V. John Ella

Top rated Employment Litigation attorney in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Trepanier MacGillis Battina P.A.
V. John Ella
Trepanier MacGillis Battina P.A.

Practice Areas: Employment Litigation, Appellate, Business Litigation; view more

Licensed in Minnesota since: 1994

Education: University of Minnesota Law School

Languages Spoken: English, Spanish

Selected to Super Lawyers: 2002 - 2023 Selected to Rising Stars: 1999, 2002

Trepanier MacGillis Battina P.A.

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


V. John Ella is a Minnesota business litigation and employment law attorney. He is a shareholder with the law firm Trepanier MacGillis Battina P.A. Mr. Ella practices in the areas of non-compete and trade secret litigation, breach of duty of loyalty, employment defense, shareholder and business-owner disputes, employment agreements, executive contracts, defamation, professional licensing and representation before licensing boards, appeals and appellate law, drug testing, privacy law, executive compensation, fraud, tortious interference, sexual harassment claims, constitutional law, employment and housing discrimination, ERISA benefits litigation, wage and hour compliance, ADA public accomodation law, and whistleblower and Sarbanes-Oxley claims, among many others.  Mr. Ella is a Qualified Neutral under Rule 114 and serves as an aribitrator for the American Arbitration Association. He is the author of the book "Executive Employment Law - A Handbook for Minnesota Executives" published by Mill City Press in 2018.

Mr. Ella graduated from Tufts University in 1990 with his Bachelor of Arts degree. He then attended the University of Minnesota Law School, where he graduated cum laude with his Juris Doctor. He has been licensed to practice law since 1994.

Mr. Ella is certified as a labor and employment law specialist through the Minnesota State Bar Association. He is also certified by the International Association of Privacy Professionals as an information privacy professional. Mr. Ella has handled appeals before the Minnesota Supreme Court, the Minnesota Court of Appeals, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

Before joining his current law firm, Mr. Ella had 10 years of experience working at a general practice law firm and another nearly 10 years of experience at the country's second-largest labor and employment law defense law firm, where his clients included many Fortune 500 companies. Mr. Ella is the author of more than 100 legal articles and book chapters, and is a member of the Iowa State Bar Association, the Hennepin County Bar Association and the Federal Bar Association. He is rated as AV Preeminent* through Martindale-Hubbell.

*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

Employment Litigation: Defense, Appellate, Business Litigation, Employment & Labor: Employer, Closely Held Business

Focus areas

Appeals, Employment Discrimination, Employment Law - Employer, Non-Compete Agreements, Retaliation, Trade Secret, Wage & Hour Laws, Whistleblower, Wrongful Termination

  • 30% Employment Litigation: Defense
  • 20% Appellate
  • 20% Business Litigation
  • 20% Employment & Labor: Employer
  • 10% Closely Held Business

