Larry Espel founded the law firm with Cliff Greene in 1993. Our most sophisticated clients ask Larry to serve as lead counsel in their high-stakes, complex disputes.

Larry's well-reputed practice includes federal and state litigation in Minnesota and throughout the country. It has involved class actions and multi-district lawsuits, arbitration, and administrative proceedings to resolve commercial, environmental, construction, products liability, and telecommunications disputes.

Larry is an experienced mediator and arbitrator, and was a Certified Civil Trial Specialist for 30 years. He has has published articles and lectures in the fields of contracts, construction law, environmental litigation, and products liability.

Representative Experience

CLASS ACTIONS

  • Sanders v. Ashland Inc. and Marathon Ashland Petroleum, LLC, (D. Minn.). Lead trial counsel for class action involving approximately 4,500 households in neighborhoods surrounding refinery and tank farm with allegations of personal injury and property damage and devaluation. Claims settled for nominal amounts on eve of trial
  • In re Baxter Healthcare Corporation Gammagard® Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 95 1060 R (C.D. Calif.). Lead negotiator for class settlement in multi-district litigation with certified class of potentially thousands of recipients of immune globulin who have allegedly contracted hepatitis C.

COMMERCIAL LITIGATION 

  • TomKat Ltd. Ptrp. v. Vukobratovich. Successful trial result following failed business arrangement having to do with gated vacation properties
  • City of Wheaton EDA v. Bank of the West. Settlement achieving cancellation of loans issued without statutory authority
  • Schaaf v. Residential Funding Corporation, et al, 517 F.3rd 544 (8th Cir. 2008). Defense of financial company and dismissal of class action by bond holder for insufficient loss causation
  • Hardin County Savings Bank v. City of Brainerd, __ F.Supp. 2d __ (N.D. Iowa 2008) (No. 08-CV-38-LRR). Defense of City and dismissal of claims by bond holder for insufficient loss causation
  • International Decision Systems v. GE Commercial Financial, File 27-CV-07-1767, Hennepin County. Defense of software customer on breach of contract claim and successful summary judgment order (Feb. 2008)
  • Crest v. Deloitte & Touche. Successful defense of accountants at trial of claims involving alleged errors in financial statements; and recovery of attorney fees for defense; affirmed in unpublished decision by Minnesota Court of Appeals, (Sept. 25. 2007) (A06-1230, A07-478, A06-1231); cert denied

CONSTRUCTION LITIGATION 

  • City of LaCrescent v. Yaggy Colby. Prosecution of indemnity claim against designed following multi-million loss. Settlement for amount in excess of policy limits
  • Foster Wheeler v. University of Minnesota. Represented owner in litigation involving breach of $100,000,000 design build construction contract and 25-year steam supply management agreement. Case settled on eve of trial after successful motions for pretrial summary judgment
  • Casino Entertainment Corporation v. Cuningham Hamilton Quiter Architects. (Arbitration). Successfully defended architect in a three-week arbitration against claims for $7,000,000 arising out of costs over owner’s budget

ENVIRONMENTAL LITIGATION 

  • Minnesota Pollution Control Agency v. ASIG, (Agency investigation). Successful defense of company and dismissal of notice of violation triggered by surveillance videos
  • Soo Line v. Ashland, (D. Minn.). Defense of chemical company in litigation relating to former tenancy on edge of large railroad property for site involving soil and ground water contamination; assistance in negotiating participation in voluntary remediation program
  • Minnesota Pollution Control Agency v. Koch Petroleum Group, (Agency investigation). Represented company in investigation prompted by whistle-blowers and successfully negotiated comprehensive, multi-media settlement agreement
  • United States v. Millennium Inorganic Chemicals, Inc., et al. Represented company with two large facilities in multiple mediations, arbitrations, lawsuits and settlements involving adjoining properties, indemnity issues, successor owners, response actions, joint interim and permanent funding agreements, natural resource damage allegations and many other issues in one of the oldest superfund sites in the nation in Ohio, involving multiple neighboring industries on a stream that empties into a river and eventually Lake Erie

 

Admissions

  • U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota
  • State Bar of Minnesota

Professional & Community Affiliations

  • Hennepin County Bar Association, Past Chair, Finance Committee, Board of Directors

Thought Leadership

PUBLICATIONS

  • Pretrial Preparation, Federal District of Minnesota Civil Practice Deskbook (February 2014)
  • Chair, How to Litigate a Case in Minnesota State Court, Minnesota CLE (updated, October 2013)
  • Pretrial Preparation, Minnesota Deskbook on Civil Trial Practice (March 2014)
  • Causation and Experts in Toxic Tort Cases — The Tension between Science and LawExpert Witnesses, ABA Litigation Section (1991)
  • Knowledge of Intermediary as a Defense in Duty to Warn Cases, Products Liability Reporter, Vol. 17, No. 42, 1029 (1989)
  • Liability and Loss Allocation for Economic Losses in Construction Litigation,13 William Mitchell L. Rev. 81 (1987)

TEACHING AND LECTURING 

  • Presenter – Pre-Trial Preparations, Federal Practice Seminar, Minnesota CLE (February 25-26, 2014)
  • Chair, How to Litigate a Case in Minnesota State Court, Minnesota State Bar Association Continuing Legal Education (October 2, 2013)
  • Hot Topics in Attorney-Client Privilege for In-House Counsel, Minnesota CLE (February 16, 2011)
  • Chair, How to Litigate a Case in Minnesota State Court, Minnesota State Bar Association Continuing Legal Education (March 3, 2011)

Recognition

  • Named Local Litigation Star - Minnesota, Benchmark Litigation, The Guide to America's Leading Firms and Attorneys (2010-2018)
  • Selected to Super Lawyers list, Minnesota Super Lawyers (2003-2017)
  • Winner of The Hennepin County Pro Bono Publico Award For Excellence By An Attorney in the Private Sector (2015)
  • Recognized as Minnesota State Bar Association North Star Lawyer for Pro Service (2012-2015)
  • Selected to list of the "Top 40 Business Litigation Super Lawyers," Minnesota Journal of Law and Politics (2009)
  • Distinguished Service Award, Children's Law Center (2006)

 

News

Practice Areas


Education

J.D., University of Minnesota Law School, magna cum laudeOrder of the Coif (1977); Editor, Minnesota Law Review

B.A., Augustana College, cum laude (1973)


Experience

Popham, Haik, Schnobrich & Kaufman, Ltd., Minneapolis, Minnesota, Shareholder (1984-1993); Chair of Litigation Department (1989-1991); Executive Committee (1992); Joined firm in 1978

Law Clerk, United States District Court, District of Minnesota, The Honorable Earl R. Larson (1977-1978)