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Christopher W. ("Chris") Madel is regularly sought after to represent business entities, law firms, and individuals in their most sensitive and grave matters.  He has represented clients in many delicate and high-profile investigations and lawsuits (civil and criminal), including trying numerous cases before juries and judges. On several occasions, clients and other lawyers have asked him to assume first-chair responsibility for upcoming  jury and bench trials.  A former Trial Attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., his experience includes representing clients in substantial minority-shareholder disputes, billion-dollar claims in connection with major corporate acquisitions, alleged theft of trade secrets, computer hacking, corporate espionage, securities/FINRA litigationallegations of attorney malpractice and misconduct, as well as defending claims brought by the U.S. Department of Justice and other agencies relating to alleged white-collar crimes and regulatory violations.  He has also represented top executives, politicians, judges, professional athletes, law-enforcement officers (state and federal), and other lawyers in extremely sensitive matters, including alleged fraud, securities, bid-rigging, extortion, harassment, assault, and criminal sexual conduct, often resolving such matters privately and without any publicity. In 2024, Chris served as lead counsel representing Minnesota State Patrol Trooper Ryan Londregan against murder, manslaughter, and first-degree assault charges. In the June 2024 press conference where she labeled him a "high-powered lawyer," the Hennepin County Attorney dropped all charges against Trooper Londregan.

Chris has no political or judicial aspirations.  He truly loves being a lawyer.

Chris's work has received praise from clients, the media, and even his adversaries.  His peers have selected him as "Super Lawyer" each year since 2003, and a "Top 100 Super Lawyer" each year since 2017. He is the first lawyer that The Minnesota Lawyer selected as “Attorney of the Year” for three consecutive years (2011, 2012, and 2013), putting him in  The Minnesota Lawyer's "Circle of Excellence."  He received the same "Attorney of the Year" award for the fourth time (this time, with partner Jenny Robbins) in 2024. Benchmark Litigation named him a "Litigation Star." Chambers USA and Chambers Global added him to its rankings of business litigators. His peers have selected him for inclusion in the The Best Lawyers in America each year since 2015, including in the areas of "Bet the Company Litigation," Commercial Litigation, and White-Collar Criminal Defense. In fact, Chris was named The Best Lawyers in America's 2023 White Collar Criminal Defense "Lawyer of the Year" in Minneapolis. And he has been selected to The Minnesota Lawyer's "Power 30" for Business Litigation each year since the recognition began.

In the national ABA Journal published in May 2015, the American Bar Association profiled Chris, along with former Directors of the FBI, U.S. Attorneys, and other top lawyers, in its article entitled, "Meet the lawyers behind high-profile investigations."  This article described Chris's internal investigation into the Minnesota Vikings’ release of its former punter, Chris Kluwe.  Both the Vikings and Mr. Kluwe’s counsel praised the resulting report.  And in 2010, Chris led another internal investigation into allegations that the Fiesta Bowl (located in Phoenix, Arizona) illegally reimbursed employees for campaign contributions, that a prior investigation concealed criminal conduct, and that the Fiesta Bowl made numerous other improper expenditures.  This investigation also received widespread praise, including from the Arizona Attorney General, the Arizona Republic’s Editorial Board, the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) Task Force formed to review the report, the NCAA’s President, as well as other media and legal commentators. 

In late 2012, Chris appeared on the cover of the premier issue of Attorney at Law magazine in Minnesota.  Entitled "Serving His Clients with Legal Expertise, Creativity and Outside-of-the-Box Thinking," the article concludes by stating, “Whether it’s seeing to it that justice is served or ensuring that his clients are acquitted, Christopher Madel represents either side of the table with integrity, staunch loyalty and legal expertise that continue to set the benchmark in local, regional and national cases.”

Chris appeared on the August 2019 edition of Attorney at Law magazine as well. The article, entitled "Offbeat but Authentic," described several of Madel's trial wins and approach to his career. (It is available to read on the right side of this page.)

Chris and a former partner defended Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett against felony criminal charges.  Upon his acquittal of all charges after a highly publicized jury trial, Mr. Puckett told the gathered media that, "I've got the best lawyers in the world. No question."

A picture of attorney Chris Madel.

Phone:  612-605-0630

A picture of Super Lawyers Top 100 Minnesota.
A picture of Super Lawyers recognizing Chris Madel being recognized for 15 years.
A picture of Chris Madel being named Minnesota Lawyer, Attorneys of the Year in 2013.
A picture of Chris Madel being named Minnesota Lawyer, Attorneys of the Year in 2012.
A picture of Chris Madel being named Minnesota Lawyer, Attorneys of the Year in 2011.
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A picture of Chris Madel on the Cover of the October 2012 issue of Attorney at Law Magazine.
A picture of the 2023 Best Lawyers Lawyer of the Year Crest recognizing Chris Madel in categories of criminal defense and white collar.
A picture of Chris Madel on the Cover of the 2019 issue of Attorney at Law - Minnesota Edition. Click here for the article.
A picture of the Benchmark Litigation Star.
A snapshot of a 2011 StarTribue newspaper article about Chris Madel titled, "He pursues fraud with tenacity of linebacker". Click here for the article.
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Chris Madel speaks to the media after his client received a misdemeanor in federal court after being charged with three felonies.

representative cases
Civil Matters/Litigation

  • Minority-shareholder litigation. The plaintiff, a daughter and sister of our clients, sued to recover $454,735,000 for her claims of minority-shareholder oppression, fraud, breach of fiduciary duties, etc. The case included allegations of waste of company assets, breaches of various family-trust documents, and even includes our defense of the plaintiff's probate matter in Florida. As noted in the district court's 354-page opinion, our clients offered to settle her lawsuit for approximately $150 million. The district court awarded the plaintiff $41.6 million for her claims--after a 16-day trial involving 14 witnesses and 413 exhibits. The media covered the case extensively, including the Daily Mail and other articles (and some were inaccurate, such as the StarTribune falsely stating the plaintiff sought only $228 million). The litigation remains ongoing.

