Tara D. Sutton


Tara Sutton

Tara D. Sutton


Chair, National Mass Tort Group
Tara Sutton


Trial practice focusing on representing individuals, governments and tribal nations harmed by defective products and fraudulent conduct, including:

  • Lead Trial Counsel for State of Minnesota in litigation against Juul and Altria for unlawfully targeting young people with their products, 27-CV-19-19888, Fourth Judicial District, State of Minnesota.
  • Tribal Leadership Committee In re: National Prescription Opiate Litigation, MDL No. 2804 (E.D. Ohio)
  • Member of Law and Briefing Committee In re: National Prescription Opiate Litigation, MDL No. 2804 (E.D. Ohio)
  • Court-appointed settlement counsel in Abilify Multi-District Litigation, MDL No. 2734 (N.D.Fl.)
  • Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee and Co-Chair of Plaintiffs’ Science and Expert Committee, Benicar Multi-District Litigation, MDL No. 2606 (D.N.J.)
  • Member, Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee, New Jersey Consolidated Stryker Rejuvenate Hip Stem and ABGII Modular Hip Stem Litigation.
  • Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee and Chair of Plaintiffs’ Science and Expert Committee, Chantix Multi-District Litigation, MDL No. 2092 (N.D.Ala.)
  • Lead Counsel and Liaison Counsel in Mirapex Multi-District Litigation, MDL No. 1836 (D.Minn.)
  • Member, Law and Motions Committee, DePuy ASR Multi-District Litigation.
  • Member, Science Committee and Discovery Committee, Vioxx Multi-District Litigation.

State of Minnesota v. Juul Labs, Inc. et al., Case No. 27-CV-19-19888: Lead trial counsel in the State of Minnesota litigation against e-cigarette manufacturer JUUL and Altria for deceptively marketing tobacco products and targeting Minnesota’s youth. After a three-week trial, which settled prior to closing arguments, JUUL and Altria were ordered to pay a total of $60.5 million to the State of Minnesota over an eight-year period. This settlement is the largest per capita of all 48 states and territories that have settled with JUUL. Minnesota was the first state in the nation to go to trial.

In Re: National Prescription Opiate Litigation, MDL No. 2804, Case No. 17-md-02804: Represented 28 Tribal Nations asserting that the manufacturers of prescription opioids grossly misrepresented the risks of long-term use of those drugs for persons with chronic pain, and distributors failed to properly monitor suspicious orders of those prescription drugs, all of which contributed to the current opioid epidemic. Robins Kaplan obtained a historic first in Tribal Government litigation, with a total of $1.5 billion in settlements obtained on behalf of the Tribal Nations.

Member of plaintiffs’ negotiating committee in Benicar litigation that resulted in a settlement fund of $358 million.

Represented clients in the New Jersey Multi-County Stryker Rejuvenate and ABG II Modular Hip Stem litigation, including two Plaintiffs who resolved their cases through the NJ Court’s bellwether mediation program. Assisted in developing a global settlement program for both the multi-county litigation and the federal multi-district litigation, a program valued at over $1 billion.

Lead counsel in Daubert proceedings in Abilify, Chantix, and Mirapex product liability litigations, successfully defeating defendants’ challenges to plaintiffs’ scientific experts on causation

Lead trial counsel in Charbonneau v. Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Pfizer, Inc. Represented plaintiffs in first Mirapex products liability bellwether trial. On July 30, 2008, jury returned a verdict in favor of plaintiffs for $8,279,300, including $7.8 million in punitive damages for failing to warn of risk of compulsive behaviors, including pathological gambling, from the Parkinson’s drug Mirapex.

Lead trial counsel in Zwayer v. Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Pfizer, Inc. Represented plaintiffs in second Mirapex bellwether trial. Case was confidentially settled prior to closing argument.

Confidentially settled more than 280 Mirapex cases represented by Robins Kaplan LLP during Fall of 2008.

Lead trial counsel in first two Chantix MDL bellwether trials; confidentially settled prior to trial, leading to settlement of entire MDL.

Trial counsel, State of Minnesota and Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Minnesota v. Philip Morris, et al. In May 1998, the case settled after a four month trial when Tobacco Companies agreed to pay the State and Blue Cross & Blue Shield more than $6.6 billion.

