Fiduciary Litigation Attorneys

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Robins Kaplan fiduciary attorneys represent individuals and closely-held business clients in all disputes, including breach of fiduciary duty and settlement of complex trusts and estates. Our team of experienced attorneys has handled some of the most complex fiduciary litigation cases nationwide, and we pride ourselves on providing innovative solutions and successful outcomes for our clients.

Fiduciary litigation involves disputes related to a fiduciary's obligation to act in clients' best interest. Fiduciaries can include trustees, executors, agents, investment managers, and other professionals entrusted with asset management or decision-making authority. When fiduciaries breach their duty, it can result in significant financial losses for clients, which may require legal action to recover damages or seek injunctive or other equitable relief.

Our team understands that every case is different, and we tailor our approach accordingly. The firm also takes a proactive approach to resolving disputes before they reach the courtroom by engaging in mediation or arbitration when appropriate. This approach allows our attorneys to provide cost-effective solutions for clients while achieving positive results.

Our fiduciary litigation services are comprehensive and cover a wide range of disputes, including but not limited to the following:

  • Business, Financial institutions, and Corporate fiduciary duty disputes: Our team of experienced attorneys has the expertise to represent clients in complex business and corporate disputes involving fiduciary duties. We assist clients in cases where a fiduciary, such as a director, officer, or board member, has breached their duty resulting in significant financial losses or other damages.

  • Breach of fiduciary duty: We represent clients in cases where fiduciaries have breached their obligation to act in the best interests of those to whom they owe a duty, resulting in financial losses or other damages. Our attorneys have the knowledge and experience to handle complex cases involving multiple parties and intricate legal issues.

  • Fraud and misrepresentation: Our attorneys are experienced in handling cases where a fiduciary has engaged in fraudulent or deceptive practices, such as misrepresenting investment opportunities, providing false or misleading financial information, or withholding material information from clients.

  • Shareholder disputes: We represent clients in disputes between shareholders of closely-held companies, including disputes over control, management, and ownership of the company.

  • Freeze-outs: We assist clients in disputes arising from the exclusion of minority shareholders or partners from business decisions or benefits.

  • Limited Liability Company (LLC) disputes: Our attorneys provide representation in disputes between members of limited liability companies over the management and ownership of the company.

  • Partnership disputes: We represent clients in disputes between partners of partnerships over management, ownership, and profit distribution.

  • Cram down: Our attorneys assist clients in disputes involving the reduction of the value of their ownership interest in a company or asset, often resulting from a reorganization or restructuring.

  • Misappropriation of company assets: We represent clients when a fiduciary misappropriates company assets, including embezzlement or self-dealing.

  • Trustee-beneficiary disputes: We assist clients in disputes between trustees and beneficiaries over the management and distribution of trust assets.

  • Defense of trustees and executors in breach of fiduciary duty claims: We provide representation for trustees and executors in cases where they are accused of breaching their fiduciary duties.

  • Trust and estate disputes: We assist clients with disputes related to trusts and estates, including challenges to the validity of wills, contested beneficiary designations, and the interpretation of trust provisions. Our attorneys have experience in navigating complex estate planning and tax laws to achieve the best outcomes for our clients.

  • Beneficiaries: Our attorneys also represent beneficiaries relating to tax issues arising from disputes surrounding fiduciary obligations.

Why Choose Robins Kaplan?

We understand that fiduciary disputes can be complex and emotional, and we are committed to providing personalized attention and tailored solutions to meet our client’s needs. Our attorneys deeply understand fiduciary law and are skilled at navigating the legal system as well as the challenging dynamics that can exist among the parties to achieve successful outcomes for our clients.

Contact Us

To learn more about how our Fiduciary Attorneys can assist you, please call 800.553.9910 (toll-free) or use the contact form above.

Selected Case Results*

Denise Rahne

  • A Ramsey County jury awarded $30.1 million to four Minnesota non-profits that the firm represented in an action against Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.  The four non-profits-Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Reinsurance Association, Minnesota Medical Foundation, The Minneapolis Foundation, and Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi Foundation for Children-participated in a securities lending program run by Wells Fargo.  The jury found that Wells Fargo breached its fiduciary duty and violated the Minnesota Consumer Fraud Act.  On April 16, 2012, the Minnesota Court of Appeals issued its opinion affirming the trial court.  On June 27, 2012, the Minnesota Supreme Court denied Wells Fargo's petition for review.  The final judgment, plus additional post-trial attorneys’ fees paid by Wells Fargo, totaled more than $57 million. Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Reinsurance Association et al. v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.

