Susan Gaertner

Principal - Minneapolis


Support Staff
Claudia D. Neal, 612.632.3275

500 IDS Center
80 South 8th St
Minneapolis, MN 55402

Main: 612.632.3000
Fax: 612.632.4444

More information 
Maps & Directions

Gaertner, S

Susan is a principal at Gray Plant Mooty and a member of the firm’s Litigation practice group. She is an experienced trial attorney, having served as Ramsey County Attorney from 1995 to 2011. She was only the fourth person to hold the office since 1933 and was the first woman to hold the office. Susan took a hands-on approach and successfully prosecuted many high-profile and complex cases in civil and criminal court. She was an assistant county attorney for 10 years, successfully trying scores of cases to a jury. She worked as a criminal defense attorney for the William Mauzy Law Office and served as a law clerk for the Honorable Gerald W. Heaney of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. Susan’s trial expertise has been recognized by her admission into the American College of Trial Lawyers.

Susan’s experience includes managing the myriad civil litigation and advisory practice challenges faced by a major metropolitan county. She understands the impact that investigations and litigation have on an organization. Her experience allows her to create solutions to legal problems and ensure they are provided in a cost-effective manner, whether it is done in-house or through outside counsel.

Susan cochairs the firm’s Investigation and White Collar Defense team. She has represented companies and individuals in federal and state court enforcement actions, and has conducted internal investigations when allegations of misconduct have been raised.

Susan has counseled health care providers on issues related to health care fraud and regulatory enforcement. She has represented health care professionals in district court and licensing board matters, and before the United States Drug Enforcement Administration.

As a member of the firm’s Agribusiness and Food team, Susan has assisted clients with regulatory enforcement and food safety issues.

Representative Cases

  • Deweese v. Lakeview Clinic, 10-CV-10-1172 (Carver County District Court)
  • State v. Sontoya, 788 N.W.2d 868 (Minn. 2010)
  • State v. Evans, 756 N.W.2d 854 (Minn. 2008)
  • In re Giem, 742 N.W.2d 422 (Minn. 2007)
  • Sletten v. Ramsey County, C2-01-1066 (Minn. Sup. Ct.)


  • “How This Former Prosecutor Views the New FCPA Guidance,” Gray Plant Mooty Litigation Update, November 26, 2012
  • “Drug Theft on the Rise: Best Practices for Health Care Providers,” Gray Plant Mooty Health Law Alert, April 23, 2012
  • “Authorities Increase Enforcement and Prosecutions under Federal and State Environmental Laws—The Corn Plus Example,” coauthor, Gray Plant Mooty Agribusiness Alert, November 14, 2011
  • “Adapting to New Eyewitness Identification Procedures,” chapter author, Reforming Eyewitness Identification Procedures to Strengthen Prosecutions, Thomson Reuters/Aspatore, 2010
  • “Successful Eyewitness Identification Reform: Ramsey County’s Blind Sequential Lineup Protocol,” Police Chief Magazine, April 2009
  • “Three Strikes Against Juvenile Crime: Prevention, Intervention, Detention,” The Prosecutor, November/December 1996


  • “Medication Thefts: Prevention, Investigation, Reporting and Best Practices,” Aging Services of Minnesota 2013 Institute, February 8, 2013
  • “Responding to Government Investigations: A Practical Anatomy,” panelist, GPM White Collar Roundtable, October 30, 2012
  • “Crisis Management for the Health Care Provider: Successfully Navigating the Law and Public Relations,” March 8, 2012 and September 19, 2012
  • “Maintaining Control of Controlled Substances: Drug Diversion Prevention and Enforcement Issues,” presenter, Care Providers of Minnesota 2012 Assisted Living & Senior Housing Summit, August 22, 2012
  • “An Insider’s View of Health Care Fraud Enforcement: What’s on the Radar of State and Federal Agencies and on the Radar of State and Federal Agencies and Private Litigants,” July 19, 2012
  • “Controlled Substances and Enforcement: Drug Diversion Reporting Requirements,” presenter, Aging Services of Minnesota Institute, February 8, 2012
  • “Maintaining Control of Controlled Substances: Drug Diversion Prevention and Enforcement Issues,” presenter, GPM Health Law Seminar, July 14, 2011
  • “Government Investigations: The Tricks, Traps, and Technicalities,” panelist, GPM White Collar Roundtable, April 14, 2011
  • “Human Trafficking: Today’s Hidden Slavery,” 41st Annual Criminal Justice Institute, Bloomington, MN, August 22, 2006
  • “Progress in Combating Domestic Abuse,” Symposium on Domestic Violence, St. Paul, MN, September 9, 2005
  • “The Sudafed’s Gone, but Meth Lingers On: Where Do We Go From Here?” 40th Annual Criminal Justice Institute, Bloomington, MN, August 22, 2005
  • “Sex Offenders: Myths, Realities, and Reflections,” 39th Annual Criminal Justice Institute, Bloomington, MN, August 24, 2004
  • “Domestic Violence and the Invisible Victims,” American Association of University Women, St. Paul, MN, April 13, 2004


  • University of Minnesota Law School, J.D., cum laude, 1980
    Minnesota Law Review
    Order of the Coif
  • University of Minnesota-Duluth, B.A., Political Science, summa cum laude

Bar Admissions

  • Minnesota
  • U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota

Professional Activities

  • American Bar Association, Criminal Justice Section, advisory board and past vice chair
  • American College of Trial Lawyers
  • Minnesota County Attorneys Association, board member and past president
  • National District Attorneys Association, board of director

Honors and Distinctions

  • “Super Lawyer,” Minnesota Super Lawyers, 2004-2009
  • Norm Maleng Minister of Justice Award, Criminal Justice Section of the American Bar Association, 2009
  • Prosecutor of Excellence Award, Public Law Section of the Minnesota State Bar Association, 2007
  • Women of Distinction Award, Century College, 2007
  • Distinguished Service Award, Minnesota County Attorneys Association, 2004
  • Attorney of the Year, Minnesota Lawyer, 2003
  • Hall of Fame, Harding High School, St. Paul, MN

Community Involvement

  • Minnesota Interagency Task Force on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Prevention
  • Minnesota Criminal & Juvenile Justice Information Task Force
  • Joint Domestic Abuse Prosecution Unit, cofounder, 2000
  • National Symposium on Female Offenders, delegate, 1999
  • White House Leadership Conference on Youth, Drug Use, and Violence, participant, 1996
  • University of Minnesota Law School, Board of Visitors, 1996–2001
  • Presidential Scholarship Commission, by appointment of President Clinton, 1995–2000
  • Minnesota Attorney General’s Arson Task Force, 1995–1998