November 05, 2020

MADEL PA Recognized in 2021 Edition of "Best Law Firms"

MADEL PA is pleased to announce that U.S. News – Best Lawyers® ranked MADEL PA in its 2021 "Best Law Firms" rankings as a Tier One firm in Minneapolis in the practice area of Criminal Defense: White Collar and Tier Two in the area of Commercial Litigation, in its 2021 list of “Best Law Firms,” which is published by U.S. News Media Group and Best Lawyers® and distributed worldwide.

The U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” rankings are based on a rigorous evaluation process that includes the collection of client and lawyer evaluations, peer review from leading attorneys in their field, and review of additional information provided by law firms as part of the formal submission process. The 2021 “Best Law Firms” rankings can be seen in their entirety by visiting

September 05, 2020

Congratulations to Ellen!

MADEL PA congratulates Partner Ellen and her husband Loren on the birth of their daughter Madeline Claire who arrived on September 5 weighing in at 6 lbs 8oz, and measuring 20".

August 20, 2020

Four MADEL PA Attorneys Recognized by The Best Lawyers in America© 2021 and Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch© 2021

Chris Madel, Jenny Robbins, Ellen Ahrens and Cassie Merrick selected by their peers in a variety of practice areas

Chris Madel was selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America for the sixth straight year in the areas of Commercial Litigation and White-Collar Criminal Defense. Jenny Robbins was recognized for her work in the areas of White-Collar Criminal Defense and Intellectual Property Litigation, and she has been named for this honor since 2018.


In the 2021 inaugural edition of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch, Ellen Ahrens was recognized for her work in Commercial Litigation. Cassie Merrick received a 2021 Best Lawyers: Ones To Watch recognition for Intellectual Property Law.


Recognition by Best Lawyers® is based entirely on peer review. Inclusion is based on a sophisticated and transparent survey process designed to elicit meaningful evaluations of the quality of legal services. The results are drawn from millions of votes, leading to a list of more than 50,000 attorneys across 140 practice areas. Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch recognizes lawyers who are earlier in their careers for their outstanding professional excellence in private practice. More information is available at

August 03, 2020

For third year, MADEL PA Named A 2020 “Best Place to Work” by Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal

MADEL PA has been named a Best Place to Work by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal for the third time in its four years, and for the second time in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal’s “Extra Small” business category.


“This honor is especially meaningful this year,” said Chris Madel. “Our employees participate in our selection, and among the hundreds of nominees, we’re honored to be recognized. Especially in a year that has seen so much change, our team has really pulled together and you can see that reflected in our results and in honors like this.”


Read more about the honor on the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal’s website.

July 30, 2020

MADEL PA wins precedent-setting victory against discrimination at Minnesota Supreme Court

Supreme Court sides with MADEL PA and issues landmark anti-discrimination ruling

The Minnesota Supreme Court ruled on July 29, 2020 in favor of MADEL PA client Meagan Abel and reinstated her discrimination and negligence claims against Abbott Northwestern Hospital, Allina Health System, and St. Mary’s University, Minnesota. As a required part of her doctoral program at St. Mary’s, Ms. Abel participated in a practicum with Allina Health System at Abbott Northwestern Hospital, where Ms. Abel faced egregious and ongoing sexual and racial discrimination. MADEL PA filed suit on behalf of Ms. Abel, alleging violations of the Minnesota Human Rights Act and negligence.  


Allina and St. Mary’s argued that maintaining a hostile, discriminatory environment did not violate the Human Rights Act, even when their employees, patients, or students faced ongoing sexual harassment and racial discrimination on a daily basis that made the employees or students too fearful to go to the hospital or school. Allina and St. Mary’s also argued that they owed no duty to protect their employees, unpaid interns, or students from sexual harassment and racial discrimination. The Minnesota Supreme Court rejected both arguments. The Court concluded that unpaid interns are protected as employees under the Human Rights act and concluded that “maintenance of a discriminatory system” constituted a violation of the Human Rights Act.


The ruling in Abel v. Abbott Northwestern Hospital et al., A19-0461, is a major victory not only for Ms. Abel but for victims of sexual and racial discrimination throughout Minnesota as well as unpaid interns and other similarly situated Minnesotans.


“We are delighted that the Minnesota Supreme Court applied its existing precedents to clearly protect all Minnesotans from ongoing discrimination and, for the first time, to clearly state that unpaid interns are protected from discrimination under the Human Rights Act,” said MADEL PA Partner Matt Pelikan, who briefed and argued the case. “The purpose of the Human Rights Act is to secure freedom from discrimination and we are honored to be part of fighting to make sure that protection includes unpaid interns and students, as well as those who face such severe discrimination that they have to remove themselves from the situation when their hospital, employer, or school fails to protect them,” Pelikan continued.


MADEL PA has been fighting on behalf of Ms. Abel for over three years, and the Minnesota Supreme Court’s vindication of Ms. Abel’s right to be protected from discrimination and MADEL PA’s theory of the case is a historic success that will not only benefit Ms. Abel but similarly situated Minnesotans for years to come.


“This victory at the Minnesota Supreme Court once again shows Ms. Abel’s courage in standing up against discrimination, even when those who were supposed to protect her failed to do so, and we are happy to be in this fight with her” said Pelikan. He continued, “by demanding accountability, we have made Minnesota more free and fair for all who are discriminated against.”


Pelikan, MADEL PA Partner Ellen Ahrens, and Paralegal Kelsey Tomasetti worked tirelessly at the Court of Appeals and Supreme Court to seek justice for Ms. Abel and ensure the right to be free from discrimination for Ms. Abel and all Minnesotans.

