Scott Wilson has been the winning attorney in nine of the last ten published decisions by the Minnesota Supreme Court, Minnesota Court of Appeals and Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals where he has represented a party. Scott has 39 years' experience in civil litigation at all levels of complexity, including prosecution and defense of personal injury, insurance coverage and commercial claims. He primarily represents individuals seeking to enforce or protect their rights. While he focuses on appellate practice, Scott also partners with trial counsel in dispositive motion, pre-trial, trial and post-trial proceedings, where he works to achieve successful resolution of substantive and procedural disputes, and to protect the record with an eye toward possible appeal. Scott is known for his ability to clarify complex issues; for thorough, effective written argument; and for an engaged and accessible communication style in oral argument before the court.
Sharon Van Dyck (of counsel) has over 32 years experience in civil litigation at the pre-trial, trial, and appellate levels. She partners with trial counsel to formulate and implement litigation strategy, to narrow issues, and to make sure her client’s claims are presented in the best possible posture for successful resolution. Focusing on appellate practice, Sharon’s experience extends both to the Minnesota courts and to federal appellate courts around the country. A well-known appellate advocate, she has briefed and argued more than 100 appeals. Understanding that appeals are won or lost based on how a case is presented in the trial court, Sharon has extensive experience working as part of a trial team. Working side by side with lead trial lawyers, Sharon brings an appellate perspective to the process of formulating legal strategy, selecting winning legal arguments, and briefing and arguing the inevitable motions that position a case to succeed at both the trial and appellate levels. She understands the interplay between legal analysis and in-depth factual evidence, making her a powerful asset before and during trial, as well as on appeal. Attorneys and their clients frequently hire her to handle all aspects of dispositive and other critical motions that can make or break a case at the trial court level. She is known for her communication skills, persuasive briefing and oral argument, and the high quality representation she gives each client.
Representative Appellate Cases:
Fish v. Ramler Trucking, Inc., et al., 935 N.W.2d 738 (Minn. 2019) - with trial counsel Michel Krug, on behalf of appellant. The Minnesota Supreme Court affirmed the court of appeals' confirmation that in cases of workplace injury caused by third-party negligence, apportionment is governed by Minn. Stat. § 176.061, subd. 11 (2018) and Lambertson v. Cincinnati Welding Corp., 257 N.W.2d 679 (Minn. 1977). The court rejected a novel theory adopted by the federal court in Gaudreault v. Elite Line Servs., LLC, 22 F.Supp.3d 966 (D.Minn. 2014) that would have applied comparative fault apportionment under Minn. Stat. § 604.02, significantly reducing the plaintiff employee’s recovery based on the employer’s 75% apportioned fault. The court refused to apply § 604.02 because a statutorily immune employer is not a person "severally liable" under subdivision 1 of that statute. The legal result is that the liability of non-employers for workplace injuries is not reduced by fault apportioned to employers. The primary practical effect is to preserve verdict values for seriously injured plaintiffs, since industrial accidents are often catastrophic, and can result in amputation, severe burns and death. A related practical effect is to ensure that plaintiff's attorneys can afford to take on the risk and expense of third-party workplace cases, which must often be brought against wealthy and well-defended manufacturers of industrial equipment.
Link to coverage of the case in Minnesota Lawyer:
Link to oral argument before the Minnesota Supreme Court:
Getz v. Peace, et al., 934 N.W.2d 347 (Minn. 2019) - with trial counsel Nate Bjerke, on behalf of respondent. The Minnesota Supreme Court affirmed the court of appeals' determination that medical provider discounts negotiated by private "PMAP" plans in administration of Medicaid benefits are excepted from collateral source deduction under Minn. Stat. Sec. 548.251, subd. 1(2) as having been "made pursuant to the United States Social Security Act," despite the involvement of the private entities. The case also represents a tacit reaffirmance of Renswick v. Wenzel, 819 N.W.2d 198 (Minn. App. 2012), which reached a similar result regarding Medicare-related discounts (albeit without the complication of private entity involvement). The practical effect of the decision is to preserve verdict values for claimants who have received Medicaid and Medicare benefits related to their injuries (comprising a full third of Minnesota personal injury plaintiffs).