  • Securities & employment litigation. We had the honor to represent an Air Force Academy graduate, former General Mills executive, and the former President of American Girl dolls, related to a dispute regarding her former employment with Tilray, Inc.—a large cannabis company formerly headquartered in Canada. In a five-day arbitration before the Honorable Thomas Fraser in December 2022, Judge Fraser held that Tilray’s former CEO, Brendan Kennedy, “…used [our client's] leadership to maximize EBITDA to maintain what negotiating leverage he could in the discussions with Aphria. The testimony by Kennedy and Levin that MH’s achievement of its EBITDA target was largely due to the efforts of [other of] Tilray’s executives is not credible.” He further noted that Tilray’s defense was “misleading at best,” and that our client's division “…was the only Tilray business unit with a positive EBITDA..." Tilray's last settlement offer was $186,000. We obtained an order awarding our client $4,001,524, including attorneys’ fees.

  • Legal malpractice. Represented large downtown Minneapolis law firm against legal-malpractice claims. The law firm's former client asked for over $20 million in damages. We won on approximately $3 million against the former client on our counterclaim.

  • Class-action defense. Our client is one of the world's largest publicly traded debt-collecting corporations. Using another law firm, our client brought an action against a Georgia consumer seeking to collect payment on a delinquent credit card debt. In response, the consumer asserted a class action on behalf of similarly situated debtors that our client had sued. Our client called us to substitute in as counsel. In the end, we obtained a denial of class certification against a putative class of debtors in the district court, which was then affirmed by the Georgia Court of Appeals.

  • Trade-secret, copyright, & breach-of-fiduciary-duty litigation. Lead counsel representing motorcycle and automotive design company Ciro, LLC, Tom Rudd, Ken Madden, Darron May, and Chris Lindloff in defending against Kuryakyn Holdings, LLC’s 18 claims, including allegations of trade-secret misappropriation, breach of contract, and breach of fiduciary duty and duty of loyalty. After lengthy discovery and summary-judgment briefing, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin granted summary judgment in favor of our clients with respect to 17 of the 18 claims, dismissing claims of copyright infringement, federal and state trade-secret claims, breach of contract, and a statutory conspiracy to injure business claim. Four of our five clients were dismissed from the lawsuit entirely and only a portion of one claim remained against one of our clients. That remaining claim has since been resolved.

  • Trademark and false-advertising litigation. Lead counsel representing Dires, LLC (doing business as Personal Comfort Bed), Craig Miller, and Scott Stenzel in defending against Select Comfort Corporation’s allegations that Personal Comfort Bed’s advertising violated Select Comfort’s trademarks and that Personal Comfort Bed made false statements in its advertising. After a 14-day jury trial in which Select Comfort sought more than $17.1 million in damages, the jury found no trademark infringement, no trademark dilution, no unfair competition, and found in favor of our clients on multiple false advertising claims. In addition, the jury found that our clients prevailed on their counterclaim seeking a judgment that Select Comfort has no trademark rights in the phrase “number bed.” In total, the jury found that Personal Comfort Bed made several false statements and awarded Select Comfort $120,812 in damages against our corporate client only—the jury found no liability whatsoever for our individual clients. The jury thus awarded Select Comfort, a corporation currently worth over $1.32 billion, less than 1% of the damages it sought at trial.

  • Fraud/RICO.  Lead counsel representing professional golfer Jesper Parnevik and two well-known real-estate developers in RICO and fraud litigation against Michael Burgess, Erwin Lasshofer, and others.  Mr. Burgess is currently serving a 15-year sentence in federal prison for conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering.  After Mr. Burgess began serving his sentence, our clients moved for an ex parte temporary restraining order freezing Mr. Lasshofer’s international assets and requiring him to repatriate allegedly defrauded proceeds from Austria to the United States.  The U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado granted the motion for a temporary restraining order, and later, granted our clients’ motion for a preliminary injunction in a published opinion.  Niemi v. Burgess, 874 F. Supp. 2d 1048 (D. Colo. 2012).  When it was discovered that one of Mr. Lasshofer’s entities held millions in an account at Credit Suisse in Switzerland, our clients added Credit Suisse to the lawsuit as a nominal defendant and moved for a second preliminary injunction that would freeze those funds.  Credit Suisse opposed the motion, but the District Court nonetheless granted our motion, compelled Credit Suisse to freeze the millions of dollars in the Swiss bank account. In 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit affirmed our clients' judgment in the amount of $185,077,476.

  • Minority-shareholder litigation.  Lead counsel representing three-time Tour de France winner, Greg LeMond, a former high-ranking banker at JP Morgan Chase, a Wisconsin corporation, and two other individuals in a minority-shareholder lawsuit against Timothy Blixseth, the then-billionaire majority owner of the elite Yellowstone Club located near Big Sky, Montana, and certain related entities.  After receiving a cash and land buy-out offer of less than $12 million collectively, our clients alleged fraudulent practices relating to the management of Yellowstone Club assets.  In October 2007, our clients reached a $38 million settlement which required two settlement payments to be made before February 2008.  When the defendants did not make the second settlement payment, the suit was renewed and settled for $39.5 million. In this second settlement, our clients also obtained confessions of judgment, a mortgage on Blixseth’s former home, and protection against having their Yellowstone Club memberships unfavorably affected.  In 2008, Yellowstone Development, LLC and Yellowstone Mountain Club, LLC filed for bankruptcy.  Several interested parties in this bankruptcy litigation have relied upon and continue to repeatedly cite our work product in pursuit of claims against the debtors and others.  The New York Times covered the case in an August 14, 2008 article entitled, "$39 Million Settlement in a Feud at an Exclusive Montana Resort."

  • Trust litigation.  Lead counsel representing trustees of spendthrift trust, including former FBI Director Louis Freeh, against allegations that trustees committed certain actions disqualifying spendthrift nature of the trust. 