July 20, 2020

Seven of MADEL PA's attorneys recognized as “Super Lawyers”/“Rising Stars”

MADEL PA is pleased to announce that Super Lawyers recognized seven of MADEL PA’s attorneys on its “2020 Minnesota Super Lawyers” and “2020 Minnesota Rising Stars” lists. 


  • Chris Madel was named a “2020 Minnesota Super Lawyer” and was named a “Top 100 Super Lawyer" in Minnesota. He has been selected as a “Top 100 Super Lawyer” each year since 2017, and as a “Super Lawyer” each year since 2003.


  • Jenny Robbins was named a 2020 “Super Lawyer,” having been also named a “Super Lawyer” in 2019. Jenny was previously recognized as a “Rising Star” for four consecutive years. 


  • Cassie Merrick, Matt Pelikan, and Stephen Premo were named 2020 “Rising Stars.” (Both Matt and Cassie obtained that award in 2018 and 2019, as well, and Stephen was named a “Rising Star” in 2019.) 


  • Ellen Ahrens and Todd Hennen were each named a “Rising Star” for the first time.


According to Super Lawyers, its selection process is a comprehensive, good-faith, and detailed attempt to produce a list of lawyers that have attained high peer recognition, meet ethical standards, and have demonstrated achievement in their field. No more than five percent of attorneys can be recognized as “Super Lawyers” in any given year, and no more than 2.5 percent may be named “Rising Stars.”


“We’ve put together a team of terrific lawyers,” Chris said. “That is reflected in our work, our results, and our care for our clients.”

July 17, 2020

Jenny Robbins named to Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal’s 2020 “Women in Business” List

MADEL PA is proud to announce that our managing partner, Jenny Robbins, has been named one of Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal’s 2020 Women in Business. Hundreds of women across the Twin Cities were nominated, and the award recognizes those who excel in their professions and give back to their communities.


“Jenny is simply the best candidate for an honor like this,” said Chris Madel. “She manages our firm’s business while simultaneously representing our clients and their business interests at the highest level. On top of all of that, she makes incredible contributions to the community, including as an appointee to the Minnesota Board of Psychology and a member of the Board of Minnesota Women Lawyers. We couldn’t be luckier to have her.”


All of the honorees will be featured in the Oct. 9 Women in Business special publication and celebrated during a virtual event on Oct. 7.

June 07, 2020

MADEL PA congratulates Stephen and Priya Premo on the birth of Rami Premo

MADEL PA Associate Stephen Premo, and his wife, Priya, are celebrating the birth of their son Rami who arrived the evening of Sunday, June 7. Rami reportedly loves being wrapped up like a burrito and sleeping because, as Stephen says, who doesn't? Congratulations, Premo!

April 24, 2020

MADEL PA recognized by Minnesota Women Lawyers for 2020 Leadership Award

We are honored to announce that Minnesota Women Lawyers ("MWL") has named MADEL PA as the recipient of the 2020 Leadership Award. As an MWL Platinum Partner each year since the firm's inception, MADEL PA is particularly moved by the recognition.


MWL recognized MADEL PA for its commitment to enhance the status, influence, and effectiveness of women lawyers in its employ. MWL specifically noted, among other things, that half of MADEL PA’s partners are women, more than half of its employees are women, and that in addition to its support of MWL, MADEL PA actively supports the community as a Diamond sponsor to the Innocence Project. Two of MADEL PA’s partners, Jenny Robbins and Ellen Ahrens, serve on the MWL Board of Directors. MWL also noted that MADEL PA has twice been named a “Best Place to Work” by Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal.


“Through its recruitment, hiring and retention practices, and advancement of women, MWL is pleased to recognize MADEL PA for its efforts to champion the success of women attorneys and strive for a just society,” MWL noted.


“This is a special honor for MADEL PA,” said Chris Madel. “Our firm is dedicated to equality and to supporting the careers of all of our employees. But we are particularly proud that MWL recognizes how seriously we value the women we employ.”

March 04, 2020

Another jury-trial win

Complete jury-trial acquittal after about four hours of deliberation

Just four months after a high-profile jury-trial win in a civil case, MADEL PA won another jury trial today—this time in a criminal case.


MADEL PA represented a chief executive officer accused of felony assault. In a trial that occurred over five days, the jury deliberated for approximately four hours and ultimately returned a not-guilty verdict.

“It’s been an honor representing an innocent man,” Chris Madel said.  “It’s a shame that the State did not adequately investigate the facts before charging our client, but we're so grateful that the jury got it right.”

The trial team included Chris Madel, Cassie Merrick, and Kelsey Lund.

October 23, 2019

MADEL PA adds another jury-trial win

Jury awarded 100% of money sought--down to the last penny

Twelve years after sending its original invoice—including a previous trial and a successful appeal—a Hennepin County jury awarded MADEL PA client Computer Forensic Services, Inc. (“CFS”) the full amount it was seeking against Michael Roman Afremov for breach of contract on October 23, 2019.


The trial, presided over by the Honorable Susan N. Burke, related to computer-forensics work that CFS and its founder, Mark Lanterman, did in relation to defendant Michael Roman Afremov’s federal criminal defense in 2007. Following a minority-shareholder lawsuit relating to his interest in AGA Medical Corporation in which a published federal decision indicates Mr. Afremov received approximately $300 million, a federal grand jury indicted Mr. Afremov and he ultimately faced 18 counts, including mail fraud, conspiracy to defraud the United States, money laundering, and filing false tax returns.


After he was indicted, Mr. Afremov's attorneys subpoenaed Mr. Lanterman. Following CFS’s extensive work, Mr. Afremov was not sentenced to any time in prison following his guilty plea. The work by CFS totaled $807,587.33.  Mr. Afremov refused to pay CFS any money. 