Tom Berndt

  • Representing class of employee-shareholders in high-profile action to stop attempted seizure of voting rights and forced sale of Bremer Bank through unlawful stock transfers and conversion. This and accompanying suit by Bremer Bank recently spurred Minnesota Attorney General Investigation into share transfers. Class claims include breach of fiduciary duty, shareholder oppression, and violation of Minnesota’s Control Share Acquisition Act.

David Martinez:

  • Represented minority member of closely held limited liability company in breach of fiduciary duty dispute.  Negotiated highly favorable settlement requiring substantial monetary payments as well as non-monetary terms, including rescission of non-compete provision, appointment to board of directors and agreement to provide manufacturing/supply services for client’s competing business.
  • Represented minority member of two limited liability companies in pre-litigation dispute against controlling members.  Negotiated settlement that included an assignment of all company assets to the client, including all IP, dissolution of the companies and releases from non-competes.
  • Represented controlling shareholders in dispute with minority shareholder entailing claims and counterclaims for breach of fiduciary duty and related intentional tort claims.  Case resolved under terms favorable to client.
  • Defended controlling member of LLC against pre-litigation allegations of breach of fiduciary duty.  The matter resolved with the minority member withdrawing its pre-litigation claims.
  • Currently represent two minority members of LLC in dispute with controlling member.  We filed suit and asserted claims for breach of the operating agreement, conversion and breach of fiduciary duty.

Tom Undlin:

  • v. Melvin Masters (Minnesota, Hennepin County): Lead litigation counsel in shareholder derivative action and related proxy battle (March, 2002).

Ron Schutz:

  • 2020 arbitration victory on behalf of celebrity Chef Chloe Coscarelli, the first vegan chef to win the top prize on the Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars.” In 2015, Chloe founded “by Chloe,” the first fast-casual vegan restaurant concept, and partnered with ESquared Hospitality to open a chain of “by Chloe” restaurants. Chloe and ESquared each owned 50% of the company. While the restaurants opened with rave reviews, the relationship between Chloe and ESquared soured shortly thereafter. In 2017, ESquared tried to seize Chloe’s ownership in the “by Chloe” company for zero dollars. Even so, ESquared still used Chloe as the identity for its business, with 19 restaurants worldwide that still bear Chloe’s name. Since she was ousted, the company has attempted to prevent Chloe from opening any restaurant, selling products or merchandise, or working as a chef under her own name, including when she partnered with “Top Chef” Tom Colicchio.  In March 2019, Ron served as lead counsel of a Robins Kaplan team which filed an arbitration on behalf of Chloe to restore her ownership interest. Following a four-day evidentiary hearing, the arbitrator issued a 90-page decision granting Chloe a complete victory and restored her interest as a 50% owner of the company that operates her namesake restaurants. The arbitrator also awarded more than $2 million in fees and costs. The parties have since briefed pending cross motions to confirm and vacate the award in front of the Southern District of New York. Following the arbitration victory, Robins Kaplan brought additional suits against investors and fiduciaries of Chloe Coscarelli related to the infringement and profit from her trademarks. Those suits are ongoing.


  • Representation of the employee-shareholders of Bremer Financial Corporation in the matter of Hansen v. Lipschultz. The case involves a hostile takeover attempt by the Otto Bremer Trust and an alliance of hedge funds, seeking to remove the duly elected board of directors and force a sale of the company. Robins Kaplan filed a class-action complaint on behalf of a group of 16 employee-shareholders of Bremer Bank against three Trustees of the Otto Bremer Trust for breach of fiduciary duty and shareholder oppression.  These employee-shareholders represent hundreds of years of service to the bank and hail from locations throughout the region. The plaintiffs are seeking a declaration from the court that the purported transfers of shares are unlawful and ineffective. They are also seeking a court order to prevent any further attempts to undermine their voting interests. 

Michael Geibelson

  • Represented founders and officers of closely held corporations in freeze out litigation against larger shareholders.

Anne Lockner

  • Represented officer, director, shareholder, and trustee in a closely-held freeze-out litigation involving a family business.
  • Represented trustees in negotiating a favorable pre-litigation resolution with the trust’s beneficiary.
  • Represented an equal shareholder in a family business dispute involving claims of embezzlement, theft, and fraud.
  • Defended a company and its former officers and directors against allegations of breaches of fiduciary duties. Negotiated a favorable resolution to the matter mid-trial.

* Past results are reported to provide the reader with an indication of the type of litigation we practice. They do not and should not be construed to create an expectation of result in any other case, as all cases are dependent upon their own unique fact situation and applicable law.

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