Chris Messerly

Attorney Profile

Top Rated Medical Malpractice Attorney in Minneapolis, MN

Robins Kaplan LLP
 | 800 LaSalle Avenue, Suite 2800
Minneapolis, MN 55402
Phone: 612-349-8585
Fax: 612-339-4181
Selected To Super Lawyers: 1999 - 2021
Licensed Since: 1986
Practice Areas:
  • Personal Injury - Medical Malpractice: Plaintiff (70%),
  • Personal Injury - General: Plaintiff (20%),
  • Personal Injury - Products: Plaintiff (10%)
    Attorney Profile

    A partner at Robins Kaplan LLP, Chris Messerly has made a name for himself as a leading personal injury and wrongful death litigation attorney. From the firm's main office in Minneapolis, Minnesota, he provides representation to clients throughout the state as well as in Wisconsin, North Dakota and other parts of the country who have been harmed by the negligence of other persons or entities. Although a significant part of his practice is focused on medical malpractice, Mr. Messerly also has extensive experience in cases involving defective products and other related areas.

    Throughout his career, Mr. Messerly has been able to obtain numerous sizable settlements and jury awards on behalf of his clients in many highly publicized cases. One resulted in a $20.6 million jury award in a wrongful death case based on hospital negligence, which is the largest wrongful death verdict in Minnesota history. Another case involved a motor vehicle accident in which he obtained a jury award in excess of $10 million on behalf of the parents of a teenager who suffered a traumatic brain injury. In addition, Mr. Messerly was the leader of a multi-law firm consortium that represented injured victims and the surviving family members of people who perished in the 2007 collapse of the I-35W bridge in Minneapolis.

    His successes in and out of the courtroom have earned Mr. Messerly a great deal of acclaim from his colleagues, including an AV Preeminent* peer review rating through Martindale-Hubbell. In addition, he has been selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America for several consecutive years. A 1986 recipient of a Juris Doctor with honors from what was then known as Hamline University School of Law, Mr. Messerly is admitted to practice in Minnesota and Wisconsin, and he is also admitted to practice before several federal trial and appellate courts.

    *AV®, AV Preeminent®, Martindale-Hubbell Distinguished and Martindale-Hubbell Notable are certification marks used under license in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies. Martindale-Hubbell® is the facilitator of a peer review rating process. Ratings reflect the anonymous opinions of members of the bar and the judiciary. Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Rating™ fall into two categories – legal ability and general ethical standards.

    Practice Areas
    • 70%Personal Injury - Medical Malpractice: Plaintiff
    • 20%Personal Injury - General: Plaintiff
    • 10%Personal Injury - Products: Plaintiff
    Focus Areas

    Medical Malpractice, Birth Injury, Personal Injury - Plaintiff, Brain Injury


    Selected to Super Lawyers for 23 yearsbottom-image

    Super Lawyers: 1999 - 2021

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    About Chris Messerly

    Admitted: 1986, Minnesota

    Professional Webpage:


    • Excellence Award, Minnesota Trial Lawyers Association, Recognition for outstanding service to the organization, 1998
    • Distinguished Alumni Award, Hamline University School of Law, Recognition for contributions to community, 2000
    • Attorney of the Year, Minnesota Lawyer, 2000, 2008
    • Litigation Star, Benchmark Litigation, 2011-2015 editions
    • Member of the Year, Minnesota Trial Lawyers Association, Awarded for commitment to MTLA, 2000
    • Attorney of the Year - Circle of Excellence, Minnesota Lawyer, 2017
    • Everyday Hero Award, Prevent Child Abuse Minnesota, In recognition of efforts to protect kids, 2008
    • One Hundred and Fifty Lives That Make a Difference, Hamline University, 2005
    • Member of the Year, Minnesota Association for Justice, Recognition for commitment to organization committed to representing those in need of justice, 2008
    • Minnesota Super Lawyer, Super Lawyers, 2000-2015
    • Professional Excellence Award, Minnesota Bar Association, Recognition for Pro Bono work on behalf of victims of the I-35W bridge collapse, 2009
    • Pro Bono Award, American Association for Justice, Awarded for Pro Bono work on behalf of victims of the I-35W Bridge Collapse, 2009

    Bar/Professional Activity:

    • U.S. District Court, Minnesota
    • U.S. District Court, Western District of Wisconsin
    • American Board of Trial Advocates, National Board Member
    • U.S. District Court, North Dakota
    • Minnesota
    • Minnesota Association for Justice, Past President, 2006
    • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit
    • Wisconsin
    • American Board of Trial Advocates, Minnesota Chapter, Past President

