Brian N. Johnson

Shareholder and Chair, Product Liability/Mass Tort Practice Group

Brian, a founding shareholder of the firm, has been practicing law for over 35 years. With all of his experience trying cases to juries (over 50 jury trials to verdict), there are almost no problems which Brian has not solved. He’s best at finding the client’s most beneficial legal position and utilizing creative methods—like accident reconstructions, mock jury exercises, and demonstrative trial exhibits—to persuade juries towards a favorable verdict.

Brian is incredibly responsive in returning all client communications. He takes the time to learn about and understand the industries that his clients live in, and uses that information to be a tenacious advocate. All in all, Brian’s clients view him as a “problem solver,” not a “problem creator.”

When not representing clients, you can find Brian at his little log cabin in northern Minnesota, complete with an outhouse and no running water.

  • Key Practice and Industry Experience
  • Representative Matters
  • Recognitions and Honors
  • Publications and Presentations
  • Community Involvement

Key Practice Experience

Key Industry Experience

Jury Trials to Verdict

  • Altimorano, personal injury from pipe bending machine
  • Bechtold, personal injury from skiing
  • Bowes, premises liability case of personal injury
  • Clarkson, personal injury from explosion
  • Curl, personal injury from electrical shock
  • Dansky, property damage from fire
  • Deering, personal injury on alpine slide
  • Erlich, commercial claim on failure of smoke detectors
  • Evans, property damage from fire
  • Felbush, personal injury from industrial power press
  • Feldman, personal injury from auto accident
  • First State Bank of St. Paul, commercial claim
  • Foust, brain injury on transportation case
  • Fredrickson, personal injury from electrical explosion
  • General Motors, property damage from fire
  • Graham, personal injury from forklift vehicle accident on loading dock
  • Hammes, personal injury from motorcycle crash
  • Jarvis, personal injury from fire
  • Johnson, premises liability claim of brain injury
  • Jones, personal injury from fire
  • Kalumis, personal injury on auto product liability
  • Lewison, personal injury from skiing
  • Lipstein, property damage from fire
  • Marvin Windows, commercial litigation
  • Mayer, personal injury from bicycle pedal failure
  • Monson, property damage on professional liability
  • Mortenson, personal injury from chemical explosion
  • Orozco, personal injury from pipe bending machine
  • Pineda, personal injury from chemical explosion
  • Ricke, personal injury on alpine slide
  • Rodriguez, personal injury from industrial power press
  • Rogers, personal injury and property damage from electrical explosion
  • Rosedale Mall, personal injury and property damage from electrical explosion
  • Running, fraud in settlement of personal injury case
  • Savickas, wrongful death from carbon monoxide
  • Second Season, property damage from building collapse
  • Splay, property damage and warranty breach on manufactured home
  • Stapelfeld, property damage from fire
  • Svoboda, property damage from fire
  • Thompson, personal injury on laminator
  • Zion United Methodist Church, property damage from fire
  • Zumberg, property damage from electricity

Recognitions and Honors

  • Selection by peers into American College of Trial Lawyers, 2002 to present
  • Selection by peers into American Board of Trial Advocates, 2004 to present
  • Certified Civil Trial Specialist by the State of Minnesota, 1988
  • Academy of Certified Civil Trial Specialists, 1988 to present
  • Trial Attorneys of America, 2009 to present
  • Selection by peers in Minnesota Super Lawyers, 1994 to present

