Finance & Banking
Gislason & Hunter represents numerous financial institutions, from community banks in rural Minnesota to regional lenders in the Midwest. Thoroughly familiar with financial economic conditions and the ever-evolving regulatory environment, our Minnesota banking and finance attorneys provide legal guidance, practical solutions and litigation services.
Our banking law practice provides sophisticated counsel and experienced representation across the spectrum. We service banks engaged in real estate lending, agricultural lending and commercial lending.
We represent banks of all sizes in southwest Minnesota, statewide and beyond. We also provide comprehensive services to a number of regional banking clients such as Bank Midwest and AgriBank.
Areas of Expertise
- Bank Litigation
- Business Planning & Administration
- Collection Actions
- Commercial Lending
- Corporate Governance
- Employment & HR Consulting
- Loan Transactions
- Loan Workouts
- Mergers & Acquisitions
- Portfolio Management
- Regulatory Compliance
- Reorganization & Bankruptcy
Our accomplished attorneys bring substantial expertise for Finance & Banking to deliver the very best in service and results.
Cases & Clients
Appointment as a Receiver
In 2012, Jennifer Lurken was appointed as the receiver to manage a hotel. The hotel owner was in default on its secured loan. The secured creditor desired the hotel to be sold as a going concern in an effort to maximize value for purposes of a sale. Jennifer installed new management over the hotel, decreased the deficit the hotel was operating under and sold the hotel, allowing the secured creditor to recover more than it would have recovered in a liquidation.
Disputed Claims to Collateral
In 2017, Dean Zimmerli represented a bank with a blanket security interest in all the borrower’s equipment other personal property. After the borrower’s business failed, the client realized many pieces of equipment has been hidden and given to a family member of the borrower. Dean was successful in obtaining a temporary injunction from the court against the family member prohibiting the family member from transferring or selling the collateral, and eventually the collateral was all reclaimed by the bank. Prior to a jury trial on the outstanding issues in the case, legal research by Dean concerning security interests and ownership questions led to a favorable settlement for the bank. Dean has represented banks and other lenders in numerous cases involving foreclosure, security interests, bankruptcies, priority disputes, and loan defaults.
$330 Million Debt Financing
David Kim represented a client in conjunction with $330 million debt financing.
Commercial and Agricultural Loan and Collection Actions
Jeff Braegelmann is the chair of the Gislason & Hunter Banking Practice Group and has assisted lenders in the collection of secured and unsecured commercial and agricultural debts. His experience spans the collection process and includes Farmer Lender Mediation, pre-litigation case assessments, foreclosures by action and advertisement, replevins and other prejudgment motions, collection of judgments and bankruptcy proceedings. He is successful in negotiating workouts and defending lender liability claims. Jeff also assists lenders in preparing loan agreements, notes and mortgages, perfecting liens on collateral and all other aspects of proper loan documentation and execution.
Successful Verdict for Secured Lender
In 2021, Jennifer Lurken obtained a trial verdict of $2.4 million for a secured farm lender, which was the full amount owed. The debtors defaulted and then denied liability to the lenders. The debtors denied the loaned funds had been received by the debtors. The debtors also defended the action by bringing counterclaims against the lender for breach of fiduciary duty, failure to supervise, and respondent superior. Prior to the trial, Jennifer obtained summary judgment on all three of debtors’ counterclaims. Thus focusing the trial on the lender’s claims.
Ownership of Source Code
David Kim represented a group of banks and financial organizations in a dispute on the ownership of the source code used to build their financial transaction platforms online.
$100 Million Commodity Futures Claims
David Kim represented clients in commodity futures claims over $100 million in conjunction with MF Global bankruptcy.
Rhett Schwichtenberg has represented financial institutions in successfully obtaining money and replevin judgments against debtors in default.
Pundt v. Select Portfolio Servicing, Inc., et. al.
Pundt v. Select Portfolio Servicing, Inc., et. al.; Northern District of Iowa, Case No. 10-cv-159 David Nelmark deposed the plaintiff who had asserted claims under the Fair Credit Reporting Act and drafted the briefs leading to summary judgment for his client. 2012 WL 2312074 (N.D. Iowa June 18, 2012).
Banking Litigation and Bankruptcy Work
Rick Halbur has represented multiple banks and lenders in a wide array of banking and bankruptcy-related litigation. For example, Rick represented a lender in a bankruptcy case where his client had a secured claim in excess of $17 million. Rick also represented a bank in litigation involving the enforcement of a $400,000.00 mortgage and associated personal guaranty. Rick also has extensive experience representing lenders in foreclosure actions valued in excess of $500,000.00. Finally, Rick also represented a lender in a breach of contract action involving the non-payment of crop insurance proceeds, and Rick’s success in this case was affirmed on appeal by the Minnesota Court of Appeals.
