Joe is an accomplished trial attorney with a unique blend of government, in-house and business experience. He knows how to guide clients through a wide range of precarious matters.
Joe has significant experience handling complex litigation. He has tried over two dozen matters to a jury verdict and argued over three dozen cases before appellate courts. He is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.
As a former federal prosecutor, Joe’s background ensures an insider’s understanding of the government’s perspective and investigative strategies. Prior to joining Fredrikson & Byron, Joe also served as the Deputy General Counsel for UnitedHealth Group where he managed significant internal investigations and responded to government inquiries for the enterprise.
Joe has represented individual and organizational clients facing a wide array of challenges, including complex business litigation and federal and state investigations and criminal prosecutions. He also regularly assists organizations as they investigate and address allegations of internal misconduct.
Joe brings a proven record as a highly capable trial advocate. He has managed complex civil and criminal litigation in a variety of proceedings. He has a well-developed skill for strategic thinking and affirmative development of the client’s litigation position, including understanding the real-life dynamics that impede resolution.
- Joe has extensive in-court experience, including over two dozen jury trials as well as civil bench trials and arbitration.
- He has made over 30 oral arguments before numerous appellate courts, including the Minnesota Supreme Court and the U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. Of note are Otto v. Wright County, et al., No. A16-1634 (Jan. 3, 2018); S. v. Thomas Petters, No. 10-1843 (Feb. 17, 2011); and U.S. v. Loren Jennings, No. 11-3127 (May 18, 2012). Recordings of these oral arguments and others are available online at www.mncourts.gov/SupremeCourt/OralArgumentWebcasts.aspx and www.ca8.uscourts.gov.
- Joe has litigated high stakes commercial disputes in state and federal courts relating to sophisticated corporate transactions and False Claims Act allegations, including an International Chamber of Commerce arbitration regarding a failed acquisition, and litigation regarding a pension asset transfer.
- Joe represented the Minnesota State Auditor in constitutional litigation regarding the constitutional duties of the State Auditor.
Complex Criminal & Enforcement Actions
Joe has represented large organizations and individuals defending themselves against government investigations and regulatory enforcement actions. In June 2015, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis was criminally and civilly charged by the State of Minnesota. In December 2015, the civil litigation was settled with a landmark agreement providing for child protection protocols. In July 2016, after the exchange of briefing on a motion to dismiss, the Archdiocese and the State of Minnesota agreed to dismiss the criminal case. The case received substantial media coverage, including:
- Archdiocese moves to hire Joseph Dixon III for special criminal defense, Star Tribune, June 16, 2015
- Archdiocese asks for big-name legal help, Minnesota Public Radio, June 17, 2015
- Archdiocese, Ramsey County attorney reach unprecedented agreement in clergy sex abuse case, Star Tribune, December 18, 2015
- Archdiocese admits it mishandled abuse case: Six charges dropped in exchange for new accountability measures, Pioneer Press, July 21, 2016
Joe has represented individuals in defense against allegations ranging from large-scale federal fraud charges, state criminal charges to regulatory actions and administrative proceedings. Joe recently obtained the dismissal of all charges by the Department of Justice in a case where the DOJ had alleged Joe’s client conspired to commit a $200 million bank fraud. Joe filed numerous motions to dismiss, and ultimately, the federal prosecutors dismissed the Indictment against Joe’s client.
Joe also recently represented a city councilman who was cleared following a Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension investigation into bribery allegations.
- Dai Thao won’t be charged in bribery-solicitation case, Pioneer Press, September 12, 2017
During his tenure at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota, Joe handled some of the most significant cases prosecuted by that Office, Joe developed a reputation as one of the leading complex criminal practitioners in the state. He has wide experience in the criminal area as well with state and federal regulators. In his role, Joe:
- Acted as point of contact for federal and state law enforcement and regulatory agencies, including the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, the Minnesota Department of Commerce, and the National Securities and Commodities Fraud Working Group.
- Supervised the criminal prosecution of a publicly-traded company for violations of the Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act.
Joe personally led successful prosecution of numerous, high profile cases, including:
- U.S. v. Thomas Joseph Petters, et al., multi-agency investigation of a multi-billion dollar corporate fraud and prosecution of the owner of Polaroid Corp. and Sun Country Airlines, two corporations and nine other individuals; attorney on Petters trial team in five-week jury trial resulting in convictions on all counts and a 50-year sentence; led and coordinated government response in parallel criminal, civil and bankruptcy proceedings; Petters’ conviction and sentence affirmed at 663 F.3d 375 (8th Cir. 2011)
- U.S. v. Trevor Cook, prosecution of hedge fund manager for executing $165 million fraud; defendant was sentenced to 25-years’ imprisonment
- U.S. v. Parish Marketing and Development Corp., et al., largest mortgage fraud in Minnesota history by a homebuilder involving 200+ residences and over $85 million in fraudulently obtained proceeds; seven individuals and one corporation pleaded guilty; sentences affirmed at 565 F.3d 528 (8th Cir. 2009)
Corporate/Institutional Internal Investigations
Joe is regularly asked by corporations and corporate boards, large and small, to conduct investigations relating to a wide-variety of allegations, including officer malfeasance.