Top Women In Law Logo 2023
Chambers USA
Best Lawyers Lawyer of the Year Tara Sutton
Twin Cities Business Notable Partners in Law 2022
Super Lawyers Tara Sutton
Lawdragon 2021 500 Leading Lawyers
Americas Top 100 High Stakes Litigators 2020
America's Top 100 Attorneys Lifetime Achievement
Lawyer of the Year
Lawyer of the Year Tara Sutton
2015 Women Worth Watching
Best Law Firms 2015
Northstar Lawyer
  • Named a "Lawdragon Legend," Lawdragon (2024)
  • Shortlisted for “Products Liability Lawyer of the Year,” Euromoney (2024)
  • Named a "Litigation Trailblazer," The National Law Journal (2017, 2023)
  • Named to "Inaugural Top Women in Law Class," Minnesota Lawyer (2023)
  • Named a "Litigation Star," Benchmark Litigation (2013, 2024 editions)
  • Named to the "Top 50 Women Super Lawyers," Minnesota Super Lawyer (2010, 2017-2020, 2023)
  • Listed in The Best Lawyers in America (2016-2024 editions)
  • Listed in "500 Leading Lawyers in America," Lawdragon (2016-2024)
  • Listed in "500 Leading Plaintiff Consumer Lawyers", Lawdragon (2023-2024)
  • Named a "Leading Practitioner in Products Liability," Chambers USA (2022-2023)
  • Named a "Minnesota Super Lawyer,” Super Lawyers (2009-2023)
  • Recognized by Best Lawyers as the Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Plaintiffs “Lawyer of the Year” in Minneapolis (2016, 2018, 2020, 2023 editions)
  • Shortlisted for “Product Liability Lawyer of the Year,” Euromoney (2023)
  • Named an "Attorney of the Year," Minnesota Lawyer (2022-2023)
  • Named a "Notable Partner in Law," Twin Cities Business (2022)
  • Named "MVP of the Year" in Product Liability, Law360 (2015, 2017, 2022)
  • Named to the "Top 100 Minnesota Super Lawyers," Super Lawyers (2018-2020)
  • Named as one of the “Elite Women of the Plaintiff’s Bar,” National Law Journal (2018)
  • Presidents Award, Public Justice Foundation (2018)
  • Named a "North Star Lawyer" by the Minnesota State Bar Association for providing at least 50 hours of pro bono legal services (2013-2017)
  • Named "Outstanding Women Lawyer," The National Law Journal (2015)
  • Recipient of the "Women in Business Award," Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal (2015)
  • Named "Woman Worth Watching," Profiles in Diversity Journal (September/October 2014)
  • Named "Female Powerbroker," Law360 (March 5, 2014)
  • Named "Plaintiff Top 150 Women in Litigation," Benchmark Litigation (2013)
  • Named to the "Top 100 Women Minnesota Super Lawyers," Minnesota Law & Politics (2009)
  • "Member of the Year" award from the Minnesota Trial Lawyers Association in recognition of work performed during the tobacco litigation.
  • "Newsmakers '98" award from the Minnesota Women’s Press in recognition of extraordinary action taken in the public arena during 1998 that promotes equality, justice and respect for women.
  • Named "40 Under 40" by City Business (2000)
  • Public Justice Foundation, a public interest law firm, which pursues high impact lawsuits to combat social and economic injustice, protect the Earth’s sustainability, and challenges predatory corporate conduct and government abuses; Board of Directors (2010-present), Executive Committee (2012-present), Secretary (2013-2014), Treasurer (2014-2015), Vice President (2015-2016), President-Elect (2016-2017), President (2017-2018), Past President (2018)
  • Children's Theatre Company; Board of Governors (2011-2018)
Bar Admissions
  • Minnesota
  • U.S. District Court, District of Colorado
  • U.S. District Court, Minnesota
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Missouri
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit
  • University of Iowa College of Law, J.D., with honors (1992)
  • University of Iowa, B.S., with high honors
Professional Associations
  • American Association for Justice (formerly the Association of Trial Lawyers of America)
  • American Bar Association
  • American Bar Foundation, Fellow
  • Federal Bar Association, Minnesota Chapter; Co-Chair, Mass Tort, Multi-District Litigation, and Class Action Practice Group
  • Firm’s Professional Development Committee, Co-Chair (2004-2005)
  • Hennepin County Bar Association
  • Journal of Corporation Law, University of Iowa, Editorial Board (2018) 
  • Litigation Counsel of America
  • Minnesota Association for Justice (formerly Minnesota Trial Lawyers Association), Board of Governors
  • Minnesota State Bar Association
  • Minnesota Women Lawyers
  • Public Citizen
  • The Sedona Conference Working Group on Protective Orders, Confidentiality & Public Access (Spring 2004)