  • General business litigation.  NJK Holding v. The Araz Group, Inc./jury trial & appellate win.  In 2015, Mr. Madel was lead counsel relating to a trial against The Araz Group, Inc. relating to a promissory note in the amount of $700,000.  Judge Thomas Fraser presided over the jury trial, and Mr. Madel's client ultimately won a judgment of $1,782,149.80.  At the conclusion of trial, we moved for our attorneys’ fees and costs.  The Araz Group, Inc. claimed that our fees were “excessive” because of Mr. Madel’s alleged “inflated” hourly rate.  Judge Fraser awarded 100% of our attorneys’ fees and costs, stating:  “Mr. Madel has a stellar reputation both within the commercial litigation and white-collar defense bar.  His experience and ability, as demonstrated by the concise, organized and effective presentation of NJK’s case to the jury, well justify his rate.  His personal ‘lodestar’ was eminently reasonable because of his relatively low hours and his deployment mainly at the trial stage, where NJK benefited most from his expertise.”  The Araz Group then appealed to the Minnesota Court of Appeals, and Mr. Madel argued the case.  On May 2, 2016, the Court of Appeals affirmed Judge Fraser’s judgment in a unanimous, published decision that held, for the first time under Minnesota law, that Minnesota’s statute of frauds applies to alleged agreements to extinguish debts (and not just agreements to modify debts).  See NJK Holding Corp. v. The Araz Group, Inc., 878 N.W.2d 515 (Minn. App. 2016).  The Minnesota Supreme Court denied review of the Court of Appeals' decision and awarded 100% of our attorneys’ fees and costs incurred through the appellate process.

  • Corporate raiding/trade-secret litigation.  Lead counsel representing multi-million-dollar privately held corporation against allegations of breach of fiduciary duty, duty of loyalty, and theft of trade secrets.  Potential litigation was averted through confidential settlement.

  • Class-action defense.  Lead counsel representing Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. in class-action lawsuit by former employees alleging, among other things, violations relating to their immigration status and the Minnesota Wages Act.  Settled the lawsuit for $0.

  • Computer-hacking litigation.  Lead counsel representing Digital River, Inc. and Digital River Marketing Solutions, Inc. in internal investigation and subsequent civil investigation relating to alleged conspiracy to commit computer fraud and computer hacking.  Within 48 hours of filing suit in May 2010, obtained ex parte federal order to seal the litigation and a separate temporary restraining order prohibiting defendant from, among other things, attempting to sell the alleged stolen data and from destroying all relevant documents.  The District Court subsequently entered a permanent injunction against the defendant.  The StarTribune covered the litigation in an article entitled, "Digital River sues over data breach."

  • FDCPA Act.  Co-lead counsel representing one of the world’s largest debt-collection companies, Portfolio Recovery Associates (PRA), in defending against claims alleging violations of the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and alleged damages claims of $1,000,000. The case proceeded to a jury trial in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota. After deliberating less than a half day, the jury found in favor of our client on all claims.  The StarTribune covered the lawsuit in a March 11, 2015 column entitled, "Perry Mason meets Fargo in Minneapolis federal court." 

  • Representation of top attorneys.  Lead counsel representing convicted fraudster Tom Petters’ criminal defense lawyers in claims asserted by Mr. Petters relating to their representation of him in his criminal litigation.  The U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota, as well as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, rejected all of Mr. Petters’ arguments.

  • Representation of top attorney.  Lead counsel representing prominent tax and criminal-defense counsel in claims asserted by his former client.  The U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota, as well as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, rejected all of the former client’s arguments.

  • Representation of top attorney/indemnification litigation.  Lead counsel representing a top criminal-defense attorney in an indemnification dispute relating to that attorney’s defense of client.  Obtained summary judgment on liability and damages in favor of the attorney.  Mauzy v. Edward Kraemer & Sons, Inc., Civ. No. 02-879 AJB, 2004 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5098 (Mar. 4, 2004). 

  • Representation of law firm.  Lead counsel representing prominent personal-injury law firm in internal investigation relating to associate attorneys’ alleged conspiracy to defraud law firm.  After obtaining sworn affidavits from the associate attorneys describing the alleged fraud, including alleged kickbacks paid to another solo practitioner attorney, Mr. Madel negotiated a confidential settlement with the solo practitioner attorney.  The Minnesota Office of Professional Responsibility then entered into a settlement with the payor of the kickbacks which included a simple admonition.  We appealed to the Minnesota Supreme Court.  Mr. Madel argued the appeal, and the Minnesota Supreme Court held that the Minnesota Office of Professional Responsibility acted unreasonably, arbitrarily, and capriciously.  In re Petition for Review of Panel Decision Against Respondent, Panel Case No. 35104, 851 N.W.2d 620, 624-26 (Minn. 2014).

  • Law-firm litigation.  Lead counsel representing law firm against allegations of breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, breach of contract, and other claims involving former partner that left law firm.  Confidential settlement reached before institution of discovery.

  • Law-firm litigation.  Lead counsel representing top defense counsel against allegations of attorney malpractice.  The District Court granted our motions to dismiss and for sanctions against the plaintiff/former client.

  • Antitrust litigation.  Lead counsel representing defendants UnitedHealth Group, Inc. and PacifiCare, Inc. in an antitrust lawsuit involving alleged price-fixing and fraud related to prescription drug reimbursement under the federal Medicare Part D program.  Plaintiff Omnicare sought damages exceeding $1 billion and permanent injunctive relief.  After Mr. Madel argued the summary judgment motion in August 2008, the U.S. District Court granted summary judgment to defendants on all claims in January 2009.  Published decision:  Omnicare, Inc. v. UnitedHealth Group, Inc., 594 F. Supp. 2d 945 (N.D. Ill. 2009).  Summary judgment was subsequently affirmed. Omnicare, Inc. v. UnitedHealth Group, Inc., 629 F.3d 697 (7th Cir. 2011).

  • Antitrust litigation.  EchoStar v. DirectTV, Circuit City, Best Buy Co., Inc., et. al.  Lead counsel representing defendant multi-national consumer-electronics corporation in antitrust litigation.  Obtained dismissal of case with prejudice in favor of client.

