V. John Ella

Attorney Profile

Top Rated Employment Litigation Attorney in Minneapolis, MN

Trepanier MacGillis Battina P.A.
 | 8000 Flour Exchange Building, 310 Fourth Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55415
Phone: 612-254-6433
Fax: 612-455-0501
Selected to Super Lawyers: 2003 - 2019
Licensed Since: 1994
Practice Areas:
  • Employment Litigation: Defense (30%),
  • Employment & Labor: Employer (20%),
  • Business Litigation (20%),
  • Appellate (20%),
  • Closely Held Business (10%)
Languages Spoken:
  • English,
  • Spanish
Attorney Profile

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, sexual harassment claims, 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 "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
Lawyer Practice Area Pie Chart

Employment Litigation (30%): Employment Discrimination, Wrongful Termination, Retaliation, Employment Law - Employer

Employment & Labor (20%): Wage & Hour Laws, Whistleblower

Business Litigation (20%): Trade Secret, Non-Compete Agreements

Appellate (20%): Appeals

Closely Held Business (10%)

Focus Areas

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


Selected to Super Lawyers for 17 yearsbottom-image

Super Lawyers: 2003 - 2019

Certificates and Credentials

MSBA Board Certified Specialists

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To: V. John Ella
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About John Ella

Admitted: 1994, Minnesota

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


  • Super Lawyer, 2002-2018
  • AV Rated, Martindale Hubbell
  • Minnesota Law and Politics "Top 40" Employment Law Attorney, 2006-2008
  • Minnesota Top 100 Super Lawyer, 2014

Special Licenses/Certifications:

  • Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP/US),  International  Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP)
  • Certified Labor and Employment Law Specialist, Minnesota State Bar Association

Bar/Professional Activity:

  • Governing Council, Labor and Employment Law Section of the Minnesota State Bar Association, 2018
  • Hennepin County Bar Association
  • Iowa State Bar Association
  • Minnesota State Bar Association
  • Federal Bar Association
  • Northern District of Iowa, 2009
  • Southern District of Iowa, 2009
  • Iowa Supreme Court, 2008
  • Eastern District of Wisconsin, 2007
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, 2006
  • State of New York, 2005
  • U.S. Supreme Court, 2000
  • Western District of Wisconsin, 1999
  • U.S. Court of Veteran's Appeals, 1996
  • U.S. Court of International Trade, 1995
  • Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, 1996
  • District of Minnesota, 1995
  • Minnesota Supreme Court, 1994

Pro bono/Community Service:

  • Minnesota Board of Medical Practice, 2010–2018
  • Minnesota State Board of Legal Certification, 2015-present
  • Evergreen Montessori, Crystal, MN, Board of Directors, 2014
  • Law Enforcement Memorial Association (LEMA), Pro Bono Attorney, 2012-present
  • City of Robbinsdale Human Rights Commission, Commissioner, 2006-2007
  • University of Minnesota Student Legal Services, Board of Directors, 2001-2005
  • University of Minnesota Law School, Legal Writing Instructor, 1999-2001
  • Willmar Hispanic Alliance, Board of Directors, 1995-1996

Scholarly Lectures/Writings:

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

Educational Background:

  • Tufts University, B.A., 1990

Industry Groups

  • Logistics
  • Professional Services
  • Restaurants
Office Location for V. John Ella

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

Phone: 612-254-6433

Fax: 612-455-0501

V. John Ella:

Last Updated: 1/10/2019

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