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Janel M. Dressen

Attorney Profile

Top Rated Business Litigation Attorney in Minneapolis, MN

Anthony Ostlund Louwagie Dressen & Boylan P.A.
3600 Wells Fargo Center, 90 South Seventh Street
Minneapolis, MN 55402
Phone: 612-349-6969
Fax: 612-349-6996
Selected to Super Lawyers: 2016 - 2022
Selected to Rising Stars: 2004 - 2015
Licensed in Minnesota Since: 2000
Practice Areas: Business Litigation, Closely Held Business
Attorney Profile

Her clients, co–workers, and colleagues and competitors in the marketplace remark that Janel Dressen is a tenacious business litigator who will advocate tirelessly and creatively to resolve her client’s business disputes. Janel prides herself on being the most prepared person in the room, solving problems that lawyers and clients refer to as “the most challenging” and getting to know her clients and their businesses as much as they do. She loves to solve problems and views all problems as solvable with the right person by your side who has the knowledge, dedication and desire.  Janel’s clients will tell you that you can expect to receive laser focus, determination, and sheer excellence when working with her.

With over 21 years of experience in representing business owners and their companies, Janel has an impressive list of victories for her clients.  While she represents business owners and businesses in all types of complex business disputes, her sweet spot is shareholder, ownership, and business valuation disputes.  Janel was lead counsel for what has been reported to be the largest Minnesota trial award in a shareholder buyout case in Lund v. Lund in which she obtained over a $45 million buyout award in favor of her client, Kim Lund. In addition, as lead counsel, she obtained a significant victory on behalf of her clients during the COVID–19 pandemic.  She obtained a summary judgment in their favor on breach of fiduciary duty and good faith and fair dealing claims, as well as limited liability company member oppression claims with a fair value buyout from their real estate limited liability companies.  This is believed to be the first reported buyout decision under Minnesota’s Revised Limited Liability Company Act.

In addition to her numerous successes on behalf of her clients, Janel is a frequent author and presenter locally and nationally on various business litigation topics, most notably shareholder oppression, fiduciary duties and business divorces.  Janel is a co–author of chapters in the Ongoing Businesses and Minnesota LLCs Deskbooks published by Minnesota CLE, and a co–contributor to the American Bar Association’s Business Divorce Litigation chapter.  She is regularly requested to speak on business litigation topics by local and national organizations, and she has won numerous awards, including being named a Minnesota Attorney of the Year in 2017, and one of the “Top 50 Women: Minnesota Super Lawyers” since 2019. In 2021, Janel was chosen by the firm’s leaders as only the second Chief Executive Officer of Anthony Ostlund, making her the first female to lead the firm. She has served on the firm’s Executive Committee since 2018.

About Janel M. Dressen

First Admitted: 2000, Minnesota

Professional Webpage: https://www.anthonyostlund.com/janel-m-dressen

Honors/Awards

  • Selected to the The Best Lawyers in America in the practice area of Commercial Litigation (2019-2022), Best Lawyers in America
  • , Minnesota Super Lawyer, Super Lawyers
  • Selected as one of the Top 50 Women lawyers in Minnesota, Top 50 Women Attorney, Super Lawyers
  • Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, 2018
  • Selected as a Minnesota Lawyer's "Attorney of the Year,", Minnesota Lawyer Attorney of the Year, 2017
  • Graduated in top 5%, The University of South Dakota School of Law

Representative Clients

  • I generally represent small to medium sized businesses and individuals with business-related disputes.  I also represent families facing legal challenges as well as boards of directors and governors. 

Educational Background

  • J.D., The University of South Dakota School of Law, graduated in top 5%
  • B.A., with honors, Southwest Minnesota State University

Bar/Professional Activity

  • Member, Hennepin County Bar Association  
  • Member, Minnesota Mother Attorneys Association  
  • Member, Federal Bar Association  
  • Chair, Private Business Governance Committee, Minnesota State Bar Association's Business Law Section
  • Member, Minnesota State Bar Association  
  • Section Council Member and Vice President - Civil Litigation, Minnesota State Bar Association and Co-Author of Civil Litigation Practice Tips

Pro bono/Community Service

  • Volunteer, Feed My Starving Children
  • Chair of the Board of Directors, The Academy of Whole Learning (2014-2017)
  • Volunteer, Legal Aid Society
  • Volunteer, Mary’s Place Legal Advice Clinic

