Vanessa J. Szalapski

Vanessa J. Szalapski



No matter the challenge, clients depend on Vanessa to quickly understand the issues and tenaciously advocate on their behalf to successfully resolve their disputes.

Vanessa is a partner in Dorsey’s Health Litigation Group. Her practice focuses on litigation in the healthcare industry, including general commercial, medical malpractice, ERISA, and civil rights litigation. Vanessa also has significant experience advising and running internal and external fraud investigations in the financial services sector, as well as experience in general commercial, shareholder, and trust litigation in state and federal courts across the country.

Vanessa also maintains an active pro bono practice representing healthcare and other non-profits in litigation and 501(c)(3) applications as well as assisting low-income individuals with expungement applications.

Education & Admissions

Northwestern University School of Law (J.D., 2014), magna cum laude; Order of the Coif

Dartmouth College (B.A., French and English, 2010), cum laude; with honors; Lawrence and Sheila Harvey Prize for outstanding growth in French language and literature; James O. Freedman Presidential Scholar; Inducted into the Wearers of the Green, Dartmouth College Athletic Hall of Fame


  • Minnesota
  • District of Minnesota


  • French


Representative Work

Healthcare Litigation

  • Won full defense verdict for Mayo Clinic after just 19 minutes of jury deliberations following a week-long medical malpractice trial.
  • Achieved order denying class-certification on behalf of pharmacy benefit manager in ERISA putative class-action alleging breaches of fiduciary duty related to certain high priced drugs.
  • Won summary judgment on behalf of third-party administrator in ERISA claim for benefits case and established for the first time that Minn. Stat. § 62Q.107 does not apply to self-funded ERISA healthcare plans.
  • Represent insurers in ERISA and breach of contract putative class actions. 
  • Represent health care entities in affirmative and defensive commercial litigation.
  • Won healthcare client $1.7 million arbitration award against a pharmacy for breach of contract and fraudulent prescription practices.
  • Achieved full dismissal of a putative class action for a Minnesota hospital.
  • Advised a healthcare insurance company on litigation risks associated with a new advertising campaign.
  • Represented healthcare clinic in lawsuit alleging improper disclosure of protected health information under the Minnesota Health Records Act.
  • Achieved full dismissal in a case brought against a Minnesota hospital alleging civil rights, constitutional, and discrimination claims.

Shareholder Litigation 

  • Advise clients on minority shareholder statutes and litigation.
  • Secured favorable settlements for minority shareholders alleging claims under Minnesota Business Corporation Act and common law.
  • Represent healthcare entities in minority shareholder disputes alleging claims. 
  • Represented closely held family-businesses in minority shareholder action. 
  • Obtained complete dismissal at the pleadings stage of a 10b-5 securities class action alleging false statements in connection with an acquisition.

Fraud Investigations

  • Advised financial services client's Investigations Team on internal fraud investigations.
  • Assisted and ran financial services client's external fraud investigations.

Trust Litigation

  • Secured full dismissal of all trustee breach of fiduciary duty claims in complex family trust and business case.
  • Won full defense verdict in breach of fiduciary duty lawsuit.
  • Successfully overturned district court's full denial of trustees' request for fees incurred in litigation, resulting in new law on standard for trustee fees in litigation under Minnesota's new Trust Code.

Other Litigation

  • Represent electric cooperative in breach of contract suit.
  • Won dismissal of a lawsuit and preliminary injunction motion brought by a trade association against an investor-owned utility seeking to prevent the utility from closing a biomass power generation facility.
  • Won full defense summary judgment order in False Claim Act qui tam action.
  • Achieved full dismissal of appeal to the Minnesota Court of Appeals and Petition to the Minnesota Supreme Court for failure to adhere to procedural requirements.
  • Achieved full dismissal of alleged shareholder's claims against parent company for lack of personal jurisdiction.
  • Achieved full indemnification settlement for a pro bono client in Minnesota state conciliation court.

News & Resources

Industries & Practices

  • Class Action Litigation
  • Cooperative Law
  • ERISA Litigation
  • Government Solutions & Investigations
  • Healthcare & Life Sciences
  • Healthcare Litigation
  • Securities & Financial Services Litigation & Enforcement
  • Trusts & Estates Litigation

Professional & Civic

Professional Achievements

Community Involvement

  • Gold Test Figure Skating Judge
  • President and Executive Board Member, Dartmouth Alumni Club of the Midwest
  • President and Board Member, Minnesota Figure Skating Scholarship Committee


  • Listed as a "Rising Star" by Minnesota Super Lawyers, 2022-2023
  • Named one of Minnesota Lawyer's Up & Coming Attorneys, 2021

     Contributed 50+ Pro Bono Hours in 2021 Contributed 50+ Pro Bono Hours in 2020

  • Contributed more than 50 Challenge pro bono hours, 2020-2021

     North Star Lawyer logo

  • MSBA North Star Lawyer, 2015-2018 and 2020
Vanessa J. Szalapski