Brian C. Tokarz

Attorney Profile

Top Rated Construction Litigation Attorney in Milwaukee, WI

Meissner Tierney Fisher & Nichols S.C.
111 East Kilbourn Avenue, 19th Floor
Milwaukee, WI 53202
Phone: 414-273-1300
Fax: 414-273-5840
Selected to Rising Stars: 2012, 2014 - 2019
Licensed Since: 2006
Practice Areas: Construction Litigation: Business (40%), Business Litigation (30%), Personal Injury - Medical Malpractice: Defense (30%)
Attorney Profile

Brain C. Tokarz focuses his practice on civil and business litigation in both state and federal courts. He has represented businesses and individuals in a broad range of matters, including general business litigation, complex insurance coverage disputes, business torts, construction defect litigation, suretyship, defamation claims, and contract disputes. 

White Papers

  • COVID-19: Immunity From Tort Liability Under the Federal PREP Act for Private Businesses Involved in Combating COVID-19 (2020) - Businesses involved in the fight against the spread of COVID-19—such as those that manufacture personal protective equipment (PPE), distribute diagnostic tests or develop vaccines—may be concerned about potential lawsuits down the road claiming that their alleged negligence in manufacturing, distributing or developing their products resulted in the spread of the disease.  This is especially true for businesses that were willing to revamp their entire operations to help fight the pandemic by developing or manufacturing new products or devices with which they previously had no experience.  What protections, if any, does a business have if it is faced with such a lawsuit?
  • COVID-19: Force Majeure Clauses in Construction Contracts in Wisconsin (2020) - On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (the “WHO”) declared a global pandemic as a result of the coronavirus (“COVID-19”) outbreak.  On the heels of the WHO’s declaration, and as the outbreak has continued to grow, federal, state, and local governments imposed travel bans and shelter-in-place restrictions requiring non-essential employees to stay at home.  Most recently, on April 16, 2020, Wisconsin extended its “Safer at Home” order to May 26, 2020.  As a result, many businesses will (and already have) grind to a halt and unexpectedly face situations in which they (or the businesses with whom they have contracted) will be unable to perform contracts that they entered into prior to the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • What is the GDPR? Everything Your Business Needs to Know (2018) - The General Data Protection Regulation, also known by the acronym “GDPR,” is a sweeping new privacy law that strictly regulates what businesses must do to protect the electronic personal data of their European Union (EU) customers. The GDPR has enormous ramifications for businesses around the world, including those located in the United States, if they have any customers in the EU — even if it’s just a single person who purchased a product or service over the Internet
  • Perfecting Construction Liens for General Contractors (2016) - One issue that frequently arises in construction projects is the need to file a construction lien. Generally speaking, a construction lien is a mechanism by which general contractors, subcontractors, architects, suppliers and certain other individuals involved in construction projects can secure payment for the labor, services and/or materials that they performed or provided as part of the improvement of real estate. Depending on the person or entity seeking to perfect the construction lien and the type of project at issue, Wisconsin law has different procedures that a claimant must follow before the lien can be perfected. My goal here today is to provide you with an overview of how a general contractor can perfect a construction lien on a privately funded construction project. Thus, the following information does not apply to subcontractors or suppliers, or for projects involving payment bonds.  Separate procedures apply in those situations
  • Recent Wisconsin Court of Appeals Decision Addresses the Meaning of “Pollutant” Under the Pollution Exclusion (2014) - In Wilson Mutual Insurance Co. v. Falk, the insureds (the “Falks”) were farmers who used manure from their cows as fertilizer for their fields.  In 2011, they were notified by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources that the manure from their farm had contaminated their neighbors’ water wells.  The neighbors also demanded to be compensated for the contamination.
  • Wisconsin Supreme Court Split on Economic Loss Doctrine (2014) - In a 3-3 split, the Wisconsin Supreme Court on January 28, 2014 effectively affirmed the court of appeals’ decision in State Farm Fire and Casualty Co. v. Hague Quality Water, International, which held that the economic loss doctrine did not bar a homeowner from pursuing tort claims against the manufacturer of a water softener after his home sustained property damage caused by water leaks.  Chief Justice Abrahamson, Justice Bradley and Justice Crooks would affirm the court of appeals, and Justice Roggensack, Justice Ziegler and Justice Gableman would reverse.  Justice Prosser did not participate. 
  • High Court Addresses Scope of Contractual Liability Exclusion in Owner’s Lawsuit Against General Contractor for Claims of Faulty Construction (2014) - In Ewing Construction Co. v. Amerisure Insurance Co., the construction company (“Ewing”) was hired by a school district to be the general contractor on a project to renovate a school, including the construction of tennis courts.  Shortly after completion, the tennis courts started flaking, crumbling and cracking such that they were unusable.  The school district sued Ewing for breach of contract and negligence.

