Tiana Towns

Tiana Towns




Tiana works on a wide range of commercial litigation matters, but her focus on real estate, construction and design, government contracting, and intellectual property litigation in state and federal courts.

As a senior member of Dorsey’s real estate, construction and design team, she leads teams handling complex real estate-related disputes for property owners, developers, investors, tenants, lenders, joint ventures and public-private partnerships, and many other parties in and out of court.  Tiana also has experience representing clients in government contracting matters and bid protest actions.  The third leg of Tiana’s practice involves intellectual property litigation, specifically trademark, copyright, and advertising disputes, in state and federal courts and before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB).

Tiana maintains an active pro bono practice representing indigent criminal defendants, providing criminal expungement services, and representing clients in civil rights matters.  Tiana has also served as a prosecutor for the City of Minneapolis and currently serves as a referee for the Minnesota District Court in Chisago County.

Education & Admissions

Howard University School of Law (J.D., 2014), Bryant Moore Co-Chair, Charles Hamilton Houston National Moot Court Team; Student Attorney, Howard University Trademark and Intellectual Property Clinic

University of California at Riverside (B.A., Psychology/Law and Society, 2010), with Honors


  • Minnesota
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota


Representative Litigation

Construction, Real Estate, and Government Contracting 

  • Represented retail property manager to obtain temporary restraining order preventing contractor from removing fixtures and total shutdown of the shopping mall.
  • Represented a commercial tenant in breach of lease dispute in 2-week bench trial.
  • Currently representing a commercial property owner in multi-party easement dispute.
  • Currently representing subcontractor in complex multi-party dispute involving construction defect and delay claims on an accelerated track with the three-week hearing scheduled just six months after the filing of the statement of claim.
  • Representing a water utility company in a dispute caused by a private developer’s damage to a 100-year-old brick masonry sewer.
  • Counsels clients on all aspects of construction and design matters, including contract negotiation and interpretation, project financing agreements, dispute avoidance, claim development, expert retention and coordination, insurance recovery, and mechanics' liens.
  • Advises healthcare client in bid protest actions and with government contracting concerns.
  • Advises commercial landlords and tenants in all aspects of leasing, including representation of big box retail tenants, institutional office landlords, and mid-market retail users.

Commercial Litigation

  • Represented a performing arts company in weeks-long jury trial.  Result: Company not liable for multiple negligence claims, avoiding over $3 million dollars in liability.
  • Represented an individual trustee in week-long bench trial defending claims of breach of fiduciary duty claims in complex family trust dispute.  Result: Complete defense judgment.
  • Representing pharmacy benefits manager in multiple class action lawsuits involving claims for benefits, prohibited transactions, and breaches of fiduciary duty based upon alleged fiduciary breaches, disloyalty, and prohibited transactions in receipt of “spread” from pharmacies.  In Re UnitedHealth Group PBM Litigation, No. 16-cv-3352, 2016 U.S. Dist. Minnesota; and In Re Cigna Corporation PBM Litigation, No. 16-cv-1702, 2016 U.S. Dist. Connecticut.
  • In re Medtronic, Inc. Shareholder Litigation: Represented board in lawsuit seeking to enjoin Medtronic’s proposed acquisition of Covidien.  Result: Injunction denied and case dismissed.
  • Bushansky v. OneBeacon Insurance (U.S. Dist. Minn): Represented defendants in litigation challenging Intact Financial Corp.’s $1.7 billion purchase of OneBeacon Insurance.  Plaintiffs withdrew their motion for a preliminary injunction and dismissed their securities fraud claims with prejudice prior to the shareholder vote.
  • FINRA arbitrations. Counsel for major broker-dealer firm in numerous customer and industry arbitrations.
  • Webster v. Daniels, Case No. 14-1049 (7th Cir. May 1, 2015): Pro bono counsel for intellectually disabled federal prisoner seeking review of death sentence under 28 U.S.C. 2241. Member of team that obtained a favorable ruling from the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, sitting en banc, in high-profile death penalty matter.

