Harry Niska

Harry Niska represents plaintiffs and defendants in trial and appellate courts throughout the United States in a wide variety of high-stakes, complex commercial disputes, including securities, financial fraud, contract, and antitrust litigation. He also represents political candidates, party units, and other organizations on issues of campaign finance and election law. Prior to joining Ross & Orenstein in April of 2009, he was an associate at Kirkland & Ellis LLP in Chicago.  Harry has been selected by his peers as a 2017 Minnesota Rising Star, an honor awarded to a small percentage of young Minnesota lawyers annually.

Financial and Securities Litigation

  • In Minnesota state court, we successfully defended a former corporate director against claims of fraud and breach of fiduciary duty in connection with the failure of a business.  I successfully argued in the district court for dismissal of the fraud claim and then I successfully defended that dismissal in the Minnesota Court of Appeals.  Following the appeal, we defended the breach of fiduciary duty claim at a week-long bench trial, obtaining a full defense verdict.
  • I was lead counsel for a real estate investment fund asserting fraud and negligent misrepresentation claims against two corporate officers relating a sale-leaseback transaction.  We overcame a motion to dismiss, before obtaining a favorable settlement while discovery was ongoing.
  • We represented a significant group of institutional and individual investors in one of the largest Madoff feeder funds.  We brought suits in several different courts, litigating in state courts in Florida, Colorado, Massachusetts, and in federal court in New York.  After many years of discovery, motion practice, and appeals, we achieved favorable settlements for our clients.

Antitrust

  • We represented a group of investment funds who held notes issued by CompuCredit, which were trading at a depressed price in the market. After our clients filed an action for fraudulent transfer to challenge transactions that benefited the company’s shareholders and rebuffed an effort by CompuCredit to repurchase the notes at depressed prices, CompuCredit sued our clients for antitrust violations.  We obtained dismissal of the antitrust claims at the pleading stage, which was affirmed in the Eleventh Circuit by an evenly divided en banc.  CompuCredit Holdings Corp. v. Akanthos Capital Mgmt., LLC, 916 F. Supp. 2d 1326 (N.D. Ga. 2011), aff’d on reh’g en banc, 698 F.3d 1348 (11th Cir. 2012). CompuCredit then petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari., and the Supreme Court denied the petition.   Atlanticus Holdings Corp. v. Akanthos Capital Mgmt., LLC, 569 U.S. 1013 (2013).  Subsequently, I successfully argued a related case in the Eleventh Circuit.
  • We represented the Minnesota Timberwolves in a lawsuit brought by season ticket holders asserting antitrust, consumer fraud, and contract claims arising from the team’s adoption of an electronic ticketing platform.

Commercial Litigation

  • We represented a major egg producer damaged by an avian influenza outbreak in litigation against its insurer over coverage under pollution coverage policy.  I successfully argued in opposition to the insurer’s motion to dismiss.  Rembrandt Enterprises, Inc. v. Illinois Union Ins. Co., 129 F. Supp. 3d 782 (D. Minn. 2015).
  • The Tap House Restaurant Group, LLC v. Cassidy Turley Commercial Real Estate Services, Inc., et al., No. A17-0774, 2017 WL 6272940 (Minn. Ct. App. 2017): This was a dispute between a restaurant (our client) and its real estate broker.  After the lower court granted summary judgment against our client, I successfully argued for reversal in the Minnesota Court of Appeals, allowing our client’s claims to proceed to trial. The dispute then settled before trial.
  • We represented a major league sports franchise in a contract dispute with a former employee, which was arbitrated under American Arbitration Association rules.  Following the hearing, we obtained an award in favor of our client, including recovery of attorneys’ fees.

Election Law

  • I advised a congressional campaign on its response to alleged illegal corporate contribution and then successfully defended the campaign in a subsequent complaint before the Federal Election Commission, which was dismissed by a unanimous vote.  In the Matter of Emmer for Congress, MUR 6794 (FEC).

Education

  • University of Minnesota Law School, J.D., magna cum laude, 2005, Articles Editor, Minnesota Journal of International Law, Order of the Coif (an honor based on high class rank))
  • Concordia College, B.A., Political Science, 2002

Judicial Clerkships

  • Roger L. Wollman, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit (2005–06)
  • David R. Stras, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit (2018)

Admissions

  • Minnesota
  • Illinois
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, Central District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court, Minnesota
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana
  • How Loud is Your State’s Voice at the High Court?: Comparing State Attorney General Activity at the U.S. Supreme Court, Federalist Society – Minnesota Lawyers’ Chapter (Feb. 7, 2017).
  • Litigating in the Wake of a Class Action: How to Maximize Your Client’s Interests, Hennepin County Bar Association (Dec. 15, 2015) (with Matt Veenstra).
  • That’s Not Plausible: Iqbal One Year Later, Hennepin Lawyer (June 2010) (with John Orenstein).
  • The European Union TRIPS over the U.S. Constitution: Can the First Amendment Save the Bologna That Has a First Name?, 13 Minn. J. Global Trade 413 (2004).
  • Former vice chair, City of Ramsey Charter Commission
  • Board member, Connection Church
hniska@rossbizlaw.com
Phone: 612.436.9804
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