Special Licenses/Certifications

  • Qualified Civil Mediator- Rule 114 Qualified, 2018

Scholarly Lectures/Writings

  • Breaking Up is Hard to Do: How to Separate from Your Business Partners Without Destroying your Business, American Law Institute Continuing Legal Education, 2021
  • Advising Clients in Wind-Downs, Separations and “Business Divorce”:  How to Use ADR and Other Tools to Steer Business Owners Through a Break-up of a Closely-Held Business, ABA Annual Business Law Meeting Showcase Presentation Panel Member, 2021
  • Member Rights, Fiduciary Duties, Oppression, Liability, Remedies and Indemnification, Minnesota CLE, August 2021, 2021
  • Better to have an enemy that slaps you in the face than a partner who stabs you in the back, Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal – Sponsored Content, 2021
  • Should You Try Your Next Jury State Court Civil Case by Zoom?, MSBA Civil Litigation Section CLE, 2021
  • Ownership disputes in private business, Co-Chair, Presenter and Panel Moderator, Shareholder and Member Disputes in Closely-Held Businesses: Preventing, Managing and Resolving Seminar, Minnesota CLE, Private Businesses, 2021
  • Discussion of selection of valuation expert for your needs and objectives, Panel member, Selecting the Right Valuation Expert, Financial Poise Webinars, April 2021, Private Businesses, 2021
  • LLC presentation on Member Rights, Fiduciary Duties, Oppression, Liability, Remedies and Indemnification, Presenter, Member Rights, Fiduciary Duties, Oppression, Liability, Remedies and Indemnification, Minnesota CLE, Closely-Held Minnesota Businesses, 2021
  • How to Use ADR and Other Tools to Steer Business Owners Through a Break-up of a Closely-Held Business, Panel member, Advising Clients in Wind-Downs, Separations and “Business Divorce”: How to Use ADR and Other Tools to Steer Business Owners Through a Break-up of a Closely-Held Business, ABA Annual Business Law Meeting Showcase Presentation Panel Member, September 2021, American Bar Association, Closely-held Businesses, 2021
  • Deskbook for Closely-Held LLCs and their Advisors, Co-author, Member Rights, Fiduciary Duties, Oppression, Liability, Remedies & Indemnification, Minnesota LLCs Minnesota CLE Deskbook Chapter 6, , First Ed., 2016, including updates in 2019 and 2021, Minnesota CLE Deskbook, Closely-Held Minnesota Businesses, 2021
  • Deskbook for Closely-Held Minnesota Business Owners and Advisors, Co-author, Ownership Disputes in Privately Held Companies, Minnesota CLE Deskbook Chapter 12, Representing the On-Going Business, First Ed., 2012, including updates in 2015, 2017, 2019 and 2021, Minnesota CLE Deskbook, Closely-Held Minnesota Businesses, 2021
  • Selecting the Right Valuation Expert, Financial Poise Webinars, 2021
  • Lessons Learned From Virtual Depositions, MSBA Civil Litigation Section CLE, 2020
  • Managing risks and conflicts between executives and employers, Panel member, What Could Possibly Go Wrong? The Top 10 Ways to Better Manage Conflicts and Litigation Risks Between Executives and Employers, Minnesota CLE, 2020 Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute, , All Industries, 2020
  • Reach about business-divorce case law developments nationwide, Co-author, Business Divorce Litigation, Chapter 26 of Recent Developments in Business and Corporate Litigation, 2020 Edition, published by the American Bar Association, American Bar Association, Closely-Held Minnesota Businesses, 2020
  • How to Avoid (or Mtigate) Shareholder Litigation: Lessons Learned from the Lunds Case, Minnesota Continuing Legal Education - The Business Law Institute Program, 2020
  • What Could Possibly Go Wrong? The Top 10 Ways to Better Manage Conflicts and Litigation Risks Between Executives and Employers, Minnesota Continuing Legal Education - 2020 Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute, 2020
  • Contributing author to Business Divorce Litigation, Chapter 26 of Recent Developments in Business and Corporate Litigation, 2020 Edition, 2020
  • LLCs A to Z: Member Rights, Fiduciary Duties, Oppression, Liability, Remedies, and Indemnification, Minnesota CLE Live Webcast, 2020
  • Janel Dressen was featured in Minnesota Lawyer on the topic “Breaking the Ice: Crisis management dominates in pandemic.”, 2020
  • How to Deal with Discovery Bullies, Minnesota Continuing Legal Education, November 2019, 2019
  • Don't Be The Next Lunds & Byerlys: Lessons learned from the Lunds shareholder litigation, Bench & Bar of Minnesota, 2019
  • Review of mandatory expert affidavit requirements, Author, The Eighth Circuit Further Strengthens the Mandatory Expert Affidavit Requirements In Litigation Against Attorneys, Minnesota Lawyer and Finance & Commerce – Partner Content, August 2019, Minnesota Lawyer and Finance and Commerce, Attorneys, Law Firms, Courts, 2019