Intellectual Property Litigation

  • Representing an aviation company in claims of trademark infringement in federal court and defending opposition action brought by same entity before the TTAB.
  • Representing health insurance company and self-funded employee benefit plans in class action claims and counterclaims alleging benefits due and breach of fiduciary duty.
  • Girl Scouts of the United States of America v. Boy Scouts of America, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.  Representing Girl Scouts USA in a suit against Boy Scouts of America for trademark infringement, dilution, tortious interference and related unfair competition claims.
  • Cirrus Aviation Services, LLC v. Cirrus Design Corporation, U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada.  Sole associate on team representing the owner of a registered uncontestable mark in trademark infringement claim under the Lanham act. Tiana has worked on all aspects of the case drafting the initial cease and desist letter sent in 2014, and counseling and assisting client with its application to obtain a federal trademark registration.
  • Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research v. Mark Taheri, U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, 2016.  Obtained consent judgment requiring defendant to change its MAYO DENTAL name.

News & Resources


#BLACKLIVESMATTER: A Trademark or A Social Justice Movement
COVID-19’s Impact on Commercial Evictions and Landlord-Tenant Relations in Minnesota
“Construction Arbitration: Unique Joinder and Consolidation Challenges” Dispute Resolution Journal
“Construction Arbitration: Unique Joinder and Consolidation Challenges” Dispute Resolution Journal, forthcoming
“Construction Arbitration: Unique Joinder and Consolidation Challenges,” Dispute Resolution Journal
Jay-Z Has 99 Problems, and. . . Lack of Diversity Is One
“Three Factors Toward One Successful Retention,” DRI Newsletter of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee
Kim K’s “Kimono” – A Snapshot of Cultural Appropriation
Rapunzel, Rapunzel Let Down Your Hair for Consumer Oppositions
The SCOTUS Nominee on IP
“Sleevey Wonders” are “Arm Tight” in California Lawsuit
Graffiti Artists Tag Camuto Fashion House for Copyright Infringement
Copyrighting a Dream
Likelihood of “Initial Interest” Confusion Powers The University of Houston to Preliminary Injunction Win in Law School Name Battle
Strike a Pose and Say “Trademark”
Trademark Wars: Fox’s “Empire” Strikes Back

News & Press Mentions

ABA 2020 Volunteer Recognition & Awards Program
Up & Coming Attorneys, Unsung Legal Heroes Announced
Tiana Towns: Blazing a Path for Others to Follow
TaraLynn Casperson and Tiana Towns Selected for 2020 LCLD Pathfinder Program
Tiana Towns and Tien Cai Win ABA Construction Forum Diversity Scholarships
Dorsey Secures Groundbreaking Reversal of Death Sentence
Dorsey Nationally Ranked and Named Trademark Law Firm of the Year by "U.S. News – Best Lawyers" Best Law Firms
Dorsey Represents Underwriters in Tactile Medical IPO

Events & Speaking Engagements

Legal Update: Taking Care of your Business, your People, and your World
Remote Depositions in the Time of COVID, Minnesota CLE (with Tiana Towns)

Select Presentations

  • Presenter, "How to Take and Defend Depositions in the Time of COVID-19,” Minnesota CLE, March 2021
  • Presenter, Real Estate Institute, “Drafting and Enforcing Remedy Provisions For Commercial Landlords,” November 2018
  • Presenter, “False Advertising and Product Disparagement,” September 2016
  • Presenter, Springboard For the Arts, “Copyright Law for Creative Professionals,” April 2016

Industries & Practices

  • Commercial Litigation
  • Construction & Design
  • Construction Litigation
  • Government Contracts Counseling & Litigation
  • Intellectual Property Litigation
  • Real Estate & Land Use
  • Trademark, Copyright & Advertising

Professional & Civic

Professional Achievements

  • Minnesota State Bar Association, Member
  • Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers, Member
  • Minnesota Black Women Lawyers Network, Board Member


Contributed 50+ Pro Bono Hours in 2020

  • Contributed more than 50 Challenge pro bono hours, 2020
  • Named "Minneapolis Ones to Watch" in Commercial Litigation by Best Lawyers®, 2021

North Star Lawyer

  • MSBA North Star Lawyer, 2014-2020
  • 2019 ABA Construction Forum Scholarship Recipient
  • 2020 LCLD Pathfinder Program

  • May 2020 Attorney At Law, Attorney of the Month / Lawyer of the Next Generation
Tiana Towns