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Craig W. Trepanier

Attorney Profile

Top Rated Employment & Labor Attorney in Minneapolis, MN

Trepanier MacGillis Battina P.A.
8000 Flour Exchange Building, 310 Fourth Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55415
Phone: 612-455-0502
Fax: 612-455-0501
Selected to Super Lawyers: 2009 - 2022
Selected to Rising Stars: 1998 - 1999, 2001, 2004 - 2009
Licensed in Minnesota Since: 1994
Practice Areas: Employment & Labor: Employer, Employment Litigation: Defense, Business Litigation, Business/Corporate, Closely Held Business
Attorney Profile

As co-founder, president and shareholder of Trepanier MacGillis Battina P.A., Minnesota attorney Craig W. Trepanier is committed to effectively representing corporate clients, executives, and professionals in the areas of business formation, corporate law, commercial litigation, minority shareholder litigation, and all aspects of employment law.  Craig has developed special expertise representing executives and employers in matters involving non-compete agreements, trade secrets, employment contracts, the employee's duty of loyalty, breach of fiduciary duties, unfair competition, separation agreements, and severance agreements.

In 1991, Mr. Trepanier graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts from Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois. He went on to receive his law degree from the University of Minnesota Law School in 1994, also graduating magna cum laude.  Craig started his practice working for a large law firm before striking out on his own in 2001.  Since then, he has helped to build Trepanier MacGillis Battina P.A. into a respected eight-attorney law firm.

Mr. Trepanier brings almost 25 years of experience to his practice and uses his knowledge to successfully represent corporations, executives, professionals, and salespersons. He represents corporations and businesses including staffing companies and consulting firms in business formation, buy-sell agreements, shareholder control agreements, corporate governance, contracts, commercial real estate leases, customer and vendor disputes, business acquisitions, minority shareholder rights litigation, employee handbooks, and defending discrimination, harassment, wrongful termination, and other employment-related claims.  He advises individuals on job offers, employment contracts, stock options, executive compensation, equity compensation, unpaid bonuses and commissions, workplace investigations, non-compete agreements, separation agreements, and career transition issues.  Craig has extensive experience defending executives and salespersons against claims alleging breach of non-disclosure, non-solicitation, and non-competition agreements, including defense of emergency Temporary Restraining Order and Temporary Injunction hearings.

Craig has special knowledge of laws impacting commissioned sales representatives and regularly represents independent manufacturer's sales representatives and principals in drafting sales representative agreements, litigating claims under the Minnesota Termination of Sales Representatives Act, and handling disputes involving termination and non-renewal of sales representatives agreements and unpaid commissions in Minnesota and elsewhere.

As a member of the Minnesota State Bar Association and Hennepin County Bar Association, Mr. Trepanier is admitted to practice before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit, the Minnesota Supreme Court and the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota.  Craig is the past Chair of the MSBA Labor & Employment Law Section.

Mr. Trepanier regularly writes and speaks about employment law matters for CLE programs and seminars through organizations such as the MSBA, HCBA, Minnesota CLE, and Minnesota Safety Council.

In his free time, Craig enjoys spending time with his family. He is an up-and-coming painter and photographer through his fine art studio, Upon Closer Look LLC, and has shown his art at a handful of shows.

Practice Areas
  • 30%Employment & Labor: Employer
  • 30%Employment Litigation: Defense
  • 20%Business Litigation
  • 10%Business/Corporate
  • 10%Closely Held Business
Focus Areas

Employment Law - Employee, Wage & Hour Laws, Whistleblower, Sexual Harassment, Employment Discrimination, Wrongful Termination, Retaliation, Employment Law - Employer, Trade Secret, Non-Compete Agreements, Business Formation and Planning, Limited Liability Companies, Partnership, Sub-chapter S Corporations, Contracts, Business Organizations


14 Years Super Lawyers
9 Years Rising Stars
  • Super Lawyers: 2009 - 2022
  • Rising Stars: 1998 - 1999, 2001, 2004 - 2009