  • Class-action defense.  Lead counsel representing Portfolio Recovery Associates (PRA) in defending against class-action counterclaims which sought to invalidate arbitration awards in which the National Arbitration Forum (NAF) acted as the arbitration organization.  After the Minnesota Attorney General sued the NAF in 2009, alleging that the NAF was secretly owned by a hedge fund that held a large stake in the debt-collection industry, the NAF settled and numerous consumers filed class actions against the NAF which were consolidated as part of multi-district litigation proceeding (MDL). PRA opted out of the MDL.  NAF and other defendants in the MDL ultimately settled by dismissing pending NAF arbitrations and paying over $3 million in cash. The NAF’s MDL settlement agreement confirms that the value of the consumer arbitration claims dismissed following the 2009 settlement with the Minnesota Attorney General is at least $1,090,000,000.  In November 2010, PRA obtained a dismissal of Defendant/Counterclaimant Freeman’s counterclaims with prejudice on the pleadings, as well as an order confirming the arbitration award.  After extensive briefing and oral argument, the North Carolina Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s ruling in a published decision.  Portfolio Recovery Associates, LLC v. Freeman, 717 S.E.2d 43 (N.C. Ct. App. 2011).

  • Government investigations/consumer fraud-defense.  Lead counsel representing a Fortune 500 financial corporation regarding investigation by over 40 states.  Mr. Madel reached a settlement with the states for approximately $1.5 million and other equitable relief.  After the financial corporation was sold and moved out of Minnesota, other law firms negotiated settlements with the federal government for alleged subsequent violations:  the Federal Trade Commission (for $18 million) and the U.S Department of Justice (for $100 million).

  • Extortion litigation.  Lead counsel representing Minnesota Vikings’ former wide receiver Bernard Berrian against attempted extortion plot.  Obtained ex parte temporary restraining order in U.S. District Court returning client’s property and enjoining defendants.  The case subsequently settled on confidential terms. 

  • Trade-secret & breach of fiduciary duty litigation.  Lead counsel representing Botanic Oil Innovations, Inc. (BOI) in litigation against competitor Rain Nutrition LLC and former member of BOI’s Board of Directors and Medical Advisory Board. After discovering contractual agreement between BOI’s then-board member/medical advisor and Rain, BOI filed a lawsuit alleging, among other claims for relief: aiding and abetting breach of fiduciary duty, tortious interference with contract, misappropriation of trade secrets, copyright infringement, and violation of Minnesota’s Deceptive Trade Practices Act. After months of discovery, BOI agreed to a favorable settlement with the former board member/medical advisor. BOI continued litigation against Rain, ultimately obtaining judgment against Rain and dismissal of Rain’s counterclaims with prejudice. In August 2012, the Court entered judgment in favor of BOI and against Rain in the amount of $4,869,288.

  • Dealer litigation.  Co-counsel representing defendant Kia Motors America, Inc. with respect to claims grounded in antitrust, the Minnesota Motor Vehicle Sale and Distribution Act, and the Minnesota Unfair Discrimination and Competition Act.  In October 2008, U.S. District Court dismissed four of plaintiff’s claims with prejudice.  Barnett Chrysler Plymouth Co. v. Kia Motors Am., Inc., Civ. No. 08-828 (ADM/JSM) (Oct. 27, 2008).  The case subsequently settled.

  • Antitrust litigation.  United States v. National Automobiles Dealer’s Ass’n.  While working as a Trial Attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division, Mr. Madel served as lead counsel in the federal government’s investigation of the National Automobile Dealers’ Association (“N.A.D.A.”).  Upon the conclusion of Mr. Madel’s tenure at the Justice Department, U.S. Department of Justice Assistant Attorney General Anne Bingaman thanked Mr. Madel for developing the case and his “tremendous contribution to the Division in antitrust enforcement.”

  • Government litigation.  Lead counsel representing the Minnesota State Board of Public Defense in connection with the State of Minnesota’s government shutdown.  Coordinated and funded by the Board of Public Defense, Minnesota public defenders represent indigent accused people in each of Minnesota’s 87 counties.  The State Board of Public Defense sought emergency relief to require the State of Minnesota to fund the public defenders and the courts in the event of a state-government shutdown.  Several Minnesota senators, represented by a former state senator, claimed that our requested relief would violate the Minnesota State Constitution.  Covering the hearing, the Minneapolis/St. Paul Star Tribune, in an article entitled, "Attorney general, governor, public defenders want courts to continue in shutdown," stated that “Madel made the most impassioned arguments, citing three U.S. Supreme Court rulings that mandate continuation of funding for the judiciary: Gideon v. Wainright, requiring effective counsel at public expense for those accused of felonies, Argersinger v. Hamlin, ensuring legal representation of indigents for misdemeanors and In re Gault, extending the same right for juveniles.”  On June 28, the District Court granted our emergency petition in full, thus requiring the State of Minnesota to fully fund the public defenders and the courts after the government shutdown (which then occurred on July 1, 2011).

  • Election-law litigation.  Lead counsel representing Enjoli Rosas and Council on Crime & Justice in pro bono elections case.  In 2010, Ms. Rosas pleaded guilty to felony possession of marijuana and was placed on five years of probation. But, like in the cases of thousands of Minnesotans each year charged with first-time and less serious felonies, the district court did not accept her guilty plea with the stipulation that if she successfully completed the terms of her probation she would not be “convicted.”  After she successfully concluded her probation, Ms. Rosas called the Ramsey County probation office to ask if she could vote in the upcoming election.  The probation office told Ms. Rosas that she could not vote.  Mr. Madel represented Ms. Rosas and the Council on Crime & Justice in a petition to the Minnesota Supreme Court.  Because Ramsey County admitted their mistake, no dispute remained regarding Rosas’ ability to vote. Consequently, the Supreme Court dismissed the case as moot, but in doing so, the Minnesota Supreme Court noted that “the undisputed facts here show that Rosas’ 2010 guilty plea was not accepted or recorded and that no judgment of guilty on a felony charge has been entered with respect to petitioner Rosas.”  The New York Times published an editorial praising the Minnesota Supreme Court’s decision and noted that it provided a positive step to encouraging citizens to vote.