Link to coverage of the case in Minnesota Lawyer:
Roller-Dick v. CentraCare Health System, et al., 916 N.W.2d 373 (Minn. 2018) - with trial counsel Ray Peterson, on behalf of respondent. The Minnesota Supreme Court affirmed the Workers' Compensation Court of Appeals, holding that an employee's use of defect-free stairs without using the available handrails is "a hazard that originates on the premises as part of the working environment," satisfying the "arising out of" requirement for workers' compensation compensability under Dykhoff v. Xcel Energy, 840 N.W.2d 821 (Minn. 2013). The case confirms establishment of a liberalized post-Dykhoff compensability standard, in line with Hohlt v. Univ. of Minn., 897 N.W.2d 777 (Minn. 2017).
Link to oral argument before the Minnesota Supreme Court:
Hufnagel v. Deer River Health Care Center, et al., 915 N.W.2d 747 (Minn. 2018) - with trial counsel Tim McCoy, on behalf of respondent. The Minnesota Supreme Court affirmed the Workers' Compensation Court of Appeals, confirming that counsel for the employee is entitled to recover attorney fees under Minn. Stat. Sec. 176.191 where the dispute is primarily between insurers, even where the insurers also dispute the compensability of an injury. In a holding of potentially broad application, the court also concluded that where a right to recover fees exists, attorneys are to be reasonably compensated for thorough preparation of alternative arguments, and "not just for time spent developing the argument that is ultimately successful."
Link to oral argument before the Minnesota Supreme Court:
Russell v. Sentinel Ins. Co., 906 N.W.2d 543 (Minn. App. 2018) - with trial counsel Jim Vander Linden, on behalf of appellant. The Minnesota Court of Appeals reversed the district court's grant of summary judgment, holding that, in the absence of a policy definition, a vehicle is a "hit-and-run vehicle" for purposes of uninsured motorist (UM) coverage "if the vehicle does not stop and leaves the accident scene and the insured does not have an opportunity to obtain the unidentified driver's information." The respondent insurer unsuccessfully argued that because there was no evidence that the unidentified driver fled the scene with the intent to escape liability, she did not "run" from the scene for UM purposes.
DeWitt v. London Rd. Rental Ctr., Inc., 899 N.W.2d 893 (Minn. App. 2017), reversed on other grounds, 910 N.W.2d 412 (Minn. 2018) - with trial counsel Robert N. Edwards on behalf of appellant. The Minnesota Court of Appeals reversed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's claim based on res ipsa loquitur, holding that "[t]he mere possibility that something other than the defendant's negligence caused a plaintiff's injuries does not preclude the application of the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur when evidence reasonably tends to exclude other possible causes." DeWitt is a case of first impression in Minnesota, applying the res ipsa doctrine to the collapse of seating in a public establishment.
Schmidt v. Harlan, et al., (unpublished) A13-0654, 2014 WL 211352, 2014 Minn. App. Unpub. LEXIS 47 (Minn. App., January 21, 2014), review denied (Minn., March 26, 2014) - on behalf of appellant. The Minnesota Court of Appeals reversed a summary judgment dismissing appellant’s legal malpractice claim where the district court impermissibly weighed evidence, assessed credibility and disregarded expert opinion. The Court of Appeals clarified its ruling in Schmitz v. Rinke, Noonan, Smoley, Deter, Colombo, Wiant, Von Korff & Hobbs, Ltd., 783 N.W.2d 733, 741 (Minn. App. 2010) that a legal malpractice plaintiff must present “concrete evidence of what [the plaintiff] would have done but for [the defendant’s] negligence.” The court explained that the phrase “concrete evidence” does not “create a heightened standard of proof” but instead simply reinforces the concept that an expert’s opinion as to legal malpractice causation must be based on an adequate factual foundation.
Xiong, et al. v. Dubbles, et al. and Valen, (unpublished) A12-1989, 2013 WL 3284335 (Minn. App., July 1, 2013) - on behalf of Respondent Eric Valen. The Minnesota Court of Appeals confirmed (1) that the district court has jurisdiction to adjudicate an attorney lien served under Minn. Stat. Sec. 481.13 independent of the pendency of the underlying action; (2) that such a lien is applicable to work performed prior to the filing of the underlying action; and (3) that a lien filed under subdivision 1 of the statute need not be filed with the Secretary of State (as required by subdivision 2).