White Papers

  • Minnesota Drug & Alcohol Testing Laws - Comprehensive summary of Minnesota laws regarding workplace drug and alcohol testing, including Minn. Stat. 181.950 (Minnesota Drug and Alcohol Testing in the Workplace Act)
  • Minnesota Unpaid Wages & Commissions Law - Comprehensive summary of Minnesota laws regarding the recovery of unpaid wages, commissions, and bonuses, including extensive discussion of common law and statutory claims under Minn. Stat. 181.03, 181.13, 181.14, 181.145, and 181.171
  • Minnesota Sales Representatives Laws - Comprehensive summary of Minnesota laws impacting independent manufacturers' sales representatives, including Minn. Stat. 325 (Termination of Sales Representatives Act), Minn. Stat. 181.145, and common law claims impacting the independent sales rep industry
  • Minnesota Non-Compete Law - Comprehensive summary of Minnesota laws regarding non-disclosure, non-solicitation, and non-competition agreements including claims alleging breach of contract, breach of employee duty of loyalty, breach of fiduciary duty, conversion, and misappropriation of trade secrets

About Craig W. Trepanier

First Admitted: 1994, Minnesota

Professional Webpage:

Pro bono/Community Service

  • Volunteer Lawyers Network (volunteer attorney handling unemployment compensation and other employment law matters for low income clients and staffing VLN pro bono Hennepin County District Court self-help center) (2003 to 2016)
  • Member, Manufacturers' Agents National Association (MANA) (2011 to 2015)
  • President, Nordic Woods Homeowners Association (1998 to 2017)
  • Corporate Secretary, Minnesota Transport Services Association (MTSA) (2004 to present)
  • Vice President, Eastview Hockey Association Blue Line Club (high school hockey booster club) (2010)


  • Successfully settled contentious claim involving misappropriation of trade secrets against former salesperson in nursery and horticulture supply industry
  • Successfully defeated motion for temporary restraining order (TRO) against dance studio in shareholder dispute alleging breach of fiduciary duty and unfair competition
  • Defeated motion for temporary restraining order (TRO) in federal court filed against office supply company and 5 former employees of competitor in lawsuit alleging breach of non-compete agreements
  • Successfully defeated motion for Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against former CEO of medical device company involving exercise of stock options
  • Successfully settled tortious interference and breach of contract claims against home remodeling company and 3 salespersons
  • Successfully settled two companion lawsuits involving breach of fiduciary duty, oppression of minority shareholder, and unpaid pension fund contributions in construction industry

Educational Background

  • Apple Valley High School, Apple Valley, Minnesota, 1987
  • University of Minnesota Law School, Minneapolis, Minnesota, JD, magna cum laude, 1994
  • Augustana College, Rock Island, Illinois, BA, magna cum laude, 1991


  • Order of the Coif, 1994
  • President, Augustana College Debate Union
  • Minnesota Super Lawyer (2009-2018)
  • National Debate Tournament Qualifier (1988-1991)
  • Phi Beta Kappa, 1991
  • Minnesota Rising Star (2000-2008)

Bar/Professional Activity

  • 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, Admitted, 1997
  • Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
  • Minnesota Department of Human Rights
  • Minnesota Transport Services Association (Corporate Secretary)
  • Member, Minnesota State Bar Association (MSBA) Labor & Employment Law Section Governing Council, 2012
  • Chair, Minnesota State Bar Association (MSBA) Labor & Employment Law Section Governing Council, 2017
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota, Admitted, 1994
  • American Arbitration Association (AAA)
  • Minneapolis Civil Rights Commission
  • National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)
  • Hennepin County Bar Association, Member, 1994
  • Drug & Alcohol Testing Industry Association (former member)
  • Minnesota Supreme Court, Admitted, 1994
  • Secretary and Treasurer, Minnesota State Bar Association (MSBA) Labor & Employment Law Section Governing Council, 2015
  • Hennepin County Bar Association (HCBA) CLE Committee, 2013
  • Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)
  • Minnesota Department of Employment & Economic Development
  • Minnesota State Bar Association, Member, 1994
  • Nordic Woods Homeowners Association (Past President), 2017
  • Vice Chair, Minnesota State Bar Association (MSBA) Labor & Employment Law Section Governing Council, 2016
  • MRA - The Management Association, 2018