  • Prepping Clients and Crystalizing Issues for Resolution of Corporate Divorce & Complex Ownership Disputes through Mediation and Arbitration, 2019 Annual Meeting of the ABA Business Law Section, 2019
  • The Eighth Circuit Further Strengthens the Mandatory Expert Affidavit Requirements In Litigation Against Attorneys, Minnesota Lawyer and Finance & Commerce - Partner Content, 2019
  • Presentation: Oppression Liability: Lying, Cheating or Stealing is Not Necessary; 2019 Spring Meeting of the ABA Business Law Section (Presentation to Business Divorce Committee), March 2019, 2019
  • Presentation: Fair Value Litigation: The Battle of the Experts; National Association of Certified Valuators and Analysts Minnesota Chapter Meeting, May 2019, 2019
  • Presentation: Minnesota’s New, Uniform LLC Act- Chapter 322C: A Roadmap for Trial Court Judges (presented to Hennepin County District Court Judges); co-presenters Daniel Kleinberger and Adam Nodler, 2018
  • New LLC Law: Litigation Alert - Spotting and Addressing Liability Issues, Minnesota Continuing Legal Education Webcast, 2018
  • Janel Dressen featured in Minnesota Lawyer: Attorneys of the Year; Link to PDF of article, 2018
  • The Use Of A Special Litigation Committee Under The Revised Minnesota LLC Act, Minnesota Lawyer Partner Content, 2018
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: The "Power" To Dissociate Under Minnesota's Revised LLC Act, Attorney At Law Magazine, Minnesota Edition, June, 2018
  • Presentation: Minnesota’s New, Uniform LLC Act- Chapter 322C: A Roadmap for Trial Court Judges (presented to Hennepin County District Court Judges); co-presenters Daniel Kleinberger and Adam Nodler, 2018
  • Stop Delaying: The Need for An Operating Agreement Under the Revised MN LLC Act, Minnesota Laywer - Sponsored Blog, 2017
  • Business Law Series: Flex Your Fiduciary Duties - Options, Opportunities and Decision Points under the New LLC Act, Minnesota Continuing Legal Education Presenter, 2017
  • Stop Lawyering Me, Attorney At Law Magazine, Minnesota Edition, 2017
  • Representing the Ongoing Business Deskbook Series: The Corporate Divorce – How to Navigate Ownership Disputes in Privately Held Companies, Minnesota Continuing Legal Education Presenter, 2017
  • Structure Matters, Just Ask The Three Little Pigs, Attorney At Law Magazine, Minnesota Edition, 2016
  • Understanding an Owner's Right to Information and Records in Private Companies, C-Level Magazine, Minnesota Edition, 2016
  • Business Law Series: New MN LLC Act - Rights of Minority Owners, Minnesota Continuing Legal Education Panelist, 2016
  • Business Law Series: New MN LLC Act - Rights of Minority Owners, Minnesota Continuing Legal Education Panelist, 2016
  • Better Discovery, Minnesota Continuing Legal Education Presenter, 2016
  • Going the Distance: Application of the Business Judgment Rule, Attorney At Law Magazine, Twin Cities Edition, 2016
  • Flex Your fiduciary Duties: Options, Opportunities and Decision Points Under the New LLC Act, Minnesota Continuing Legal Education Presenter, 2016
  • New MN LLC Act: The Top 10 Key Terms to Include in an Operating Agreement as a Minority Owner, Minnesota Continuing Legal Education Presenter, 2016
  • LLC Members Beware: Your Statutory Right to Information Is About to Change, Attorney At Law Magazine, 2015
  • The New Minnesota LLC Act, Minnesota Continuing Legal Education Presenter, 2015
  • Rights of Minority Owners under The New Minnesota LLC Act, Minnesota Continuing Legal Education Presenter, 2015
  • Should Tom Peters’ Legal Defense Costs Be Paid By the Corporations That He Harmed?, www.anthonyostlund.com/should-tom-petters-legal-defense-costs-be-paid-by-the-corporations-that-he-harmed, Attorney At Law Magazine, 2014
  • Business Law Series: Reducing Litigation Risk for Directors and Officers- Limit It, Insure It, Transfer It, Minnesota Continuing Legal Education Presenter, 2014
  • Business Law Series: Don’t Go Away Mad, Just Go Away – Terms to Consider When Negotiating Business Breakup, Minnesota Continuing Legal Education Presenter, 2014
  • Lessons Learned from Rucker v. Schmidt, 794 N.W.2d 114 (Minn. 2011): The Duties of a “Quasi-Judicial Officers” a/k/a Attorney, to the Client, Opposing Counsel and the Court, Family Law Minnesota Continuing Legal Education Presenter, 2013
  • Pitfalls To Avoid In Appointing and Acting as a Special Litigation Committee, www.anthonyostlund.com/pitfalls-to-avoid-in-appointing-and-acting-as-a-special-litigation-committee, Attorney At Law Magazine, 2013
  • Ownership Disputes in Privately Held Companies, Minnesota CLE Deskbook, Representing the On-Going Business, First Ed, 2012

