Brian Bell
PEOPLE

Brian Bell

Associate
bell.brian@dorsey.com

Overview

BRIAN AIDS CLIENTS IN WINNING GOVERNMENT APPROVAL FOR NATURAL RESOURCES, ENERGY, AND REDEVELOPMENT PROJECTS. HE ALSO REPRESENTS CLIENTS IN ADMINISTRATIVE AND JUDICIAL LITIGATION RELATED TO NATURAL RESOURCES, ENERGY, LAND USE, AND INSURANCE DISPUTES.

Brian's energy practice focuses on representing investor-owned utilities and cooperatives before state utility boards, in transactions, and in disputes between energy buyers and sellers. Brian has extensive experience representing natural resources clients in navigating environmental review and project approval.

In Brian's environmental practice, he represents clients in real estate transactions, enforcement actions, and in environmental litigation. Brian also helps private parties and government entities resolve difficult land use issues. Brian gained valuable experience in land use law working for a large city attorney’s office in the Twin Cities. 

Brian's insurance practice involves seeking indemnification, and often defense costs, from insurers.

Education & Admissions

University of Minnesota Law School (J.D., 2013), magna cum laude

University of Minnesota (B.A., Political Science, 2008)

Admissions

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

Clerkships

  • Minnesota Supreme Court, Honorable Alan C. Page, 2013-2014

Experience

Representative Work

Environmental, Natural Resources, and Energy Law

  • Successfully advocated for an investor-owned utility before a state utility board and appellate court related to the utility’s solar gardens program
  • Defended an investor-owned utility against a suit brought by the state for rents owed on the use of riverbeds by the utility’s hydroelectric facilities   
  • Counseled copper-nickel mining company on its rights under its preference rights lease application    
  • Advised mineral development client on its right to federal lease renewal    
  • Represented mining company in dispute over the federal government’s attempt to withdraw minerals in a national forest    
  • Advocated for client seeking government approval for access to off-lease lands for a mineral development project    
  • Advocated on behalf of copper-nickel company in receiving government approval for a 211-mile right-of-way providing access to the company’s mineral holdings
  • Represented client in successfully getting the state to drop an enforcement action for alleged violations of Clean Water Act permits    
  • Advised client entering into a joint venture to develop and operate a fertilizer facility at a superfund site    
  • Represented client in a suit seeking contribution from a prior owner for costs incurred remediating soil and groundwater contamination    
  • Assisted an investor-owned utility in the purchase of an 80-megawatt, $143-million wind farm    
  • Represented a large-industrial energy consumer in a contested case proceeding before a state utility board challenging its costs of service    
  • Counseled client on permitting requirements and eminent domain for constructing a natural gas pipeline    
  • Won an over 50 percent reduction in a metal-plating company’s unpaid sewer discharge fees    
  • Persuaded the Environmental Protection Agency not to pursue enforcement action against a company that had inadvertently neglected to make a report under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA)   
  • Defended service store against claims brought by a landowner for a petroleum spill on the landowner’s property    
  • Represented generation-and-transmission cooperative and its directors in suit brought by a member for alleged breach of power purchase agreement    
  • Advocated on behalf of distribution cooperative before a state utility board related to the cooperative’s cogeneration and small power production tariff    
  • Assisted municipal power association in private-bond placement    

Land Use    

  • Assisted private college in applying to rezone property for a science, technology, education, and math facility    
  • Counseled healthcare insurer on zoning and parking restrictions applicable to development project    
  • Counseled client on obtaining height variance for industrial facility    
  • Advised owner of data center on remedies related to rezoning of neighboring property for commercial use   

Insurance Law    

  • Represented an insured in successfully establishing general-liability insurer’s defense obligations for claims involving a product recall    
  • Secured contribution from an insurer for claims against a consignment company related to vandalism of construction equipment in the insured’s care    
  • Assisted daycare provider in litigating dispute with its excess insurer for indemnification for jury verdict resulting from an alleged physical and sexual assault at the client’s daycare facilities    
  • Advocated for a school in seeking insurance coverage for litigation related to a former teacher’s alleged sexual assault    
  • Represented client suing insurance broker for breach of fiduciary duty after insurance coverage was denied for liability arising out of an aviation accident        

Professional & Civic

Professional Achievements

  • Tubman Safety Project Pro Bono Attorney
  • Expungement Clinic Pro Bono Attorney
  • Board of Directors – Citizens League (2010-Present)
  • Board of Directors – African American Family Services (2010-2013)
  • Minnesota Supreme Court Historical Society Education Committee (2015-Present)

Accolades

North Star Lawyer logo

  • MSBA North Star Lawyer, 2015-2016
  • Region 14 Best Petitioner Brief – National Moot Court (2012)
Brian Bell