The case was first tried in front of a Hennepin County jury by CFS’s previous counsel. The jury found both a breach of contract and damages, but the district court granted Mr. Afremov’s motion judgment notwithstanding the verdict, finding that there was no contract and that “costs” could only include lost revenue from employee time. CFS and Mr. Lanterman then asked Mr. Madel to handle the appeal, which involved two other attorneys at Mr. Madel's former law firm, including former Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Eric Magnuson. 

The Minnesota Court of Appeals reversed the district court's decision. It held that the evidence supported the jury’s verdict that a contract existed and that Mr. Afremov breached the contract. The Court of Appeals remanded for trial on breach-of-contract damages. Lanterman v. Afremov, No. A15-0729, 2016 WL 1551602 (Minn. Ct. App. Apr. 18, 2016).


During the retrial, Mr. Lanterman testified at length regarding the work CFS did as a young company and the burden that this significant unpaid bill put on his new business. Mr. Lanterman also testified that Mr. Afremov's attorneys instructed him to “leave no stone unturned” in compiling documents from CFS’s earlier work relating to AGA Medical to assist in Mr. Afremov's criminal defense.


In closing argument, Mr. Madel asked that the jury’s “verdict remind [Mr. Afremov] of the $807,587.33 that he owes” CFS. The jury’s verdict form ultimately required Mr. Afremov to pay CFS for everything it billed, down to the last 33 cents.

“This verdict serves as true vindication for CFS and Mark Lanterman,” said Chris Madel. “The jury believed him and knew that this needed to be made right after all these years. We couldn’t be happier that Mark and CFS will finally get paid.”


The trial team included Chris Madel, Cassie Merrick, Kelsey Lund, and Kelsey Tomasetti.

August 07, 2019

MADEL PA congratulates Amanda and Greg Jeffers on the birth of Johnny Leo Jeffers

MADEL PA's Senior Paralegal, Amanda Jeffers, and her husband, Greg, are celebrating the birth of their son, Johnny Leo Jeffers. Given that his mom and dad met while playing volleyball, it is unsurprising that Johnny arrived on Wednesday, August 7 measuring 22". Amanda, Johnny, and Greg are all healthy and happy, their dog Lula is confused, and the rest of the MADEL PA team is looking forward to meeting Johnny in person soon! 

August 01, 2019

MADEL PA Named A 2019 “Best Place to Work” by Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal for Second Time

For the second time in its three years, MADEL PA was named a Best Place to Work by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal. “This honor is special to me because it is voted on by our employees,” Chris Madel said. “My door is always open to hearing from all of our employees, and it’s such an privilege to work with such a terrific team.”  


In an interview with the MSPBJ, partner Cassie Merrick explained why MADEL PA is a special place to work. “Our culture is transparent and fun, and we emphasize working as a team. We care less about a person’s position or level in any hierarchy and focus more on coming up with the best ideas as a team to solve our clients’ problems collaboratively,” Merrick said. “We plan to keep doing great legal work, getting excellent results for our clients, and enjoying our work and our time with each other along the way.”

July 20, 2019

Chris Madel honored by The Best Lawyers in America© in Commercial Litigation, White Collar Criminal Defense, Jenny Robbins Recognized Again in White Collar Criminal Defense

Chris Madel has been selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© for the fifth straight year. This year, he was recognized in two practice areas: Commercial Litigation and White Collar Criminal Defense. Managing Partner Jenny Robbins was also recognized in White Collar Criminal Defense for 2020; Jenny has been named for this honor since 2018.


“Commercial litigation and white collar criminal defense make up a huge part of what we do,” Madel said. “It’s rewarding to know our peers recognize value our services in these areas.”


Recognition by Best Lawyers© is based entirely on peer review. Inclusion is based on a sophisticated and transparent survey process designed to elicit meaningful evaluations of the quality of legal services. The results are drawn from millions of votes, leading to a list of more than 50,000 attorneys across 140 practice areas.

July 11, 2019

Five of MADEL PA's attorneys recognized as "Super Lawyers"/"Rising Stars"

Represents about 2/3 of our firm

MADEL PA is pleased to announce that Super Lawyers recognized five of MADEL PA’s attorneys on its “2019 Minnesota Super Lawyers” and “2019 Minnesota Rising Stars” lists. 

  • Chris Madel was named a “2019 Minnesota Super Lawyer” and was named a “Top 100 Super Lawyer" in Minnesota. He has been selected as a "Top 100 Super Lawyer" each year since 2017, and as a "Super Lawyer" each year since 2003.

  • Jenny Robbins was named a 2019 “Super Lawyer.” Jenny was previously recognized as a “Rising Star” for four consecutive years. 

  • Matt Pelikan and Cassie Merrick were again named 2019 “Rising Stars.” (Both Matt and Cassie obtained that award in 2018 as well.) 

  • Stephen Premo, admitted to the Minnesota bar in 2012, was named a “Rising Star” for the first time.


According to Super Lawyers, its selection process is a comprehensive, good-faith, and detailed attempt to produce a list of lawyers that have attained high peer recognition, meet ethical standards, and have demonstrated achievement in their field. No more than five percent of attorneys can be recognized as “Super Lawyers” in any given year, and no more than 2.5 percent may be named “Rising Stars.”


“I’m beyond proud of our team,” Chris said.  “Our clients see the difference.”

February 19, 2019

MADEL PA recognized by Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal

Cool Offices: Law firm carves its own niche in a former car showroom

"Madel's offices in the historic Pence Building don't really look like the offices of a law firm. The suite's natural light, glass walls and jagged edges suggest the home of an ad agency, not a staff of high-powered business litigators. . . . 'If you show me anything that looks like a law firm,' he recalled telling brokers, 'I'm going to say no.'" 