Verdicts/Settlements

  • Clintsman et al. v. Gervais et al. (2021): LLC member oppression and Breach of Fiduciary DutyAs lead counsel, represented two siblings in a family–owned business with a total of seven sibling members.  The siblings collectively owned six LLCs, which in turn owned over 100 pieces of real estate in various states. The case was largely litigated during the COVID-19 pandemic, with numerous depositions and motion hearings.  The court granted summary judgment in favor of Janel’s clients on their oppression and breach of fiduciary duty claims and granted their motion for a fair value buyout.  No trial was necessary.  It is believed that this is the first decision in which a court has granted a fair value buyout award, on motion, to a member of an LLC under Minnesota’s Revised Limited Liability Company Act, Minnesota Statutes Chapter 322C., 2021
  • Holmes et al. v. O’Connor and Taco John’s International et al. (2021): Shareholder Oppression and Breach of Fiduciary DutyRepresented three owners in the family–owned Taco John’s business, which is the largest privately–owned company in the state of Wyoming.  As lead counsel, Ms. Dressen commenced an action in Wyoming state court against the companies and certain other shareholders and directors for shareholder oppression and breach of fiduciary duty.  After extensive litigation, a resolution was negotiated that resulted in a buyout and business divorce of Ms. Dressen’s clients from the Taco John’s enterprise., 2021
  • Feneis v. Feneis: Shareholder Oppression and Breach of ContractRepresented 50% business owner in three family–owned Minnesota businesses against other 50% owner, who was plaintiff’s brother.  As lead counsel, obtained a buyout award in plaintiff’s/client’s favor on summary judgment entitling plaintiff to purchase his brother’s ownership interests in the three family businesses pursuant to the terms of the brothers’ buy-sell agreement.  Defendant’s summary judgment motion was denied in its entirety and no trial was necessary., 2020
  • MDR Real Estate Holdings, LLC et al. v. AHA Yorktown, LLC et al.: Breach of Contract, Fiduciary Duty and OppressionAs lead counsel, obtained summary judgment dismissing defendants’ counterclaims and obtaining a very favorable ruling in plaintiffs’ favor in a multi–million dollar contract and business dispute between business partners involving various affordable housing projects., 2019
  • Minnesota Supreme Court Rejects Request for Review of Largest Fair Value Buyout on Record in Minnesota Upholding $45,225,000 Award in Favor of Anthony Ostlund Client Kim LundOn March 27, 2019, the Minnesota Supreme Court denied the defendants’ request to review the published Court of Appeals’ decision in the Lund et al. v. Lund et al., --N.W.2d--, 2019 WL 178461 (Minn. Ct. App. Jan. 14, 2019), upholding Anthony Ostlund Client’s, Kim Lund, $45,250,000 fair value award and the removal of Kim’s brother, Tres Lund, as her trustee.  After nearly five years of hard-fought litigation, Kim Lund will finally be separated from the family-owned business and be provided the financial liquidity and independence she has long been promised, and which her grandfather and father desired for her.  The published decision in this case serves as the largest fair value buyout award on record in Minnesota.  The Lunds decision will serve as powerful precedent in disputes among shareholders in closely-held businesses, as well as cases in which a beneficiary and/or co-trustee seeks the removal of a trustee based upon a change in circumstances.  This decision will also serve as influential precedent in all types of fair value valuation cases.  Janel Dressen served as lead counsel on this matter on behald of Kim Lund.    , 2019
  • FDIC v. Community Security Bank, New Prague — Negotiated settlement of claims substantially under the insurance policy limits against former bank officers and directors and obtained dismissal of all former bank officers and directors before action was commenced., 2015
  • Representation of Victim's Family in Bail Hearing — Helped secure $1 million bail for defendant on behalf of the family of an underage sexual assault victim., 2014
  • Illinois Farmers Ins. Co., et al. v. Mobile Diagnostic Imaging, Inc., et al., Civil No. 13-cv-2820 (PJS/TNL) (D. Minn.) — Obtained a complete dismissal, with prejudice, of Dr. Mark Johnson in an alleged fraud and kickback case against numerous Minnesota chiropractors in Minnesota., 2014