First Admitted: 1994, Minnesota

Professional Webpage: https://trepanierlaw.com/v-john-ella/

Scholarly Lectures/Writings:
  • "Employment Practices Liability Insurance: What Every Employment Lawyer Needs to Know," Minnesota CLE (May 21, 2008)
  • Court provides roadmap for drug testing, Minnesota Lawyer, August 31, 2015
  • Mandatory Paid Sick Leave at Your Doorstep, MRA – The Employer's Association, April 14, 2016
  • "What Do They Have in Mind? Minnesota's Drug -Testing Law Turns 20," Minnesota Bench & Bar (September 2007)
  • "Blogging and Employment Law," Minnesota CLE (April 15, 2008)
  • Employers buffeted by layers of rules, Star Tribune Business Forum, June 2015
  • Panelist at PACON – People Analytics Conference on Big Data and Employment Law, March 24, 2016
  • Responding to Employee Embezzlement, Employment Law 360, May 30, 2007
  • Common Law Fraud Claims: A Critical Tool for Litigators, Bench & Bar, September 2006
  • "DATWA Turns Twenty – A Look Back at Minnesota's Drug and Alcohol Testing in the Workplace Act Twenty Years After Enactment," Hennepin County Bar Association, Section on Labor & Employment Law (September 18, 2007)
  • Workplace Privacy Law in Iowa, Iowa Lawyer, June 2015
  • Multi-State Payroll Compliance, American Payroll Association – Northstar Chapter, Feb. 11, 2016
  • Golden Parachutes to Golden Handcuffs: An Executive Law Glossary, Twin Cities Business Journal, May 19, 2006
  • "Age Discrimination Update," Minnesota CLE – Midwest Employment Law Institute (May 30, 2007)
  • Iran, nukes and alternative dispute resolution, Minnesota Lawyer, May 2015
  • Employee Monitoring and Workplace Privacy – What Should you Monitor, What Shouldn't you Monitor, Southern Minnesota Area Human Resources Association, Jan. 21, 2016
  • "Employment Law 'No-Brainers,'" Twin Cities Business Journal (November 14, 2005)
  • "Common Law Fraud," Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Trade Practices Regulation in Minnesota, Minnesota CLE (May 9, 2007)
  • Co-Author, Narcissists, Inc., HR Magazine, May 2015
  • "Compliance for Multi-State Employers," Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute (St. Paul, MN, May 2015) (Presenter)
  • "No Longer Commission Impossible – Bonus Claims Get Boost," Hennepin Lawyer (July-August 2005)
  • Planning Committee Member and Speaker on "Special Issues Involving Executives at Publicly Traded Companies" and "Noncompetes, Restrictive Covenants & Trade Secrets" at "Advanced Executive (and Key Employee) Law," Minnesota CLE (February 7, 2007)
  • Co-Author, Strategic Perspectives – Jackson Lewis spotlights unusual state laws, Wolters Kluwer Employment Law Daily, April 10, 2015
  • "50 State Non-Competes," Minnesota CLE, Business Law Institute (Minneapolis, MN, May 2015) (Presenter)
  • "Pay for Performance" (Book Review) Minneapolis Star Tribune (January 10, 2005)
  • "The Lurking Menace of Duty of Loyalty Claims," Hennepin County Bar Association, Section on Labor & Employment Law (November 15, 2005)
  • Co-Author, Responding to Federal Housing Bias Complaints, Minnesota Lawyer, April 9, 2015
  • "Workplace Privacy – What Can Employers Say and Do? What Must Employers Avoid?," Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute (St. Paul, MN, May 2014) (Presenter)
  • Co-Author, Tips for Federal Court III, Bench and Bar, December 2004
  • "Noncompete Agreements in the Great Lakes Region," Lawyers Associated Worldwide – Great Lakes Sub Regional Meeting (March 10, 2006)
  • Lessons Learned from Clinton's Case, Star Tribune Business Forum, March 30, 2015
  • "Privacy and Social Media in the Workplace," Employment Law Beyond the Basics, Sterling Education Services, Inc. (Minneapolis, MN, May 2014) (Presenter)
  • "Anatomy of an Answer," Hennepin Lawyer (July/August 2004)
  • "Executive Law," Business Law Institute, Minnesota CLE (April 19, 2005)
  • Co-Author, The ADA Handbook, Chapter 11, Defense Side – Tips and Strategies for Litigation, Minnesota State Bar Association, 2013
  • Association of Corporate Counsel National Webinar (March 2014) (Presenter)