October 12, 2018

MADEL PA welcomes attorneys Ellen Ahrens and Stephen Premo

MADEL PA is pleased to announce the addition of attorneys Ellen Ahrens and Stephen Premo.


Ellen graduated magna cum laude from William Mitchell College of Law and practiced for several years at a national complex litigation firm focusing on antitrust and consumer class actions before clerking for the Honorable Steven E. Rau, United States Magistrate Judge. Prior to law school, Ellen worked in U.S. Embassies overseas. Outside of the her work at MADEL PA, Ellen serves as a member of the Minnesota Women Lawyers Board of Directors. 

Stephen graduated cum laude from the University of Minnesota Law School where he was a member of the Minnesota Law Review and editor of Constitutional Commentary. Minnesota Lawyer named Stephen Attorney of the Year in 2017 for his success in a landmark Minnesota Supreme Court ruling that changed the state's whistleblower laws. Before joining MADEL PA, Stephen practiced at a plaintiffs' employment and whistleblower law firm. 

MADEL PA proudly welcomes Ellen and Stephen to the firm!

August 15, 2018

​MADEL PA Attorneys Recognized by The Best Lawyers in America, Super Lawyers

MADEL PA is pleased to announce that The Best Lawyers in America recognized Chris Madel and Jenny Robbins among its 2019 edition’s Best Lawyers in the practice area of Criminal Defense: White-Collar. The Best Lawyers in America recognizes just 19 attorneys for this practice in Minneapolis. Chris has received this honor each year since 2016.


“We hope this recognition signals to our clients that, when their most serious matters are at stake, they can trust us for our knowledge, experience, and discretion,” Chris Madel said. “Whether we are able to resolve the issue confidentially, or the case goes all the way to trial, we are true advocates for our clients’ causes.”


Additionally, earlier this year, Super Lawyers recognized three of MADEL PA’s attorneys on its “2018 Minnesota Super Lawyers” and “2018 Minnesota Rising Stars” lists. Chris Madel was named a “2018 Minnesota Super Lawyer” and was named a “Top 100” attorney in Minnesota. He has been selected by Super Lawyers since 2003. Matt Pelikan and Cassie Merrick were named “2018 Minnesota Rising Stars.”


According to Super Lawyers, its selection process is a comprehensive, good-faith, and detailed attempt to produce a list of lawyers that have attained high peer recognition, meet ethical standards, and have demonstrated achievement in their field. No more than five percent of attorneys can be recognized as “Super Lawyers” in any given year, and no more than 2.5 percent may be named “Rising Stars.”

July 09, 2018

MADEL PA welcomes Mack Reed to the firm

MADEL PA is pleased to announce the addition of Mack Reed to its team.


Mack graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Law School after receiving a Bachelors in Philosophy magna cum laude from the University of Delaware and a Masters in Humanities from the University of Chicago. He practiced for years in Chicago before moving to Minneapolis where he co-chaired the employment practice group of a Minneapolis-based plaintiffs' law firm.


Mack has represented plaintiffs and defendants, from Fortune 50 companies to small business to individuals, in all types of matters ranging from employment discrimination and whistleblower actions, employee "raiding" cases and other matters before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, closely-held shareholder/member disputes, and other complex commercial litigation in state and federal courts. 

MADEL PA is proud to welcome Mack to the firm!

July 03, 2018

MADEL PA offers pro bono services to federal employees refusing to follow the Trump Administration's "zero tolerance" policy.

In 1990, President George H.W. Bush stated, “Immigration is not just a link to America’s past; it’s also a bridge to America’s future.”  In 2006, President George W. Bush stated, “We are a nation of laws, and we must enforce our laws. We’re also a nation of immigrants, and we must uphold that tradition, which has strengthened our country in so many ways. These are not contradictory goals. America can be a lawful society and a welcoming society at the same time.”  And in 2013, President Barack Obama stated, “We are a proud Nation of immigrants, home to a long line of aspiring citizens who contributed to their communities, founded businesses, or sacrificed their livelihoods so they could pass a brighter future on to their children.”  


MADEL PA firmly stands with the sentiment expressed by these former presidents. We are distressed by the current administration’s attack on helpless people, many of whom are children, who seek better lives in the United States, whether through the long process of citizenship or by seeking asylum due to persecution or fear of persecution in their home countries.  Despite the recent Executive Order, dated June 20, 2018, and the administration’s later-stated plan to preserve family units, there is no plan currently in place to quickly reunite detained children with their parents.  As articulated by the American Medical Association in its letter dated June 19, 2018, to the Secretary of Homeland Security, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and Attorney General of the United States, “[i]t is well known that childhood trauma and adverse childhood experiences created by inhumane treatment often create negative health impacts that can last an individual’s entire lifespan.” The American Psychological Association (“APA”) expressed similar opposition to the administration’s actions in its letter to President Trump dated June 14, 2018, in which the APA warned that “the longer that parents and children are separated, the greater the reported symptoms of anxiety and depression are for children” and “traumatic events can lead to the development of post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health disorders that can cause long lasting effects.”  


Accordingly, MADEL PA will represent any federal law-enforcement employee in Minnesota—pro bono—who refuses to follow the Trump Administration’s “zero tolerance” policy, including its temporarily suspended practice of separating children from their parents.  Such courageous individuals deserve strong advocates.


Chris Madel stated, “We’re doing this regardless of politics. This should not be a Republican or Democrat position. We’re offering these legal services for free because we hope those in federal law enforcement share Presidents George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, and Obama’s values and because it’s the right thing to do.”

