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NJL People: Amanda M. Cialkowski

As a Shareholder in the firm, Amanda is a thoughtful and accomplished trial attorney and mediator. Her depth of experience in complex litigation and before juries has honed her ability to identify and explain key issues. Her skills in the courtroom have earned her a sought-after reputation when a case goes to trial. She has tried multiple cases to defense verdicts in both state and federal courts. Moreover, her ability to see the strengths and weaknesses of both sides and explain the risks of litigation coupled with her interpersonal skills, aid her work as a mediator.

Her success in the courtroom is partly due to her ability to explain a difficult set of facts to a jury in a way that makes them understand the client’s position. Amanda loves being able to dig into the details of a case and learn the industry or science behind the issue at hand to better arm her defense. Not only is she thorough and insightful, but Amanda is sensitive to balancing the client’s business interests with the goals of litigation.

In her spare time, Amanda loves reading and spending time outdoors hiking, walking, gardening, or spending time with her husband and daughters.

Key Industry Experience

  • Chemical and Manufacturing
  • FELA
  • Ski Area Defense
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Retail
  • Automotive and Trucking
  • Security Systems

Representative Matters

  • Green Plains Otter Tail, LLC v. Pro-Environmental, Inc. (D. Minnesota, jury trial September 2022) (obtained defense verdict in $18M product liability claim involving explosion at an ethanol plant)
  • Torbenson v. Soo Line (Hennepin County District Court, jury trial August 2021) (FELA claim involving complex regional pain syndrome)
  • Barrett (Arbitration in June 2021 involving claims of wrongful termination based on disability discrimination resulted in decision for the defense)
  • Henry v. 3M Company, et al. (Ramsey County District Court) (lead trial counsel in 2020 asbestos jury trial that resulted in defense verdict)
  • Bui v. Trollhaugen, et al.  (Polk County Circuit Court)(trial counsel in 2020 personal injury jury trial that resulted in defense verdict)
  • Penrod v. K&N Engineering, Inc. (U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota 2019) (local counsel in national class action related to oil filters; successfully moved to dismiss complaint)
  • Bluhm v. Soo Line Railroad (Hennepin County District Court) (won week-long jury trial in FELA case in 2018)
  • Delay v. KJD Restoration, LLC, jury trial in June 2017 (brought in as trial counsel less than a week before trial to act as lead trial counsel)
  • Stacy J. Baumberger v. Dakota Minnesota & Eastern Railroad (Hennepin County District Court, jury trial May 2016) (won a defense verdict as lead trial counsel in a week-long jury trial involving FELA claims that plaintiff suffered disabling injury as a result of the on-the-job activities)
  • Sadie Browe v. Evenflo Company, Inc. (U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota, 2015) (won a motion to dismiss the class action, which alleged deceptive trade practices, false statements in advertising, violations of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, breach of implied warranty of merchantability and breach of implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose)
  • James Graham v. Coca-Cola (Hennepin County District Court, jury trial March 2014) (won a defense verdict as trial counsel in week-long jury trial involving claims that the plaintiff suffered significant injuries due to defendant’s alleged negligence)
  • Andrew Stoddard v. A.H. Bennett et al. (Ramsey County District Court – jury trial January 2012) (won a defense verdict as trial counsel in a 2-week jury trial involving claims by plaintiff that he developed mesothelioma as a result of exposure to defendants’ products)
  • Kleinaitis v. 3M (Madison County Circuit Court – jury trial August 2010) (won defense verdict as lead trial counsel in 2-week jury trial involving personal injury claims as a result of alleged benzene exposure)
  • Slidell, Inc. v. Millennium Inorganic Chemicals, Inc., 460 F.3d 1047 (8th Cir. 2006) (won defense verdict as trial counsel in 7-week jury trial including claims of breach of contract, theft of trade secrets, and promissory estoppel)
  • Thompson v. Hirano Tecseed Co., Ltd., 456 F.3d 805 (8th Cir. 2006) (defended foreign manufacturer who designed a complex laminator to a buyer’s specs)
  • U.S. ex rel. Kinney v. Stoltz, 327 F.3d 671 (8th Cir. 2003) (successfully defended Hennepin County Medical Center in qui tam action brought pursuant to the False Claims Act)
  • Jefferson County School Dist. v. Lead Industries Ass’n, Inc., 223 F. Supp. 2d 771 (S.D. Miss. 2002) (successfully removed action to federal court on the basis of the fraudulent joinder of 28 co-defendants – case was ultimately dismissed)

Recognitions and Honors

  • Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, 2023
  • Mary Massaron Award for the Advancement of Women in the Legal Profession by DRI, 2023
  • Selected to the Minnesota Super Lawyers List (2012-2023)
  • AV® Preeminent™ Peer Rated by Martindale-Hubbell
  • AV® Preeminent™ Judicial Rated by Martindale-Hubbell
  • Repeatedly named one of the nation’s top product liability attorneys by Legal Media Group
  • Nominated by in-house counsel and peers to appear in the Guide to the World’s Leading Women in Business Law-second edition-as one of the outstanding practitioners in the field
  • Repeatedly named in Minnesota Rising Stars by Law & Politics magazine
  • Named one of the Top Women Attorneys in Minnesota by Minneapolis St. Paul Magazine 2015
  • Clerked for Oregon Court of Appeals