About Brian C. Tokarz

Admitted: 2006, Wisconsin

Professional Webpage:

Educational Background

  • Marquette University Law School, J.D., cum laude, Note and Comment Editor, Marquette Law Review, 2006
  • University of Notre Dame, B.A., 2001

Pro bono/Community Service

  • State Bar of Wisconsin High School Mock Trial Tournament, 2008
  • Marquette University Law School Legal Clinic , 2004


  • Menasha Corporation v. Employers Insurance of Wausau, et al.  Winnebago County Circuit Court, Wisconsin (2007-2012). A complex environmental insurance coverage action arising out of a separate lawsuit regarding potential joint and several liability of all parties responsible for historical PCB contamination of the Lower Fox River and its current remediation. One of the parties allegedly responsible for this contamination and liability was our liability insurer client’s long-time insured, which was demanding coverage from our client, among other insurers. After substantial discovery and motion practice, a settlement was reached prior to trial., 2012

Scholarly Lectures/Writings

  • Construction defect insurance coverage claims can frustrate even the most seasoned legal practitioners. That’s why it is essential to have an up-to-date understanding of the core insurance coverage legal debates before you dive headlong into the ins and outs of business risk exclusions, policy triggers, occurrence trends and more., Co-Speaker, Construction Defect Insurance Coverage Issues Demystified, National Business Institute, Construction, 2016
  • Co-Speaker, Negotiating Indemnification in Commercial Leases, National Business Institute (June 2014) (with Jennifer A.B. Kreil and Scott W. Brunner), Co-Speaker, Negotiating Indemnification in Commercial Leases, National Business Institute, 2014


  • Attorney Brian Tokarz Shareholder with the Milwaukee, Wisconsin law firm of Meissner Tierney Fisher & Nichols S.C. discusses Wisconsin's lien law and the requirements that a general contractor must follow to properly perfect a construction lien. A construction lien is a mechanism by which general contractors, subcontractors, architects, suppliers and certain other individuals involved in construction projects can secure payment for the labor, services and/or materials that they performed or provided as part of the improvement of real estate., Perfecting Construction Liens for General Contractors in Wisconsin, Construction, 2016

Bar/Professional Activity

  • Milwaukee Bar Association, 2020
  • Eastern District of Wisconsin Bar Association, 2020
  • State Bar of Wisconsin, 2020
  • American Bar Association , 2020
  • Milwaukee County Circuit Court,Securities and Facilities Committee, 2020
  • United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin, 2020
  • United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, 2020
  • Supreme Court of Wisconsin, 2020
  • St. Thomas More Lawyers Society of Wisconsin, 2020


  • Best Lawyers is the oldest and most respected peer review publication in the legal profession., The Best Lawyers in America, Best Lawyers, 2021
  • Wisconsin Super Lawyers® Rising Star (2012, 2014 - 2019), Rising Star, Wisconsin Super Lawyers, 2019
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Office Location for Brian C. Tokarz

111 East Kilbourn Avenue
19th Floor
Milwaukee, WI 53202

Last Updated: 4/23/2021

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