Representative Matters

Russ Ponessa is a trial lawyer with over 30 years of experience representing companies whose products or business practices are under attack. He has a wide ranging civil litigation practice with substantial experience in the areas of product and professional liability, medical devices, toxic torts, construction, business and other commercial disputes, insurance coverage, and consumer claims.

Mr. Ponessa has tried numerous cases to verdict and has handled a wide range of single and multiple-claim lawsuits in state and federal courts throughout the country. His clients include manufacturers and sellers of consumer, industrial, and healthcare products, corporations in the pharmaceutical industry, legal and medical professionals, construction companies and contractors, insurers, banks, and a variety of other large and small businesses.

Professional Background

Mr. Ponessa is Certified as a Civil Trial Specialist by the National Board of Trial Advocacy and the Minnesota Civil Trial Certification Council. He holds the AV Peer Review Rating from Martindale-Hubbell, its highest rating for ethics and legal ability.

He is a member of the Defense Research Institute (Product Liability Committee, and Fire Science and Litigation SLG), the Minnesota Defense Lawyers Association (having served as Chair of the Product Liability Committee), the American Bar Association (Tort And Insurance Practice Section), and the Minnesota State Bar Association (Civil Litigation Section).

In addition to being admitted in Minnesota, Mr. Ponessa regularly represents clients pro hac vice in numerous state and federal courts throughout the country.

Professional Affiliations

  • American Bar Association
    • Health Law Section, Member
    • Tort and Insurance Practice Section, Member
  • Minnesota State Bar Association, Litigation Section, Member
  • Defense Research Institute
    • Product Liability Committee, Member
    • Fire Loss Committee, Member
  • Minnesota Defense Lawyers Association, Product Liability Committee, Member; Chair 2014

Honors & Awards

  • Certified as Civil Trial Specialist by the National Board of Trial Advocacy and the Minnesota Civil Trial Certification Council
  • Holds the AV® Peer Review Rating from Martindale-Hubbell, its highest rating for ethics and legal ability
  • Selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© for Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants, 2017 – 2022; Product Liability Litigation – Defendants, 2017 – 2022
  • Recognized on the Super Lawyers list by Minnesota Super Lawyers magazine since 1998, and on the Top 100 Super Lawyers list, 2012 – 2015, 2017

Representative Matters

Mr. Ponessa's representative cases include:

  • Markel v. Douglas Techs. Grp., Inc., No. 19-2637, 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 24786 (8th Cir. Aug. 6, 2020)
  • Stewart v. Norcold, Inc., et al., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 45087 (D. Minn. Mar. 16, 2020)
  • Mickelson v. County of Ramsey, 823 F.3d 918 (8th Cir. 2016), cert. denied sub nom., Mickelson v. County of Ramsey, Minn., 137 S. Ct. 1578 (2017)
  • Tropple v. Black & Decker (U.S.) Inc., 2015 WL 4992011 (D. Minn. Aug. 20, 2015)
  • HomeStar Property Solutions, LLC v. VRM Mortgage Services, Inc., 2015 WL 1191270 (D. Minn. Mar. 16, 2015)
  • Fitzgerald v. Zakheim & LaVrar, P.A., 90 F. Supp. 3d 867 (D. Minn. Feb. 11, 2015)
  • McIvor v. Credit Control Services, Inc., 773 F.3d 909 (8th Cir. 2014)
  • Whitney v. The Guys, Inc. 700 F.3d 118 (8th Cir 2012)
  • Dakota West Credit Union v. CUMIS Ins. Society, Inc., 532 F. Supp. 2d 1110 (D.N.D. 2008)
  • Hughes v. Black & Decker, 2007 WL 10768 (D. Minn. Jan. 10, 2007) and 2007 WL 624333 (D. Minn. Jan. 24, 2007)
  • Wagoner v. Black & Decker, 2006 WL 2289983 (D. Minn. Aug. 8, 2006)
  • Yoder v. Honeywell Inc., 104 F.3d 1215 (10th Cir. 1997)


Community/Civic Activities

Mr. Ponessa is an active member of the Firm's Pro Bono Committee, and he regularly provides pro bono services through the Federal Bar Association, Minnesota Chapter, Pro Se Project. He also volunteers time to his community by coaching youth sports, as a board member of non-profit organizations, and by participating in charitable events.

J.D., cum laude, University of Minnesota, 1985

B.A., University of Minnesota, 1981