Ellen A. Brinkman


Whether you are a small business going through litigation for the first time or you are a Fortune 500 company seasoned in the litigation process, Ellen approaches each case as a strategic team player with the goal of finding an efficient, business-oriented resolution so that you can get back to work. Ellen has litigated hundreds of cases in state and federal court, and she wins trials because of her ability to connect with the jury and out-prepare the other side. She has a tireless work ethic and keen ability to collaborate with the in-house counsel, human resource executives, and business owners with whom she works every day.

  • Key Practice and Industry Experience
  • Representative Matters
  • Recognitions and Honors
  • Publications and Presentations
  • Professional Associations

Key Practice Experience

  • Business litigation
  • eDiscovery and information governance
  • Employment counseling
  • Employment litigation
  • Employment benefits
  • Employment policies
  • Labor law
  • Shareholder dispute resolution
  • Non-competes
  • Disability accommodations
  • Wage-and-hour

Key Industry Experience

  • Educational institutions

Representative Matters

  • Defended age discrimination and interference with FMLA claims brought by 71-year-old salesperson who sold credit services but had performance issues and was terminated.
  • Defended cable and wire manufacturer against claims of personal injury and wrongful death for alleged exposure to asbestos-containing products.
  • Defended claims by 3PL for nonpayment due to delays in delivery and challenge to purported lien rights for goods in transit.
  • Defended employee and his new employer against claims of breach of non-compete agreement and tortious interference. The case went to trial, but after the Plaintiff presented its case, the Court granted Defendants’ Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law.
  • Represented employer in defending claims brought by Plaintiff employee—three gender, age, and race EEOC discrimination and retaliation charges under Title VII and then sued for the same claims in federal court.
  • Resolve threatened lawsuit by former manager against a regional bank alleging sex and pregnancy discrimination and workplace harassment.
  • Succeeded on motion to dismiss homeowner’s complaint against bank, alleging that bank violated the Home Affordable Modification Program by not giving homeowners a loan modification.
  • Succeeded on motion to dismiss homeowner’s complaint, alleging claims for violation of Stat. 58.13, breach of duty of good faith and fair dealing, fraud and misrepresentation, and violation of Minnesota Consumer Fraud Act.
  • Successfully defended employees and their new employer against claims of breach of non-compete agreement and tortious interference.
  • Successfully obtained summary judgment dismissing failure to pay overtime claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Minnesota Fair Labor Standards Act.
  • Successfully obtained summary judgment in favor of employer on Family and Medical Leave Act discrimination claim and state law claims alleging tortious interference with contract.
  • Successfully obtained summary judgment on behalf of employer in a Section 1981 retaliation claim and state law defamation claim.

Recognitions and Honors

  • Benchmark Litigation, Labor & Employment Star – Midwest
  • Rising Star, Minnesota Super Lawyers, 2011-2019

Publications and Presentations

  • 2019 Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute, “The Eight Defenses to Retaliation Claims,” May 21, 2019
  • Professional Liability Attorney Network Atlanta, GA, Regional Meeting, “The Effective Use of the Attorney-Client Privilege in Internal Investigations,” April 30, 2019
  • Professional Liability Attorney Network Hartford, CT, Regional Meeting, “Equal Pay Act Update” March 21, 2019
  • “Federal District of Minnesota Civil Practice Deskbook,” Author, Chapter 10, Written Discovery

Professional Associations

  • Minnesota Women Lawyers