Publications and Presentations

  • Control your Destiny: Resort Operations in the Age of Nuclear Jury Verdicts, Midwest Ski Areas Association, Lake Geneva WI, August 2023
  • Ski Statutes: Do You Know What’s in Yours? Midwest Ski Areas Association, Lake Geneva WI, August 2023
  • Regional Roundup: Claims, Trends, and Trials in Your Region and Important Operational Take-Aways, Midwest Ski Areas Association, Lake Geneva WI, August 2023
  • Hot Takes and Key Trends – Unique Aspects of Risk Management, Midwest Ski Areas Association, Lake Geneva WI, August 2023
  • Operational Risk Management, Your Responsibility Code and Employee Safety, Midwest Ski Areas Association Fall Education Series, Shanty Creek Michigan, August 2022
  • Risk Management for Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Competitions, United States Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association, Bloomington, MN, June 2022
  • “Virtual Success: Tips for Preparing and Presenting Your Case Remotely,” FDCC Annual Meeting, August 2021
  • “Unmasking the Jury: Trying a Products Case in a COVID/Virtual World,” DRI Webinar, August 2021
  • “Employee Safety and Employment COVID Considerations for Ski Areas,” Midwest Ski Areas Association Annual Meeting Webinar, August 2020
  • “Keeping the Battle in the Courtroom: Combatting Juror Misconduct in the Digital Age,” DRI Women in the Law Conference, Scottsdale, AZ, January 2020
  • “Minnesota Legal Landscape for 2020,” Minnesota Ski Areas Association, Powder Ridge Ski Area Minnesota, November 2019
  • “Investigation Interview Training Exercise,” Midwest Ski Areas Association Terrain Park Summit, Dresser WI, February 2019
  • “Trying a Products Case to a Millennial Juror: Can It Be Done in 140 Characters or Less?”, Product Liability Litigation, Minneapolis, MN, October 25, 2017
  • “A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing – Undressing the Consumer Fraud Class Action to Reveal the Hidden Product Liability Claim,” FDCC publication, Insights, June 2016
  • Speaker at DRI Trial Tactics Conference, Phoenix, AZ, March 9, 2016 – “How to Give an Effective Client Pitch”
  • Speaker at DRI Trial Tactics Conference, Phoenix, AZ, March 10, 2016 – “Issues Arising in Multi-party Litigation and Mediation”
  • Speaker for ADTA Webinar, October 21, 2015 – “Ethics: Can a Party Ethically Influence the Internet in Anticipation of Juror Misconduct?”
  • Speaker at DRI Product Liability Conference, Las Vegas, NV, April 2012, “Mother May I?  How You Can Ethically Influence the Internet to Anticipate Jury Misconduct”
  • Speaker at Hennepin County CLE, Minneapolis, MN, October 2010, “Product Liability: The Defense Perspective”
  • Speaker at DRI Annual Meeting, Washington, D.C., October 2007, “Privilege or No Privilege; When are Communications with Third Parties Privileged?”
  • Keynote Speaker at Iowa Defense Counsel Association Products Practice Seminar, Des Moines, IA, April 2007, “Recent Developments in Product Liability Law”
  • Speaker at DRI’s Product Liability Conference, New Orleans, LA, February 2007, “Jeopardy: Where Your Clients Face New Perils – a Year in Review”
  • Moderator at DRI’s Product Liability Conference Young Lawyer Breakout Panel, Las Vegas, NV, February 2006
  • Speaker at Minnesota Defense Lawyers’ Annual Meeting, August 2003, Duluth, MN, “Conflicts of Law in Wrongful Death Cases”
  • Speaker at DRI’s Product Liability Conference, Las Vegas, NV, February 2003, “Oh Bother: The Increasing Use of Public Nuisance Counts in Products Liability Cases”
  • Speaker at DRI’s Product Liability Conference, Los Angeles, CA, February 2003, “Face Off: Putting a New Face on Bifurcation”

Professional Associations

  • MN Committee, American College of Trial Lawyers (ACTL)
  • American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA)
  • Vice President, Association of Defense Trial Attorneys (ADTA)
  • Federation of Defense & Corporate Counsel (FDCC)
  • DRI
  • Minnesota Defense Lawyers Association
  • Minnesota State Bar Association
  • Hennepin County Bar Association

Community Engagement

  • Past Board member, YMCA Camp Northern Lights
  • Past President of Board of Isuroon, a Somali women’s health and wellness support group
  • Elections judge
  • Past President, Board of Directors of Sweeney Lake Association

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