Katie Pfeifer
PEOPLE

Katie Pfeifer

Of Counsel
pfeifer.katie@dorsey.com

Overview

KATIE HELPS CLIENTS TO IDENTIFY AND TRANSFER RISK THROUGH CONTRACTS AND INSURANCE, AND TO OBTAIN THE BENEFITS OF THOSE RISK TRANSFER MECHANISMS WHEN TROUBLE ARISES.

Katie represents clients in all types of complex commercial litigation. In addition to her particular focus on construction and health litigation, Katie provides insurance coverage analysis and advice and represents policyholders in coverage disputes and litigation. Her work includes all types of insurance lines, and ranges from assisting clients with assessing which policies may respond to a claim, tendering claims to insurers, reviewing and responding to insurer positions, negotiating with insurers over defense/reimbursement obligations and choice of counsel, coordinating coverage between different policies, and litigating coverage disputes. She also provides insurance review and analysis for commercial contracts and transactions.

Through her work with the Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section (TIPS) of the ABA, Katie also serves as a Senior Editor of the CGL Reporter Editorial Board. Written by practicing attorneys, the CGL Reporter, published by IRMI, provides annotations of important coverage decisions from across the nation involving general liability and other business-related policies, and provides commentary on cases and their implications.

Education & Admissions

South Dakota State University (B.S., History and Political Science, 1997), summa cum laude

University of Minnesota Law School (J.D., 2000), magna cum laude
Order of the Coif, Minnesota Law Review

Admissions

  • Minnesota
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

Clerkships

  • U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota, Honorable Raymond L. Erickson

Experience

Representative Work

  • Litigated month and a half long, multi-million dollar arbitration proceeding for general contractor regarding construction of a LNG plant. Primary issues were general contractor’s claim for damages caused by subcontractor’s delay in completing its work, and subcontractor’s claim of entitlement to additional time and money due to a purported change-in-law. Case resolved favorably.
  • Assisted client in submitting voluminous, multi-million dollar claim and obtaining significant coverage under builders’ risk insurance for claim arising out of hurricane damage to construction project.
  • Owatonna Clinic—Mayo Health System v. The Medical Protective Co. of Fort Wayne Indiana (D. Minn.): Represented medical clinic in insurance coverage dispute. Primary issue was whether notice was appropriately provided under a 1999 claims-made insurance policy, so that lawsuit filed years later was covered by the policy. Obtained judgment for the full amount of the policy, plus attorneys' fees and pre- and post-judgment interest. The Eighth Circuit upheld the district court's decision in a published opinion. 639 F.3d 806 (8th Cir. 2011).
  • Hitachi America, Ltd. v. Steadfast Insurance Co. and Aker Construction, Inc. (S.D. New York): Represented subcontractor as intervenor in insurance coverage litigation that was brought by general contractor against insurer providing Subguard insurance for construction of a coal-fired power plant. Primary issue was whether litigation was precluded by previous and ongoing arbitration proceedings between the general contractor and the subcontractor. Case settled.
  • Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. v. Jotun Paints, Inc., Jotun, Inc., and Zurich American Insurance Co. (E.D. La.): Represented coating company in declaratory judgment action against insurers to establish coverage for numerous putative class actions, products liability lawsuits brought against client. Primary issues were the timing of the purported damage and the doctrine of known loss. Obtained order requiring insurers to defend client against lawsuits. 555 F.Supp.2d 686 (E.D. La. 2008). 
  • Kern v. Allina Health System / Johnson v. Fairview Health Services (Minn.): Represented two health care providers in putative class actions alleging breach of contract and violation of the Minnesota Consumer Fraud Act arising from the amount charged for services for uninsured patients. Defeated motions for class certification before the district court and later drafted and obtained Court-approval for a class-wide settlement.
  • Kootenia Homes v. Federated Insurance Co. and Cincinnati Insurance Co. (Minn.): Represented general contractor in insurance coverage dispute involving in excess of 30 homes. The issues litigated included, among others, allocation of the damages between the insurers. Prepared successful motion for summary judgment, establishing that the doctrine of "allocation pro rata by time on the risk" did not apply to the claims. Also briefed the subsequent appeal of the district court's decision by one of the insurers, which was upheld by the Minnesota Court of Appeals.
  • State of Minnesota v. Medica Health Plans (Minn.): Represented health insurer and its Board of Directors in regulatory litigation, brought by the Minnesota Attorney General, involving issues of self-governance. Following trial of the matter, the court issued a 50-page landmark decision dismissing the lawsuit and declaring the Company and its Board free from court supervision.

News & Resources

Events & Speaking Engagements

Privacy & Technology Commerce Breakfast Briefing
Construction Insurance Seminar

Select Presentations

  • Presented at numerous Minnesota and nationally-broadcasted CLEs concerning various issues, including Non-Disclosure Agreements in litigation, common insurance issues in construction cases, allocation of risk through insurance, indemnification clauses, ethical issues in managing an insurance claim, and interpretation of insurance policies.
  • Authored chapter entitled "Policy Interpretation/Rules of Construction" for the Fourth Edition of the Minnesota Insurance Law Deskbook (2011), and its 2013 update.
  • Co-authored upcoming chapter on Cyber Liability Insurance for Minnesota Insurance Law Deskbook.

Industries & Practices

  • Commercial Litigation
  • Construction & Design
  • Construction Litigation
  • Energy
  • Food, Beverage & Agribusiness
  • Health Care
  • Health Litigation
  • Insurance Law
  • Mining & Natural Resources

Professional & Civic

Professional Achievements

  • Member, Minnesota State Bar Association
  • Member, Hennepin County Bar Association
  • Member, American Bar Association
  • Senior Editor, CGL Reporter Editorial Board
  • Member, Minnesota Women Lawyers
  • Member, Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services, Campaign for Legal Aid, Urban Leadership Committee
  • Member, Board of Sabathani Community Center
  • Volunteer Investigator, Fourth Judicial District Ethics Committee, Hennepin County Bar Association

Accolades

  • Named a "Rising Star" by Minnesota Super Lawyers, 2007-2009, 2013

North Star Lawyer logo

  • MSBA North Star Lawyer, 2012-2017
Katie Pfeifer