Michael D. Barrett


Michael D. Barrett

Mike has handled numerous “cutting edge” cases during his career that helped create and define the law in Minnesota. These include workers’ compensation subrogation and Lambertson contribution cases, no-fault arbitration claims, no-fault commercial vehicle indemnity claims and construction cases (for the contractor and the subcontractor) which ultimately were decided in the state’s appellate courts.

Mike is a qualified Minnesota No-Fault Arbitrator with the American Arbitration Association.

Legal Team

Legal Secretary:
Bar Admissions
  • Minnesota, 1987
  • Wisconsin, 2000
  • U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota, 1987
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Wisconsin, 2008
  • Author, Workers’ Compensation Subrogation: Negotiating Within the Mine Field, published in Cousineau McGuire’s Forum Series
  • Author, Workers’ Compensation: The Newly Amended Statute, published in Cousineau McGuire’s Forum Series
  • Author, Defending No-fault (PIP) Claims, published in Cousineau McGuire’s Forum Series
  • Co-author, Minnesota Claims Guide for Motor Carriers, 1996
  • Author, When is Pre-Verdict Interest Payable? 2002
  • Presenter, client seminars: Great West (1996, 1997, 2000, 2005 and 2008), Secura (2008) and ACS (2008)
  • J.D., William Mitchell College of Law, cum laude, 1987
  • MPH Epidemiology, Pending, 1980
  • B.S., University of Minnesota, cum laude, 1977
  • Gamma Sigma Delta Honor Society
Associations & Memberships
  • Defense Research Institute
  • Minnesota Defense Lawyers Association
  • Qualified Minnesota No-Fault Arbitrator, American Arbitration Association
  • Visiting Professor, Hamline University School of Law, Advanced Torts (1997-1999) and Workers’ Compensation Subrogation (2005)
Representative Cases
& Experience
  • Mike has been involved with the defense of numerous contractors and subcontractors accused of construction practices causing water intrusion and mold in homes and commercial buildings. One such case, Weston v. McWilliams & Associates, Inc., 716 N.W.2d 634 (Minn. 2006), reached the Minnesota Supreme Court and defined the application of Minnesota’s statute of repose against subcontractors – a case of first impression in Minnesota.
  • Successfully represented the general contractor in an indemnity claim against the roofing subcontractor by invoking and reaffirming on appeal to the Supreme Court the right to contractual indemnity in certain construction cases. Holmes v. Watson Forsberg Co., 488 N.W.2d 473 (Minn. 1992).
  • Established the right of the employer to proceed with its subrogated claim notwithstanding the employee’s attempt to settle all claims in a third-party action arising after a work injury. Jackson v. Zurich American Inc. Co., 542 N.W.2d 621 (Minn. 1996).
  • Successfully defended a third-party tortfeasor in the employer’s workers’ compensation subrogation action, and upon appeal established the nature and extent of proof required of the employer. M.W. Ettinger Transfer & Leasing Co. v. Schaper Mfg., Inc., 494 N.W.2d 29 (Minn. 1992).
  • After the Minnesota legislature added additional language to Minnesota Statutes Chapter 176 in 2000, successfully re-affirmed that the nature and extent of proof required of the employer (established in M.W. Ettinger Transfer & Leasing Co. v. Schaper Mfg., Inc.) still applied. Zurich American Ins. Co. v. Bjelland, 701 N.W.2d 64 (Minn. 2006).
  • In a case of first impression, established the application of comparative fault principles in commercial vehicle indemnity arbitration proceedings. State Farm Mut. Auto Ins. Co. v. Great West Casualty Co., 590 N.W.2d 675 (Minn. App. 1999).
  • In another no-fault case, reaffirmed that the No-Fault Act only provides benefits for income loss (vs. loss of time from work). Rotation Engineering & Mfg. Co. v. Secura Ins. Co., 497 N.W.2d 292 (Minn. App. 1993).
  • Successfully defended a product liability case for a major propane coupling manufacturer involving allegations of defective design and manufacture that resulted in an explosion, fire and death.