April 12, 2018

MADEL PA Selected to List of "100 Best Companies To Work For"

Firm obtains award after only one year of operation

MADEL PA is beyond proud to have been selected as one of Minnesota's "100 Best Companies To Work For" as designated by Minnesota Business.

From the Minnesota Business article:

Minnesota is known for being a great place to live and work, with top-notch companies in many industries headquartered here. Each year, these companies submit nominations for the 100 Best Companies to Work For Awards by Minnesota Business magazine. This award recognizes Minnesota's top companies and, time after time, helps the winners attract key employees who make all the difference. The “100 Best” were determined by the resulting scores of an anonymous online questionnaire filled out by the employees of each participating company — to determine which companies in Minnesota excel in the areas of work environment, employee benefits, and overall employee happiness, making them the 100 Best Companies to Work For.

"I'm literally living a dream," said Chris Madel.  "And I could not possibly be prouder of our team.  I sincerely believe we have some of the best legal talent you can find anywhere, and we all really enjoy doing it."

February 06, 2018

MADEL PA obtains dismissal of federal criminal charges against client without trial

Article entitled, "Charges dropped against Dakota Plains defendant"


From the StarTribune article:

Federal prosecutors have dropped fraud charges against a Wayzata stockbroker for allegedly aiding a stock-manipulation scheme at oil-field services company Dakota Plains Holdings.

Nicholas Shermeta was charged in March with five counts of wire fraud in connection with Dakota Plains' initial public offering in 2012. Prosectors accused Shermeta of being an accomplice of Ryan Gilbertson, a co-founder of Dakota Plains, who was indicted on 11 counts of wire fraud.

On Friday, the U.S. attorney's office for the District of Minnesota dismissed the case against Shermeta with prejudice, meaning it's dismissed permanently. "Nick and his family are delighted to have the criminal charges behind him," said Chris Madel, Shermeta's attorney.

Shermeta has agreed to cooperate with prosecutors, including possibly testifying. The case is uncommon in that such cooperation agreements usually come with plea bargains, not outright dismissals.

Prosecutors had alleged that Shermeta "aided and abetted" Gilbertson in the manipulation of Dakota Plains' stock price during its first 20 days of trading. The stock popped to $12, triggering a nearly $30 million bonus to Dakota Plains' noteholders, which included Gilbertson. Gilbertson has denied the charges against him.

In November 2016, Shermeta consented to a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission order in connection with Dakota Plains. The SEC found he solicited investors for Dakota Plains, but improperly brokered sales through an unregistered securities firm. Shermeta agreed to pay $136,000 without admitting or denying the SEC's findings.

Dakota Plains, which was involved in North Dakota's oil industry, filed for bankruptcy in 2016. Its assets were later sold.

February 06, 2018

MADEL PA lawyer Matt Pelikan quoted relating to representation of injured client

Associted Press article entitled, "Woman injured in Dakota Access protest sues for evidence"


From the article:

BISMARCK, N.D. — A New York City woman who suffered a serious arm injury in an explosion while protesting the Dakota Access oil pipeline in North Dakota is suing the federal government to obtain evidence, hoping it will bolster a civil rights lawsuit she plans to file against law enforcement.

Sophia Wilansky's lawsuit seeks the return of shrapnel and clothing taken from her while she was hospitalized following her November 2016 injury, or an opportunity to have the items analyzed by a forensic scientist she hired a year ago. She filed the federal lawsuit Friday against the FBI and other federal agencies.

Wilansky's father willingly surrendered the evidence after his daughter was injured in an explosion. He has since made several efforts to re-obtain it, but he has been rebuffed by federal authorities for more than a year, according to the family's attorney, Matthew Pelikan.

"Forensic analysis of Sophia's clothing and shrapnel may generate evidence relevant to Sophia's ability to obtain legal and financial redress for her injuries, including her massive medical bills, ongoing pain and suffering, and permanent disability and disfigurement," Pelikan argued in court documents.

Wayne Wilansky had told The Associated Press late last year that his daughter planned to file a lawsuit against law enforcement seeking money damages and that the evidence could bolster her case.

The evidence lawsuit names numerous federal agencies and officials as defendants, including Assistant U.S. Attorney Gary Delorme in North Dakota and FBI agents Brian VanOosbree and Christian Freichels. Delorme and Minneapolis-based FBI spokesman Jeff Van Nest didn't immediately respond to requests for comment Tuesday from the AP.

Wilansky, who is in her early 20s, was injured during a violent clash between protesters and police that's become the emblematic skirmish of the months-long protest in North Dakota that tried to block the pipeline's final construction phase. The four-state pipeline began carrying North Dakota oil to Illinois in June.

Protesters tried to push past a blocked highway bridge near their main encampment in late November 2016, but they were turned back by authorities using tear gas, rubber bullets and water sprays. Police said protesters threw objects including rocks, asphalt and water bottles at officers.

Wilansky suffered a left arm injury in an explosion and has had several surgeries. Protesters allege the blast was caused by a concussion grenade thrown by officers, but police maintain it was caused by a propane canister that protesters rigged to explode.

Court documents unsealed last fall indicate the government last spring sought evidence that might implicate Wilansky of federal crimes dealing with homemade explosives. She has not been charged with any crime.

"In light of this lack of activity, the government has no good faith basis for claiming an ongoing criminal investigation or a need for Sophia's clothing and shrapnel," Pelikan said.

Opponents of the pipeline fear it could cause environmental harm, and four Native American tribes in the Dakotas are still fighting it in court. Texas-based developer Energy Transfer Partners says it's safe.

At times during the demonstrations, thousands of pipeline opponents gathered in southern North Dakota to protest the $3.8 billion project, resulting in 761 arrests in a six-month span in 2016 and 2017.