  • Guest Lecturer
    SMU School of Law, Dallas, Texas (March 18, 2024)
  • Understanding the Historic Minnesota vs. JUUL Lawsuit Settlement
    Minnesota State Bar Association, Webinar (October 3, 2023)
  • Messaging Your Case for the Jury and the Media
    Robins Kaplan LLP 2022 Trial Advocacy Seminar, Minneapolis, Minnesota (December 15, 2022)
  • Benicar Settlement Update
    Mass Torts Made Perfect, Las Vegas, Nevada (October 20, 2017)
  • Benicar Litigation Sprue Like Enteropathy
    Mass Torts Made Perfect, Las Vegas, Nevada (October 21, 2016)
  • Benicar Litigation Sprue Like Enteropathy
    Mass Torts Made Perfect, Las Vegas, Nevada (October 21, 2016)
  • Consumer Watchdogs Drug and Device Litigation
    Robins Kaplan Trial Advocacy Seminar, Minneapolis, Minnesota (October 13, 2016)
  • Benicar Litigation
    Mass Torts Made Perfect, Las Vegas, Nevada (October 16, 2015)
  • Benicar Litigation
    American Association for Justice, Montreal, Canada (July 14, 2015)
  • Stryker Rejuvenate and ABG II Litigation Update
    AAJ Annual Convention, Montreal Canada (July 11, 2015)
  • Benicar Litigation
    Panel, Minnesota Association for Justice, Minneapolis, Minnesota (May 15, 2015)
  • American Association for Justice Education
    Plaintiff-Only Hot Topics and Trends in Litigation Seminar, Benicar Presentation, San Diego, California (March 25, 2015)
  • Benicar Litigation Group Meeting
    AAJ Winter Convention, Palm Desert CA (February 24, 2015)
  • American Association for Justice Education’s Stryker Seminar
    New York, New York (December 11, 2014)
  • American Association for Justice Education’s
    Plaintiff-Only Hot Topics and Trends in Litigation Seminar, Benicar Presentation, Charleston, South Carolina (December 3, 2014)
  • Mass Tort Update
    Minnesota Association for Justice Summer Convention, Alexandria, Minnesota (August 15, 2014)
  • Stryker Rejuvenate and ABGII Litigation Update
    American Association for Justice Annual Convention, Baltimore, Maryland (July 26, 2014)
  • Stryker Rejuvenate and ABG II Hip Implant Litigation Group Meeting
    American Association for Justice Winter Convention, New Orleans, Louisiana (February 10, 2014)
  • 3 Topics How Can My Firm Participate in Mass Torts How to Get Started Hot Cases
    Minnesota Mass Torts Conference, St. Paul, Minnesota (December 3, 2013)
  • DaubertFrye Motions in Product Liability Litigation
    Webinar, Strafford (November 5, 2013)
  • Opening Statements
    Ohio Association for Justice, Colorado Trial Lawyers Association, and Workers' Injury Law & Advocacy Group, Steamboat Springs, Colorado (March 11, 2013)
  • Hot Topics in Pharmaceutical Litigation
    Panel, AAJ's Section on Toxic, Environmental, and Pharmaceutical Torts (STEP), Chicago, Illinois (July 30, 2012)
  • Conference Co-Chair
    HB Litigation Conference: Food, Drug and Medical Device Litigation Forum, Minneapolis, Minnesota (April 23, 2012)
  • The Demise of Multidistrict Litigation: Myth or Reality?
    2012 American Association for Justice Winter Convention, Phoenix, Arizona (February 15, 2012)
  • Taking the Gamble out of Mass Tort Litigation: Jury Focus Groups and the Mirapex Litigation
    Minnesota Association for Justice, Alexandria, Minnesota (August 12, 2011)
  • AAJs Topamax Teleseminar: Injuries and Causation
    American Association for Justice (April 6, 2011)
  • Masters in Trial on Jury Persuasion
    American Board of Trial Advocates, Columbus, Ohio (September 10, 2010)
  • Focus Groups and Development of Themes in the Mirapex Case
    American Association for Justice Annual Convention, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada (July 13, 2010)
  • Preemption in a Post-Levine World
    Minnesota Association for Justice, Alexandria, Minnesota (August 14, 2009)
  • Obstacles to Justice
    Iowa Association for Justice Annual Meeting (November 6, 2008)
  • So You Are in Federal Court Now What
    MTLA Summer Convention (August 9, 2007)
  • Protecting the Public Health Scientific Integrity at Risk
    13th Trial Advocacy Seminar (October 26, 2006)
  • Top 10 Cases You Never Saw Coming-Recognizing Mass Torts
    South Dakota Trial Lawyers Association, 2006 Fall Seminar (September 6, 2006)
  • Defective Drug and Medical Device Litigation
    MTLA Annual Convention (August 12, 2006)
  • Commencement Speech
    Hamline University, Paralegal Studies Certificate Program (May 16, 2003)
  • Formulating a Discovery Plan in Complex Business Litigation Cases
    MILE Complex Business Litigation Seminar (March 20, 2001)
  • Where Theres Smoke Theres Fire An Insiders View of the Minnesota Tobacco Litigation
    Association of University Women, Minneapolis, Minnesota (May 26, 1999)
November 16, 2023
2023 Trial Advocacy Seminar
Know Your Story. Tell Your Story.
December 15, 2022
2022 Trial Advocacy Seminar
2022 Trial Advocacy Seminar
Minneapolis, MN
October 1, 2020
November 18, 2014