  • Personal-injury defense litigation.  Defended former Minnesota Timberwolves player Isaiah “J.R.” Rider in civil lawsuits relating to incident at Mall of America. 

  • Securities-fraud litigation.  Lead counsel representing clients against securities-fraud claims brought by, among others, private parties, the Securities & Exchange Commission, and the U.S. Department of Justice.  Prosecuted civil claims on behalf of brokers, and defended broker-dealers, in FINRA arbitrations.


Internal Investigations

  • Lead counsel representing an independent three-member Special Committee of the Fiesta Bowl Board of Directors that was headed by a former Chief Justice of the Arizona Supreme Court. The Special Committee was formed to investigate allegations that the Fiesta Bowl had reimbursed employees for campaign contributions, that a prior investigation had covered-up criminal conduct, and that the Fiesta Bowl had made numerous other improper expenditures. Our five-month investigation included 87 interviews of 52 individuals and the review of 55 gigabytes of electronic data and more than 10,000 additional hard copy documents.  Our investigation culminated in a 276-page Final Report with 1,562 footnotes and thousands of additional pages of supporting schedules and spreadsheets. The Final Report was covered by dozens of media outlets and has received widespread praise, including:

    • The Arizona Republic’s Editorial Board stated: “The Fiesta Bowl executive committee should never lose sight of what appears to have saved their event’s bacon, at least for now: the unflaggingly candid 276-page report released by the Fiesta Bowl itself, which exposed all those ugly warts.”  Other reporting from The Arizona Republic referred to the report as “comprehensive.”

    • A leading legal commentator stated: “Any lawyer or other person asked to lead a special investigation centered on wrongdoing of the type that now surrounds the Fiesta Bowl should read RKMC’s report first.”

    • Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne called the report “comprehensive.”

    • The Bowl Championship Series (BCS) Task Force -- a Task Force that was created to review the Fiesta Bowl’s conduct and our Report -- called our investigation “exceedingly thorough” and noted that had the Special Committee not produced such a “thorough and open report” the Task Force “almost certainly would have recommended termination of the BCS Groups’ involvement with the Fiesta Bowl.”

    • NCAA President Mark Emmert stated that “The [Fiesta Bowl] special report was obviously extremely detailed and outlined behaviors none of us would be supportive of and I think the board was forthright in putting all that information before the various bodies.”

    • Sports Illustrated’s Austin Murphy noted that the Special Committee’s investigation (in contrast to an earlier investigation) was “decidedly not a whitewash."

  • Led internal investigation of Minnesota Vikings into former punter Chris Kluwe’s allegations that he was released by the Vikings for his public support of same-sex marriage rights. The Vikings investigation generated national news and was praised by both the Vikings and Kluwe. Indeed, the Vikings described the investigation—which included more than 30 interviews, analysis of two independent experts, and review of electronically-stored information along with hard-copy documents—as “exhaustive.” Kluwe also began an online petition that garnered over 80,000 signatures urging the Vikings to publicly release the investigative team’s written report. And although the investigative team’s report remains confidential, Kluwe’s attorney characterized the RKMC report as “thorough” in the press conference related to the settlement that was covered by multiple media outlets.

  • Lead counsel representing Best Buy Co., Inc. in internal investigation, criminal referral to federal government, and related civil litigation against supplier.  After discovering employee’s acceptance of bribes from supplier relating to alleged $40+ million scheme to defraud, led team that referred matter to U.S. Attorney’s Office, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Internal Revenue Service, and U.S. Postal Inspector’s Office.  In February 2009, the employee pled guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and money laundering.  In July 2009, the United States indicted the primary owner of supplier.  In June 2010, a federal jury convicted the primary owner for 24 of 26 alleged federal crimes, including conspiracy to commit mail fraud, money laundering, income-tax evasion, and conspiracy to defraud the United States.  In December 2010, the primary owner received a 15-year sentence, the employee received a 7 1/2-year sentence, and Judge Davis ordered all defendants to pay over $32 million in restitution.

  • Lead counsel representing Fortune 500 agricultural business in internal investigation regarding alleged fraud and other violations regarding marketing, distribution, and labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMO’s) throughout the world.  Drafted final report and recommendations for audit committee and executives, including recommended personnel changes and communications to customers.  No subsequent government investigation or private lawsuits resulted.

  • Lead counsel representing drug manufacturer with respect to board member’s alleged theft of trade secrets, breaches of fiduciary duty (including conflicts of interest), and other potential theft.  Entered into settlement with board member, and obtained multi-million dollar judgment against defendant.

  • Lead counsel representing the Minnesota Vikings in connection with internal investigation and defense of organization relating to the Arctic Blast in 2003, including allegations of sexual misconduct and improper expenditures.

  • Lead counsel representing construction corporation in internal investigation relating to alleged fraud of supplier.  After Mr. Madel and his team obtained settlements against certain former employees, no litigation was instituted against, and no government investigation resulted of, our corporate client.

  • Led internal investigations of numerous other corporations and entities relating to alleged violations of state and federal crimes, including Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, mail-fraud statutes, wire-fraud statutes, illegal campaign contributions, computer fraud, tax crimes, and other crimes.

Criminal Matters/Litigation 


  • In May 2023, represented CEO of a cement contractor and his company accused of rigging bids to several western-Minneapolis suburban municipalities. We obtained across-the-board jury-trial acquittals for our clients—and even though our clients’ only alleged “co-conspirator” pleaded guilty to the same alleged bid-rigging conspiracy and testified at trial.  

    • Details:

      • ​​​​Our clients were Steven Dornsbach and his company, Kamida, Inc.

      • On July 6, 2017, the FBI helped Mr. Dornsbach's decades-long "friend,"  Clarence Olson, secretly record him. Approximately four years later, the government persuaded Mr. Olson to plead guilty to the alleged bid-rigging conspiracy.

      • ​​In March 2022, the United States Department of Justice indicted Mr. Dornsbach and Kamida, Inc., alleging criminal bid-rigging conspiracy. We then filed numerous discovery motions, many of which sought information regarding the Department of Justice's attorneys' improper influence of Mr. Olson regarding a letter he wrote his sentencing judge in October 2021. Unfortunately, the courts denied many of our requests, contending that our allegations of the Department of Justice's improper influence and/or involvement in the Mr. Olson's October 2021 letter amounted to "speculation."