November 01, 2017

MADEL PA Selected to US News "Best Law Firms" List

Firm selected less than eight months after opening

Today, less than eight (8) months after opening its doors, MADEL PA is pleased to announced that U.S. News – Best Lawyers® ranked MADEL PA a 2018 Tier One firm in Minneapolis in the practice area of Criminal Defense: White Collar, in its 2018 list of “Best Law Firms,” which is published by U.S. News Media Group and Best Lawyers® and distributed worldwide.


“This recognition is humbling given that we just formed the firm this year,” said Chris Madel, “but we’re most excited about what this signals for our clients and for our future.” 


The U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” rankings are based on a rigorous evaluation process that includes the collection of client and lawyer evaluations, peer review from leading attorneys in their field, and review of additional information provided by law firms as part of the formal submission process. The 2018 “Best Law Firms” rankings can be seen in their entirety by visiting

October 18, 2017

MADEL PA wins lengthy federal jury trial

Federal jury awards less than 1% of damages sought against our clients

Today, a federal 12-member jury, presided over by the Honorable Donovan Frank of the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota, found MADEL PA clients Dires, LLC (doing business as Personal Comfort Bed), Craig Miller, and Scott Stenzel not liable for claims of trademark infringement, trademark dilution, unfair competition, and multiple false advertising claims brought by Select Comfort Corporation in November 2012. MADEL PA’s clients also prevailed on their counterclaim seeking a judgment that Select Comfort has no trademark rights in the phrase “number bed.”


The MADEL PA team, including Chris Madel, Jenny Robbins, Cassie Merrick, and Amanda Booth, took the case over in March of 2017 from Maslon LLP after now-Judge David Schultz became a federal magistrate judge. The case involved 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 fourteen-day jury trial in which Select Comfort sought more than $17.1 million in damages, 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.

“This is far from the first lawsuit Select Comfort has brought against one of its competitors,” said Madel, “but it’s the first time Select Comfort has had to present its claims to a jury in this way, and we’re so grateful the jury saw through their allegations.” In his closing argument, Madel pointed out Select Comfort’s history as a serial litigant, called them a “bully,” and argued that Personal Comfort Bed’s managing director, Craig Miller, proved that Personal Comfort's number bed is superior to Select Comfort’s beds.

“This was justice,” Madel added.

June 30, 2017

Myron Striker donates magnificent painting to MADEL PA's new office


MADEL PA’s client, Myron Striker, is an accomplished businessperson and a great friend of the firm.  He is also a fantastic artist!


After a recent representation of Mr. Striker, he generously donated an original painting he created.  Entitled “Can’t Stand the Heat,” Mr. Striker provided MADEL PA with a beautiful card that reads, in part, “Please accept this painting in honor of your new office.  I think it has elements of your practice.  It is bold and intense.  It tries to represent your passion for your clients.”

MADEL PA intends to place this painting in its main conference room (when the new space is finally built out), and in the meantime, we cannot thank Mr. Striker enough for this generous and awe-inspiring painting!

May 19, 2017

Jenny Robbins on cover of Attorney At Law magazine

Attorney At Law magazine

Attorney At Law magazine selected MADEL PA's Managing Partner, Jenny Robbins, to be on the cover of its May 2017 edition.

The article, entitled Leading With Transparency, catalogs just a few of Jenny's achievements over her extremely successful career.  

We're very proud of Jenny!

May 10, 2017

MADEL PA welcomes Matthew J.M. Pelikan

MADEL PA is pleased to announce the addition of Matthew Pelikan to its team.  A 2003 graduate of St. Olaf College, Matt is a magna cum laude graduate of the University of Minnesota Law School, where he was Editor-in-Chief of the Minnesota Law Review.  


Before joining MADEL PA, Matt was a judicial law clerk for the Honorable Paul H. Anderson until his retirement, and thereafter, as a judicial clerk for the Honorable David L. Lillehaug.  After serving as an associate with a prominent law firm, Matt was a lawyer with the Voter Protection department of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign effort. This work put Matt on the front lines of the fight to protect and expand access to voting.


First as an advocate working with elected leaders and now as a passionate legal advocate, Matt has worked for almost fifteen years in law and politics to help everyday individuals, consumers, and businesses get the solutions they need—all organized around the simple principle of basic fairness.


MADEL PA proudly welcomes Matt to the firm!

April 21, 2017

Jenny Robbins elected to serve second term on MWL Board of Directors

Minnesota Women Lawyers

MADEL PA congratulates Managing Partner Jenny Robbins on her election to serve a second, two-year term on Minnesota Women Lawyers' Board of Directors.  Also appointed by Governor Dayton to serve on Minnesota's Board of Psychology, Ms. Robbins is a proven leader in a diverse array of fields, including law, psychology, and diversity.

April 21, 2017

Jenny Robbins presents the 2017 Myra Bradwell Award to Kathleen Flynn Peterson

Minnesota Women Lawyers

Today, Jenny Robbins presented Minnesota Women Lawyers' 2017 Myra Bradwell award to Kathleen Flynn Peterson of Robins Kaplan LLP at MWL's 45th Annual Meeting. This award is given to an MWL member who expresses the highest ideals of the legal profession and who possesses the qualities exemplified by Myra Bradwell including courage, perseverance and leadership on issues of concern to women.

MADEL PA has long understood and appreciated Ms. Flynn Peterson's contributions to women and the law, and we congratulate her for this outstanding achievement!

March 24, 2017

MADEL PA Proud Partner of Minnesota Women Lawyers

Jenny Robbins & Cassie Merrick Serve in MWL Leadership Roles

Less than one week after opening its doors, MADEL PA became a Minnesota Women Lawyers Bronze Partner to demonstrate the firm’s ongoing commitment to MWL’s mission to advance the success of women lawyers and strive for a just society.


