Jerry W. Blackwell

Top rated business litigation attorney in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Blackwell Burke P.A.
Jerry W. Blackwell
Blackwell Burke P.A.

Practice Areas: Business litigation, Class action & mass torts, Civil litigation

Licensed in Minnesota since: 1987

Education: University of North Carolina School of Law

Languages Spoken: English, Spanish

Selected to Super Lawyers: 2002 - 2022 Selected to Rising Stars: 1998 - 1999, 2001

Blackwell Burke P.A.

431 South Seventh Street
Suite 2500
Minneapolis, MN 55415 Phone: 612-343-3232 Email: Jerry W. Blackwell Visit website


Jerry W. Blackwell is the founding partner and Chairman of Blackwell Burke P.A. His national civil litigation practice focuses on class action defense, products liability defense, toxic tort litigation and other complex commercial litigation matters.  Mr. Blackwell is National Counsel for several major corporations, representing them in federal and state courts in 47 states and internationally.  He is admitted to practice in the State of Minnesota and the Federal District Court for the District of Minnesota as well as in Federal District courts in Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, and Michigan.  He is also admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court and Fourth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth and Eleventh Circuit Courts of Appeals.    Mr. Blackwell has taught classes and delivered presentations for the Federal Bar Association, American Bar Association, Minnesota State Bar Association, National Bar Association, International Association of Defense Counsel, National College of Advocacy, and various Fortune 500 corporations and trade organizations.  Mr. Blackwell’s recognitions include the Counsel to Counsel Award from the National Law Journal (2015), being listed in the 20th and 21st editions of The Best Lawyers in America by U.S. News & World Report in the category of Products Liability Defense, Benchmark Litigation MN Litigation Star (2013 through 2015), being named BTI Client Service All-Star (2010, 2013 and 2014), Minnesota Minority Business Owner of the Year (2008), Minnesota Attorney of the Year (2005), selection to  Minnesota Super Lawyer List (consistently since 2002), and receiving the  Distinguished Citizen Award, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity (2007) and Equal Justice Award (2006).

First Admitted: 1987, Minnesota

Professional Webpage:

  • Walmart Wage and Hour Class Action. Minnesota trial counsel for Walmart in three-month wage and hour class action in Minnesota in which the class made allegations of rest break and meal period violations, as well as claims for uncompensated off-the-clock work.
  • "Popcorn Lung" Litigation. Obtained a complete defense victory as first-chair trial counsel in a month-long jury trial in the first consumer "popcorn lung" case to go to trial. Won summary judgment in the first "popcorn lung" case resolved in federal court by refuting plaintiff's primary argument that consumer exposure to popcorn vapors was comparable to industrial-level exposure. Both cases were affirmed on appeal.
  • Benzene Exposure Trial. Won a complete defense verdict for one of the world's largest global innovation manufacturing companies in a seven-figure benzene exposure case in Madison County, Illinois after a two-week trial. Madison County has consistently been named a “judicial hellhole” for corporate defendants.
  • Yo-Plus Consumer Class Action. Defended General Mills, Inc. against a class action, on behalf of California purchasers, alleging that Yo-Plus probiotic yogurt does not promote digestive health as advertised. General Mills retained Mr. Blackwell as first-chair trial counsel after the court granted class certification. Blackwell Burke then obtained de-certification of the class’s claims for damages, including its claim for punitive damages. The case settled shortly after the de-certification decision.
Bar/Professional Activity:
  • Minnesota State Bar Association
  • Federal Bar Association, Member
  • American Bar Association, Fellow
  • International Association of Defense Counsel, Member
  • Appointed as an At-Large Member by Governor Mark Dayton.  The Commision was created for the purpose of soliciting judicial candidates, evaluating applicants and recommending nominees to the Governor for appointment.
  • National Bar Association, Member
  • Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers, Founder; President 2005-2006; 1995-1997; Board of Directors 2005-2008
  • Selected solely and exclusively by corporate counsel as a leader of client service excellence, BTI Client Service All-Star, BTI, 2010
  • In recognition of lifetime contributions to the African American Attorneys in the Bar, Cora T. Walker Award, National Bar Association Commercial Law Section, 2014
  • Award based on delivering superior client service year after year, as identified solely and exclusively by corporate counsel., BTI Client Service All-Star MVP, BTI, 2014
  • Honor awarded to attorneys who have displayed the ability to consistently handle complex, high-stakes cases in multiple jurisdictions and who are consistently recommended within their business and legal communities for the quality of their litigation and trial work, Minnesota Litigation Star, Benchmark Litigation, 2013
  • Recognition of success in business, contribution to the minority community and commitment to business excellence., Outstanding Black Business Award- Category III, Minnesota Black Chamber of Commerce, 2014
  • Recognized as Minnesota Litigation Star in 2015 Edition of Benchmark Litigation, Minnesota Litigation Star, Benchmark Litigation, 2015
Scholarly Lectures/Writings:
  • Panel discussion on state of affairs for Black attorneys in Minnesota., Panelist, Elimination of Bias: Challenges and Opportunities for Black Lawyers in Minnesota's Legal Community, 2014
  • Presentation at National Association of Minority and Women-Owned Law Firm Annual Meeting., Panel Chair and Participant, Avoiding Trial by Fire: Interactive and Illustrative Trial Tips from the Experts, NAMWOLF Meeting, 2013, 2013
  • Presenting Food Science to the Judge or Jury, American Bar Association’s Section of Products Liability Food & Supplements Third Annual Workshop, June 18, 2013, Oakbrook, IL., 2013
  • Reap What You Sow: Using Technology to Pick the Right Jurors, DRI Product Liability Conference: Make Your Products Practice Bloom, April 3, 2013, Washington, D.C., 2013
  • Showdown: Products Masters Demonstrate Their Closing Styles, DRI Product Liability Conference: Make Your Products Practice Bloom, April 5, 2013, Washington, D.C., 2013
  • How to Protect Your Company with an Effective Food Liability Program, Food Safety Summit, April 17, 2012, Washington, D.C., 2012
  • The Wizard of Oz and the “Expert” Behind the Curtain: Deconstructing Junk Science and Winning Your Case, Grocery Manufacturers Association 2011 Foodborne Illness Litigation Conference, Chicago, IL (with C. Gordon)., 2011

Office location for Jerry W. Blackwell

431 South Seventh Street
Suite 2500
Minneapolis, MN 55415


21 Years Super Lawyers
3 Years Rising Stars
  • Super Lawyers: 2002 - 2022
  • Rising Stars: 1998 - 1999, 2001

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