Werneke v. Lakeside Lawn and Landscape, Inc., 706 N.W.2d 40 (Minn. 2005) - for trial counsel Michael Scully on behalf of petitioner/respondent. Finding of primary workers’ compensation liability upheld. Recovery: permanent total disability at applicable maximum rate of approximately $750.00 per week from age 15 to at least age 67 (unreduced value in excess of $2 million); permanent partial disability in the approximate amount of $330,000.00 (reduced to present value); medical and home health care benefits in excess of $500,000.00 and continuing.
Castleberg v. Lutsen Mountains Corp., order, A04-1738 (Minn. App., October 5, 2004) - for trial counsel Arthur Kosieradzki on behalf of quadriplegic plaintiff/respondent. Successful opposition to petition for writ of mandamus/prohibition, preserving change of venue from Lake County, Minnesota (Grand Marais) to Ramsey County, Minnesota (St. Paul). Settled shortly after denial of the writ.
Representative Trial Level Cases:
Chapman v. Unum Life Ins. Co., No. 20-CV-1155 (D.Minn., Aug. 18, 2021) - with Beedem Law Office on behalf of an ERISA disability claimant. In a matter of first impression nationally, the court determined that a repetitive stress condition is an "accidental bodily injury," as distinct from a "sickness" for purposes of an ERISA-governed disability insurance plan. This determination entitled the client to lifelong benefits, rather than benefits terminating at age 65.
Gurewitz v. Estate of Robinson, Court File No. 27-CV-17-1777 (Hennepin County District Court, June 27, 2017) - with the Law Office of Jeffrey A. Jones, P.A. on behalf of personal injury plaintiff. Successful opposition to motion for summary judgment brought by the defendant estate, which alleged that there were defects in the probate court's appointment of the special administrator who accepted service on behalf of the estate. The court ruled that the estate's motion, brought in the personal injury action, was an impermissible collateral attack on the probate court's appointment. The case later settled.
Seitz v. Airmaxx Trampoline Park, LLC, Court File No. 73-CV-15-11460 (Stearns County District Court, 2016) - with Peter Kestner on behalf of a quadriplegic plaintiff. Successful opposition to motion for summary judgment based on defendant trampoline park's liability waiver. Key issues included the validity of the waiver and the meaning of "greater than ordinary negligence" under the controlling statute, Minn. Stat. Sec. 604.055. The case settled after briefing and oral argument, but before the court's decision on the motion.
Birnbaum v. American Crystal Sugar Company, et al., Court File No. 14-CV-14-4043 (Clay County District Court, 2016) - with Jake Jagdfeld on behalf of a severely burned plaintiff. Successful opposition to motion for summary judgment based on defendant sugar refiner's claim that plaintiff was its "loaned servant" and it was therefore immune from liability under the workers' compensation act. The case was settled for a confidential amount after briefing but before the court's decision on the motion.
Koffarnus v. United States, 175 F.Supp.3d 769 (W.D.Ky. 2016) - with Jake Jagdfeld on behalf of plaintiff. Successful opposition to the U.S. government's motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction and alternative motion for summary judgment in a claim on behalf of an injured National Guardsman for benefits under the Traumatic Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance Program (TSGLI). The court denied the government's motions and granted our informal request for entry of summary judgment in plaintiff's favor sua sponte, ending the case.
Verdoes v. Running Supply, Inc., et al., Court File No. 42-CV-14-572 (Lyon County District Court, January 21, 2016 and February 4, 2016) - with Peter Kestner on behalf of plaintiff, who suffered a severe and permanently disabling head injury when the subject product, a towing clevis, failed catastrophically. Successful opposition to spoliation-based motion for summary judgment brought by defendant product manufacturer and defendant retailer, and successful prosecution of partial motion for summary judgment against defendant retailer as to failure to warn. The case settled shortly after the court's decisions on the motions.
Ruppert by Ruppert v. Bulver, Court File No. 13-CV-14-500 (Chisago County District Court, August 26, 2015) - with Sheila K. Donnelly-Coyne on behalf of plaintiff. Defendant driver in clear liability single vehicle rollover case proposed to include the State of Minnesota Department of Transportation on the special verdict form as a potentially liable party, based on the existence of a 5/8" drop off from pavement to shoulder in the vicinity of the incident. The court granted our Motion to Limit Parties to be Identified as Potentially Negligent and ruled that the State of Minnesota would not appear, based on defendant's failure to offer competent evidence that the 5/8" drop off could have caused her to roll her vehicle.