MADEL PA’s Managing Partner, Jenny Robbins, serves on MWL’s Board of Directors and MADEL PA Partner, Cassie Merrick, serves as the firm’s representative to MWL’s Partner Leadership Council.

March 21, 2017

Critics question Gov. Doug Ducey's investigation of Arizona State Parks Director Sue Black

The Arizona Republic

Chris Madel was quoted in article regarding an alleged improper internal investigation conducted in Phoenix, Arizona, written by a prize-winning journalist.  From the article:

The decision not to interview Jurmu, an attorney and former partnering manager for Arizona State Parks, is surprising, said Chris Madel, an attorney who has led dozens of internal business investigations, including Arizona's Fiesta Bowl inquiry.

"If a person is motivated enough to blow the whistle on someone, then Investigations 101 is to speak to that person first, in the middle, and at the end," said Madel, a former U.S. Department of Justice trial lawyer now based in Minnesota. "How can you have fidelity to the process when you don't speak to the person who began it?"

Daniel Scarpinato, Ducey's spokesman, said "ethical and legal issues" prompted the investigator not to contact Jurmu. He declined to elaborate on what ethical or legal point prevented such an interview.

Madel, however, said he had "never heard of an investigation where someone didn't speak to a whistleblower. It's always done."

March 15, 2017

MADEL PA Summary-Judgment Win

17 of 18 Counts Dismissed in U.S. District Court

Today, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin granted summary judgment with respect to 17 of 18 claims alleged against our five clients.  The dismissed claims included 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.  Only a portion of one claim remains against one of our clients.  Trial is scheduled for September 11, 2017 on that remaining claim, and we look forward to defeating it before the jury.

The MADEL PA team includes Chris Madel, Jenny Robbins, Cassie Merrick, and Amanda Booth.  Bette Brtek, a legal assistant from Robins Kaplan LLP, was also instrumental.  All that said, the victory belongs to our terrific clients!

March 06, 2017

Longtime litigator leaves high-profile Minneapolis firm to start his own downtown


From the article:  

Minneapolis attorney Chris Madel, who has run high-profile internal investigations for the Minnesota Vikings and other prominent organizations, is leaving his job at Robins Kaplan LLP to start his own downtown firm.


Madel PA will start doing business on Monday, he said. Madel, the former chair of Robins Kaplan’s business litigation department, is bringing six colleagues from his former firm.

The Waseca native said he is striking out on his own after nearly 17 years at Robins Kaplan to fulfill a lifelong goal. “I’ve always wanted to have my own law firm.”

Madel said his firm will specialize in complex commercial litigation, internal investigations and white-collar criminal defense and already has five jury trials scheduled for the coming year.

Veteran Minneapolis attorney Joseph Friedberg said it’s challenging to start a private law firm from scratch, but he commended Madel on the team he assembled — which includes attorneys Jenny Robbins [and] Cassandra Merrick ..., and paralegal Amanda Booth []. “In addition to being a really great litigator, the guy’s a great transactional lawyer,” Friedberg said. “I’ve never seen that combined in a lawyer before.”

Madel began his career as a trial attorney in the Justice Department’s antitrust division in Washington, D.C. Since returning to Minnesota in 2000, Madel has defended clients in notable criminal cases. Alongside B. Todd Jones, a Robins Kaplan partner who later became U.S. attorney, Madel helped Twins legend Kirby Puckett win acquittal on assault charges in 2003.

Robbins will assume the role of managing partner at Madel PA while continuing to represent Madel in a long-running Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the Justice Department over data withheld from FOIA requests filed in 2012 and 2013. A federal judge recently ordered the government to negotiate with Madel in the case.

“It’s always nice when you can bring your own lawyer with you,” Madel said.

January 31, 2017

Trump's pick for Supreme Court a close friend of Minneapolis federal judge

From the article:


Minneapolis attorney Chris Madel twice argued a case before Gorsuch, whose appellate panel in 2014 affirmed a $185 million judgment awarded to a group of clients Madel represented in a fraud suit.

"You can disagree with his politics, you can disagree with his approach but you can’t disagree with his intellect,” Madel said. “He was very down-to-earth with his questions. He was tough, he was engaging and he asked really smart questions.”

January 13, 2017

Judge vindicates quest for data on opioids


From the article:

A federal judge in St. Paul has sternly rebuked the U.S. Justice Department over its handling of a yearslong Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by a Minneapolis attorney who is researching the sale and marketing of oxycodone, a widely prescribed and highly addictive painkiller.

In an opinion issued Wednesday, Senior U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson ordered the government to negotiate with attorney Chris Madel over the release of data withheld from FOIA requests that Madel filed in 2012 and 2013.

Attorneys for the Justice Department and Drug Enforcement Administration, Magnuson wrote, “have lost their credibility” with the judge for refusing to negotiate and for publishing data online that they previously argued was too sensitive to ever share with Madel.

“The Court has given Defendants the benefit of the doubt throughout this litigation and Defendants have time and again failed to establish that they deserve that benefit,” Magnuson wrote in a nine-page opinion.


Madel’s attorney, Jenny Robbins, said her client “is really happy with the order,” and added that “we are hoping the government will start negotiating with us.”

June 29, 2016

Wrestling coach told police he'd 'taken care of' Gophers drug problem, affidavit states


Chris Madel's representation of University of Minnesota Gopher wrestler that led to no criminal charges of our client.

March 09, 2016

Plea deal over Twitter threats

Los Angeles Times

Chris Madel quoted in L.A. Times regarding a federal plea bargain wherein our client was charged with multiple felonies but was only convicted of a misdemeanor.  Our client walked out of court the same day the Court accepted his misdemeanor guilty plea.

