Timothy E. Branson
PEOPLE

Timothy E. Branson

Of Counsel
branson.tim@dorsey.com

Overview

TIM PRACTICES IN THE AREA OF CIVIL LITIGATION, PRIMARILY IN THE AREAS OF ERISA, REINSURANCE, PRODUCTS LIABILITY, AND HEALTH LAW.

Tim is Co-Chair of Dorsey’s ERISA Litigation Practice Group.

Education & Admissions

University of Iowa College of Law (J.D., 1986), with distinction

University of Wisconsin (B.A., Political Science and Economics, 1983), with honors

Admissions

  • Minnesota
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth, Seventh, Eighth, Tenth and Eleventh Circuits

Experience

Representative Work

ERISA

  • Defense counsel for Rexam Inc. in retiree medical ERISA/LMRA class action lawsuits, including Rexam Inc. v. United SteelWorkers of America, 2006 WL 2530384 (D. Minn. 2006) (granting summary judgment to Rexam with respect to the largest sub-classes or retirees).
  • Lead counsel for UnitedHealth Group and related entities in state-wide consumer class actions in state and federal courts in Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Rhode Island, Ohio, Indiana, Missouri, Nebraska and Utah, with RICO claims and ERISA claims for breach of fiduciary duties. Opinions in these cases include Lefler v. United HealthCare of Utah, Inc., 162 F.Supp.2d 1310 (D. Utah 2001), aff’d 2003 WL 21940936 (10th Cir. 2003) (summary judgment for defense on the merits of plaintiffs’ plan-enforcement claims and dismissal of Varity-type claims for breach of fiduciary duty); Wineinger v. United HealthCare Insurance Co., 2000 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1849 (D. Neb. Feb. 16, 2000) (dismissing Varity-type claims and RICO claims against ERISA fiduciaries).
  • Lead counsel for Fortis in Jackson v. Fortis Benefits Insurance Company, 245 F.3d 748 (8th Cir. 2001), where the Eighth Circuit affirmed dismissal of an ERISA class action by beneficiaries of delayed benefits for lack of breach of plan or fiduciary duties.
  • Lead counsel for United HealthCare Services, Inc. and affiliated entities in ERISA subrogation action against Guidant Corporation seeking reimbursement for expenses incurred as a result of Guidant recalls in 2005 of implantable cardioverter defibrillator devices. Case settled in 2010.
  • Lead counsel in numerous single-plaintiff cases where benefits are sought under an ERISA plan, including, recently, Neal v. Christopher & Banks Comprehensive Major Medical Plan, 651 F.Supp.2d 890 (E.D.Wis. 2009) (affirming denial of coverage for combined liver and kidney transplant and related services for alcoholic claimant who had not been abstinent for 6 months pre-transplant surgery).
  • Lead counsel for Honeywell, Inc. and related employee benefit plans in disputes brought by employees for benefits and a class action for breach of fiduciary duties and violation of the Retirement Equity Act.
  • Lead counsel for Prudential Insurance of America in pending ERISA breach of fiduciary case brought by plan sponsor relating to administration of self-funded disability plan, Transamerica Corporation v. Prudential Insurance Company of America, (S.D. Iowa 2009).

REINSURANCE

  • Lead counsel for Benfield Inc. in various cases brought against this reinsurance intermediary, including Arrowood Indemnity Co. et al. v. Benfield Inc. (Hennepin County Dist. Ct. MN 2009) (after 2-week+ trial, jury rejected claim that Plaintiff would have lost arbitration against reinsurers due to actions of Benfield); (Mills v. Everest Reinsurance Company et al., 410 F. Supp. 2d 243 (S.D. N.Y. 2006) (dismissing public policy claims relating to purchase of allegedly finite reinsurance).

PRODUCT LIABILITY

  • Lead trial and appellate counsel for Canon U.S.A., Inc. in a multimillion dollar product liability case where strip mall tenants and the owner allege that the mall burned as a result of a defect in a Canon copier, but the court in 2003 dismissed the case under Daubert, finding the defect and cause opinions of plaintiffs’ experts to be unreliable and therefore inadmissible, and the Eighth Circuit affirmed, Fireman's Fund Ins. Co. v. Canon U.S.A., Inc., 394 F.3d 1054 (8th Cir. 2005).
  • Lead trial counsel for Goodyear in a number of product liability and commercial cases, including Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. v. Dynamic Air, Inc., 702 N.W.2d 237 (Minn. 2005); Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. v. Dynamic Air, Inc., 2004 WL 1118598 (D. Minn. 2004). Lead trial counsel for Goodyear in a negligence action against its insurance broker for failing to secure requested product liability coverage, where the Atlanta, Georgia jury awarded Goodyear $3.1 million, which exceeded the broker’s last settlement offer by more than $2 million .

News & Resources

Select Presentations

  • Adjunct Professor (fall 1993), Remedies, Hamline Law School
  • Guest Lecturer, Product Liability, Hamline Law School
  • Chair and Lecturer at various ERISA CLEs

Accolades

  • Selected as a 2007 'Attorney of the Year' by Minnesota Lawyer
  • Recipient, 2007 Distinguished Service Award from the Minnesota Justice Foundation
Timothy E. Branson