Brendan M. Kenny

Brendan Kenny brought his 16 years of litigation experience in state and federal courts across the country to Hellmuth & Johnson in January 2022. His experience includes business law, business divorce, commercial and contractual disputes, real-estate conflicts, state and federal administrative law, class actions, complex mass torts, and product liability. Clients include businesses, individuals, public entities, and private and public employees.

For the first seven years of his legal career, he worked first as outside counsel for businesses and public entities, and then as a Deputy Attorney General at the California Attorney General’s Office.

In 2012, he moved to Minnesota from California. He worked at Blackwell Burke P.A. in Minneapolis from 2012 to 2020, where he handled complex mass torts, product liability, class actions, and business and commercial litigation for Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 companies. This work included false-advertising and trademark-infringement claims, suits involving popcorn-lung and cooking-spray injuries, one of the Twin Cities’ largest groundwater contamination cases in recent years, and a multi-municipal action regarding flushable wipes.

From 2020 to 2021, he worked as an Assistant Attorney General representing the Minnesota Department of Human Services in federal, state, and administrative matters involving civil rights, health care, ADA, children-and-family services, mental health, and licensing.

Brendan is a sought-after speaker and writer on legal writing, eDiscovery, trial practice, storytelling, and all things persuasion.  Notably, he is co-author of the Minnesota E-Discovery Deskbook (since 2016). In both his case-specific work and as a thought-leader, he has worked to bridge the divide between eDiscovery, lawyers, and businesses by addressing the legal challenges where law and technology intersect across a diverse array of industries.

Brendan is licensed in all Minnesota and California state courts, the U.S. District Court—District of Minnesota, the U.S. District Court—Northern District of California, the U.S. District Court—Eastern District of California, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.


Assistant


Experience

Representative Business, Corporate, and Commercial Litigation Cases:

  • Successfully vacated (lifted) $800,000+ default judgment against business regarding vendor’s unpaid invoices.
  • As-applied challenge to Minnesota estate tax under Due Process Clause and Commerce Clause for unconstitutional taxing of out-of-state property (ongoing).
  • Representing summer collegiate baseball league in suit against collegiate baseball teams in suit to enforce non-compete agreement.
  • Defeated summary-judgment motion of developer asserting statute of limitations barred claims of property damage by homeowners association.
  • Defeated summary-judgment motion of insurer asserting no duty to defend insured in case involving loss of thousands of livestock.
  • Represented various Fortune 100 and 500 businesses on commercial claims arising in state and federal courts nationwide.
  • Defended ExxonMobil in fuel-dealer franchise suit challenging “zone pricing” as illegal price discrimination.
  • Represented General Mills in trademark lawsuit against Greek yogurt maker Fage over the use of the word “Total.”

Representative Administrative Law Cases:

  • Obtained reinstatement of Hmong market’s participation in SNAP program, following the USDA’s disqualification of the market based on alleged “trafficking” of SNAP benefits. Only 3% of disqualified SNAP participants obtain this result.
  • Obtained provisional assisted-living home license for assisted-living home in first-ever civil injunction brought by Minnesota Department of Health following lapse of assisted-living home’s license.
  • Obtained residential-contractor license for business owner accused by Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry of failing to adequately disclose criminal record, civil judgments, and prior business dealings.
  • Successfully tried or resolved Surveillance and Integrity Review Section (SIRS) cases involving Personal Care Assistant (PCA) and substance use disorder treatment programs, agencies, and providers in the Minnesota Health Care Program (MHCP) allegedly receiving up to $650,0000 in Medical Assistance overpayments.
  • Successfully tried or resolved Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) Fraud Unit cases involving CCAP agencies allegedly receiving up to $200,000 in CCAP overpayments.
  • Successfully tried or resolved cases involving family childcare, foster care, and mental health care licensing.

Representative Complex, Class Action, and Multi-Party Litigation:

  • Successfully defended Rockline Industries in putative class action alleging that flushable wipes were clogging sewer systems.
  • Successfully defended General Mills against class action claims brought by residents claiming vapor intrusion from groundwater contamination from a former General Mills facility. Class certification was reversed by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • Defended General Mills against a class action, brought on behalf of California purchasers, alleging that Yo-Plus probiotic yogurt did not promote digestive health as advertised. The class’s claims for damages, including its claim for punitive damages, was de-certified.

Representative Product Liability, Mass Torts, and Premises Liability Cases:

  • Represented various Fortune 100 and 500 businesses in products liability, mass torts, and premises liability claims arising in state and federal courts nationwide.
  • Represented Conagra, the largest global producer of cooking spray products, in dozens of state and federal cases alleging that PAM® cooking spray products are defective.
  • On team that secured dismissal of the federal Bair Hugger™ MDL, of one of the 10 largest MDLs in the country.
  • On national coordinating and national trial counsel team for complex toxic tort and mass tort litigation for Fortune 500 clients in claims involving exposures to, among other substances, asbestos, benzene, silica, and diacetyl in state and federal courts nationwide, often in jurisdictions known to be hostile to corporate defendants.

Representative eDiscovery Experience:

  • Managed eDiscovery in nationwide class action, serving as subject-matter expert and contact with vendor, project manager, document reviewers, and machine-learning specialists. Used continuous-active learning and other state-of-the-art analytical tools to ensure defensible process that also identified and elevated key documents needed to win at the case’s earliest possible stage.
  • Developed discovery plans, complied with best practices, implemented, and leveraged discovery analytics and technology, managed the discovery process, and defended and resolved issues arising during discovery.
  • Created and implemented Trial Lawyer eDiscovery Initiative, a plan for achieving excellence in eDiscovery by coupling firm’s ability to tell a compelling story based on proven themes with the tools to find and digest key case documents.
  • Applied pilot eDiscovery program for state agency to hold, collect, and produce relevant documents.
  • Extensive knowledge and experience with FOIA, MDPA, and other public-records laws.

In The News

Thought Leadership

Affiliations:

  • Member, Minnesota State Bar Association
  • Member, St. Joseph Business Guild

Honors & Awards:

  • Super Lawyers® Rising Star (2014–2020)
  • 2013 Up & Coming Attorney, Minnesota Lawyer
  • Witkin Award for Academic Excellence in Negotiations, University of California Hastings College of the Law
  • CALI Excellence for the Future Award in Negotiations, University of California Hastings College of the Law

Community:

  • Volunteer, Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers
  • Volunteer, Volunteer Lawyers Network (2019–20)
  • Parishioner, St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in West St. Paul

Past Seminars