Publications and Presentations

  • Trying a Case to the Millennial Juror: Can it be done with 140 Characters or less?  ALFA International 2017 International Client Seminar, Miami Florida, March 2017
  • Midwest Terrain Park Summit and Risk Management Techniques,  Midwest Ski Areas Association, Granite Peak Ski Area, Wausau Wisconsin, February 2017
  • Are Drone Operators Prepared for the Risks?“, Directions Magazine, November 2016
  • Shaping the Internet in Anticipation of Juror Misconduct, Claims and Litigation Management Alliance, Dallas Texas, November 2016
  • Risk Management, Litigation Update, Drones and Americans with Disabilities Litigation, Minnesota Ski Areas Association, Biwabik and Taylors Falls Minnesota, October 2016
  • Risk Management For Commercial Drone Operations, The InterDrone International Drone Conference and Exposition, Las Vegas, Nevada, September 2016
  • Compliance with New Small Drone Rules is Only One Aspect of Robust Risk Management Program for Commercial Drone Operations, Industry Today, August 2016
  • Drone Risk Management and New Regulations Affecting Non-Exempt Employees, Minnesota Ski Areas Association, Wild Mountain, August 2016
  • Trial Tips from a Trial Pro, Law360 and Law360 Trial, June 2016
  • Putting Your Best Face Forward – Shaping the Internet in Anticipation of Juror Misconduct, ALFA International, Amelia Island Florida, May 2016
  • Accident Investigation Procedures for Snow Sports Incidents, Minnesota Ski Areas Association, Buck Hill Ski Area, November 2015
  • Drones – What Could Possibly Go Wrong?  Legal Liabilities and Regulations Around Drones and Update on 25 Years of Americans With Disabilities Act, Midwest and Minnesota Ski Areas Association, Hyland Hills Ski Area, October, 2015
  • Combating Jurors’ Misconduct Using the Internet During Trial, Minnesota Paralegal Association, September 2015
  • Cutting Edge Landscape of Safety and Risk Management, and Handling Americans with Disability Claims, Midwest Ski Areas Association, Alpine Valley, Wisconsin, August 2015
  • Preservation of Evidence and Avoidance of Spoilation Claims, Sports and Fitness Industry Association, Las Vegas, Nevada, February 2015
  • Trial Academy Faculty, Minnesota Defense Lawyers Association Trial Academy, University of Minnesota Law School, January 2015
  • Product Liability Law: How It Really Works, University of Minnesota Law School, November 2014
  • Minnesota Legal Update on Ski and Snowboard Litigation, Minnesota Ski Areas Association, Elm Creek, Minnesota, November 2014
  • How To Be A Good Law Partner, ALFA International Annual Business Meeting, Pasadena, California, October 2014
  • Can A Party Ethically Influence the Internet in Anticipation of Juror Misconduct?, Trial Attorneys of America Annual Meeting, Chicago, Illinois, June 2014
  • American College of Trial Lawyers National Trial Competition, Judge, Univerisity of Minnesota Law School, February 2014
  • Liability Issues Facing Ski Areas, Midwest Ski Areas Association Annual Meeting, Alpine Valley, Wisconsin, August 2013
  • Trial Academy Faculty, Minnesota Defense Lawyers Association Trial Academy, University of Minnesota Law School, January 2013
  • Product Liability Law on Gas Appliances, American Society of Gas Engineers National Conference, June, 2012
  • One Firm, Three Verdicts, Ten Days for Nilan Johnson, Minnesota Lawyer, March 2012
  • Product Liability Law, William Mitchell College of Law, November 2010
  • Ski Defense Litigation: From the Accident Site to the Courtroom, Hamline University School of Law, November 2010
  • Minnesota Legal Liability Update, Twin Cities Independent Ski Areas Association, October 2010
  • Minnesota Defense Lawyers Association Trial Academy, University of Minnesota Law School, Faculty, January 2010
  • Current Issues Affecting Recreational Products Counsel, Defense Research Institute Product Liability Committee, April, 2009
  • Minnesota Defense Lawyers Association Trial Academy, University of Minnesota Law School, Faculty, January 2009