      • We went to trial in May 2023. The Department of Justice brought in about ten lawyers and paralegals from across the country. It wasn't enough. ​

      • At trial:

        • ​​​Mr. Olson testified against our clients. In response, we contended the FBI and the DOJ concocted a false narrative through intimidation, conducting multiple interviews of him, and manufacturing evidence. Mr. Olson admitted that at the time of the alleged “rigged” bids, he didn’t even have knowledge that a bid-rigging agreement existed.

        • We proved that the Department of Justice’s lead prosecutor induced Mr. Olson and his then-attorney to write the October 2021 letter to his sentencing judge. Thus, our pretrial “speculation” was 100% accurate—and the Department of Justice failed to disclose all of it to us in pretrial discovery.

        • We proved that the Department of Justice’s “summary” exhibits constituted cherry-picked nonsense. 

        • We proved that the FBI selectively recorded statements, using a recorder when it suited their purposes and then turning it off when their “Special Agent” decided to “recount” what Mr. Dornsbach allegedly said.

        • We used a top-flight expert, Tom Gorowsky, to show that Kamida’s pricing before, during, and after the indictment period was in the same range for non-“rigged” bids.

      • On May 10, 2023, the jury announced its not-guilty verdicts across the board. 

  • Mr. Madel obtained a dismissal of a federal indictment with prejudice before trial in a substantial stock-manipulation case.  Our client faced five counts of federal wire fraud.  In a February 2018 article, the Minneapolis/St. Paul StarTribune stated that "[t]he case is uncommon in that such cooperation agreements usually come with plea bargains, not outright dismissals."

  • Represented CEO in felony trial stemming from CEO's alleged assault of a neurosurgeon. Mr. Madel and his partner, Cassandra Merrick, obtained a complete acquittal. After the trial, the CEO wrote the following (unsolicited) email to US News & World Report with respect to their annual lawyer surveys:

The jury was out for only a few hours and returned a verdict of not guilty.  Ten of the 12 jury members came up to Chris Madel and me and shook our hands and congratulated us. The court reporter said "In 30 years, I have never seen a better defense."

And now I am free of the ridiculous case that had been brought against me.  Chris Madel not only won me an acquittal, he exposed the truth and I feel vindicated.  The entire process that I was subjected to was humiliating and frustrating beyond anything I have ever experienced.  However, Chris Madel won in such a decisive and overwhelming manner that the experience has turned into a positive one for me.

I have worked at the top levels of the US government, NATO, and international diplomatic institutions.  Chris Madel is of a caliber in his chosen profession equal to the best ambassadors and generals that I have worked with.
One last note: what I went through was terrible, but being able to meet Chris Madel and become friends with him may very well have made it all worthwhile."

  • Mr. Madel served as lead counsel representing a senior vice president of a federally insured bank against an extensive federal indictment that alleged eight crimes against our client, including bank fraud (one count), misapplication of bank funds (five counts), and federal false statements (two counts).  The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) jointly investigated the case, and it was prosecuted by two Assistant U.S. Attorneys from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota.  After the U.S. Government rested their case, Mr. Madel and his team moved the U.S. District Court to dismiss all charges against our client.  The U.S. District Court Judge granted this motion in part and dismissed the two federal false-statement charges.  However, the Judge stated that the U.S. Government’s evidence with respect to the bank fraud and misapplication of bank funds charges was “strong.”  The Judge submitted the remaining six charges to the jury one day later.  On April 6, 2012, after four days of deliberation, the jury returned “not guilty” verdicts for each of the remaining charges, resulting in a complete victory for our client.  In  an article entitled "Lawyers in bank fraud case are puzzled by split verdicts," Mr. Madel stated:  “‘It’s been an honor representing an innocent man,’ said Chris Madel, [the bank officer’s] defense attorney. [Mr. Madel’s client] had tears in his eyes as he and his lawyer emerged from the courtroom.”

  • State of Minnesota v. Kirby Puckett.  With former partner B. Todd Jones, defended Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett against felony false imprisonment and other criminal charges.  Upon his acquittal of all charges after jury trial, Mr. Puckett told the gathered media that he “had the greatest lawyers in the world.”

  • After the U.S. Department of Justice designated him a target of a federal criminal investigation, Mr. Madel obtained immunity for our stockbroker/client.  The resulting immunity agreement resulted in no publicity.

  • Lead counsel representing leader of nationally recognized education institution with respect to investigations (internal and governmental) relating to allegations of failing to report certain violations of law.  After multiple communications with governmental authorities and others, no charges were filed against client.

  • Lead counsel representing CEO of healthcare business involving alleged kickbacks provided to medical doctors.  After multiple communications with governmental authorities and others, no charges filed against client.

  • Lead counsel representing in-house attorney at Fortune 500 corporation with respect to grand-jury investigation relating to potential FCPA, export, and other allegations.  No charges resulted.

  • Lead counsel representing Fortune 500 corporation with respect to grand-jury subpoena seeking confidential information regarding customer.  Obtained protective order from federal court regarding same.

  • Lead counsel representing CEO for alleged illegal importing of pharmaceutical drugs for research purposes.  No charges resulted.

  • Lead counsel representing former executive of multi-million-dollar manufacturing company against felony embezzlement and theft charges. After extensive discussions with prosecutor and subsequent motion practice, we convinced the prosecution to dismiss all charges with prejudice before trial.

  • Lead counsel representing owner of busing business with respect to alleged fraudulent representations made in connection with awarding of contract.  After multiple communications with governmental authorities and others, no charges were filed against client.

  • Lead counsel representing two-time Medal of Valor recipient and 20-year veteran of the Minneapolis Police Department in criminal trial alleging felony false imprisonment, arrest without authority, interference with an emergency call, and disorderly conduct.  After the court dismissed the felony false imprisonment and arrest without authority charges for lack of probable cause, obtained jury-trial acquittals of the remaining charges in September 2010.  The StarTribune characterized Mr. Madel’s cross examination as “searing.”