  • "ADA Compliance – Getting it Right," Minnesota CLE (December 2013) (Presenter)
  • "Bad Faith Trumps Minnesota Nice When it Comes to Stock Options," Hennepin Lawyer (May/June 2004)
  • Program Chair, "Fraud, Misrepresentation and Deceptive Trade Practices", and speaker, "Common Law Fraud," Minnesota CLE (March 11, 2005)
  • Co-Author, Summary Guide to Filing and Responding to EEO Charges of Discrimination in Minnesota, Minnesota State Bar Association – CLE, 2008
  • "Non-Competes – One Size Does not Fit All 50 States," Jackson Lewis Half Day Employment Law Seminar (October 16, 2013)
  • "The Firm of the Future" (Book Review) Federal Lawyer (May 2004)
  • "Law of the Executive," Annual Midwest Employment Law Institute, Minnesota CLE (May 26, 2004)
  • Contributing Author, Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Trade Practice Regulation in Minnesota, MN, 2007
  • "Midwest Madness – Varying Enforcement in the 5-State Region," Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute, St. Paul, MN, (May 21, 2013)
  • Reviewing SEC Disclosures Can Yield Dividends, Minnesota Lawyer, March 25, 2002
  • Program Chair, "Fraud, Misrepresentation and Deceptive Trade Practices," and speaker, "Common Law Fraud," Minnesota CLE (August 15, 2002)
  • Co-Author, Summary Guide to Fraud, Misrepresentation and Deceptive Trade Practices, 2nd ed. MN: Minnesota State Bar Association – CLE, 2004
  • "Protecting your Organization: An Advanced Course on Handbook and Policy Drafting," Des Moines, IA (May 16, 2013)
  • "Executive Perspective," Minneapolis Star Tribune (November 5, 2001)
  • "The WARN Act," Reductions in Force, Minnesota Institute of Legal Education (MILE) (February 14, 2002)
  • Contributing Author, For the Record: 150 Year of Law and Lawyers in Minnesota, MN, 1999
  • "Privacy and Other Workplace Issues", Sterling CLE, Minneapolis, MN (May 8, 2013)
  • "Legal Issues are on the Menu for Restaurant Owners," Law Watch (Spring 2001)
  • "Legal Writing Should Not Be A Crime," Minnesota Institute of Legal Education (MILE) (October 20, 2000)
  • "Monitoring Personnel-Developing Clear Policies," Employee Benefits Planner, Vol. 21, No. 2 (2014)
  • Law Protects Employees Who Use Medical Marijuana, Minnesota Lawyer, June 19, 2014
  • "Workplace Defamation and Tortious Interference," Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute (May 22, 2012)
  • "When The Green Card gets the Pink Slip," Minnesota Lawyer (January 12, 2001)
  • "Legal Issues Concerning Employee Stock Options," Greater Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce (November 15, 2000)
  • Legal QuickSheet™ "Employee Monitoring and Workplace Privacy," ©Minnesota CLE (2014)
  • "12 Tips for 2012," Iowa Breakfast Series, Des Moines, Iowa (April 19, 2012)
  • "Be a Tender Sender: Tender Claims for Insurance Coverage," American Bar Association: The Young Lawyer (October 2000)
  • "Opening and Closing Battles: Preemption, Removal, Remand and Fee Awards Under ERISA," ERISA Litigation Institute, Minnesota Institute of Legal Education (MILE) (April 12, 2000)
  • Court records overexposed in today's light, Minneapolis Star Tribune (July 17, 2013)
  • "March Madness – Minnesota Marital Status Claims," Minnesota State Bar Association (March 21, 2012)
  • "Clerking Outstate: Northern Exposure, Minnesota Style," Minnesota Lawyer (July 31, 2000)
  • "Trade Secrets 2000: An Introduction to Trade Secrets," Non-competes and Confidentiality Agreements?" Trade Secrets — Protection from Industrial Espionage, (MILE) (January13, 2000)
  • "When is A Plan Under 'Serious Consideration?'" ERISA Litigation Institute, Minnesota Institute of Legal Education (MILE) (February 25, 1999)
  • Employment Law Compliance Tips for Long-Term Care Communities, Published on www.leadingage.org, May 15, 2013
  • "Drafting Bonus and Commission Plans and Litigating Wage Claims in Minnesota," Hennepin County Bar Association (February 7, 2012)
  • "More Tips for Litigation in Federal Court," Bench & Bar (May/June 2000) [Co-Author]
