Scott M. Rusert
Scott is a partner in Taft’s Commercial Litigation and Compliance, Investigations, and White Collar Defense practices. In addition to being a seasoned trial lawyer and commercial litigator, he is one of the foremost experts in leading Special Litigation Committee Investigations in the State of Minnesota, if not the country, having planned, run, and managed two different investigations for Minnesota-based Fortune 500 companies in the past 10 years, both of which involved shareholder derivative allegations of violations of securities laws by officers and directors. Scott also assists clients in responding to governmental civil investigations and inquiries and in contesting administrative agency decisions. In his more than 30 years of practice, Scott has defended product liability actions involving industrial products, recreational products, and drugs and medical devices. He has also litigated and tried cases involving insurance law, construction law, employment disputes, and all manner of business disputes, including breach of contract claims, shareholder disputes, and securities litigation. He tries cases locally, regionally, and nationally and has been lead counsel on matters in state and federal courts in a total of 36 states. Scott also has argued cases to state intermediate courts of appeal, supreme courts, and the 8th Circuit.
Companies and individuals have relied upon Scott to navigate complex, high-stakes litigation matters, investigations, and enforcement proceedings involving allegations of misleading disclosures, securities fraud, accounting matters, sales practices violations, and breach of fiduciary duty, among other issues. His extensive experience representing clients in a wide variety of industries includes:
- Planning and leading a 19-month investigation of shareholder derivative claims alleging violations of securities and antitrust laws by officers and directors of a Minnesota-based Fortune 500 dental and veterinary product distributor via representation of a Special Litigation Committee under Minn. Stat. §302A.241.
- National counsel to two different Minnesota-based, Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 multi-national manufacturers in product liability litigation.
- National coordinating counsel of asbestos litigation for a subsidiary of an Illinois-based Fortune 200 company.
- Managing an 18-month investigation of shareholder derivative claims alleging violations of securities laws and FDA regulations by officers and directors of a Minnesota-based Fortune 200 medical device manufacturer via representation of a Special Litigation Committee under Minn. State 302A.241.
- Healthcare litigation, including Medicaid Reimbursement Rate appeals and disputes over joint ventures.
- Representation of hospitals and health care systems in responding to governmental civil investigative demands and matters before internal review committees relating to physician credentialing and discipline.
- National and local defense of product manufacturers in cases involving death, personal injury, and/or property damage – often relating to fires and explosions.
- Defense of shareholder strike suits following mergers/acquisitions.
- Defense of consumer fraud claims, including dozens of cases arising from alleged residential construction defects and civil action by the Minnesota Attorney General on behalf of a class of more than 200 individuals with debts arising from bank overdrafts.
- Defense and prosecution of contract actions and commercial disputes on behalf of businesses and individuals.
- Representation of general contractors and subcontractors in construction defect claims, including water intrusion and mold litigation.
- Extensive experience in first-party insurance coverage disputes and third-party defense of insureds.
Guided by principles of integrity, commitment, teamwork, accountability, respect, and loyalty, clients appreciate Scott’s ability to solve complex or unusual problems, adeptly uncovering an obscure fact, managing difficult witnesses, working with unpredictable opposing counsel, or establishing rapport with an obstinate judge. Scott’s well-respected experience and characteristics have been the perfect catalyst for him to corporations, business owners, and nonprofits in all manner of disputes.
Scott is a board-certified trial attorney and feels perfectly at home in the courtroom. From achieving numerous victories, including jury verdicts, summary judgments, and dismissals, he gladly accepts the responsibility of trying a case. Scott is also a Qualified Neutral under Rule 114 of the Minnesota General Rules of Practice for both adjudicative and facilitative dispute resolution. His more than three decades of trial and litigation experience make him a particularly effective mediator, assisting litigants and their counsel in resolving disputes short of trial via voluntary or court-ordered Alternative Dispute Resolution.
Dartmouth Social Justice Award (2023)
Board Certified Civil Trial Specialist
Qualified Rule 114 Neutral – Facilitative and Adjudicative – for the State of Minnesota
Honoree, Minnesota Super Lawyers
Honoree, Minnesota Super Lawyers Rising Stars
All Service Areas
- University at Buffalo School of Law (1992)
Articles Editor, Buffalo Law Review
- Dartmouth (1987)
- State - Minnesota
- Federal - District of Minnesota
- Federal - Central District of Illinois
- Federal - District of North Dakota
- Federal - 8th Circuit Court of Appeals
Product Liability Cases
- Part of Defense Team providing nationwide defense of manufacturer of one-wheeled, motorized skateboard from allegations of product defect, with accompanying involvement of CPSC.