  • United States v. Said.  In September 2015, the U.S. Office of the Federal Defender asked Chris to represent a 19-year old man (Mahammed Said) for allegedly making a threat to kill the U.S. Attorney General.  The U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota construed the threat as against himself.  Accordingly, Chris filed a motion to compel the recusal of all federal judges in the District of Minnesota.  Our request for recusal was granted, and a federal judge from South Dakota, Judge Piersol, was appointed to hear the case in Minnesota.  The Government’s first plea offer was for our client to plead to the felony that the Government charged, i.e., 18 U.S.C. § 111(a), and face approximately 5-7 years of imprisonment.  Chris and his team drafted a motion for a bill of particulars to force the U.S. Government to identify who their client allegedly threatened.  I have learned that motions for bills of particulars in federal court are commonly filed but very rarely granted.  Nonetheless, Judge Piersol granted our motion and required the Government to identify the alleged victims of the threat.  Because the Government could not specifically identify who our client allegedly threatened, the Government reluctantly agreed to accept a misdemeanor plea agreement.  After pleading to a misdemeanor, our client was then released from jail even before sentencing in November 2015.

  • United States v. Abdulkadir.  Because of his success in the first case, the U.S. Office of the Federal Defender called Messrs. Madel to handle a similar case one month later.  In this second case, the Government alleged that Khaalid Abdulkadir threatened to kill FBI agents and a federal judge.  Again, Chris moved for district-wide recusal, and that request was granted by Chief Judge Riley of the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.  Another judge from South Dakota, Judge Schreier, was appointed to preside over the Abdulkadir case in Minnesota.  The Government initially offered a plea bargain including a lengthy prison sentence, contending that the case was “extremely serious.”  (FYI, we showed that the Government did not really believe it was a serious case as demonstrated by, among other things, the FBI’s sporadic surveillance of our client.)  In January 2016, Chris moved for a bill of particulars (as we did in the previous case).  Like the United States v. Said case, the court granted the motion.  This time, though, the Government proceeded all the way to the day of trial, when they called Mr. Madel if his client would agree to plead to a misdemeanor.  Abdulkadir did.  He spoke to a bunch of waiting television and print reporters (it was widely reported), and he then went home the next day.

    • On March 9, 2016, the StarTribune published a story entitled, “Man accused of tweeting death threats to judge, FBI expected to plead to lesser charge.”  The article states:  “Madel...negotiated a plea deal that reduced his charges to a misdemeanor, and he was sentenced late last year to probation and is now living temporarily in a halfway house in South Dakota.  If Abdulkadir’s plea goes as expected, he and Said would be the only ISIL-related cases in Minnesota to end with misdemeanor charges.”

  • Lead counsel representing individual charged with domestic abuse by strangulation.  After extensive motion practice, obtained dismissal of all charges with prejudice prior to trial.

  • Lead counsel representing corporate executive relating to altercation with police detective.  After extensive motion practice, obtained dismissal of charge with prejudice prior to trial.

  • Lead counsel defending Katun Corporation in criminal investigation Led relating to alleged violations of fraud, illegal campaign contributions, computer fraud, tax crimes, escheat statutes, and other crimes.  After settling with the United States and paying approximately $11 million, served as lead counsel in settlement reached with former shareholders for $11.65 million.  After U.S. District Court held the settlement violated public policy, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed and reinstated the settlement.  Katun Corp. v. Clarke, 484 F.3d 972 (8th Cir. 2007).

  • Lead counsel representing CEO for alleged violation of Mann Act and other federal crimes.  After multiple communications with governmental authorities and others, no charges were filed against client.

PLEASE NOTE:  All cases are different and past results do not predict future case outcomes. 


  • Selected “Super Lawyer,” Super Lawyers (every year from 2003-present)

  • Selected as "Top 100 Super Lawyer" for State of Minnesota (2017-present)

  • Selected to "America's Top 100 Attorneys" (2017)

  • “Top 100 Trial Lawyer,” The National Trial Lawyers Association (2012-present)

  • “Attorney of the Year” by Minnesota Lawyer (2011, 2012, 2013, and 2024--first lawyer to win in three consecutive years)

  • Named to the “Circle of Excellence,” Minnesota Lawyer (2012,  2013, and 2024)

  • Selected “Top 40 in Criminal Defense” by Minnesota Law & Politics

  • Listed in The Best Lawyers in America

  • Selected "Lawyer of the Year" for White-Collar Criminal Litigation by Best Lawyers in America (2023)

  • Selected to "The Power 30" in Business Litigation by Minnesota Lawyer

  • Listed in Chambers USA, “America’s Leading Litigation Lawyers”

  • “Litigation Star,” Benchmark Litigation

  • Fellow, The Fellows of the American Bar Foundation (2017-present)

  • Named a “North Star Lawyer” by the Minnesota State Bar Association for providing at least 50 hours of pro bono legal services (2015 & 2016)

  • “Rising Star” by Minnesota Law & Politics (1998-2002)

  • Wall Street Journal Student Achievement Award (1989)

  • John M. Dozier Award (1988)


  • Chris Madel & Jenny Robbins, How to Promote Opportunities for In-Court Experience on a Practical Level, With Equal Right (Spring 2018).