  • "An Overview of Trade Secrets, Confidentiality Agreements, and Covenants Not to Compete," Minnesota Institute of Legal Education (MILE) (January 26, 1999)
  • When to Quit: We Make the Call, Employment Law has Made the Decision to Retire Largely Our Own, Minneapolis Star Tribune (March 4, 2013)
  • "Linked in or Left Out? – The Collision of Social Media and Employment Law," Jackson Lewis Breakfast Series, Des Moines, Iowa (April 14, 2011) and Cedar Rapids, Iowa (October 27, 2011)
  • "Test Your Knowledge of Federal Legislation," Federal Lawyer (January 2000)
  • "Non-Competes and Trade Secrets: Protecting Personnel & Ideas in a High-Tech Society," National Practice Institute (M.P.I.) Law & Technology Show (September 1, 1998)
  • Book Review: Executive Law, The Federal Lawyer
  • "Employee Documentation, Discipline & Discharge, National Business Institute," Eau Claire, Wisconsin (August 31, 2011)
  • "17 Steps to Protect Your Trade Secrets," You and the LAW 30.1 (January 2000) [Co-Author]
  • "Understanding the Nature of Trade Secrets," Successful Trade Secret Protection and Enforcement Strategies, Minnesota Institute of Legal Education (MILE) (May 14, 1998)
  • Lessons in EEOC: Priorities and Tactics from EEOC v. Van Expedited, Iowa Lawyer (September 2012)
  • "Midwest Madness – Employment Laws of Neighboring States," Minnesota CLE – Midwest Employment Law Institute (May 23, 2011)
  • "A Stock Options Primer for the Employment Law Attorney," Hennepin Lawyer (June 1999)
  • "A Litigator Looks at Trade Secrets, Covenants Not to Compete and Confidentiality Agreements," Trade Secrets, Minnesota Institute of Legal Education (MILE) (January 27, 1998)
  • Workplace Defamation Claims in Minnesota, Bench & Bar, August 2012
  • "Defamation and Tortious Interference Claims – Recent Developments" Hennepin County Bar Association (Feb. 1, 2011)
  • "Qui Tam Lawsuits Increasing," Law Watch (Winter 1998) [Co-Author]
  • "Front Pay Damages in Eighth Circuit Employment Law Cases," Minnesota Lawyer (August 1998)
  • Executive Employment Law - A Handbook for Minnesota Executives, Mill City Press, 2018
  • HR v. HR – Relationships get awkward fast with an HR Plaintiff, HR Magazine (September 2010)
  • "Up in Smoke – Is Complying with Minnesota Drug Testing Laws a Pipe Dream?" Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), Annual State Conference, Duluth, Minnesota (October 12, 2010)
  • "Settlement Negotiations – They're Not that Confidential," Bench & Bar (April 1998) [Co-Author]
  • Three Decades of DATWA, Bench & Bar
  • "Employment Practices Liability Insurance Comes of Age," Hennepin Lawyer (September 2010)
  • "Legal Update for Recruiters," U.S. Recruiting Network, National Conference (October 1, 2010)
  • "Tips for Litigation in Federal Court," Bench & Bar (March 1997) [Co-Author]
  • Minnesota Defamation Law, 2017
  • "We've entered the age of the whistleblower," Star Tribune Business Forum (August 9, 2009)
  • "Linked in or Left Out? – The Collision of Social Media and Employment Law," Jackson Lewis Breakfast Series (September 23, 2010)
  • "Lawyers Make the Best Lawmakers," Minneapolis Star Tribune (August 10, 1996)
  • Professional Licensing Defense in Minnesota, 2017
  • "Federal Court Tackles NFL Drug Testing Program," Sports Litigation Alert 7.1 (January 2010) [Co-Author]
  • "The Minneapolis EEOC Area Office – an Update on What is New at the EEOC Locally," Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute (May 24, 2010)
  • "Minnesota Legal Terms – A Quiz," Minnesota Journal of Law & Politics (November 1995)
  • Minnesota Duty of Loyalty Law, 2017
  • "Now's the Time to Review your Non-competes," Star Tribune Business Forum (September 2009)
  • "ERISA Litigation Update," Hennepin County Bar Association (October 6, 2009)
  • Co-Author, The Visegrad Countries of Central Europe: Integration or Isolation?, Minnesota Journal of Global Trade 2.1, Summer 1993
  • "Frost/Nixon offers a few Deposition tips for Lawyers," Minnesota Lawyer (August 2009)