    Pro bono/Community Service:

    • American College of Trial Lawyers, Fellow
    • Ramsey County Bar Association Hockey Team, Captain, 1990

    Scholarly Lectures/Writings:

    • Don’t Blow Your Last Chance, Continuing Legal Education Day, Hamline University School of Law, October 6, 2000
    • Proposed Joint Liability Changes Protect Tortfeasors, Not Taxpayers, Minnesota Lawyer, April 30, 2002
    • Birth Injury and the Law, Trinity Health Symposium on Perinatal Medicine & Women’s Health Care, September 23, 1999
    • BANG! Your Medical Negligence Case is Dead: Ambushed by the Expert Affidavit Statute, Minnesota Trial Lawyer, Vol. 25, No. 4, Fall 2000
    • Confidentiality of Medical Records – How to Avoid Getting Sued, Minnesota Institute of Legal Education, May 6, 1999
    • Trial Techniques: Using a Focus Group Could Help Value Your Case, Minnesota Lawyer, March 27, 2000
    • Improper Disclosure, Or Failure to Disclose Medical Records- A Statutory Right to Recover Attorney’s Fees and Costs, Minnesota Institute for Legal Education, May 6, 1999
    • Liability of Adverse Medical Examiners, Minnesota Trial Lawyer, Vol. 23, No. 3, Summer 1998
    • Preparing and Presenting the Child Witness: The Trials and Tribulations of Representing Children, American Association for Justice Winter Convention, January 23-27, 1999
    • The Child Witness in Tort Cases: The Trials and Tribulations of Representing Children William, Mitchell Law Review, Vol 24, No. 1, 1998
    • Selected Speeches Trying the Wrongful Death Case with Little Pecuniary Loss, Minnesota Association for Justice, Minneapolis, Minnesota, March 31, 2009
    • Experts: Do You Really Need Them?  If So, How do You Find Them and What Do You Do with Them?, Hamline University School of Law Alumni Day, March 6, 1998
    • Expert Witnesses – Particular Issues in Medical Negligence, Minnesota Institute of Legal Education, June 21, 2001
    • Expert Witnesses, The Real Story – Practice Tips for Cross Examination of Experts, Minnesota State Bar Association, February 13, 1998
    • Trial Practice & Procedure in Minnesota State Court: How to Litigate the Civil Case, Minnesota CLE, Minneapolis, Minnesota, November 7, 2007
    • Children in Civil Cases – The Trials And Tribulations of Representing Children: Who Is Your Client?  Children in Civil Cases, All District Legal Education, May 9, 1997
    • Electronic Medical Records Liability, Minnesota Association for Justice, Minneapolis, Minnesota, April 19, 2007
    • Medical Negligence – Direct Hospital Liability – The Newest Development in Negligent Credentialing, Minnesota Trial Lawyers Association, February 7, 1997
    • Passion in Advocacy, Minnesota Association for Justice, Minneapolis, Minnesota, April 13, 2007
    • The Fine Art of Representing Children – The Trials and Tribulations of Representing Children, Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi L.L.P. Eighth Trial Advocacy Seminar, October 18, 1996
    • Passion in Advocacy, Minnesota Trial Lawyers Association, Duluth, Minnesota, March 3, 2007
    • Insurance Coverage for the 21st Century – Sexual Misconduct: How Far Does the Clinic’s Coverage Extend?, Professional Legal Education Resource Center, June 11, 1996
    • How to Avoid Medical Malpractice, University of Minnesota Medical School, March 6, 2007
    • What Are Medical Records? The Legal And Practical Aspects Of Obtaining And Using Medical Records, Minnesota State Bar Association, October 19, 1995
    • Unraveling the Mystery of Medical Records – What are Medical Records? Minnesota State Bar Association, April 21, 1994
    • Experts/Evidence Issues, Minnesota Judicial College, May 3-5, 2006
    • Maximizing Damages in Personal Injury Cases, Minnesota Continuing Legal Education, January 27, 1993
    • New Thoughts on Child Death Cases, Wrongful Death Seminar, Minnesota Trial Lawyers Association, January 27, 2006
    • The Life of a Trial Lawyer:  Practicing With Passion, ATLA Student Chapter, January 25, 2006
    • Medical Malpractice Claims: The Common, Repetitive Strategies of Learned Treatise Used, Abuse, For Voir Dire Questioning, Improper Cross and the Non-Calling of Witnesses; Oops They Did It Again!  Overcoming Common Defense Strategies and Tactics, Minnesota Trial Lawyers Association, January 14, 2005
