Kirsten is a trial lawyer and partner in the Minneapolis office of Dorsey & Whitney whose practice focuses primarily on the financial services and healthcare industries. Kirsten represents ERISA benefit plan sponsors, administrators, and fiduciaries in both the retirement and health plan spaces. She has defended class action challenges to retirement plans, including stock drop, proprietary fund, and excessive fee cases, health plan claims for benefits, and provider-driven mass actions.
Kirsten represents financial services companies and other commercial clients in securities litigation, FINRA enforcement and litigation, shareholder disputes, and SEC, DOJ, and FINRA investigations. She has defended financial services clients in class actions relating to the sale of municipal derivatives, reverse convertible notes, and other sophisticated securities products. She has significant experience representing broker dealers and asset managers in internal investigations, regulatory inquiries, and FINRA arbitration, and has represented multiple companies and boards of directors in deal litigation. Kirsten has also handled complex trust and estate litigation matters, and regularly represents individual and commercial clients in other types of fiduciary and contract claims.
Kirsten has a nationwide practice and has appeared in matters pending in the District of Minnesota, Southern District of New York, Central District of California, and Southern District of Indiana; the Second, Seventh, and Eighth Circuits; Delaware Chancery Court; and state courts in Minnesota, California, Iowa, Michigan, New Jersey, and Florida, as well as in FINRA arbitration.
Kirsten has also devoted a significant portion of her practice to pursuing pro bono habeas claims on behalf of death row prisoners, refugees, and immigrant detainees. Kirsten was named the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota’s 2018 National Advocate of the Year for her work on behalf of a child refugee during the Trump Administration’s first travel ban.
Education & Admissions
University of Michigan Law School (J.D., 2006), Associate Editor, Michigan Telecommunications and Technology Law Review
University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire (B.A., 2003), magna cum laude
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
- U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota
- Multiple pro hac vice admissions, including Delaware Chancery Court, the U.S. District Courts for the Southern District of New York, Central District of California, the Southern District of Indiana, and multiple state courts
- Meiners v. Wells Fargo & Co., et al. Counsel for financial services company and other defendants in ERISA class action alleging breach of fiduciary duties relating to the inclusion of target date funds in 401(k) plan. Obtained dismissal with prejudice on Motion to Dismiss; appeal pending.
- Counsel for trustees of more than a dozen family trusts in 30 separate actions alleging breach of fiduciary duties in trust administration.
- Almont Ambulatory Care Center, et al. vs. UnitedHealth Group, Inc., et al. Counsel for health insurance company and over 250 self-funded employee benefit plans and employer sponsors in claims and counterclaims alleging benefits due, health care fraud, disability discrimination, and breach of fiduciary duty.
- Figas v. Wells Fargo & Co., et al. Counsel for defendants in ERISA class action alleging breach of fiduciary duties relating to investment options in 401(k) plan.
- Northwest Airlines, Inc. v. Phillips. Counsel for airline seeking declaration that post-bankruptcy Target Benefit Plan was not age discriminatory under the ADEA, ERISA, or state laws. Obtained summary judgment; affirmed on appeal to Eighth Circuit.
- In re Osteotech, Inc. Securities Litigation. Counsel for defendants in putative shareholder class action seeking to enjoin merger. Obtained dismissal of all claims.
- In re Municipal Derivatives Antitrust Litigation: Counsel for investment bank in multi-district litigation in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against a putative nationwide class of municipalities alleging antitrust violations relating to the sale of municipal derivatives.
- FINRA arbitrations. Counsel for major broker-dealer firms in numerous customer and industry arbitrations.
- ABD Consulting Services and Shinon Lindberg v. Chamberlain Capital and Paul Cameron. Counsel for investment company and its principal in suit brought by a former service provider relating to the construction and renovation of real property. Obtained dismissal of plaintiffs’ contract claims at motion to dismiss stage, successfully defended against plaintiffs’ motion to revive dismissed claims after discovery, obtained summary judgment in favor of defendants disposing of all of plaintiffs’ remaining claims, and successfully counterclaimed and obtained summary judgment for damages owed by plaintiffs. Case was not appealed.
- Minnesota Valley Regional Railroad Authority v. Hanson Communications. Counsel for defendants in declaratory judgment action brought by regional rail authority seeking to regulate telecommunication providers’ right to use public right of way. Obtained summary judgment in favor of defendants and dismissal of all claims.
- Terminal Transport v. Minnesota Insurance Guaranty Association. Counsel for defendant state guaranty fund in district court and regulatory actions regarding coverage of workers’ compensation claims under a high deductible policy. Obtained summary judgment in favor of all claims against defendants; unanimously affirmed on appeal.
- Feinwachs v. Minnesota Council of Health Plans. Counsel for defendant health insurance industry association against tortious interference and defamation claims. Obtained summary judgment and dismissal of all claims; affirmed on appeal.
- Webster v. Daniels. Pro bono counsel for intellectually disabled federal prisoner seeking review of death sentence under 28 U.S.C. 2241. Obtained Seventh Circuit en banc decision granting evidentiary hearing.
- Counsel for multiple non-citizens challenging unlawful prolonged detention practices and 2017 refugee ban.
News & Resources
News & Press Mentions
Events & Speaking Engagements
- Debriefing: The Supreme Court Arguments on Health Care Reform (April 2012)
- Retirement Plan Litigation: Lessons Learned and Challenges Ahead, Midwest Pension Conference (March 2011). See presentation material here.
Industries & Practices
- Banking & Financial Institutions
- Benefits & Compensation
- Blockchain & Digital Assets
- Class Action Litigation
- Commercial Litigation
- Corporate Governance & Compliance
- ERISA Litigation
- Financial Services Regulatory
- Government Enforcement & Corporate Investigations
- Healthcare Litigation
- Securities & Financial Services Litigation & Enforcement
- Tax Controversy & Litigation
- Trusts & Estates Litigation
Professional & Civic
- Named the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota’s 2018 National Advocate of the Year for her work on behalf of a child refugee during the Trump Administration’s first travel ban
- Received Dorsey’s 2015 Scales of Justice Award for outstanding achievement in her representation of an intellectually disabled death row inmate
- University of Minnesota Law School, Adjunct Associate Professor (Center for New Americans, Federal Immigration Litigation Clinic)