- Secura Insurance v. Battery-Biz, Inc. (U.S. Dist. Ct., Minn.) successful defense of manufacturer of portable lithium-ion battery charger in case involving a house fire.
- Western National v. Daesung Celtic Enersys Co., Ltd. (U.S. Dist. Ct., Minn.) successful defense (including jurisdictional challenge) on behalf of Korean water heater manufacturer in case involving a house fire.
- DeLeon v. Graco, et al. (N.J. Superior Ct., Essex County) jury verdict finding no defect in personal injury, product liability case arising from injection with high-pressure, airless paint spray gun.
- Rickett v. H.O. Sports, et al. (Wisc. Cir. Ct., St. Croix County) successful defense of recreational product manufacturer in wakeboard accident.
- Sanchez/TK Holdings v. Honeywell, et al. (Tex. 150th Jud. Dist., Bexar County) successful defense of gas control manufacturer in a multi-party wrongful death and property damage case arising from an industrial explosion.
- Bergmann v. Graco, et al. (U.S. Dist. Ct., Ariz.) voluntary dismissal with prejudice of a personal injury, product liability claim arising from injection injury with high-pressure airless paint sprayer.
- Gilson v. Graco, et al. (U.S. Dist. Ct., N.H.) voluntary dismissal with prejudice of a personal injury, product liability claim arising from injection with high-pressure airless paint sprayer.
- Mesa v. J.D. Group, et al. v. Graco, et al. (Cal. Superior Ct., Los Angeles County) summary judgment, including award of all costs for travel to depositions from out of state in personal injury, severe burn case, arising from explosion of paint fumes on job site.
- Waynes, Inc. v. Emerson Electric, et al. (Minn. Dist. Ct., Redwood County) voluntary dismissal with prejudice of product liability claim against electric garage door motor manufacturer arising from fire that destroyed service station and convenience store.
- Jones v. Honeywell, et al. (Penn. Court of Common Pleas, Allegheny County) summary judgment in favor of gas valve manufacturer in wrongful death case arising from explosion and complete destruction of residence.
- Stibbs v. Mapco, Inc., et al. (945 F.Supp. 1226 (S.D. Iowa 1996) summary judgment in favor of gas valve manufacturer based on exclusion of expert testimony under Daubert standard.
- Successful representation of national cooperative of veterinarians in a dispute with their founder and former CEO over alleged royalty agreement and accompanying payments.
- Successful representation of Fortune 500 multi-national retail corporation in litigation with overseas service provider involving compliance with Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards.
- Peluso v. N.J. Devils, LLC, et al (U.S. Dist. Ct., Minn.) successful motion to dismiss claims by former player against two National Hockey League franchises alleging they withheld medical information related to concussions.
- Counsel to a European Holding Company in the defense of a shareholder strike suit
following the multi-million-dollar acquisition of a Minnesota-based restaurant chain.
- Defense of Consumer Fraud Claims – including dozens of cases arising from alleged residential construction defects and a civil action by the Minnesota Attorney General on behalf of a class of more than 200 individuals with debts arising from bank overdrafts.
- Cooper v. Wong (Minn. Dist. Ct., Washington County) jury verdict in favor of defendant landlord in claims by renter that large single-family home was uninhabitable due to alleged mold contamination.
- Dalglish v. Professional Computer Services, LLC (U.S. Dist. Ct., Minn.) jury verdict in favor of sales representative for company’s breach of contract and termination in violation of Minnesota Statute Sections 181.145 and 181.171.
- Mackay Mitchell Envelope Company, LLC v. Michael Becker (Minn. Dist. Ct., Hennepin County) obtained TRO and Injunction on behalf of multi-state envelope manufacturer enforcing trade-secret and non-compete agreement against former sales representative.
- Jeld-Wen, Inc. v. Decker Industries, et al. (U.S. Dist. Ct., Ore.) successfully moved to dismiss multi-million dollar claim for consequential damages arising from the purchase and sale of allegedly malfunctioning industrial equipment.
- University Lutheran Chapel, et al. v. Minnesota South District of Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, et al. (Minn. Dist. Ct., Hennepin County) successful representation of chapel and congregation in contractual dispute over eviction and sale of land, arising from historic obligations between the chapel and the church.
- Neilson v. State Farm Fire & Casualty Co. (Minn. Dist. Ct, Ramsey County) jury verdict in favor of defendant supporting denial of coverage for alleged hail damage to roof.