Scholarly Lectures/Writings

  • Discussion of employer liability under the theory of negligent entrustment, Negligent Entrustment – The Hidden Fleet, Minnesota Safety Council, 2013
  • Discussion of the ten most significant cases where Minnesota courts have considered the classification of employees and independent contractors, Independent Contractors v. Employees” at Employment Law 60: The 60 Cases Every Employment Lawyer Must Know Inside and Out, Minnesota CLE, 2014
  • Discussion of obstacles and strategies involved in developing a happier legal practice, Clearing the Way to a Happier Practice: What’s Standing in Your Way, and What You Can Do, MSBA Solo and Small Firm Section, 2015
  • Discussion of Minnesota law regarding drug and alcohol testing, Minnesota Drug and Alcohol Testing in the Workplace, Minnesota Safety & Health Conference, 2015
  • Summary of the Minnesota Termination of Sales Representatives Act, Minn. Stat. § 325E.37, and other laws affecting independent contractor commissioned sales representatives, Speaker/Moderator, Understanding Minnesota Sales Representative Laws, Minnesota CLE, 2011
  • Discussion of whether non-compete agreements can be assigned under Minnesota law as part of an asset sale, stock sale, or corporate merger, Non-Compete Agreements: Can They Be Assigned Under Minnesota Law, The Hennepin Lawyer, 2009
  • Summary of the Minnesota Drug and Alcohol Testing in the Workplace Act (DATWA), Minn. Stat. § 181.950 – 181.957 and DOT drug and alcohol testing regulations, Introduction to Drug and Alcohol Testing, 2010
  • Summary of legal defenses and strategies for employees to break Minnesota non-compete agreements and defend against former employer's lawsuit to enforce the agreement, How Does an Employee Break a Minnesota Non-Compete Contract?, 2009
  • Summary of Minnesota Court of Appeals decision in Hudalla v. TSI (2012), which interprets definition of "positive" drug test under Minnesota Drug & Alcohol Testing in the Workplace Act, Court Dismisses Challenge to Positive Marijuana Drug Test, 2012
  • Summary of the "Inevitable Disclosure Doctrine" under Minnesota trade secrets law, Trade Secret Law: The Inevitable Disclosure Doctrine, 2010
  • Summary of the Minnesota Drug and Alcohol Testing in the Workplace Act (DATWA), Minn. Stat. § 181.950 -181.957, Minnesota Drug and Alcohol Testing in the Workplace, 2010
  • Discussion of Minnesota law regarding the legal enforceability of "letters of intent" and other so-called "agreements to agree", Agreements to Agree: Are They Enforceable?, 2003
  • Summary of Minnesota laws affecting independent manufacturers' sales representatives, including claims for wrongful termination, non-renewal, non-payment of commissions, and statutory claims under Minnesota Termination of Sales Representatives Act and Minn. Stat. 181.145, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Minnesota Sales Representatives Law, 2009
  • Summary of frequently asked questions about Minnesota non-compete law, Minnesota Non-Compete Frequently Asked Questions, 2009
  • Summary of frequently asked questions about Minnesota trade secrets law, including misappropriation under the Minnesota Uniform Trade Secrets Act, Minn. Stat. 325C, Minnesota Trade Secrets Frequently Asked Questions, 2009
  • Discussion of strategies that executives can use to minimize the risk of a lawsuit alleging breach of a non-compete agreement, breach of the employee’s duty of loyalty, disclosure of confidential information, and misappropriation of trade secrets when departing an employer to join a competitor or start their own business, Guidelines for Executives to Follow When Departing Their Employer, 2012
  • Discussion of circumstances under which non-profit organizations, government agencies, and private for-profit employers can utilize unpaid interns under state and federal wage and hour laws such as the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Minnesota Fair Labor Standards Act (MFLSA), Unpaid Internships Pose Legal Traps for Employers, 2012
  • Quoted in Minnesota Lawyer article regarding the legality of unpaid internships, Employers beware: No Free Labor, Minnesota Lawyer, 2012
  • Discussion of a law firm's perspective about hiring and working with freelance attorneys in the State of Minnesota, Working as (or Hiring) a Freelance Attorney, Minnesota CLE, 2014
  • Discussion of how companies can effectively protect their corporate assets in the Digital Age, Protecting Your Corporate Assets in the Digital Age, Minnesota Safety & Health Conference, 2014

Industry Groups

  • Minnesota Transport Services Association (MTSA)
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Office Location for Craig W. Trepanier

8000 Flour Exchange Building
310 Fourth Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55415

Phone: 612-455-0502

Fax: 612-455-0501

Last Updated: 5/15/2022

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