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Gerald H. Fornwald

Shareholder
p (612) 604-6584   f (612) 604-6984 
Education
University of St. Thomas School of Law, J.D., cum laude, 2005
Creighton University College of Business, B.A., summa cum laude, 2001
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Experience
Gerald H. Fornwald is a shareholder in Winthrop & Weinstine’s health law and commercial litigation departments. Since joining the firm in 2005, Gerry has provided top-notch counseling, advice, and advocacy for his clients, ranging from family-owned start-ups to multi-national corporations. In that time, Gerry’s representation has spanned numerous industries, including healthcare, manufacturing, commercial and residential real estate, food service, and financial industries, just to name a few. He provides privacy and compliance training and advice to healthcare providers, represents healthcare providers and practice groups in various investigations and civil litigation settings, and handles a wide array of commercial litigation matters, including ownership disputes in closely-held companies, complex employment matters, misappropriation of trade secret claims, fiduciary duty issues, and various contract disputes. Gerry has been recognized for his success and dedication to client service by Minnesota Super Lawyers® since 2013.

Gerry places significant emphasis on combining efficiency with aggressive advocacy for his clients. He prides himself on finding the most cost-effective solutions for achieving his clients’ goals, and is particularly adept at advising clients regarding ways to identify, manage, and reduce risk. Examples of how Gerry has assisted clients in different industries and areas of the law include the following:  

Health Law
Gerry represents a variety of healthcare providers in sub-specialties ranging from radiology to dentistry to the mental health field. In this role, Gerry counsels health care practitioners and providers regarding avenues for risk mitigation in their health care operations. Gerry also represents health care providers and practice groups in civil litigation and disputes spanning a wide array of topics, including the use and dissemination of patient health information, contract disputes, litigation with state and federal governing bodies regarding billing and compliance matters, and internal employment and ownership disputes, among other things. Gerry’s familiarity with state and federal regulations governing health care providers, and in particular privacy regulations such as HIPAA and 42 C.F.R. part 2, enables him to deftly counsel his clients regarding the issues at hand while also helping them avoid mistakes that could lead to future disputes. As part of his practice, Gerry provides privacy compliance training and advice to health care providers, including drug and alcohol treatment centers, in order to assist them in navigating the complexities and ever-changing landscape of handling patient health information.

Closely Held Business Disputes
 
A significant portion of Gerry’s practice deals with ownership disputes involving closely-held companies. He has represented minority owners, 50/50 owners, controlling owners, and even the companies involved in such disputes. Gerry’s representations have spanned numerous industries, including construction, real estate, restaurants, manufacturing, and health care, and have included enforcement of the reasonable expectations of owners (including expectation of ongoing employment and voice in management), appointment of neutral appraisers, actions for court-sanctioned buy-outs, negotiation and enforcement of buy-sell agreements, enforcement of contractual and fiduciary obligations owed between owners, and enforcement of statutory protections under the Minnesota Business Corporation Act.

Employment, Non-Compete, and Trade Secret Litigation
 
Gerry has represented and advised numerous companies faced with the unsettling discovery that one or more employees have suddenly left, gone to work for a competitor, and have taken sensitive business information with them. First steps are critical in such circumstances. Therefore, Gerry works with clients to quickly determine the best strategy for protecting their rights, information, intellectual property, and even their customer base following such a departure. In addition, Gerry works with and advises both employers and employees in employment agreement negotiations, and helps clients obtain the peace of mind that they are adequately protected in employment matters. 


Bar Admissions
Minnesota, 2005
U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota, 2005
U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan, 2014


