Overview

Mike leads contract negotiations and litigation on energy infrastructure projects for industrial, private and tribal clients, throughout all stages of project development, from utility corridor strategy, right-of-way acquisition and regulatory approval, to real estate development and construction.

Mike negotiates a range of power generation contracts for multi-jurisdictional, investor-owned, public utility clients. He provides legal advice primarily centered around energy infrastructure development. Beginning at the early stages of project conceptualization, engineering and regulatory approval, through contract procurement and negotiation, all the way to acquiring necessary property rights, overseeing construction contract issues and handling claims, Mike focuses his practice on providing practical advice based on his industry experience working for a regional investor-owned electric utility in the areas of land acquisition and contract procurement, working extensively with project managers on traditional power generation projects, renewable energy infrastructure and tribal energy projects.

Mike builds his practice off broad real estate experience while working for a general litigation firm in the lake’s country of outstate Minnesota. There, he handled boundary line disputes, land use planning litigation, quiet title actions, eminent domain proceedings, contract for deed disputes, partition actions, landlord-tenant disputes, establishing road access and drafted a variety of land conveyance documents.

Prior to becoming an attorney, Mike conducted legal research for the Honorable Barbara R. Hanson, Seventh Judicial District of Minnesota, and logged many hours representing families through the University of Minnesota’s special education law clinic. 

Services

Experience

Energy

  • Commercial project lead for an investor-owned electric utility’s first EV charging station pilot program—among the first EV corridors granted by a state regulatory commission to an electric utility in the rural United States
  • Commercial project lead for the decommissioning and demolition of a 140-MW coal plant
  • Completed land rights and permitting to develop bare land for a 245-MW simple-cycle natural gas combustion turbine for an investor-owned electric utility
  • Acquired right-of-way and permitted the construction of multiple substations for an investor-owned electric utility

Real Estate

  • Represented an upscale condominium association on Otter Tail Lake, MN, in a boundary line dispute with multiple landowners
  • Represented landowners opposing a condemnation action commenced by the county for a right-of-way corridor
  • Provided land acquisition, right-of-way settlements, purchase and sale of land, and led local government zoning and platting procedures for an investor-owned electric utility

Tribal Energy/Real Estate

  • Title clearing for a real estate redevelopment project involving electrical utility assets in a tribal reservation located in South Dakota
  • Right-of-way acquisition and permitting for an electrical utility providing power to a tribal reservation located in Minnesota
  • Site selection and right-of-way acquisition for an electrical substation on a tribal reservation located in North Dakota
  • Title review and real estate strategy for an electrical utility providing power to a tribal reservation located in North Dakota

Construction

  • Successfully defended a motion for summary judgment on a construction defect claim alleging over $500,000 in damages
  • Represented a timber frame building contractor through arbitration
  • Represented an excavation contractor in a claim by a municipality for liquidated damages exceeding $100,000 in damages
  • Represented a commercial contractor in a construction defect case alleging defective installation of drain tile exceeding $500,000 in damages

Credentials

Education

  • University of Minnesota Law School, J.D., 2015
  • Minnesota State University Moorhead, B.A., 2010, magna cum laude
  • Minnesota State Community & Technical College, A.S., 2008

Admissions

  • Minnesota, 2015
  • Iowa, 2022

Clerkships

  • Judicial Intern, Honorable Barbara R. Hanson, Minnesota Seventh Judicial District, 2013

Civic & Professional

Professional Activities

  • International Right of Way Association, Member, Dakotas Chapter 72, 2022
  • Minnesota State Bar Association, Member
  • Otter Tail County Bar Association, Member
  • Minnesota Journal of Law, Science & Technology, Managing Editor, 2014-2015

Community

  • Planning Commissioner, Fergus Falls Planning Commission, 2023
  • Fergus Falls Area College Foundation, Board Member, 2022
  • AmeriCorps Alumni, 2012

News & Insights

Publications & Presentations

The Army Corps of Engineers: Comprehensive Floodwater Retention in the Red River Basin and the Fargo-Moorhead Flood Diversion Project, Minnesota Journal of Law, Science & Technology, 2015

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