Norman Baer represents corporations, partnerships and individuals involved in all types of business related disputes including: breach of contract; fraud and commercial torts; disputes involving commercial real estate; partnership and shareholder issues; and employment related matters. He regularly appears in state and federal courts in Minnesota, as well as other state and federal courts throughout the country. In addition, Mr. Baer is adept at resolving appropriate matters by means of arbitration, mediation, and other alternative dispute resolution mechanisms.
Mr. Baer was admitted to practice in 1985. His first legal experience was with Best & Flanagan. He then joined Anthony Ostlund Baer & Louwagie P.A. in 1988 and is now a principal in the firm. From the start, Mr. Baer’s practice has focused on business and commercial litigation and trial work. For several years, Mr. Baer has been designated by his peers as a "Super Lawyer."
In February 2012, Mr. Baer became the Chair of the Board of Directors of Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity. Mr. Baer has been a member of the Board of Directors since 2008. Habitat provides affordable housing for approximately 250 people per year by building 50 homes with the help of approximately 20,000 volunteers.
Most Significant Recent Cases:
Aviva Sports, Inc. v. Fingerhut Direct Marketing, Inc., et al - U.S. District Court, Minnesota
Defended a Chinese company in a litigation involving allegations of false advertising where the plaintiff claimed approximately $20,000,000 in damages. Won numerous motions for client on various procedural and substantive issues in federal district court; successfully defended against plaintiff's motion for summary judgment.
Bremseth v. Rossi Cox Vucinovich – Minnesota State Court
Rossi Cox Vucinovich P.A. faced claims for breach of fiduciary duty and breach of a partnership agreement by a former member of its firm. AOBL defended Rossi Cox and asserted counterclaims for damages against the former member. The case was resolved favorably for Rossi Cox after plaintiff’s substantive claims were dismissed as a result of our pretrial motion.
Bridgeplace Associates, LLC v. Lazniarz – Minnesota State Court and Court of Appeals
Represented plaintiff in a case where defendant claimed he was owed more than $1,000,000 and slandered plaintiff’s title to a luxury condominium property in downtown Minneapolis. Defeated defendant's claim and cleared title for our client. Also obtained a judgment in plaintiff’s favor for the attorney’s fees plaintiff incurred in prosecuting the case. AOBL prevailed again when defendant appealed the decision to the Minnesota Court of Appeals.
Camelot LLC v. AMC ShowPlace Theatres, Inc. – U.S. District Court, Minnesota
Represented Camelot in a dispute involving a commercial lease in Block E in Downtown Minneapolis. AMC leased about 40% of Camelot’s building to operate a movie theatre, but under the terms of the lease, AMC paid no rent and did not share any expenses (e.g., property taxes and utilities). AMC’s lease expired in September 2012, but it claimed it had an option to extend the lease for another 10 years on the same terms. AOBL represented Camelot in its suit seeking a declaration that the option to renew the lease was unenforceable. The district court agreed with Camelot’s position and entered judgment declaring the lease option unenforceable. AMC appealed and the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s judgment in Camelot’s favor.
Freedom Medical Inc. v. Universal Hospital Services – U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Texas
Represented Universal Hospital Services, Inc., a large U.S. medical equipment rental company, against claims of antitrust and tortious interference. Freedom, who was the plaintiff represented by McKool Smith, claimed that UHS conspired with others, including certain group purchasing organizations to monopolize what Freedom alleged was a $450 million medical equipment rental market. After significant favorable discovery and pretrial motions, Freedom settled in September 2012 for a nominal amount less than the cost of defense.
Garg Data International, Inc. v. Achieve Software Corp. – JAMS Arbitration; U.S. District Court, Central District of California; 9th Circuit Court of Appeals
Represented a buyer of software development services, Achieve Software Corp., which was sued for failure to make contract payments. AOBL countersued on behalf of Achieve for the developer's failure to perform as required by the contract and industry standards. The case was arbitrated as required by contract. The arbitration resulted in a $30 million judgment in favor of Achieve. AOBL is currently representing Achieve in the collection of its judgment against judgment debtor Garg Data and it's principal owner, Sushil Garg.