Owens v. Harleysville Ins. Co., Court File No. 27-CV-13-20117 (Hennepin County District Court, August 22, 2014) - with Sheila K. Donnelly-Coyne on behalf of plaintiff. In a “third-party” suit against a UIM carrier arising from a work-related motor vehicle accident, the carrier took the position that a previous settlement of all medical benefits in the workers’ compensation claim operated to preclude any claim for medical specials, based on an opportunistic reading of American Family v. Udermann, 631 N.W.2d 424 (Minn. App. 2001), which held that an employee who closes out a medical benefit in a workers’ compensation claim cannot later claim the same medical benefit from no-fault coverage. The court rejected this argument, recognizing that no-fault coverage and UIM coverage serve distinct purposes and that there is a specific statutory interaction scheme bearing on the relationship between no-fault and workers’ compensation that drove the result in Udermann.
Plaintiff v. Insurance Co. (2008) - with Arthur Kosieradzki, Matthew Newman and Abraham Goldman on behalf of Plaintiffs. Recovery of approximately $1.2 million in accidental death benefits and associated claims, as reported in Minnesota Law & Politics’ “Largest Personal Injury Recoveries of the Year” article for 2009.
Childers v. Menard’s, Inc., Hennepin County District Court No. 27-CV-06-21179 (2008) - for Susan Holden on behalf of plaintiff, who suffered injuries requiring revision of a lumbar fusion following a fall related to a leaking roof at Menard’s. Successful opposition to Defendant’s motion for summary judgment. Recovery: confidential.
Barto v. Smith, Richland County Circuit Court (Wisc.) No. 07-CV-78 (2008) - for Cory Whalen on behalf of plaintiff in ATV injury case. Opposition to coverage-related and substantive dispositive motions. Recovery: $300,000.
Economy Premier Assurance Co. v. Weierke, Carver County District Court No. 10-CV-06-429 (2007) - for Arthur Kosieradzki and Allan Shapiro on behalf of wrongful death trustees in an insurance coverage declaratory action. Successful opposition to insurer’s motion for summary judgment; successful pursuit of cross-motion for summary judgment establishing $1 million in excess coverage. Also handled motion to compel, motions in limine and submission of jury instructions and special verdict forms with supporting memorandum. Recovery: approximately $1.1 million.
Essex Insurance Co. v. Judy Garland Children’s Museum, Inc., D.Minn. No. 05-CV-2815 (2006) - for Michael Quinlivan on behalf of property loss coverage claimant in declaratory action. Pursued motion for summary judgment to establish coverage in favor of insured museum for loss by theft of one of the four still-existing pairs of ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland in the 1939 film “The Wizard of Oz”. Settled after briefing but prior to resolution of motion for confidential amount.
Ryan v. Heritage Trails Associates, Inc., Clinton County District Court (Iowa) No. LA30641 (2006) - for Greg McEwen and Don Beatty on behalf of plaintiffs. Successful opposition to three successive dispositive motions in an anhydrous ammonia release case. Recovery: $9.6 million, largest recovery reported in Minnesota Law & Politics’ “Largest Personal Injury Recoveries of the Year” article for 2007.
Hage v. C. S. McCrossan, Inc., Hennepin County District Court No. WD 03-016527 (2006) - for Susan Holden on behalf of wrongful death trustee in litigation over two successive fatal motor vehicle accidents in the Hiawatha Corridor LRT construction zone. Successful opposition to motion for summary judgment brought by the general contractor for the project. Recovery: confidential.
Plaintiff vs. Defendant (2004) - for Arthur Kosieradzki on behalf of high-level quadriplegic plaintiff. Successful opposition to motion for summary judgment. Recovery: confidential.
Kruger v. Cenex, Inc., Nobles County District Court No. C2-03-735 (2004) - for Greg McEwen on behalf of plaintiff, who was badly burned in a propane explosion. Successful opposition to spoliation-based motions for summary judgment. Recovery: $1.8 million.