    • Issues in Wrongful Death Cases – Maximizing Damages in a Child Death Case, Wrongful Death Seminar, Minnesota Trial Lawyers Association, November 4, 2004
    • Passion, Compassion & Damages in Action – 12th Trial Advocacy Seminar, Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi L.L.P., November 4, 2004
    • Leveling the Playing Field, Midwest Regional Conference for Women in the Law, April 22, 2004
    • Defining Success: All Ages, All Stages – Minnesota Regional Conference for Women in the Law, Minnesota Women Lawyers, Inc., April 21-23, 2004
    • The Tort “Deform/Reform” Debate, Hamline University School of Law, April 21, 2004
    • 911 Dispatch and Response Time, ATLA’s Emergency Transportation Services Negligence, National College of Advocacy, July 31, 2003
    • Pro Tort Deform, Threatening the Right to a Jury, Medical Malpractice, Minnesota Institute of Legal Education, April 25, 2003
    • Issues in Wrongful Death Cases – Maximizing Damages in a Child Death Case, Wrongful Death Seminar, Minnesota Trial Lawyers Association, February 14, 2003
    • Lawyers and Paramedics – Mini MBA® In Emergency Medical Services, University of St. Thomas, October 24, 2003; April 8, 2003; October 9, 2002; October 3, 2001; April 4, 2001; October 12, 2000; April 6, 2000; October 14, 1999
    • Mandatory Reporters Must Speak for the Abused Child, Minnesota Association for Justice, Fall 2007
    • Using Technology to Prove Your Case to the Jury. The Trial Lawyers Toolbox – Building The Winning Case, Iowa Trial Lawyers Association Annual Convention, Des Moines, IA, November 7, 2002 Witness Choices
    • President's Page: Serving Minnesotans in Many Ways, Minnesota Association for Justice, Summer 2007
    • The Toolbox – the Mechanics of Trying the Case, Minnesota Trial Lawyers Association, October 4, 2002
    • President's Page: Reframing the Debate, Minnesota Trial Lawyer, Winter 2007
    • Expert Witnesses – Effective Use Of Medical Experts, Minnesota Institute of Legal Education, June 5, 2002
    • What We Do Is More Important Than Who We Are, Minnesota Trial Lawyer, Volume 31, No. 4, Fall 2006
    • Medical Malpractice 2001 – The Good, The Bad and The Truly Frightening:  Overview of, a The Status of CIVJIG 91.40 after Blatz v. Allina and Orbeck v. Larsen, b Current Status of Affidavit of Expert Review Statute, c Current Status of Retroactivity of 1999 Change to Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations, Minnesota Trial Lawyers Association, September 21, 2001
    • Obtaining Justice When A Child Dies, American Association for Justice, September 2005
    • Overview Of a The Status Of CIVJIG 91.40 after Blatz v. Allina and Orbeck v. Larsen, b Current Status Of Affidavit Of Expert Review Statue, And c Current Status Of Retroactivity Of 1999 Change To Medical Malpractice Statute Of Limitations. Medical Malpractice, The Good, The Bad, And The Truly Frightening, Minnesota Trial Lawyers Association, September 21, 2001
    • Nowhere to Turn: A Glance at the Facts Behind the Supposed Need for Tort “Reform” Hamline Law Review, Vol.28 No.3, Summer 2005
    • Handling the Automobile Accident Case – Legislative Update - Auto Law Issues, Minnesota Trial Lawyers Association, April 12, 2001
    • Co-Author, When Every Second Counts, TRIAL, May 2003
    • Legal Issues And Concerns Related To AEDs In The Workplace. Automated External Defibrillation for the Workplace, American Heart Association, March 15, 2001
    • Six Lessons I have Learned Representing Linda McDougal: Bill of Particulars, The New York State Trial Lawyers Institute, Spring 2003

    Educational Background:

    • Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine, B.A., 1981
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    Office Location for Chris Messerly

    800 LaSalle Avenue
    Suite 2800
    Minneapolis, MN 55402

    Phone: 612-349-8585

    Fax: 612-339-4181

    Chris Messerly:

    Last Updated: 5/28/2020

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