- Sather v. State Farm Fire & Casualty Co. (Minn. Dist. Ct., Hennepin County; Minn. Ct. of Appeals) summary judgment determination of no insurance coverage for mold claim, affirmed by appellate court.
- Pamida, Inc. v. Christenson Building Corp. v. R&Q Trucking, et al. (285 F.3d 701, 8th Cir. 2002) summary judgment in favor of defendant and third-party defendants based on statute of limitations under Minn. Stat. 541.051 on construction defect claim.
- Berke, et al. v. Lewis Homes v. Honeywell Inc., et al. (California Superior Court, Orange County) successful resolution of a multi-party, multi-million-dollar construction defect, water intrusion, mold case arising from alleged construction defects in an entire housing development.
- Fanth v. London Brick (Minn. Dist. Ct., Ramsey County) jury verdict in favor of defendant on claim of negligent construction of a fireplace alleged as cause of fire and complete destruction of residence.
- Successful defense of general contractors and subcontractors in dozens of cases alleging Consumer Fraud in residential construction defect cases.
- Successful defense and representation of stucco subcontractor in more than twenty-five cases involving water intrusion in residential construction.
- Successful defense and representation of manufacturer of External Insulation and Finishing System (EIFS) used in residential construction.
Speeches and Publications
- “Successfully Trying a Bench Trial,” Powerhouse Litigation, Nov. 10, 2022
- “A Conversation About Equity,” ALFA International Product Liability and Complex Torts Seminar, June, 3, 2022.
- “Managing Risks When You Don’t Manage the Manufacturing: Recognizing and Avoiding the Potential Pitfalls of ‘White Labeled’ Products and Component Parts from US and Foreign Vendors,” ALFA International Product Liability and Complex Torts Seminar, June, 3, 2022.
- “Judicial Notice and Presumptions: A Roadmap for Practitioners,” Minnesota CLE, June 2021.
- “Is Daubert in Jeopardy? A Review of Expert Admissibility Status in the United States,” ALFA International Product Liability and Complex Torts Webinar, April 22, 2021.
- “Challenges in Combating ‘Feasible Alternative Design’ Evidence,” ALFA International Product Liability and Complex Torts Seminar, Sept. 26, 2019.
- “Trial Ready Checklist,” Minnesota State Bar Association – Developing Law Series, Jan. 23, 2019.
- “Industry Custom Evidence: Some Good News From California (No, Really!),” ALFA International Webinar: Legal Hot Topics, Sept. 14, 2018.
- “Protecting Your Brand with Tested Paper and Electronic Swords – Indemnity in the Electronic Age,” ALFA International Product Liability and Complex Torts Regional Milwaukee Seminar, April 19, 2018.
- Lecturer and Course Co-chair, Civil Pre-Trial Practice Institute, Civil Trial Practice Institute, The SCOOP Program for New Lawyers, Minnesota Institute of Legal Education.
- Lecturer, Deposition Practice, Hamline University School of Law – Dispute Resolution Institute.
- Co-Author, “Judicial Notice and Presumptions – Minnesota Rules of Evidence 201 and 301,” Chapter 2, Minnesota Courtroom Evidence Deskbook, 3rd Edition,” Minnesota CLE, June 18, 2021.
- Defense Research Institute
Product Liability Committee
Drug and Medical Device Committee
- Hennepin County Bar Association
Past Member, Governing Council
Past Co-Chair, New Lawyers Section
- Minnesota State Bar Association
Certified Civil Trial Specialist
Chair, Civil Trial Specialist Certification Board
Past Chair, Civil Litigation Section
Founder of Civil Litigation Section Community Service Committee
Past Member, Governance and Finance Committee and Board of Governors
- Dartmouth College
Member of Peace-Justice-Respect Committee, advancing Social Justice Education and Activities
Co-Creator and Facilitator of 21-Day Social Justice Immersion Course
- Annunciation Church
Volunteer, Annunciation Youth Ministry
Volunteer, Loaves and Fishes
Past Member, Finance Committee
Past Member, Compensation Committee
Past Member, Parish Council
- Annunciation School
Past President, School Board
Past Chair, Finance Committee
- Hennepin Health Foundation
Past Secretary, Board of Directors
- Hockey Day Minnesota 2020
Chair, Minneapolis Local Organizing Committee
- Minneapolis Hockey Association
Past Member, Board of Directors
- Sheridan School, Minneapolis
Volunteer, Reading Aid