"Scott is an incredible asset in any trial lawyer's arsenal. His ability to narrow the issues and guide my firm through motion practice and appellate issues gives my clients the edge and helps me sleep well at night."
-Rob Roe, Rob Roe Law, LLC, Saint Paul
"Scott has helped us take our big-picture case theories and distill them into winning legal arguments on a number of complex matters. The results have been successful outcomes for some of our most seriously injured and deserving clients."
- Jake Jagdfeld, Johnson Becker, PLLC, Saint Paul
"Our firm has utilized Scott on several occasions, most recently in two separate products cases that entailed complex motion practice and argument. His work was very thorough and gave us peace of mind that should the rulings be appealed . . . the factual and legal record were appropriately protected. In one case, we won the motions and the case settled shortly thereafter. In the other, the case settled after briefing and argument, but before the court made its decision. I would not hesitate to use Scott again."
- Pete Kestner, McEwen & Kestner, PLLC, Inver Grove Heights, MN
"Scott knows his stuff on appeals. I wouldn't even consider trying to navigate the appeals process without him. I highly recommend Scott to other trial lawyers who need to appeal a bad decision but don't know the process. Scott [is] sharp, detail oriented and efficient - exactly what you need in an appellate lawyer."
- Ashwin Madia, Madia Law LLC, Minneapolis, MN
"Scott identifies and frames even the most complex legal issues in an understandable way. He then thoroughly researches, provides great insight and produces a tightly written and highly compelling legal document. During that process the lawyer seeking Scott's assistance gets the added bonus of learning the best way to organize and articulate their arguments for use in oral argument or at trial."
- Jim Batchelor, Batchelor Law Firm, P.A., Minneapolis
". . . [Scott's] work has been decisive in more than one seven figure recovery for my clients in cases involving complex tort and insurance coverage issues. When there's a lot at stake, I consider Scott to be a 'go to' guy."
- Art Kosieradzki, SiebenCarey, Lakeville, MN
". . . I have deep respect for Scott's integrity and commitment in addition to his lawyer skills and appellate ability."
- Michael Quinlivan, Pearson Quinlivan PLC, Saint Paul
"Scott is a superb appellate lawyer, a fine writer, researcher and has great oralist skills. He is a difference maker."
- Joel Goldblatt, J.D., L.L.M., Williams, Bax & Saltzman, P.C., Chicago
"Scott has provided excellent assistance with the research and writing of several motions for me. I have read several of his appellate briefs and observed him orally argue a motion on behalf of co-counsel. On each occasion, I have been impressed with the quality and breadth of his work."
- Allan Shapiro, Finn Shapiro LLC, St. Louis Park, MN
"Early on in my soon to be thirty-nine years of practice, I learned that you cannot be all things to all people . . . . Scott has the gift of making the complex, understandable. He has lifted the art of persuasion to an impressive level."
- Jim Vander Linden, LeVander & Vander Linden, P.A., St. Louis Park, MN
"Scott is an excellent investment in complex motions and at the appellate level . . . ."
- Bob Edwards, Law Offices of Robert N. Edwards, Anoka, MN
Scott does a great job and we have worked with him for years!!"
