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Litigation

Woods Fuller has a deep bench of litigators, with a variety of specialized experience. If a dispute arises, our attorneys will guide you through your options, from mediation, settlement and arbitration, to proceeding with a trial.

Who we work with:

  • Individuals
  • Professionals
  • Contractors
  • Creditors
  • Suppliers
  • Insurers
  • Private and public companies
  • Employers
  • Corporate and individual trustees
  • Manufacturers and producers
  • Farmers and ranchers
  • Local and state government entities

How we can help:

Appellate Practice

Although many cases do not end after trial or a summary judgment, an appeal often requires skills distinct from handling the rest of the case.  Woods Fuller has a number of lawyers with expertise in appellate practice, and the firm has been involved in many landmark decisions in the South Dakota Supreme Court and the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.  The firm's appellate practice extends to the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court.  

An appeal may be the last phase in any kind of litigation.  While it can arise in any kind of case, an appeal requires experience and special skills.  We have decades of experience successfully handling appeals before the South Dakota Supreme Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court.  

Bankruptcy/Creditor Litigation

Woods Fuller has lawyers with exceptional expertise and experience over the entire spectrum of creditor rights including:  

Bankruptcy

We have successfully represented a major secured creditor in nearly every significant Chapter 11 South Dakota bankruptcy for the previous three decades. These multi-million dollar cases have involved dairies, ethanol plants, credit card companies, potato growers, meat-processing plants, large farms and ranches, implement dealers, fixed-base operations, land developers, motels, and restaurants. These complex cases have required orchestrating Section 363 sales, negotiating Section 364 credit agreements, filing and confirming liquidation plans, and defending cash collateral motions. Our lawyers also have extensive experience representing creditors in Chapter 7, Chapter 12 and Chapter 13 cases. Our background includes trials in bankruptcy court and appeals to the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel and the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Commercial Workouts

In addition to representing creditors in bankruptcy, the firm helps creditors with troubled loans negotiate alternatives.  We analyze problem loans and work on resolutions short of foreclosure and bankruptcy.

Foreclosures/State Court Remedies

In addition to representing creditor clients in bankruptcy court and workout negotiations, we regularly pursue real-estate and personal-property foreclosures in state court as well as collections, garnishments, receiverships, and related creditor issues. 

Lender Liability 

We have extensive experience defending financial institutions and their officers in lender-liability cases tried to juries and related appeals in state and federal court.  

Business

Our business litigators have the expertise to handle many types of business and commercial disputes across several industries. Our experience includes:

  • Breach of contract
  • Breach of warranty
  • Uniform Commercial Code (UCC)
  • Business torts
  • Trade secrets
  • Intellectual property
  • Non-compete covenants
  • Trust and estate disputes
  • Will contests
  • Tax disputes
  • Fraud and misrepresentation
  • Securities fraud
  • Partner and shareholder disputes
  • Banking disputes
  • Collections
  • Construction and property issues

 We represent clients ranging from individuals to large corporations and our attorneys are licensed in South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa and Nebraska to represent clients in state and federal courts throughout the region. 

Construction

We handle all aspects of construction matters for owners, contractors, architects, engineers, material suppliers, and subcontractors. We draft construction contracts for private and public projects.

We have experienced construction lawyers, whether in trial, mediation, or arbitration.

We are thoroughly versed in construction contracts, mechanics liens, builder’s risk insurance, construction bonds, defective workmanship, and governmental requirements. 

Employment

Even effective risk management may not avoid employment-related litigation.  We have extensive experience handling employment disputes before administrative agencies, trial courts - both state and federal, and on appeal.  Woods Fuller lawyers have handled discrimination claims based on age, sex, and religion; wage and hour claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act; harassment claims; ERISA claims; wrongful discharge claims; claims involving non-compete and non-solicitation agreements, and the theft or wrongful disclosure of confidential or proprietary information, including trade secrets; claims of breach of fiduciary duty, self-dealing, or misappropriation of a corporate opportunity, and other breach of contract claims.  

Government Liability

No law firm in South Dakota has more experience in defending claims against governmental entities.  Woods Fuller lawyers have represented townships, counties, municipalities, and the state in contract and tort-related litigation.  We have represented governmental employees in both state and federal courts.  We have extensive experience and knowledge of constitutional claims brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.  

