WM. Christopher Penwell

Shareholder

"Clients never have to wonder if I'm in their corner. I focus on their ideal outcome, by vigorously advocating their position in the litigation while seeking an efficient and cost-effective resolution."

Chris' approach to litigation is that control of outcomes should remain in the client's hands as much as possible. With almost 30 years of trial experience, Chris knows how to try cases but also understands that there are often better ways to achieve the client's ideal outcome. Combining thorough preparation with unwavering pursuit of the client's position is the most effective means of bringing the opposing party to the settlement table. It is also the best way to prevail if trial is unavoidable.

From the first meeting, Chris will help the client define goals and set realistic expectations about what can be accomplished through litigation. He has successfully represented clients in disputes involving regulatory takings, utility management services, wind farms, multi-family construction, minority shareholders and executive severance agreements as well as land use, succession and estate disputes.

Chris works closely with Siegel Brill's team for Real Estate, Employment and Closely Held Businesses. The firm has a long history of representing business owners and property owners. Contact Chris to discuss your business or individual dispute. Some of his representative cases include:

  • Obtaining a nearly $2 million arbitration award on behalf of a utility management service company against a large fast-food chain
  • Obtaining a half-million dollar jury verdict in a securities fraud case on behalf of investors
  • Obtaining a district court judgment on behalf of a golf course owner and real estate developer against a city; case settled for approximately $13 million after a largely pro-landowner decision from the Minnesota Supreme Court
  • After several days of trial, obtaining a settlement worth over $10 million on behalf of a manufacturer in a case in which a city sought a court ordered shut-down of the business
  • After the arbitration hearing had commenced, obtaining a settlement worth tens of millions of dollars on behalf of a windfarm in a case alleging design and manufacturing defects against a wind turbine manufacturer
  • Successfully defending a mechanical subcontractor in a 45-day arbitration in which the developer sought millions of dollars in damages from alleged defects in the HVAC system
  • Obtaining a $1 million settlement on behalf of a minority shareholder in a shareholder dispute
  • Successfully enforcing and defending against enforcement of over 50 non-compete covenants

EDUCATION

William Mitchell College of Law, J.D., 1984
University of Michigan, B.A., 1980

ACHIEVEMENTS INVOLVEMENT

  • Lead attorney in precedent-setting Minnesota regulatory takings case, Wensmann Realty, Inc. v City of Eagan, 734 N.W. 2d 623 (Minn 2007)
  • Former Co-Chair for legislation, ADR section of Minnesota State Bar Association, 2010-2011
  • Qualified Neutral under Rule 114 of the Minnesota Rules of Practice

INTERESTS

Bike riding, Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, writing

MEMBERSHIPS / LICENSES

Minnesota State Bar Association
Hennepin County Bar Association
Minnesota Supreme Court

Downloads

Non-Compete Case Summary (view PDF)

Articles

"Why Employees with Noncompetes Need Quicker Access to Courts" July 2017, MSBA Bench & Bar (click to read)
"The Hidden Costs of Wind Turbine Ownership," June 2010, Wind Systems Magazine (view PDF)
"Protect Business with Covenants Not to Compete," June 2009, Upsize Magazine (view PDF)
"Litigating Covenants Not to Compete," April 2002, MSBA Bench & Bar (view PDF)