With nearly 25 years of experience in a litigation practice that takes her across the country, Kristi has expansive expertise in insurance coverage and asbestos litigation. Collegial and engaging, Kristi is as comfortable at a ranch in North Dakota as she is in a boardroom in Manhattan. Driven to win every case, she values working closely with her clients as she seeks innovative ways to achieve the best outcome.
Insurance Coverage Litigation
Kristi skillfully represents insurers in personal and commercial general liability insurance coverage disputes. The unique challenge of representing insurance companies is Kristi’s forte, as she brings sensitivity to managing and resolving contentious cases. Valuing that her clients are experts in their fields, she collaborates with them to devise strategies for handling complex issues. Adept with lengthy insurance policies, she understands the language, and knows how courts across the United States have variously interpreted it.
She has litigated jury trials in state and federal courts, and handles cases involving:
- insurance fraud
- historical lost policy issues
- primary/excess coverage issues
- multi-year, long-term exposure coverage allocation issues
- insurance coverage arbitrations
- insurance policy exhaustion procedures and disputes
Asbestos Defense Litigation
Kristi has been involved in asbestos liability litigation for her entire career. She represents manufacturers and distributors in personal injury and wrongful death asbestos liability claims in Minnesota and North Dakota. She serves as National Coordinating Counsel, regional counsel, and North Dakota trial counsel.
Kristi brings a successful track record of managing and ending asbestos litigation cases. Directing lawyers on cases across the country from start to finish, she’s unwavering in protecting her clients from being barraged during the litigation process. She skillfully analyzes cases and addresses legal defenses immediately, often identifying cases before they start for early resolution and responsible settlement. With creative legal thinking she minimizes her client’s exposure, swiftly gets cases dismissed, and significantly reduces their caseload.
Kristi oversees and manages litigation as the National Litigation Counsel for the API, Inc., Asbestos Settlement Trust, an asbestos bankruptcy settlement trust established by the United States Bankruptcy Court in Minneapolis.
North Dakota Litigation
Kristi has handled thousands of cases in every North Dakota judicial district, and has conducted jury trials and appeals to the North Dakota Supreme Court. A native of Bismarck, she is extremely proud to be from North Dakota, and defending clients in the state is near and dear to her heart. Her family descends from Dakota Territory homesteaders, and has been involved in cattle ranching, farming, education, and public office. Kristi was elected to leadership as a State 4-H Ambassador, charged with training members statewide. Because of her rural culture heritage, she knows the issues, and generates trust and instant credibility with juries and judges.
In addition, she has consistently served for nearly 15 years as the exclusive Panel Counsel for a group of major property and casualty insurers in North Dakota, handling the entire scope of their commercial, professional, and innkeeper liability matters. They rely on her savvy knowledge and experience to favorably settle cases, obtain summary judgment or dismissals, and successfully litigate cases.
Leadership and Outreach
Kristi is dedicated to serving as the law firm’s managing partner, fostering excellence and a collaborative culture among its talented lawyers. She is an adjunct professor at Mitchell/Hamline School of Law, teaching Lawyering: Advice and Persuasion in the school’s Executive J.D. (EJD) program, the nation’s first combined on-campus/online program at an ABA-approved law school. Outside the courtroom, Kristi devotes her fervent energy and charitable contributions to rescuing animals, including the two cats and two dogs she has adopted.
- Minnesota (1995)
- U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota (1996)
- Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals (2003)
- North Dakota (2004)
- U.S. District Court, District of North Dakota (2005)
- J.D., cum laude, University of Minnesota Law School (1995)
- B.A., summa cum laude, Concordia College, Moorhead, MN (1991)
- Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Society
Honors & Awards
- Featured in Attorney at Law Magazine, 2016 Women in Law Issue, November, 2016
- AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rating, Martindale-Hubbell®
- Rising Star, SuperLawyers 2008 edition
- Adjunct Professor, Mitchell/Hamline School of Law, teaching Lawyering: Advice and Persuasion
- University of Minnesota Law School, Adjunct Professor (1998-2014) Service Award
- National Moot Court, Director
*AV® is a certification mark of Reed Elsevier Properties Inc., used in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies.
- State Bar of North Dakota (SBAND)
- Defense Research Institute (DRI)
- Claims & Litigation Management Alliance (CLM)
- Minnesota State Bar Association (MSBA)
- Hennepin County Bar Association (HCBA)
- Michael P. McGill and Tatyana McGill v. Conwed Corporation, U.S.D.C., District of Minnesota, Civil No. 17-01047 (SRN/HB), 2017.
- Appletree Square I Limited Partnership, and Business Consultants, Inc., as Liquidating Agent for Appletree Square I Limited Partnership v. O’ Connor & Hannan, et. al., 575 N.W.2d 102 (Minn. 1998)
- Conwed Corp. v. Union Carbide Chemicals & Plastics Co., Inc., 634 N.W. 2d 401 (Minn. 2001)
- Juelich v. Yamazaki Optonics Corp., 682 N.W. 2d 565 (Minn. 2004)
- APM, LLLP v. TCI Insurance Agency, Inc., Cass County, North Dakota District Court, Case No. 09-2014-CV-12885 (N.D. 2015). Obtained summary judgment in favor of insurance agency in professional liability case.
- Jeffrey Wotzka v. Minndakota Limited Partnership, d/b/a Radisson Hotel Bismarck, Burleigh County, North Dakota District Court, Case No. 08-2011-CV-01867 (N.D. 2014). Obtained favorable jury verdict in innkeeper negligence case, resulting in dismissal of all claims and award of costs to client.
- Janet Phelps v. Pembina County Memorial Hospital, United States District Court, District of North Dakota, Northeastern Division, File No. 2:05-cr-65 (D.N.D. 2006) Obtained dismissal of HIPAA claim against hospital by former employee, finding no private right of action under HIPAA, and dismissal without prejudice of employment claims for lack of federal subject matter or supplemental jurisdiction.
- Steven Shelquist v. Black Gold Farms, et al., County of Kidder, North Dakota District Court, Case No. 04-C-53 (N.D. 2006) Obtained summary judgment in favor of national farming operation in serious injury motor vehicle claim.
- APM, LLLP v. TCI Insurance Agency, Inc., 2016 ND 66, 877 N.W.2d 34, County of Cass. North Dakota Supreme Court affirmed summary judgment in favor of insurance agency in professional liability case.
2017 has been a year marked in the legal profession by what has been described as a “bleak picture” for women in private practice. Recently, Law 360’s Glass Ceiling Report found that although women make up over 50% of law school graduates, those numbers are not reflected in private practice. The Report found that for law firms of 20-149 attorneys, Continue Reading
In 2013, the Minnesota Supreme Court amended the Minnesota Rules of Civil Procedure to require filing a case within one year of service of a summons upon a defendant. Failure to file results in automatic dismissal, with prejudice, of the case. This new rule, Rule 5.04, changed dramatically the landscape of commencement of a lawsuit in Minnesota, which had previously Continue Reading
- Author, Brownson Norby, PLLC: Taking the Lead in Promoting Women in the Workplace, Brownson Norby, PLLC, 2017, www.BrownsonNorby.com/publications
- Co-author of Current and Historical American and Selected State Asbestos Regulations, 2016 Update, Brownson Norby, PLLC, 2016
- Kristi K. Brownson and Aaron M. Simon, North Dakota Supreme Court Issues Important Decision Clarifying Standard of Care of Insurance Agents, Minnesota Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers Association , April 5, 2016 newsletter