In the Fall of 2015, Joe co-led an investigation on behalf of the University of Minnesota of its Athletics Department. As part of the inquiry, the investigation team interviewed over 100 witnesses, reviewed relevant documents and emails, and conducted broad surveys. At its conclusion, the team produced a report that was publicly presented to the Board of Regents and the State Legislature. The high-profile investigation attracted national media coverage, including:
- University names attorneys to investigate Athletics Department, ex-director, Star Tribune, August 14, 2015
- Minnesota athletics probe largely clears school, Chicago Tribune, Associated Press, December 8, 2015
In 2016, Joe also represented Fagen, Inc. in an investigation into embezzlement committed by the company’s former chief financial officer who was subsequently prosecuted by the Department of Justice.
- Former executive at Granite Falls company gets prison for embezzling $5.77 million, Star Tribune, September 13, 2016
- Columbia Law School, J.D., 1995
- University of Wisconsin, B.A., 1991, with distinction
- Minnesota, 1998
- New York, 1997
- U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, 1998
- U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, 1998
- U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota, 2001
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, 2000
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, 1997
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, 2017
- U.S. Supreme Court, 2000
- AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rated, Martindale-Hubbell, 2023
- Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, Minnesota—Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations, 2019-present
- Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, Recognized Practitioner, Minnesota—Litigation: General Commercial, 2018
- Super Lawyer—Criminal Defense: White Collar, Minnesota Super Lawyers, 2018-present
- Minnesota’s First Judicial District Amicus Curiae Award, 2018
- Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers, inducted in 2017
- The Best Lawyers in America, Commercial Litigation, 2018-present
- North Star Lawyer, Minnesota State Bar Association, 2016-2017, 2020-2021
- Spurgeon Community Service Award, 2013
- U.S. Attorney General’s Distinguished Service Award, 2011
- Former U.S. Attorneys’ Association Exceptional Service Award, 2011
- Attorney of the Year, Minnesota Lawyer, 2009
Civic & Professional
- The Fund for Legal Aid, Board of Directors, 2019-present
- American College of Trial Lawyers, Fellow, 2017-present
- Complex Litigation Committee, 2018-present
- Minnesota Chapter Committee, 2018-present
- Federal Bar Association, Minnesota Chapter, Board of Directors
- Director, 2018-2019
- Secretary, 2017-2018
- Vice President, Annual Seminar, 2016-2017
- Vice President, Monthly Meetings, 2015-2016
- U.S. District Court Federal Practice Committee, 2017-2019
- Minnesota State Bar Association
- University of St. Thomas Law School, Adjunct Law School Professor, 2008-2017
- U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota, Assistant U.S. Attorney, January 2001-October 2011
- Deputy Criminal Chief, Chief of the Fraud and Public Corruption Section, 2008-2011
- Senior Litigation Counsel and Appellate Coordinator, 2007-2008
- State of Minnesota’s Financial Crimes Task Force, Board of Advisors, 2008-2011
- Attorney’s Office Special Emphasis Diversity Committee, 2008-2009
- DOJ-National Advocacy Center, Instructor, 2007-2011
- Columbia Law Review
- Scott County, Conciliation Court Referee, 2016-present
News & Insights
Publications & Presentations
Joe is frequently asked to address groups on a variety of topics, including:
Presenter, Healthcare Fraud & Abuse Outlook, Minnesota Continuing Legal Education Health Law Institute, June 19, 2019
Presenter, The Investigation Process: Key Takeaways to Improve Your Compliance Program, Minnesota Continuing Legal Education Compliance Program, September 17, 2018
Presenter, What’s So Special About A Special Counsel, Minnesota Supreme Court Historical Society, August 9, 2018
Presenter, Healthcare Fraud & Abuse Outlook, Minnesota Continuing Legal Education Health Law Institute, June 13, 2018
Presenter, Avoiding the Unthinkable: Employee Embezzlement and Malfeasance, Fredrikson & Byron Event, May 3, 2017
Editor, Handling Internal Investigations, Minnesota Continuing Legal Education (2017)
Co-Chair, Conducting Effective Internal Investigations Seminar, Minnesota CLE, August 2016 (Presenter for panels on Recent Developments and Enforcement Trends and Hiring Counsel and Coordinating with Other Parties)
Speaker, ABA 25th Annual National Institute on Health Care Fraud, May 2015
Speaker, False Claims Act Liability and the ACA Health Exchanges, American Health Lawyers Association Annual Conference, July 2014