Insurance

Woods Fuller has a long history with all aspects of insurance law.  We have represented insurers in bad-faith claims and other claims alleging improper claims handling practices.  We have represented insurers in first-party claims involving uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage.  We have handled matters involving many aspects of insurance coverage, including commercial liability coverage, property coverage, farm and ranch liability coverages, errors and omissions policies, all varieties of professional malpractice coverage, life, accident, and disability coverage, and ERISA claims.  

Mediation/Alternate Dispute Resolution

Often a first step in settling disputes, alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation or arbitration, can save time and money as well as keeping issues outside of the courts. 

We analyze the case thoroughly and advise clients when and to what extent they should engage in mediation or arbitration.  Armed with firsthand information and having years of experience with the approach of mediators in this area, we can identify who is best able to get a satisfactory outcome.

Intellectual Property

Woods Fuller has a full-service intellectual-property practice. Protect your idea, your invention, and your business identity. We have experienced patent, trademark, copyright, licensing, and litigation professionals to help start-ups, individuals, and industry leaders.

We are able to search state, federal and international patent and trademark records to determine if your intellectual property is unique and how best to protect it - on a national or worldwide basis. We will handle all the filings and registration requirements to protect your intellectual property.

We will further help you protect your intellectual property with confidentiality agreements, non-disclosure agreements, employee policies, and other techniques to guard your confidential information.

We will help maximize the value of your intellectual property through licensing agreements. Our experienced legal counsel can also help you license the intellectual property of others.

We have the experience to handle all types of intellectual-property disputes. Our attorneys regularly handle trade secret, patent, trademark, and copyright infringement matters for both plaintiffs and defendants. Our lawyers represent clients in trial courts throughout the region, the Federal Circuit, and the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.

Intellectual property law is rapidly changing. The internet and social media create issues never before encountered like domain name disputes, web content disputes, and other disputes developing on the forefront of technology. At Woods Fuller, we are abreast of the latest intellectual property developments.

Personal Injury

Whether you are defending against a personal injury claim or are an injured party, Woods Fuller can help.

Our strong litigation attorneys often defend personal injury claims arising from auto accidents, slips and falls, or any other tort litigation.  From small claims to multimillion dollar catastrophic injury and death claims, clients rely on our legal and courtroom skills.

While often defense-oriented, we also represent injured plaintiffs in need of legal assistance.  Our attorneys work hard to recover appropriate compensation from a negligent party.

Product Liability

Woods Fuller attorneys have defended local and national clients in cases involving pharmaceutical and medical devices, including antidepressants and other prescription drug products, hip implant devices, and breast implants; fixed wing aircraft and helicopters; railroads; farm equipment; herbicides, pesticides, and chemicals; trailers; tires; lumber; fans; and motorcycles and other recreational vehicles.  We can manage your case to conclusion through mediation, arbitration, or trial. 

Professional Liability

Woods Fuller lawyers handle all sorts of professional liability cases.  In addition to medical and legal malpractice cases, we have represented architects, accountants, engineers, and other professionals.  Having access to and the ability to collaborate in each of their areas helps us manage your case, in and out of the courtroom. 

Property Disputes

Your property interests represent a significant financial investment. Our experienced real estate attorneys protect your rights and investment during disputes that may involve family, friends, or neighbors. We have litigated property disputes over encroachments, boundaries, access, title issues, zoning matters, and landlord tenant disputes.  

Woods Fuller has significant experience in the law of eminent domain. We have represented not only land owners whose property is being condemned, but has represented public and private condemning authorities as well, including the State of South Dakota, cities and counties, railroads, utilities, and pipeline operations.  We can handle all aspects of a case, including regulatory issues, voluntary land requisition, and if necessary, trial.  Our practice includes experience in diverse condemnation cases.  

State and Federal Agency Disputes and Claims

The Regulatory and Administrative Law group at Woods Fuller provides extensive depth and diversity of experience to address a wide range of issues critical to clients' business needs.  Agencies and regulations at the state and federal levels impact virtually every aspect of the business world.  Our attorneys bring a wealth of proven results and practical knowledge to your regulatory matters, including years of service on state boards and in other government agencies.  This record of proven results has also resulted in extensive representation of state and local government agencies.  