  • The Rise of Hyper-Specialized Law Firms: Don’t Be Afraid to Scratch a Niche, TechnoLawyer Blog: TechnoFeature, January 2009
  • Product Liability Law: A Practitioner’s View, William Mitchell College of Law Presentation, 2008 and 2009
  • Overview of Ski and Ski Lift Accidents, MN Ski Area Operators and US Lift Manufacturers, November 2007
  • Preparing the Foreign Engineer for Deposition, DRI, February 2007
  • Core Values in the Law Firm, Minnesota Lawyer, December 2006
  • Electronic Discovery: How to Prevent Creating Bad Evidence in Electronic Data, Webinar for Sporting Goods Manufacturers Assn., November 2005
  • Protections on Paper: Allocating Risks Through Contracts, Common Law, Statutes & Checklists, Sporting Goods Manufacturers Assn., January 2005
  • Product Inspections & Product Testing: Tips, Issues & Solutions, December 2002
  • Life as a Trial Lawyer, William Mitchell College of Law, March 2001
  • Difficult Lawyers: A Group Exercise Of Problems & Solutions To Tame Mean Lawyers, August 2001
  • Effect of the Internet on Product Liability Cases, Minnesota Institute of Legal Education, December 2000
  • Demonstrative Evidence: Computer Graphics, Simulations and Reconstructions, Minnesota Institute of Legal Education, March 2000
  • Ensnared in the Web: Beware of Internet Booby Traps and E-mail Time Bombs, Ventures, March 1999
  • Marketing Legal Services: Things Everyone Can Do, May 1999
  • The Life of a Case: Our American Litigation Process, St. Thomas University MBA Lectures, 1988-2005
  • Trends in Document Production, Minnesota Institute of Legal Education, October 1997
  • A Useful Court Ruling for Ski Areas, MSSA Ski Area News, Midwest Ski Areas Association, September 1997
  • Risk Management for Ski Area Lift Operators: Avoiding Incidents & Defending Claims, Midwest Ski Area Association, Annual Meeting, Indianhead Ski Area, Bessemer, Michigan, August 1997
  • A Manufacturer’s Guide to Product Liability Law in Minnesota, Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry, 1992, 1996
  • Defending Manufacturers in Electrical Fire Cases, Minnesota Institute of Legal Education, October 1996
  • Friends in Document Production in Products Liability Cases, Minnesota Institute of Legal Education, October 1995
  • BNA Product Safety & Liability Reporter, January 1995; BNA Toxic Law Reporter, September 1995
  • Defending Forum Shopping by Foreign Plaintiffs, Product Liability International, October 199
  • Document Retention and Legal Issues Arising After the Sale of a Business, Product Liability Inte4rnational, August 1994
  • The Use and Abuse of Experts, Minnesota Institute of Legal Education, October 1992
  • Product Liability Prevention and Trial Practice, State of Minnesota, Small Business Assistance Agency, Minneapolis, MN, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992
  • Proposed Rule 26 Changes: The Negative Impact on Corporate Product Liability Defendants, Leader’s Product Liability Law & Strategy, BNA Product Safety & Liability Reporter, BNA Toxic Tort Reporter, 1991
  • The Statute of Limitations Defenses in Workplace Injuries and Insurance Claims, Minnesota Institute of Legal Education, 1987, 1990
  • Minnesota and Federal Trial Practice, Minnesota Legal Assistance Organization, September 1989
  • Limitations of Actions and Notice Provisions in First Party Insurance Claims, January 1988
  • Nuts and Bolts of Practice in Hennepin & Ramsey Counties, December 1986

Professional Associations

  • American College of Trial Lawyers, Fellow
  • American Board of Trial Advocates
  • Trial Attorneys of America
  • Products Liability Advisory Committee (PLAC)
  • Defense Research Institute, Products (DRI)
  • Minnesota Defense Lawyers Association (MDLA)
  • Minnesota State Bar Association (MSBA)
  • American Bar Association (ABA)
  • Association of Ski Defense Attorneys (ASDA)
  • Sports and Fitness Industry Association, Sports Litigators
  • Academy of Certified Trial Lawyers of Minnesota
  • ALFA International Global Legal Network

Community Engagement

  • American Red Cross Board, Past