  • "Midwest Madness – Highlights of Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute," Minnesota CLE (August 19, 2009)
  • Co-author, Summary Guide to Fraud, Misrepresentation and Deceptive Trade Practices
  • Changing Leave Laws Across the Country – Both State and Local, Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute, May 23, 2016
  • "State Should Reform Drug Testing Law," Minneapolis Star Tribune Business Forum (July 20, 2009)
  • "Midwest Madness – Employment Laws of Neighboring States," Minnesota CLE – Midwest Employment Law Institute (May 30, 2009)
  • "Common Law Fraud," Minnesota CLE (May 1, 2009)
  • New Notice Requirements Effective Immediately Pursuant to the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016
  • You're Hired! – Anatomy of an Employment Agreement, Business Law Institute, Minnesota CLE, April 2, 2016
  • Employment Law by the Numbers, Minnesota Lawyer, June 1, 2009
  • "Top Evidentiary Issues in Employment Law Litigation," Hennepin County Bar Association, Section on Labor & Employment Law (December 2, 2008)
  • Legal Quick Sheet – Selected Employment Law Ordinances from Around the Country, (Minnesota CLE © 2016)
  • Data is the Edge, When are we Over the Legal Cliff, LEHRN HR Tech Expo, April 28, 2016
  • "Diagnosing Employment Law Issues in the Health Care Industry," Hennepin Lawyer (May 2009)
  • "Filing and Responding to Charges: Agency Insights and Hot Topics," Minnesota CLE – Midwest Employment Law Institute (May 30, 2008)
  • Encouraged by the Feds, Cities are Punishing Business, Wall Street Journal, Nov. 2, 2015
  • 2016 National Symposium on Technology in Labor and Employment Law, American Bar Association, Washington, DC, April 8, 2016
  • "Charge! A Look at Federal, State, and Local Discrimination Charges in Minnesota," Hennepin Lawyer (April 2008) [Co-Author]
Bar/Professional Activity:
  • Federal Bar Association
  • Minnesota Supreme Court, 1994
  • Hennepin County Bar Association
  • U.S. Court of International Trade, 1995
  • U.S. Supreme Court, 2000
  • Eastern District of Wisconsin, 2007
  • Northern District of Iowa, 2009
  • Iowa State Bar Association
  • Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, 1996
  • Western District of Wisconsin, 1999
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, 2006
  • Southern District of Iowa, 2009
  • Minnesota State Bar Association
  • District of Minnesota, 1995
  • Governing Council, Labor and Employment Law Section of the Minnesota State Bar Association, 2018
  • U.S. Court of Veteran's Appeals, 1996
  • State of New York, 2005
  • Iowa Supreme Court, 2008
Pro bono/Community Service:
  • Willmar Hispanic Alliance, Board of Directors, 1995-1996
  • City of Robbinsdale Human Rights Commission, Commissioner, 2006-2007
  • Minnesota Board of Medical Practice, 2010–2018
  • Minnesota State Board of Legal Certification, 2015-present
  • University of Minnesota Student Legal Services, Board of Directors, 2001-2005
  • Evergreen Montessori, Crystal, MN, Board of Directors, 2014
  • University of Minnesota Law School, Legal Writing Instructor, 1999-2001
  • Law Enforcement Memorial Association (LEMA), Pro Bono Attorney, 2012-present
  • Minnesota Top 100 Super Lawyer, 2014
  • AV Rated, Martindale Hubbell
  • Minnesota Law and Politics "Top 40" Employment Law Attorney, 2006-2008
  • Super Lawyer, 2002-2018
Educational Background:
  • Tufts University, B.A., 1990
Special Licenses/Certifications:
  • Certified Labor and Employment Law Specialist, Minnesota State Bar Association
  • Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP/US),  International  Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP)
Industry Groups:
  • Construction
  • Home Health Care
  • Logistics
  • Non-Profits
  • Professional Services
  • Restaurants
  • Staffing Companies
  • Transportation

Office location for V. John Ella

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

Phone: 612-455-0505


22 Years Super Lawyers
2 Years Rising Stars
  • Super Lawyers: 2002 - 2023
  • Rising Stars: 1999, 2002

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