. 1386
  • Extensive experience under the Minnesota Sales Representative Act.
  • Significant experience with the Wisconsin Fair Dealership Law (WFDL).
  • Successfully represented manufacturer against dealer in India who alleged wrongful termination of dealer agreement. Successfully enforced United States arbitration clause, and obtained arbitration judgment against dealer on dealer's claims and on affirmative claims for past due amounts under dealer agreement.
  • Co-tried one-week arbitration defending wrongful termination claims of largest dealer of luxury yacht manufacturer, resulting in complete defense judgment.
  • Successfully defended claims of wrongful termination by Mexican Distributor.
  • Successfully enforced binding arbitration clause as to dealer termination claims brought in Puerto Rico under the Puerto Rico Dealer Act.
  • Won arbitration judgment dismissing wrongful termination and business tort claims by a German dealer of client boat manufacturer.

Litigation

  • Defended breach of contract action arising out of a $42 million for national identity project.
  • Successfully brought claims in Hennepin County on behalf of employer against former employees for misappropriation of trade secrets, conversion, tortious interference with business and employment relationship, breach of fiduciary duty and contract.
  • Prosecuted tortious interference counterclaim against competitor based upon alleged bribery involving Nigerian Identity Card Project and obtained sanctions for discovery violations of a jury instruction requiring jury to take as true client's factual clai
  • Obtained summary judgment, which was affirmed by the 7th Circuit, dismissing all trade secret claims against defendant. Confold Pacific v. Polaris Inc., 433 F.3d 952.
  • Represented major food company in damages phase of insurance coverage dispute with insurer related to underlying event of grain supply tainted with pesticide. Two-month jury trial, resulting in $49 million verdict in favor of client.
  • Defended non-compete action in which plaintiff sought injunction preventing continued employment by competitor through enforcement of non-compete clause contained in employment agreement. Ecolab, Inc. v. Gartland, 537 N.W.3d 291
  • Successfully defended tortious interference and misappropriation of trade secrets claims against manufacturer who hired competitive salesperson with a non-competition agreement.
  • Won $300,000 jury verdict on wrongful termination claim, representing Plaintiff.
  • Extensive experience enforcing arbitration clauses and successfully arguing FAA preemption of state statutes restricting arbitration.
  • Obtained writ of habeas corpus vacating capital murder conviction after 12 years of representation. Draughon v. Dretke, 427 F.3d 286
  • Obtained summary judgment on all claims involving allegations of wrongly publishing picture in yearbook, including claims alleged under the New Jersey Anti Pornography statute.

Professional Affiliations

Briggs and Morgan

  • Committee on Recruiting, Chairperson, 1995-1998
  • Pro Bono Committee, Chairperson, 2010-Present
  • Association Training and Evaluation Committee, Chairperson, 1999-2004

St. Paul Area Jaycees

  • Member
  • Former President, 1993-1994

National Roster of Arbitrators, AAA Commercial Panel

American Bar Association, Member, Section of Antitrust

American Bar Association, Member, Forum on Franchising

Hamline Law School, Developed and Taught Semester-Long Franchise Course, 1999, 2005

St. Paul Festival and Heritage Foundation

  • Legal Counsel
  • Secretary
  • Board Member, 1999-2002

St. Paul Jaycees Charitable Foundation, Trustee

Minnesota State Bar Association

  • Antitrust Law Section, Council Member, Treasurer
  • Legal Assistance to the Disadvantaged Committee, 2010-Present

Call for Justice, LLC, Board Member, 2014

VLN Hennepin County Civil Counsel Pro Bono Project, Member, 2012-Present

VLN Benefactors Board, Member, 2013-Present

Saint Paul Chamber of Commerce, Antitrust Counsel, Pioneer Press Task Force

Strafford, Board Member, Antitrust Law Seminars Advisory Board, 2010-Present

Events

Publications