Representative Matters

Health Care  
  • Represent health care providers in investigations and civil litigation brought by or on behalf of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, the Minnesota Department of Human Services, the Minnesota Attorney General, the United States Attorneys’ Office, qui tam litigants, and private parties in a variety of contexts, including alleged violations of the False Claims Act, the Minnesota Health Records Act, and various state statutes including the Adult Rehabilitative Mental Health Services (SRMHS) program, the Children’s Therapeutic Services and Support (CTSS) program, and others.
  • Represent and advise health care providers, practice groups, and individual practitioners with respect to ownership, membership, and employment issues and related litigation.  For example in, Kapoor v. Medical Scanning Consultants, P.A. and Center for Diagnostic Imaging, Inc. (Hennepin County District Court, Minnesota), Gerry represented  a radiology practice group and a medical imaging provider and obtained a full victory on summery judgment, defeating all claims brought by a radiologist seeking millions of dollars in damages for alleged violations of the Minnesota Whistleblower statute, breach of an employment contract, defamation, and related claims.
  • Counsel, advise, and educate drug and alcohol treatment centers and other health care providers regarding privacy compliance issues, including HIPAA, 42 C.F.R. part 2, and other state and federal obligations regarding the handling, use, and disclosure of patient health information.
  • Advise and assist health care providers in the creation of best practices, policies, procedures, and compliance manuals.
  • Represent health care providers in conjunction with third-party information requests, subpoena responses, court orders, and administrative requests for the production of protected information.
Closely Held Business Disputes
  • John William Cadotte, et al. v. Spotted Hawk Development, LLC, et al. (Elbert County District Court, Colorado) – Represented four individual plaintiffs asserting fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, and statutory claims arising out of their assertion of a 61.5% membership interest in a company holding tens-of-thousands of acres of oil leases in the Bakken Formation of North Dakota.
  • Estate of Charles E. Hohn v. United Scientific, Inc. et al. (Ramsey County District Court, Minnesota) – Represented estate and widow of deceased 50/50 shareholder in action seeking enforcement of buy-sell agreement and statutory shareholder rights.
  • Premier Marine, Inc. v. Hallberg, et al. (Washington County District Court, Minnesota) – Represented boat manufacturing company in successfully obtaining injunctive relief against opposing parties, and overseeing implementation of a special investigation which resulted in the dismissal of all claims alleged against the company and its majority shareholders.
  • Numerous representations of companies, members, and shareholders in closely held and family-owned businesses in a variety of industries (including health care, food and beverage, construction, technology, IT staffing, and manufacturing industries) with respect to negotiating voluntary buy-outs and/or enforcing rights in buy-sell agreements, various equity agreements, phantom stock agreements, member control agreements, and other contracts.
Employment, Non-Compete, and Trade-Secret Litigation
  • Kapoor v. Medical Scanning Consultants, P.A. and Center for Diagnostic Imaging, Inc. (Hennepin County District Court, Minnesota) – Prevailed on summary judgment, defeating all claims brought by a radiologist seeking millions of dollars in damages from his former medical practice and a medical imaging company for alleged violations of the Minnesota Whistleblower statute, breach of an employment contract, defamation, and related claims.
  • Alpha Oil & Gas Services, Inc. v. Curtis, et al. (United States District Court, District of North Dakota) – Represented pipeline construction company and obtained temporary injunctive relief against three former employees and their new employer arising out of claims of breach of confidentiality agreements, unfair competition, breach of duty of loyalty, and trade secret violations.
  • Imagine! Print Solutions, Inc. v. Fritz, et al. (Scott County District Court, Minnesota) – Represented employer and obtained immediate injunctive relief enjoining former sales representative from any contact with employer’s customers and compelling former sales representative to preserve all information regarding potentially improper competitive activities.
  • First-chair trial defense of employer in manufacturing industry against claims of misappropriation of trade secrets associated with the hiring of an employee from a competitor.
  • Representation of a closely held manufacturer and supplier of specialized electronic components in pursuing claims against an international company for breach of an exclusive requirements contract and breach of trade secret claims, ultimately resulting in a lucrative settlement for the closely held manufacturer.  
  • Enforcement of non-compete provision of employment agreement on behalf of prominent client in the health care industry, resulting in negotiated period of non-competition and non-solicitation by employee.
  • Representation of employers enforcing non-compete and confidentiality agreements and employees opposing enforcement of non-compete and confidentiality agreements in numerous industries, including health care, financial services, and manufacturing.
Community Involvement
  • Minnesota Bar Association
  • Co-chair of the “Barrister’s Breakfast” annual fundraising event for the Joyce dual immersion preschool in South Minneapolis.

Honors & Awards

  • "Under 40 Hot List," Benchmark Litigation, 2016-2017
  • "Local Litigation Star," Benchmark Litigation, 2016-2017
  • "Future Star," Benchmark Litigation, 2015
  • Minnesota Super Lawyers®, 2013-2017
  • Minnesota Rising Stars, Super Lawyers®, 2012
  • 2005 Excellence in Employment Law Award, Minnesota Bar Association, Labor and Employment Law Section
  • Senior Editor, University of St. Thomas Law Journal
  • President, Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society

Articles
Case Profile. Thornton, Patrick. "Heir’s creditor can petition to start probate process." Minnesota Lawyer. 17 April, 2014.

Author. “Packing the Right Insurance for Commerce Abroad.” Risk Management Magazine June 2001.

Author. “Economic Considerations: An Affirmative Action Proposal.” 2 University of St. Thomas Law Journal 199 (Fall 2004).

Presentations
Speaker. "Best Practices For Handling Demands For Patient Information In The Face Of Changing Federal Substance Use Disorder Privacy Laws." 2017 Annual Conference. MARRCH. 30 October 2017.

Speaker. "Hiring Employees with Non-Compete Agreements: Identifying Issues and Minimizing Risk." Winthrop & Weinstine Employment Seminar. 7 October 2014.

Press Releases
 
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