- Greg McEwen, McEwen & Kestner, PLLC, Inver Grove Heights, MN
Douglas K. Amdahl Inn of Court
Hennepin County Bar Association
Minnesota Association for Justice; member, Board of Governors and Amicus Committee
Minnesota State Bar Association; member, Appellate Practice Section Council and Amicus Committee
Minnesota Lawyer's Personal Injury "Power 30" List (selected 2021)
Super Lawyer (selected 2021)
International Academy of Trial Lawyers Award, May 1982 at St. Louis, MO
American College of Trial Lawyers Lewis F. Powell Medal for Excellence in Advocacy, March 1982 at Houston, TX
LECTURES AND PUBLICATIONS
Continuing Legal Education Lectures:
Case Law Update, Minnesota Association for Justice 2021 Annual Convention, August 21, 2021
"When Is a Claim 'Deemed Made' Under an MLM Policy?", My Insurance Policy Says What?, Minnesota Association for Justice, March 4, 2021
(With Sharon Van Dyck) Appellate Basics: An Advocates Guide to Constructing the Framework Needed to Succeed on Appeal, Minnesota CLE Appellate Practice Institute, Feb. 26, 2001
Case Law Update, Minnesota Association for Justice 2020 Annual Convention, August 20, 2020
"Wrongful Death Claims Against the Government: A Short Course," Wrongful Death Cases Seminar, Minnesota Association for Justice, June 4, 2020
"Know Your Appellate Cases: Getz v. Peace and Fish v. Ramler Trucking, Inc., et al., Minnesota Association for Justice Mid-Winter Meeting, Feb. 21, 2020
Case Law Update, Minnesota Association for Justice 2019 Annual Convention, August 17, 2019
"Unrestricted Medical Authorizations - What Is the Law?", 2019 Car Crash Seminar, Minnesota Association for Justice, March 22, 2019
"Issues Arising in Minnesota Civil Case Law", Law School for Legislators, Mitchell-Hamline College of Law and Minnesota Association for Justice, January 25, 2019
Case Law Update, Minnesota Association for Justice 2018 Annual Convention, August 18, 2018
"Lambertson After Staab: Injuries at Work", Don't Step on That Landmine: Critical Case Law Developments and Discovery Issues, Minnesota Association for Justice, March 7, 2018
Case Law Update, Minnesota Association for Justice 2017 Annual Convention, August 19, 2017
"Initiating an Appeal from a State Court Civil Order or Judgment in Minnesota", Douglas K. Amdahl Inn of Court, January 19, 2017
"The Workers' Compensation Insurer's Subrogation Interest in Third-Party Liability Cases", Subrogation Seminar, Minnesota Association for Justice, October 31, 2016
"Initiating an Appeal from a State Court Civil Order or Judgment in Minnesota", Minnesota Association for Justice, October 25, 2016
Case Law Update, Minnesota Association for Justice 2016 Annual Convention, August 20, 2016
Panelist, "Focusing on the End Game: Winning Your Appeal at Trial", Minnesota Association for Justice, May 23, 2016
Case Law Update, Minnesota Association for Justice 2015 Annual Convention, August 15, 2015
Case Law Update, Minnesota Association for Justice 2014 Annual Convention, August 16, 2014
"Handling the Car Crash Case", Case Law Update, Minnesota Association for Justice, March 27, 2014
“Appellate Issues in Wrongful Death Cases”, Wrongful Death Seminar, Minnesota Association for Justice, February 28, 2014
"Filing the Appeal", MoreLaw Minneapolis, August 14, 2013
“Ethics and Electronic Discovery” and “Sanctions in E-Discovery”, E-Discovery: Now What?, NBI, November 9, 2011
“Determination of Additional Insured Status: The Viktora Test”, Minnesota State Bar Association Solo and Small Firm Section Annual Meeting and CLE, June 2, 2011
“Case-Specific Research” and “Organizing Legal Research”, Attorney’s Guide to Legal Research Strategies On and Offline, NBI, November 9, 2010
"Lambertson Lives: Fish v. Ramler Trucking, Inc., 935 N.W.2d 738 (Minn. 2019)", Minnesota Trial (Winter 2020)
"Minnesota's Social Security Act Exception to Collateral Source Deduction Applies to Medicaid Discounts Negotiated by Private 'PMAP' Managed Care Organizations: Getz v. Peace, et al., 934 N.W.2d 347 (Minn. 2019)", Minnesota Trial (Fall 2019)
"Failure to Seek a "Henning Hearing" to Determine the Workers' Compensation Subrogation Interest: Legal Malpractice that Lawyers Don't Know They're Committing" (with Daniel B. O'Leary), Minnesota Trial Lawyer (Winter 2016)
“You Did WHAT With My Car? Owner Liability and Coverage for Intentional Acts of Permissive Drivers” (with Prof. Jeanne Kosieradzki), Minnesota Trial Lawyer (Fall 2003)
"Referral to Physical Therapists and Massage Therapists: Potential Legal Pitfalls" (with David C. Wulff), DC Practice, Vol. 3, No. 2 (Fall 1996)
A.B. in Psychology, Duke University, Durham, NC, granted 1978
J.D., Washington University School of Law, St. Louis, MO, granted 1982
Scott Wilson Law Firm, PLLC, Minneapolis, MN
Legal Research Center, Minneapolis, MN
Scott Wilson Law Office, PLLC
310 4th Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55415