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Aaron D. Van Oort



Aaron Van Oort is a legal strategist and appellate lawyer who co-chairs Faegre Drinker’s appellate advocacy group. A former law clerk for Justice Antonin Scalia, a Fellow of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers and an editor of the Eighth Circuit Appellate Practice Manual (10th ed. 2022), Aaron is a distinguished voice for clients in trial and appellate courts throughout the country. Chambers USA describes him as having “notable prominence and presence in this field.”


When huge consequences or important principles are at stake, clients hire Aaron on appeal for his creativity, collaboration and ability to help the clients win. Aaron has argued more than 50 appeals, including arguments in 10 of the 13 U.S. Courts of Appeal, the New York Court of Appeals, the D.C. Court of Appeals, the Minnesota Supreme Court, and other state appellate courts. He has won victories for clients as both appellee and appellant, including winning reversals of adverse jury verdicts in both federal and state courts. His recent representations include: 

  • Rocky Mountain Wild v. Leavell-McCombs Joint Venture, 2024 WL 1689253 (10th Cir. Apr. 19, 2024). Representing LMJV as intervenor, won decision reversing district court and affirming U.S. Forest Service grant of road access to private inholding against environmental challenges.
  • Brettler v. Allianz Life Ins. Co. of North America, 40 N.Y.3d 450 (2023). Representing Allianz, won decision on certified question holding that, under New York law, life insurance policy term requiring notice to insurer before policy assignment binds the insurer is enforceable.
  • Dornay v. Volkswagen Group of America, Inc., 85 F.4th 570 and 2023 WL 7318487 (9th Cir. 2023). Representing Volkswagen, won decision affirming dismissal on the merits of putative class action asserting claims under Washington Privacy Act.
  • Baysal v. American Family Mut. Ins. Co., S.I., 78 F.4th 976 (7th Cir. 2023). Representing American Family, won 2-1 decision affirming dismissal of putative data-breach class action for lack of Article III standing.
  • Mortier v. LivaNova USA, Inc., 70 F.4th 421 (8th Cir. 2023). Representing LivaNova, won decision affirming summary judgment and holding that LivaNova had honored contractual requirement to use sufficient efforts and care to obtain approval of acquired medical device.
  • Smits v. Park Nicollet Health Services, 979 N.W.2d 436 (Minn. 2022). Representing Park Nicollet, successfully obtained Minnesota Supreme Court review and won ruling reversing court of appeals and affirming summary judgment against claims seeking to hold mental health care provider vicariously liable for murders committed by outpatient.
  • Thornton v. Tyson Foods, Inc., et al., 28 F.4th 1016 (10th Cir. 2022). Representing the nation’s four largest beef processors, won a 2-1 decision affirming the dismissal of two putative class actions on the grounds that federal law preempted plaintiffs’ state-law deceptive-advertising claims.
  • State ex rel. Knudsen v. AT&T Mobility Nat’l Accounts, LLC, 2021 WL 6109577 (Minn. App. 2021). Representing AT&T Mobility, successfully won decision affirming the dismissal of Minnesota False Claims Act claims for lack of any knowingly false representation.
  • Mujo v. Jani-King International, Inc., 13 F.4th 204 (2d Cir. 2021). Representing Jani-King, won 2-1 decision affirming summary judgment against putative class action asserting employee misclassification, minimum wage and anti-kickback claims.
  • Micheel v. American Family Mut. Ins. Co., 1 F.4th 614 (8th Cir. 2021). Representing American Family, won reversal of order granting summary judgment to plaintiff and direction to grant summary judgment for American Family, with court agreeing that summary of insurance policy did not create ambiguity in the policy itself.
  • LSP Transmission Holdings, LLC v. Sieben, 954 F.3d 1018 (8th Cir. 2020). Representing Xcel Energy, successfully intervened in suit bringing dormant Commerce Clause constitutional challenge against Minnesota’s right-of-first-refusal statute, won dismissal of claim, defended dismissal on appeal, and got plaintiff’s petition for writ of certiorari denied.
  • Anderson v. American Family Ins. Co., 800 Fed. Appx. 814 (11th Cir. 2020). Representing American Family, won affirmance of summary judgment against putative class action alleging property damage due to stigma, with court agreeing that none had been proven and a failure to assess for stigma was not an independent claim when no stigma was proven.

