James L. Fetterly



  • Practice focuses in the area of civil litigation matters including major fire litigation, construction litigation and mass disaster litigation.
  • Personally handled litigation matters in over 44 states in both the federal and state courts in the United States.
  • Lead counsel in a number of major mass disaster matters including fires, mines and chemical company explosions.
  • Served as guest lecturer for various legal and insurance organizations and others concerned with the subject of fire litigation.
  • Worked in conjunction with nationally recognized testing facilities including the University of California at Berkeley, Southwest Research, Borehamwood Laboratories in England, Battelle Institute and the ATF Laboratories in Maryland.

Represented a child who was severely injured due to smoke detector failure in a home fire. Loss occurred in Montgomery County, Maryland.  Confidentially settled before trial.  This is one of several cases the firm has handled against the manufacturer, First Alert/BRK.

MGM and Hilton hotel fires in Las Vegas, Nevada

Sunshine Mine disaster in Kellogg, Idaho

Terra Chemical Company explosion in Sioux City, Iowa (Prior to joining Robins Kaplan LLP)

San Juan DuPont Plaza Hotel fire that took 97 lives and involved several hundred injury claims in Puerto Rico. (Prior to joining Robins Kaplan LLP)

Wabasso Mills fire loss, Trois-Rivieres, Quebec

Muttart Lumber fire loss, Edmonton, Alberta

Milliken Mills fire loss, LaGrange, Georgia (Prior to joining Robins Kaplan LLP)

Holiday Inn fire, Kearney, Nebraska

Lockwood Warehouse fire, Houston, Texas (Prior to joining Robins Kaplan LLP)

Provident National Bank fire, Providence, Rhode Island

St. Cloud gas explosion, St. Cloud, Minnesota

Texas Eastern LNG gas tank fire, Staten Island, New York

Various MDL litigation matters involving Dow Chemical Company, Celotex

Class actions involving the Ford Motor Company, Edina Realty, Koch Industries, and BRK Brands (Prior to joining Robins Kaplan LLP)

Super Lawyers 2018
  • "Minneapolis Product Liability Litigation - Plaintiffs Lawyer of the Year," Best Lawyers (2013)
  • Listed in The Best Lawyers in America (2010-2021 editions)
  • Named a “Minnesota Super Lawyer,” Super Lawyers (2004-2018)
Bar Admissions
  • Minnesota
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, First Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Wisconsin
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Wisconsin
  • University of Wisconsin Law School, J.D.
  • Lawrence University, B.A.
Professional Associations
  • American Bar Association
  • American Law Firm Association
  • Defense Research Institute
  • Federation of Insurance and Corporate Counsel
  • Minnesota State Bar Association
  • Trial Lawyers of America

  • Media appearances on national news shows such as NBC Dateline, ABC 20/20, Canadian television and a half hour special with Jules Bergman titled “On Fire.”

  • Triumphing Over Failure: Sharing Lessons from Minnesota’s Accomplished Attorneys
    The newer lawyers committees and sections of the Federal Bar Association, Minnesota State Bar Association, Hennepin County Bar Association, and Minnesota Women Lawyers, Minneapolis, Minnesota (May 9, 2019)
  • Identifying Trade Secrets and Creating a Workable and Rational Trade Secrets Program
    (January 1, 2010)
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