James Bergeron and Gregory Bergeron v. Bixby Energy Systems, Inc. – Minnesota State Court
Represented independent director of, and investors in Bixby, a privately held research and development company that had raised and spent millions of dollars. The litigation led to the ouster of founders and officers who were later charged with securities fraud and tax evasion by the U.S. Attorney in Minnesota.
Nott Company v. Dean Eberhardt, et al – Minnesota State Court
Represented Nott Company in a non-compete/employment dispute against former employee and new employer for breach of non-compete agreements and tortious interference. Prevailed on numerous motions, currently litigating case at the Court of Appeals -- $800,000 dispute.
Dominium - NHG – U.S. District Court, Minnesota; 8th Circuit Court of Appeals
Represented the buyer of a nationwide apartment portfolio valued at more than $100 million sued by a competitor which had unsuccessfully tried to buy the portfolio. Primary claim was for tortious interference. The case was tried to a jury in US District Court in Minnesota and resulted in a finding of no liability for Dominium. Then represented Dominium in related litigation in California state court as the unsuccessful buyer tried to force Dominium to pay a judgment it obtained against the seller of the portfolio.
Marshall Bank First
Represented the originator of real estate development participation loans ranging in size from $5-10 million to over $100 million. When the real estate market collapsed, Marshall Bank First was faced with numerous claims by borrowers, participating banks, and regulators. AOBL's involvement included defending against claims of fraud, pursuing claims to enforce contractual obligations and negotiating resolutions in a deteriorating market.
Maple Bank v. Alliance Bank - Minnesota State Court
Maple Bank on claims arising from its role as a "participant" in a loan originated by Alliance Bank. Obtained a jury verdict in favor of our client for the full amount of the participation interest and all interest accrued through trial. The trial court denied post trial motions filed by defendant and awarded our client its fees and costs.
M&I v. PureChoice, et al. – Minnesota State Court
Represented Kenneth Macke on claims and crossclaims related to guarantees of several million dollars of PureChoice debt and related claims for indemnification and contribution. The case was settled favorably.
CardioVention v. Medtronic – U.S. District Court, Minnesota
Represented CardioVention, a start-up medical device manufacturer, on claims against Medtronic for Medtronic’s misappropriation of trade secrets. After Medtronic expressed interest in acquiring CardioVention’s technology and was provided with access to all of CardioVention’s trade secrets, Medtronic started to manufacture its own competing device.
City of New Brighton v. Rottlund Homes – Minnesota State Court
Represented Rottlund Homes in a dispute about a redevelopment contract for approximately 50 acres located in New Brighton. After Rottlund gave notice of default and termination of the contract, New Brighton commenced an action claiming that Rottlund had anticipatorily repudiated the contract.
Sutura v. Abbott Laboratories – U.S. District Court, Texas
Represented medical device manufacturer Sutura on patent infringement claims and counterclaims related to a product with sales exceeding $100 million per year. The case was settled favorably after initial discovery and pretrial proceedings.
Viking Produce v. North Star Produce – Minnesota State Court
Represented North Star Produce against multi-million dollar claims asserted by a competitor which had previously employed the founder of North Star and other North Star employees.
Margolis, et al. v. Antonello, et al. – Minnesota State Court and Court of Appeals
Represented the conservators of an elderly gentleman against a number of defendants that had pursued a scheme by which they purchased approximately $40 million dollars of insurance on Mr. Margolis’ life, later sold the insurance and appropriated virtually all of the economic benefit for themselves.
Anacapa Technology, Inc. v. ADC Telecommunications - Arbitration and U.S. District Court, Minnesota
Represented a closely-held technology consulting company on claims arising from ADC’s breach of an intellectual property license agreement. ADC had sales in excess of $60 million under the license agreement. The case was settled favorably.
Illinois Three v. Arbor Development Company, et al. - Nebraska State Court, Court of Appeals and Supreme Court
Represented a limited partnership in a breach of contract and fraud claim related to the failed development of a tax credit financed multi-family affordable housing project. Jury verdict in favor of limited partnership affirmed on appeal.