Litigation Strategy

When clients face class actions, mass actions or individual cases with high exposure, they hire Aaron to team up with litigators and trial lawyers to create and implement the legal strategy to win the case. Aaron often directs and argues motions to dismiss and for summary judgment, negotiates jury instructions, and leads motion practice at and after trials. Aaron has also defended more than 150 putative class actions and is an editor of the Bolch Judicial Institute’s Guidelines and Best Practices: Implementing 2018 Amendments to Rule 23 Class Action Settlement Provisions (Duke Law School 2018). With Aaron’s representation, clients have compelled arbitration, won dismissal and summary judgment, and defeated class certification. Aaron is also hired as lead settlement counsel in very large class actions to negotiate favorable resolutions, a role in which he enjoys working collaboratively with clients and litigation counsel.

Personal Interests

Aaron is an avid NFL football fan and has spent years building character cheering for the Minnesota Vikings. He enjoys traveling the U.S. looking for great barbecue with his wife and four sons, and training and taking walks with his Great Dane, Huckleberry. Aaron is a member of the Board of Directors of Substance Church.


Bar Admissions


Court Admissions

U.S. Supreme Court
U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota


United States Supreme Court, Hon. Antonin Scalia, 2000-2001
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, Hon. Richard A. Posner, 1999-2000


University of Chicago Law School
J.D. with high honors, Order of the Coif, Law Review (articles editor) (1999)

University of Minnesota, Morris
B.A. with high distinction, with honors (1996)

Insights & Events

Other Perspectives
  • 8th Circuit Appellate Practice Manual
    Editor, 8th Edition, 2018 
  • Guidelines and Best Practices: Implementing 2018 Amendments to Rule 23 Class Action Settlement Provisions
    Editor, Bolch Judicial Institute, Duke Law School, 2018 
  • The Supreme Court Term in Preview
    Panelist, Eighth Circuit Bar Association, St. Paul, October 18, 2017
  • Recent Developments in Class Action Law
    Panelist, PLI Consumer Financial Services Institute, New York, April 2017
  • The U.S. Supreme Court's Big New Decisions 
    Minnesota CLE, Minneapolis, 2017
  • Evaluating Proposed Class-Action Settlements
    Panel Moderator, Duke Class-Action Settlement Conference, San Diego, October 2016
  • Recent Developments in Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) Litigation
    Banking Law Institute, Minneapolis, 2013
  • ABA Appellate Practice Compendium
    Contributing Author, 2013
  • Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Trade Practice Regulation in Minnesota
    Contributing Editor

Firm Blog Contributions

  • LaborSphere – a resource providing coverage and insights on breaking cases, recently enacted legislation and a broad range of labor issues

Leadership & Community

Professional Associations

  • American Academy of Appellate Lawyers 
  • Minnesota State Bar Association — Past Chair of Appellate Section
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota  Magistrate Judge Merit Selection Panel, Court-Appointed Member, 2024
  • Minnesota Supreme Court  Advisory Committee on the Rules of Civil Appellate Procedure, Member
  • Carver County, Minnesota, Conciliation Court  Volunteer Referee


  • Chambers USA — Minnesota, Litigation: Appellate, 2010-24
  • Best Lawyers® — Appellate Practice, 2011-24 (Lawyer of the Year, 2017, 2021); Litigation — Antitrust, 2013-24; Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions — Defendants, 2023
  • Minnesota Super Lawyers — Appellate, 2013-23 (Top 100 Super Lawyers for Minnesota)
Awards Methodology
No aspect of these recognitions has been approved by the highest court of any state.
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