  • Essential Considerations for Cross-Border Internal Investigations, 39 American Journal of Trial Advocacy 577 (Spring 2016)

  • Maintaining the Attorney-Client and Work-Product Privileges in an Internal Investigation (March 19, 2014)

  • Barriers to Discovery in Criminal Defense, Inside The Minds: Managing White Collar Legal Issues (February 1, 2013)

  • Court Orders Warn Against Foot-dragging in Government Investigations, Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi L.L.P. Antitrust Bulletin (February 2, 2011)

  • Enforcement of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in the Age of Obama, Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi L.L.P. (April 19, 2010)

  • Predatory Conduct Under Section Two of the Sherman Act: Dead or Alive?, 2 Sedona Conf. J. 73 (Fall 2001)

  • The Modern RICO Enterprise: The Inoperation and Mismanagement of Reves v. Ernst & Young, 71 Tulane Law Review 1133 (1997) (cited in Sikes v. AT&T, 179 F.R.D. 342, 354 n.12 (S.D. Ga. 1998), Emcore Corp. v. PriceWaterhouseCoopers L.L.P. 102 F. Supp. 2d 237 (2000))


  • Internal Investigations, Ethics & Compliance Initiative, Managing Ethics in Organizations, Waltham, Massachusetts (June 16, 2016)

  • The Importance of Diligence and Independence When Conducting Internal Investigations, The American Journal of Trial Advocacy, Birmingham, Alabama (February 26, 2016)

  • "Yeah, but I Didn’t Really Mean That…’ How to Effectively Use Social Media Postings at Trial, Robins Kaplan LLP Trial Advocacy Seminar, Minneapolis, Minnesota (October 6, 2015)

  • What Civil Lawyers Can Learn From Criminal Lawyers and Vice-Versa Panel, The 40th Annual Federal Practice Seminar, Minneapolis, Minnesota (June 26, 2014)

  • Medicare and Medicaid Fraud: Government's Use of the False Claims Act, Minnesota State Bar Association, Corporate Healthcare Symposium, Rochester, Minnesota (September 12, 2013)

  • Maintaining the Integrity of Internal Investigations: Fiesta Bowl Case Study, Ethics and Compliance Officer Association, Waltham, Massachusetts (June 12, 2013)

  • Maintaining the Integrity of Internal Investigations: The Fiesta Bowl Case Study, Minnesota State Bar Association (September 27, 2011)

  • Internal Investigations: Reveal and Remediate vs. Deny and Defend, Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics (September 11-14, 2011)

  • Maintaining the Integrity of Internal Investigations: The Fiesta Bowl Case Study, Keynote Address, Ethics & Compliance Officer Association (April 27-29, 2011)

  • What Criminal Defense Lawyers Should Know About Social Media Web Sites, Webinar (August 2010)

  • IP Crimes: When Civil Infringement Turns Criminal, Napa Valley, California, Intellectual Property Law Section of the State Bar of California 30th Annual Intellectual Property Institute (November 5, 2005)

  • Joint Defense and Indemnification, Minnesota CLE, White-Collar Criminal Law Summit 2005 (October 31, 2005)

  • Winning By The Rules - Tactics and Consideration in the Application of The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi L.L.P. (January 23-24, 2004)

  • Considerations Regarding Hiring Individual Counsel, Joint Defense Agreements, and Corrective Action

  • Minnesota State Bar Association, Conducting Internal Investigations in the Wake of Sarbanes-Oxley (July 24, 2003)

  • National Institute for Trial Advocacy, Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi L.L.P Trial Advocacy Program (March 5-8 & April 9-12, 2003)

  • Enron & Beyond:  Accountants Are No Longer Boring & Roundtable Discussion:  Responding to the Corporate Crisis
    Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi L.L.P., White Collar Crime Seminar: Pinstripes to Jail Stripes (September 17, 2002)

  • Expert Witness Program, National Institute for Trial Advocacy, Robins Kaplan Miller & Ciresi L.L.P. (November 1-3, 2001, February 14-17, 2001 and March 14-17, 2001)


  • Member, Board of Directors, Illusion Theatre (2009-2023)

  • Member, Board of Directors, Innocence Project of Minnesota (2016-2022)

  • Policy Fellow, Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs (2003)

  • Legal Defense Fund Panel Attorney, Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association (MPPOA) (2023-present)

bar admissions

  • Minnesota

  • Georgia

  • U.S. Supreme Court

  • U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia

  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit

  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit

  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit

  • U.S. District Court, Central District of Illinois

  • U.S. District Court, Colorado

  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Wisconsin

  • U.S. District Court, Minnesota

  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Wisconsin


  • University of Michigan Law School (1992)

    • J.D., cum laude

  • Macalester College (1989)

    • B.A., magna cum laude

    • Majors:  Economics & Political Science

    • Wall Street Journal Student Achievement Award

    • Phi Beta Kappa

    • John M. Dozier Award

    • Senior Honors Thesis (received Highest Honors for same):  Takeovers: Insider Trading, Poison Pills, and Market Efficiency

A picture of Chris Madel and Jenny Robbins outside of Minneapolis Federal Courthouse after their jury-trial win.

Chris Madel & Jenny Robbins after their jury-trial win in Minneapolis federal court.

A picture of Chris Madel and Jenny Robbins awaiting a federal trial jury verdict in st. Paul, Minnesota, where we ultimately won.

Chris Madel & Jenny Robbins await the jury verdict in a federal trial in St. Paul, Minnesota (picture taken on last day of jury's deliberations - and we won).

A picture of Chris Madel arguing for the Minnesota State Board of Public Defense regarding a state-government shutdown where he obtained emergency relief for the State of Minnesota to continue funding public defenders.

Chris Madel arguing for the Minnesota State Board of Public Defense in connection with a state-government shutdown.  He obtained emergency relief to require the State of Minnesota to continue funding our public defenders.

Chris Madel, Jenny Robbins and clients after their jury-trial win in St. Paul federal court.

Chris Madel  & Jenny Robbins with their clients after their federal criminal jury-trial win in St. Paul federal court.

A picture of Chris Madel walking to court.
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A picture of 2018 America's Top 100 HIgh Stakes Litigators logo.
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A picture of the National Trial Lawyers Top 100 logo.
A picture of the listed in Best Lawyers logo.
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A picture of Chris Madel speaking to the media after his client received a misdemeanor after being charged with three felonies.
A picture of Chris Madel, another attorney, and client Kirby Puckett after Mr. Puckett was acquitted of all charges. Mr. Puckett told the. media, he had "the greatest lawyers in the world."

Chris Madel and his former partner, B. Todd Jones, successfully defended Major League Baseball Hall-of-Famer Kirby Puckett against several criminal charges.  Upon his acquittal of all charges, Mr. Puckett told the gathered media that "I've got the best lawyers in the world. No question."

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