Woods Fuller attorneys are trusted by our clients with many types of regulatory proceedings, including contested case hearings, regulatory appeals, regulatory advocacy, government permits, professional licensure, and tax matters, to name a few.  As part of this work, our attorneys have appeared before numerous state and federal agencies, including: 

·         U.S. Department of Agriculture

  • U.S. Department of Energy
  • South Dakota Department of Transportation 
  • South Dakota Public Utilities Commission
  • South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources
  • South Dakota Division of Insurance
  • South Dakota Department of Revenue
  • South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation
  • South Dakota Board of Dentistry
  • South Dakota Board of Nursing
  • South Dakota Board of Medical and Osteopathic Examiners

In addition, we have longstanding relationships in South Dakota and have worked closely with the Governor's Office of Economic Development, the Division of Securities, the Department of Agriculture, and the Department of Corrections, again to name a few.  As one of South Dakota's oldest and largest law firms, Woods Fuller has the resources, relationships, and experience to effectively represent clients with any regulatory or administrative law matters.  

Trust and Estate Litigation

A good estate plan is intended to avoid or minimize the chance of litigation.  When conflicts do arise, our litigators work with our trust and estate lawyers to resolve cases as efficiently as possible.  We work with corporate and individual trustees, beneficiaries, or creditors in cases involving will contents, undue influence claims, challenges to personal representatives, and other matters of trust administration.  

Workers' Compensation Litigation

Woods Fuller attorneys represent numerous companies and individuals in this specialized field. Effective representation requires that attorneys have a strong working knowledge of the relevant statutes and authorities governing whether the claim is old or new. Our lawyers work with both insurers and self-insured employers throughout the State of South Dakota to analyze claims and consult on the fair and reasonable settlement value for workers’ compensation claims. Similarly, when an injured worker needs help, Woods Fuller attorneys are ready. If a claim cannot be reasonably resolved, we have been highly successful presenting our client’s cases to the courts.

An unrepresented worker’s compensation carrier settling its lien interest in a claimant’s action against a third-party tortfeasor runs a risk of not getting full value out of its statutory lien. Our workers’ compensation lawyers have the expertise necessary to guard the interests of insurers and self-insured employers in the course of a claimant’s settlement with the tortfeasor.

Old cases, run off claims and the like require technical insight and experience. Woods Fuller attorneys are accustomed to advising insurers and third party administrators on the strategies available to conclude such files favorably. Call or write us with your questions.

Click here to access the firm's Workers' Compensation Quick Reference Guide.

William G. Beck

William G. Beck

  • 24 years experience
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IA, NE, SD

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Melanie L. Carpenter

Melanie L. Carpenter

  • 25 years experience
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SD

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Roger W. Damgaard

Roger W. Damgaard

  • 35 years experience
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SD

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Joel E. Engel III

Joel E. Engel III

  • 7 years experience
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MN, ND, SD

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Jordan J. Feist

Jordan J. Feist

  • 4 years experience
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MN, ND, SD

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Aron Hogden

Aron Hogden

  • 3 years experience
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SD

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J. Vincent Jones

J. Vincent Jones

  • 15 years experience
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MN, SD

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Seth A. Lopour

Seth A. Lopour

  • 1 years experience
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SD

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James E. Moore

James E. Moore

  • 28 years experience
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SD

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Sander J. Morehead

Sander J. Morehead

  • 14 years experience
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IA, SD, 8th Circuit of Appeals, Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, South Dakota Bankruptcy Court, South Dakota Federal District Court, South Dakota Supreme Court

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Shelly Munson

Shelly Munson

  • 13 years experience
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SD

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Kristine Kreiter O’Connell

Kristine Kreiter O’Connell

  • 26 years experience
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SD

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Tim R. Shattuck

Tim R. Shattuck

  • 27 years experience
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8th Circuit of Appeals, Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, South Dakota State and Federal Courts, United States Court of Federal Claims

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J.G. Shultz

J.G. Shultz

  • 36 years experience
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SD

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Ryan W. Snell

Ryan W. Snell

  • 16 years experience
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IA, NE, SD

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Gary P. Thimsen

Gary P. Thimsen

  • 43 years experience
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SD, 8th Circuit of Appeals, US Supreme Court

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Jennifer L. Van Anne

Jennifer L. Van Anne

  • 19 years experience
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SD

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Alexis A. Warner

Alexis A. Warner

  • 2 years experience
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SD

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