  • Charles Barry v. Twin City Fan Co. and Melanie Barry (2016-2018) - Served as lead counsel to Melanie Barry and her trusts in highly publicized litigation and arbitration proceedings involving her ownership interests in Twin City Fan and other family-owned businesses and her marital dissolution from her husband of fifty-five years, pending in Minnesota and Florida, arising out of her former husband’s alleged misappropriation and abuse of corporate assets, 17 year extramarital affair and dissipation of marital assets, and his demand for a fair value buyout.  All matters were fully resolved in early 2018 with a full separation of the parties and business interests, 2018
  • Toretta v. Lachinski et al. — Successfully defended two directors of a closely-held Minnesota company in a breach of fiduciary duty and Minn. Stat. 302A.751 (unfair prejudice) trial in state court in Minnesota. The trial’s court’s dismissal of claims against Janel's clients was affirmed on appeal.
  • Hinshon v. Westlake — Successfully negotiated a business break-up on behalf of client among two business owners of a closely-held Minnesota business after one day of trial in Minnesota state court.
  • The Cameron-Ehlen Group d/b/a Precision Lens v. Sightpath Medical, LLC, Joel Gaslin and Peter Flynn — Successfully defended Respondents in arbitration on claims seeking damages in seven figures for breach of non-compete agreement and tortious interference with non-compete agreement. Obtained complete dismissal of all claims and a full attorneys’ fee award in Respondents’ favor., 2015
  • Motion to Dismiss in Fraudulent Transfer Case — Successfully briefed and argued motion to dismiss in fraudulent transfer case relating to a mortgage real estate loan for case commenced in Florida state court., 2015
  • Manna Freight Systems, Inc. v. Steve Silver Co. — Obtained dismissal of action commenced against client in Texas and negotiated settlement of client’s claims in Minnesota action resulting in ongoing business agreement for client., 2015
  • Anthony Ostlund Client Kim Lund Is “Prevailing Party” And Is Awarded $45.2 Million in Ownership Buyout Dispute (2017) - Following a 5 day trial, Hennepin County District Court Judge Ivy Bernhardson ruled that Kim Lund was the “prevailing party” against her brother, Tres Lund, and various Lund’s entities, in a lengthy legal battle centered on the value of Kim Lund’s ownership interests and Tres Lund’s exercise of power and control over Kim’s interests. In the Court’s 54-page opinion concluding this complex shareholder dispute, the Court awarded Kim $45,225,000, which means that Lund’s must buy Kim Lund out over time for that price. The Court also awarded Kim her court costs, 2017
  • Alerus Financial National Association v. First Premier Capital LLC, T. Denny Sanford, William Kelly and Steve Alpeter — Awarded a complete dismissal of T. Denny Sanford, William Kelly and Steve Alpeter on claims against them on personal guarantees for in excess of $8,000,000 by arbitration panel after a full arbitration hearing.
  • Brauer v. Brauer — Obtained judgment on motion and without a trial in client’s favor in excess of $430,000 in Minnesota state court.
  • Non-Competition Agreements — Work with several employers to defend against and prosecute non-competition agreement claims.
  • Miller v. Miller — Successfully negotiated divorce involving business assets., 2015
  • Representation of LLC and LLC owner (2016-2017) - Served as lead counsel for LLC and LLC owner in 2016 and 2017 in an arbitration proceeding commenced by claimant in Arizona alleging ownership and employment related claims and seeking millions of dollars in damages and legal fees and expenses.  Obtained full defense verdict after multiple day arbitration proceeding with a panel of three arbitrators, 2017
  • First Security Bank – West and First Security Bank – Sleepy Eye v. First Premier Capital et al. — In a breach of contract case in state court Minnesota, obtained an early dismissal with prejudice of First Premier Capital LLC.
  • Cook v. Cook — Successfully obtained payment of $318,000 on behalf of client in a business fraud case against her ex-husband arising out of their divorce in approximately 90 days of representation.
  • Defense of FDIC Demands — On behalf of former bank officers and directors, successfully defended and resolved negligence and breach of fiduciary duty demands from the FDIC to former directors and officers of closed-down banks.

Industry Groups

  • All Industry Groupds
  • And Many Other Service And Retail Industries
  • Consumer Goods And Services
  • Directors And Officers
  • Family Owned And Closely Held Businesses
  • Insurance
  • Investment
  • Personal Care Products
  • Retail
  • Technology
  • With Experience In The Following: Banking
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Office Location for Janel M. Dressen

3600 Wells Fargo Center
90 South Seventh Street
Minneapolis, MN 55402

Last Updated: 5/15/2022

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