Katie represents publicly traded and Fortune 500 companies across the nation in post-employment covenants and trade secret litigation. She also serves as national counsel in an advisory capacity accounting for each state’s unique requirements when auditing post-employment covenants and maintaining her clients’ compliance with each state’s non-compete laws. While she has settled matters in the early stages of a case, Katie has successfully litigated cases in both state and federal courts throughout the country.
In addition to her covenant and trade secret work, Katie routinely advises and litigates discrimination claims, as well as leave of absence and time-off claims. She focuses her practice in the information technology, financial service, retail, insurance and manufacturing industries.
Key Practice Experience
- Non-compete and trade secret litigation, including development of nationwide non-compete programs
- Discrimination defense
- Trials and arbitrations
- Leave of absence and disability advice and defense
- Preventive employment advice and counseling, focusing on time-off policies
- Workplace investigations
- Fiduciary duties
- Contract disputes
Key Industry Experience
- Financial services
- Information technology companies
- Cambria Company LLC v. Mohawk Industries, Inc., Dal-Tile Tennessee, LLC and Schumann (D. Minn.) – Successfully opposed motion for preliminary injunction alleging inevitable disclosure of trade secrets and breach of contractual confidentiality provision.
- Prime Therapeutics LLC v. Maxor National Pharmacy Services, LLC (D. Minn.) – Defeated injunction motion seeking to prevent high-level executive from becoming employed by competitor based on implementation of phased job duties negating alleged inevitable disclosure of trade secrets
- Nutrablend, LLC v. Consumers Supply Group (W.D. Mo.) – Obtained consent injunction for full relief demanded, including termination of employee who misappropriated trade secrets
- PCM v. BIT Direct, Inc. et al. (S.D. Ohio) – Obtained consent injunction for full relief demanded, including termination of employee who violated non-compete agreement
- PCM Sales, Inc. v. Blake Reed (N.D. Ill.) – Won summary judgment as plaintiff in breach of non-compete case, resulting in extension of non-compete for full period of breach
- Loftness Specialized Farm Equipment v. Twiestmeyer & Assocs. et al. (D. Minn.) – Won federal jury trial involving alleged $6 million breach of non-disclosure agreement following seven years of litigation and two appeals
- TelCom Construction Inc. v. Michael Simon and MP Nexlevel, LLC (Minn. Dist. Ct.) – After replacing prior counsel, obtained vacation of previously entered temporary injunction and obtained summary judgment on non-compete and tortious interference claims.
- Wesco Distribution, Inc. v. Vittorio: Won a TRO in Minnesota federal district court in favor of Wesco Distribution, Inc. in a non-compete matter.
- 3M v. Robrecht: Won a TRO and partial preliminary injunction in Wisconsin state court in a trade secret dispute.
- BFI Waste Systems of North America, Inc. v. Freeway Transfer, Inc.: Won a jury verdict in Minnesota federal district court in favor of BFI Waste Systems of North America in a contract dispute.
- Aramark Uniform & Career Apparel, LLC v. Simmons: Won a TRO enforcing a non-compete agreement in Minnesota state court.
- Thomas v. UnitedHealth Group, LLC: Won summary judgment in claim by former employee alleging race discrimination and retaliation under Title VII and the Minnesota Human Rights Act.
- Hanson v. Mental Health Resources: Won summary judgment in claim by former employee alleging FMLA interference and retaliation, as well as violation of the Minnesota Parenting Leave Act, and the Minnesota Human Rights Act.
Recognitions and Honors
- Selected to Rising Stars list by Minnesota Super Lawyers, 2008-2019
- Phi Beta Kappa, Indiana University
Publications and Presentations
- “Legal Ethics and the New Sysdyne Defense in Restrictive Covenant Litigation – How the New Employer’s ‘Get-Out-of-Jail-Free Card’ Can Land Lawyers in Hot Water,” Minnesota CLE, 2021 Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute, May 24, 2021
- “Enforceable Non-Competes Here and Afar – Concrete Guidance in Light of New Laws,” Minnesota CLE, 2021 Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute, September 15, 2020
- “How to Create Enforceable and Effective Restrictive Covenants,” Minnesota CLE, October 7, 2019
- “Complex Restrictive Covenant Topics for the Advanced Practitioner,” Minnesota CLE, 2019 Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute, May 20, 2019
- “Protecting the Home Field: Creating and Enforcing Restrictive Covenants – Sophisticated Strategies for Multi-State Employers,” ALFA International L&E and Professional Liability Practice Groups, June 14, 2018
- “Creating and Enforcing Restrictive Covenants – A Deep Dive for Multi-State Employers,” Minnesota CLE, 2018 Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute, May 21, 2018
- “Ethics and Conflicts Issues in Restrictive Covenant Litigation,” Minnesota CLE, Trade Secrets and Restrictive Covenants: Protecting Assets and Litigating Disputes Seminar, February 20, 2018
- “The Tightrope of Behavioral Health, ADA, and FMLA: Managing the Risk,” 2016 DMEC FMLA/ADA Employer Compliance Conference, April 26, 2016
- “The Injured Worker: Navigating the Post-Injury Working Relationship,” 2014 Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute, May 20, 2014
- Volunteer Lawyers Network
- The Advocates for Human Rights
- Minnesota Legislature Considering Ban on Non-Competes
- Roving Employees and How to Pay Them
- In First Impression Decision, Minnesota Federal Court Applies Advice-of-Counsel Defense to Tortious Interference Claim
- A Brief History of the Start-Stop-Start-Stop of the Revised EEO-1 Report
- Minnesota to Ban All Non-Competes and Non-Solicits?
- ABA Opines on Lawyer Non-competes, But Does It Apply to In-House Counsel?
- NJL Attorneys Speak at 2019 Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute
- Twenty Nilan Johnson Lewis Attorneys Named to 2018 Minnesota Super Lawyers & Rising Stars Lists
- The Questionable Non-Compete: How to Hire Someone but Avoid a Tortious Interference Claim
- The Changing “State” of Non-Compete Laws
- Eighteen Nilan Johnson Lewis Attorneys Named to 2016 Minnesota Super Lawyers & Rising Stars Lists
- Newly Enacted Defend Trade Secrets Act Gives Non-Compete Claims a Federal Forum
- NJL Attorneys Listed in 2016 Women Super Lawyers
- Illusory Promises May Derail Your Non-Competes
- Seventeen Nilan Johnson Lewis Attorneys Recognized As 2015 Super Lawyers and Rising Stars
- Will Social Media Make the Non-Compete as We Know It Obsolete?
- When Crafting a Non-Compete Agreement, Beware of Illusory Promises
- Nilan Johnson Lewis Attorneys Named 2014 Super Lawyers and Rising Stars