March 09, 2016

Minneapolis man pleads guilty in ISIL-related Twitter threat case: Khaalid Abdulkadir will get probation, not prison


Chris Made obtained federal misdemeanor for our client, which is a rarity.

February 20, 2016

Judge orders prosecutors to specify tweet threat targets

Fox News

Chris Madel obtained a very rare federal order requiring U.S. Department of Justice to provide more detail with respect to federal indictment.

November 07, 2015

Key University of Minnesota athletics department executive resigns


Article relating to Chris Madel and Jenny Robbins's representation of University of Minnesota executive.  Executive immediately received employment with higher pay.

September 03, 2015

Federal judge orders specifics in alleged Twitter death threats


Chris Madel obtained a very rare bill of particulars ordered in U.S. District Court.

September 03, 2015

1 count dismissed against man in US Islamic State case

Washington Times

Chris Madel obtained a dismissal of federal criminal charge in U.S. District Court.

May 01, 2015

Meet the lawyers behind high-profile investigations

ABA Journal

Article regarding top attorneys in United States who conduct internal investigations, including former FBI Directors, U.S. Attorneys, and Chris Madel.

March 11, 2015

'Fargo' meets 'Perry Mason' in Minneapolis federal court: Man's lawsuit blames debt collectors for his filthy talk, wants $1M


Article regarding Chris Madel and Jenny Robbins's jury trial relating to their representation of one of world's largest, publicly-traded debt-collection corporations.  Mr. Madel and Ms. Robbins won the trial.  The plaintiff appealed, and Ms. Robbins led the appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.  She won again.

January 27, 2015

Robins Kaplan taps Chris Madel to replace Jan Conlin as business litigation chair

Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal

Article announcing Robins Kaplan, LLP's decision to appoint Chris Madel to chair the law firm's Business Litigation department.

October 24, 2014

Auditor questions MSU-Mankato's investigative process in Hoffner case


Chris Madel and Jenny Robbins's representation of MSU football coach Todd Hoffner.  From the article: 


Hoffner’s attorney Christopher Madel took issue with comparison to the Sandusky case, saying in a response letter that Hoffner’s case had nothing to do with sexual abuse or similar misconduct. Equating Hoffner with Sandusky is "absurd" Madel wrote, adding "that [if] a person could draw such a comparison [it] exemplifies why that person should not have the authority to make life-changing employment decisions affecting others.”

October 23, 2014

Former Visitation tennis coach accused of contacting his alleged victim


Jennifer Robbins and Chris Madel represented the victim of criminal sexual conduct as well as her family.  After the defendant was initially charged, he was released after the Court set a bail amount of $25,000.

From the article:

Jennifer Robbins, an attorney for the girl, said that she was disappointed with the bail.

“We’re wondering when the courts will take sexual assault seriously,” said Robbins, who attended Wilson’s hearing.

Ms. Robbins predicted that the defendant (Wilson, our adverse party) would violate the Court's order to not contact our client.  Then he did -- repeatedly.  

The Court later sentenced Wilson to six years in prison.

October 07, 2014

High school tennis coach accused of sexual misconduct


Article relating to Chris Madel and Jenny Robbins's representation of the family of girl who was sexually abused by Visitation School's tennis coach. 


The tennis coach was later sentenced to 6 years in prison.

July 24, 2014

Kluwe holds off on lawsuit, opts to continue talking to Vikings


Article relating to internal investigation led by Chris Madel, former Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Eric Magnuson, and Jenny Robbins relating to former Minnesota Vikings' punter Chris Kluwe regarding his allegations that Minnesota Vikings released his employment due to his views on marriage equality.

April 19, 2014

Long road back to Mankato for Todd Hoffner

USA Today

From the article:

How and whether it will work is an open question. Though Hoffner says he's not out for revenge and is willing to work with the same officials who suspended and then fired him, Christopher Madel, his civil attorney, declined comment when asked whether the school had offered a settlement to preclude his return.

Hoffner says he doesn't have plans for a lawsuit "at this time; I'm confident we're not (contemplating one)." But Madel warned he would be watching closely to see how Hoffner is treated by school officials.

April 16, 2014

Ex-Minnesota State, Mankato coach Hoffner gets emotional as he announces his return: Minnesota State apologies to Todd Hoffner


Article regarding Chris Madel and Jenny Robbins's representation of Todd Hoffner, the Minnesota State University football coach who was wrongfully accused of possessing child pornography.  After an arbitrator reinstated Mr. Hoffner's employment, Mr. Hoffner told the gathered media that he is "not a vindictive and spiteful person."  The StarTribune reported: 

"'Todd’s not a spiteful person. I am,' said attorney Christopher Madel, whose law firm handled the case for free. 'Somebody needs to be held accountable for this … What has been done to this family … is wrong.'"

April 15, 2015

Dismissed MSU-Mankato football coach wins arbitrator's ruling


From the article:

When attorney Chris Madel informed Hoffner of the decision Wednesday night, he said the coach’s reaction “was a beautiful mix of shock and gratitude.”

March 09, 2014

Sentencing to bring end to bowl scandal

Arizona Republic

From the article:

The bowl, following up on new information, then formed a special investigative committee and hired outside counsel to conduct another probe. That inquiry was led by Minneapolis attorney Christopher Madel, a former Justice Department trial attorney who now specializes in internal investigations and corporate governance.

Madel and his team confirmed the newspaper’s findings and found the bowl also provided key legislators with gifts and took them and their spouses on trips to watch premier college football games. The report embarrassed lawmakers, including former Senate President Russell Pearce, a Mesa Republican who had traveled at bowl expense.

March 10, 2014

Cyberattack hurts those who can afford it least