Dispute Over Ownership of Real Property
In 2014, Jennifer Lurken successfully tried a dispute over ownership in the Bankruptcy Court. Jennifer’s client was claiming ownership in real property based upon a signed deed from the debtor’s father. The debtor’s father claimed he had not executed the deed and therefore, he was the rightful owner of the real estate. The Bankruptcy Court ruled the deed was in fact signed by the debtor’s father. Therefore, the real property was the debtor’s asset and could be liquidated for the benefit of the unsecured creditors.
Advised a client as to potential lender liability for foreclosing on environmentally hazardous properties.
$300 Million Loan Refinancing
In early 2017, Chris Bowler assisted in a loan refinancing project that resulted in a $300 million syndicate loan. Chris’ involvement in the refinancing project included drafting multiple promissory notes, perfecting security interests in multiple states, and verifying the enforceability of mortgages and collateral assignments filed on over 50 different parcels of real property.
Litigation of Preference and Fraudulent Transfer Avoidance Claims
In 2016, Jennifer Lurken successfully defended her client against avoidance actions in excess of $20 million. The client had loaned $20 million to the bankrupt debtor and the bankruptcy trustee was attempting to undue the transaction and recover not just the principal paid to the client but the interest as well. Prior to trial, as a result of Jennifer’s legal research and investigation skills, she was able to obtain a favorable settlement for the client. Jennifer routinely represents banks and other lenders in pursuing and defending fraudulent transfer claims.
Collection Cases Involving Counterclaims
Represented banks in collection cases involving counterclaims claiming oral modifications of credit agreements, defamation, interference with contractual relationships, interference with business contractual relationships, lender liability, principal liability, negligence, breach of covenant of good faith and fair dealing, deceptive trade practices and accounting. Negotiated numerous workouts and forbearance agreements in connection with loans involving real estate, manufacturing, service, distribution, retail and franchise interests.
Tax Exempt Status
David Kim represented a client in an IRS action challenging the tax-exempt status on the client's $9 million IDRB issued to finance a production facility.
$1 Million AR Collection
David Kim represented a client in a $1 million AR collection matter in Vietnam.
Representation for Banks
Represented multiple banks in branch acquisitions, capital transactions and bank holding company governance and regulatory matters.
Representation of Secured Creditor in Bankruptcy Proceeding
In 2017, Jennifer Lurken represented a bank with a blanket security interest in all of the borrower’s equipment and other personal property and real estate. After the debtor filed bankruptcy, Jennifer obtained relief from the automatic stay. Jennifer then used her negotiation skills to obtain an agreement from the bankruptcy trustee and the debtor for the turnover of the equipment and real estate via deeds in lieu of foreclosure. Jennifer has represented lenders in cases involving foreclosure, secured interests, priority disputes, tax liens and loan defaults.
Contested LLC Non-Judicial Dissolution
In mid-2017, Chris Bowler assisted one of two 50-50 limited liability company owners in the non-judicial dissolution of the LLC. Although the dissolution process was highly contested, Chris was successful in negotiating the terms of the dissolution on behalf of his client without a need to seek judicial intervention. Aside from this particular dispute, Chris also assists various types of business entities (such as corporations, LLCs, and partnerships) in various corporate governance matters.
In 2017 Cory Genelin concluded multiyear litigation on behalf of a farm lender over a $3.125M agricultural loan assigned from another bank. The debtors defaulted and then denied any liability to the lender. (One of the debtors even denied the lender existed!) Prior to litigation, the debtors had liquidated collateral, and mingled assets with another operation. A farm visit to inspect collateral turned violent and law enforcement was called.
The debtors alleged the entire panoply of spurious counterclaims including FDCPA violations, Minnesota Farm Lender Act violations, fraud and theft.
After discovery, depositions and motion practice Cory got the debtors to reverse course, admit liability, and give up on their counter claims. They executed a confession of judgement and eventually paid off the debt in full including interest, penalties, and attorney fees.
See Sherburne County File No. 71-CV-16-1448
Hemp and Marijuana Law
Rhett Schwichtenberg is Gislason & Hunter’s cannabis expert. Rhett is active in the hemp and overarching cannabis industry. He followed federal legislation leading up to the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, legalizing industrial hemp and continues to track legislation impacting the industry. Rhett is passionate about advising growers, processors, cannabis-related businesses, and financial institutions. His ag background and experience with the agribusiness lifecycle enable him to assist cannabis-related businesses from the initial planning phase and formation to succession. Rhett has advised multiple banking and lending institutions on navigating the current regulatory landscape. Rhett pairs his business and legal acumen with first-hand experience, farming 143 acres of hemp with his father on their family’s century farm. These skills have made Rhett a serious practitioner in the hemp and marijuana industry. Rhett is a member of the Minnesota Hemp Association.
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- Avoiding Liability From Business Legal Errors
- Navigate Complex Banking and Finance Matters With Confidence
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- Minnesota’s New Limited Liability Act
- The Legal Implications of Running a Family Business
- The Importance of Clearly Written Contracts
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- Dissolving the Domestic Business Corporation in Minnesota