Brooklyn Center Leased Housing Associates v. City of Brooklyn Center, et al. - Minnesota State and Federal Courts
Represented limited partnership in fair housing act and civil rights claims related to “affordable housing” apartment complex valued at more than $10 million.
Emerson, et al. v. General Mills, et al. - California State Court, Minnesota State Court, U.S. District Court, Minnesota and Arbitration
Represented more than 50 related entities all named as defendants in a purported class-action lawsuit claiming damages in excess of $200 million arising from alleged fraud in connection with the change in general partner and refinancing of real estate limited partnerships. Defendants responded with actions in state and federal court in Minnesota demanding arbitration of the claims. The trial courts, Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, and Minnesota Court of Appeals all ruled that plaintiffs must individually pursue their claims in arbitration, rather than a class action trial.
Barker, et al. v. Ceridian Corporation - U.S. District Court, Minnesota, Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals
Represented the plaintiff class of disabled employees in ERISA insurance benefit claims against Ceridian. Case proceeded through two appeals to the Eighth Circuit (both won by the plaintiffs) and a petition for certiorari to the Supreme Court. After trial resulting in judgment for the defendant, the Eighth Circuit reversed and remanded for a determination of an appropriate remedy for the class. Final settlement was reached in 2001 restoring plaintiffs’ benefits, reimbursing plaintiffs for millions of dollars of expenses incurred while the benefits had been withheld, and paying all of plaintiffs’ costs and attorneys’ fees. Settlement value was approximately $15 million.
F.O. Berg Company v. Sonoco Products Company - U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Washington
Represented a closely-held manufacturing company against a $2.5 billion corporation on claims of more than $65 million, including breach of contract and fraud resulting from Sonoco’s failure to properly market and sell Berg’s products under an exclusive sales and marketing agreement. Case settled after four days of trial.
- University of St. Thomas School of Law: Adjunct Professor teaching Evidence (Spring 2012 and 2011)
- Fredrikson & Byron Legal & Business Education Cross Examination: The Technology, the Basics, and an Opportunity to Practice in Federal Court (10/21/05)
- Minnesota State Bar Association – Fraud, Misrepresentation & Deceptive Trade Practices (3/11/05)
- Minnesota State Bar Association - Fundamentals of Organizing Minnesota Corporations (7/29/04 and 8/7/03)
- Center for Ethical Business Cultures (CEBC), MN Chapter of the American Corporate Counsel Association and University of St. Thomas School of Law - Leadership Institute in Corporate Counseling Forum (12/5/02)
- Center for Ethical Business Cultures (CEBC), MN Chapter of the American Corporate Counsel Association, University of St. Thomas School of Law, and William Mitchell College of Law - Leadership Institute in Corporate Counseling Forum - When Disaster Strikes - Ethical Communication Through the Media (2/21/02)
- Center for Ethical Business Cultures (CEBC) - Leadership Institute in Corporate Counseling Forum - Non-Compete Agreements (5/1/01)
- The Center for Professional Programming, William Mitchell College of Law - "Religious Leaders and the Law: How to Prevent Legal Problems" (5/27/99)
- Minnesota Institute of Legal Education - ERISA Litigation Representing the Plaintiff (2/11/98)
- Minnesota State Bar Association - 5th Annual Civil Litigation Institute (11/7-8/97)
Mr. Baer is admitted to practice law in Minnesota and North Dakota, the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota, the Eighth and Eleventh Circuit Courts of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court. In addition, he has been admitted for particular cases in numerous state and federal courts including those in California, Illinois, North and South Dakota, Colorado, Kansas, Iowa, Indiana, Nebraska, Washington, Florida and Ohio. He is a member of the Federal Bar Association and the Hennepin County Bar Association. He has also served as a member and an officer of the Governing Council of the Civil Litigation Section of the Minnesota State Bar Association.
Mr. Baer has written a number of articles and is a frequent speaker at CLE programs.
Mr. Baer graduated from Wayne State University in Detroit with a degree in education in 1975. He was a school teacher for 7 years and earned an M.A. degree in educational administration in 1979, also from Wayne State. Mr. Baer graduated cum laude, from the Law School at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor in December 1984.