Charles K. Maier

Principal, Business & General Litigation Co-Chair
Charles K. Maier Image
Direct: 612.632.3242 (MN), 701.298.6177 (ND)

Support Staff

Sarah Bagwell
Direct: 612.632.3086

“As a lifelong competitor, my clients find that my passion to win extends beyond the basketball court into the courtroom.”

Charlie Maier is an experienced, strategic litigator and the trusted choice for individuals and businesses facing complicated and acrimonious disputes involving:

  • Between business owners, shareholders and key stakeholders, including issues regarding governance, fiduciary duties, and valuations.
  • Business-related trust, estate and probate disputes, including the transfer of business ownership and assets.
  • Complex business disputes, including those related to breach of asset or stock purchase agreements, joint ventures, securities, real estate, professional malpractice, fraudulent transfers, and constructive trust claims.
  • Challenges related to post-sale duties, financial discrepancies and other issues that surface—sometimes years later—after companies have  merged or been acquired.

He has particular experience advising closely held and family-owned businesses doing business throughout the Midwest, including those in the fast-paced, oil boom areas of North Dakota and Eastern Montana where mergers and acquisitions—and related disputes—are occurring with more frequency. 

Charlie’s special analytical and mathematical acumen also benefits business clients in net working capital adjustment and earn-out disputes where financial reporting issues are of primary importance. He is frequently sought out by outside accountants on behalf of their business clients to help counsel business leaders through disagreements involving asset purchase agreements, stock purchase agreements, representations and warranties.  

His extensive litigation experience also includes representing manufacturers against claims of products liability, personal injury and wrongful death, including cases involving tires, fuel hoses, wheel rims, truck trailers, acetylene torches, folding tables and agricultural equipment.

He has argued appellate cases before the Minnesota Court of Appeals, the Minnesota Supreme Court, as well as appeals in various U.S. Courts of Appeal and the North Dakota Supreme Court.

Charlie is among the fewer than 1% of U.S. lawyers invited into the Litigation Counsel of America as a Fellow, selected because of his accomplishment in litigation and ethical reputation. As a member of this invitation-only trial lawyer honorary society, Charlie joins an elite group of litigation practitioners who promote advocacy and ethics in the practice of law and advance the effectiveness of the American judicial process.

Charlie is a managing officer of Gray Plant Mooty and also serves on the firm's Board of Directors.

Experience

Litigation Relating to Buying and Selling Businesses

  • Successfully obtained summary judgment dismissing a multimillion dollar claim of lost profits for alleged breach of a letter of intent by the potential seller of a business and further represented the client through a six-day jury trial in which the verdict obtained was less than 2% of the total amount demanded.
  • Zimmer Spine, Inc.  v. Encore Medical, LP, No. 08-CV-06261 (D. Minn. closed March 28, 2011). Represented the buyer of a product line in an action seeking damages and rescission of a contract when the product failed when put into service. After moving to exclude the defendant’s expert and opposing the motion for summary judgment, the client was able to reach a significant settlement.

Shareholder Disputes

  • Street Beats, LLC v. Toussi, No. 27-Cv-09-7552 (Hennepin Cty. Minn. Dist. Ct. closed July 16, 2009). Represented the owners of a web-based business in obtaining a temporary restraining order against a former employee and shareholder who was competing. The case was favorably resolved by unwinding the client’s purchase of the former shareholder’s stock.
  • Represented the part owner of a distribution company in a four-day arbitration involving claims by the other owners of conversion and other wrongful conduct. An arbitration award in favor of the client was four times more than the last settlement offer.
  • Marquette v. Huber Constr. Co., No. 86-CV-07-1316 (Wright Cty. Minn. Dist. Ct. closed Oct. 5, 2007). Represented the majority owner of a construction company against claims by a minority owner involving conflict of interest transactions and breach of fiduciary duties and successfully opposed a motion for a temporary restraining order and receivership.
  • Represented majority shareholders in a family-owned manufacturing business of embezzlement by a family member and dispute over valuation of purchase of another family member’s stock. The case was resolved by settlement claims.

Complex Business Litigation

  • InCompass, Inc. v. XO Communications, LLC, 719 F.3d 891 (8th Cir. 2013). Obtain complete defense verdict after a four day court trial on claims of breach of oral contract and promissory estoppel related to an alleged lease transaction, which the Eighth Circuit affirmed in full.
  • Rochester City Lines, Co. v. City of Rochester, 868 N.W. 2d 655 (Minn. 2015). Successfully represented winning proposer for city bus service against claims of conflict of interest and alleged noncompliance of proposal. Obtained summary judgment dismissing all claims at the trial court, which decision the Minnesota Court of Appeals affirmed. Case was heard by the Minnesota Supreme Court in December 2014, which affirmed in part and reversed in part.
  • Sterling Dev. Group Three, LLC v. Carlson, 859 N.W. 2d 414 (N.D. 2015). Represented a client in two-day court trial, the result of which determined the client had no liability under a personal guaranty for a real estate lease entered into by a business the client sold. The trial court decision was affirmed in total by the North Dakota Supreme Court.
  • Horizon Engineering Services Company v. Lakes Entertainment, Inc., et al., Case No. A10-1682 (Minn. Ct. App. June 13, 2011). Obtained summary judgment on behalf of a property developer and service provider dismissing claims for breach of contract, promissory estoppel, unjust enrichment and breach of an alleged joint venture. The court adopted the client’s position that any liability rests with the owner of the property and not the developer/service provider. The decision was affirmed by the Minnesota Court of Appeals.
  • Ford Credit Company v. Wintz Companies, 184 F.3d 778 (8th Cir. 1999). Represented a large automobile financing company through trial and appeal regarding the replevin of a fleet of trucks and obtaining a deficiency judgment.
  • Federal Beef Processors, Inc., et al. v. Royal Indemnity Company, et al., United States District Court, District of South Dakota, File No. 04-5005-KES. Represented a bankruptcy trustee in a claim against insurance companies for fire damage and bad faith.
  • United Properties Investment LLC v. Richfield Motors, Inc. et al., Nos. A09-1995 and A09-2051, 2010 Minn. App. Unpub. LEXIS 871 (Minn. Ct. App. Aug. 24, 2010). Successfully appealed and vacated a judgment against clients related to a personal guaranty of real estate lease.
  • Arabian Agricultural Services, Inc. v. Chief Industries, Inc., 309 F.3d 479 (8th Cir. 2002). Successfully represented an agricultural business through trial and appeal of a claim seeking property damage and lost profits from the manufacturer of grain silos after the silos collapsed.

Trusts and Estates Litigation

Charlie frequently represents individuals and family members in trust and estate disputes involving the transfer of business assets. His recent experience includes:

  • Fox v. First Byte Computers, Inc. et al, No. 27-CV-08-1401 (Hennepin Cty. Minn. Dist. Ct. closed Feb. 5, 2008). Represented a widow seeking full compensation for redemption of her deceased husband’s stock in a closely held corporation. The amount obtained was 70% more than initially offered.
  • Represented business in claim against the estate of a former employee with embezzled significant funds prior to his death.
Footer Banner
back to top