Mary S. Young is an experienced litigator whose practice is focused on defending complex matters across a broad range of substantive legal areas, including consumer fraud class actions, wage and hour class actions, product liability, commercial and employment disputes. Ms. Young has in-depth experience defending class actions and serving as national coordinating counsel. She is well-versed in all aspects of civil pre-trial practice including defending and taking witness and expert depositions, drafting dispositive motions and oppositions to class certification, working with consulting and testifying experts, conducting all phases of discovery, appearing in court, preparing for arbitration and trial, representing clients at mediation, and negotiating and finalizing settlement agreements. Ms. Young is admitted to practice in Minnesota and Washington State.
Ms. Young is national coordinating counsel for a Fortune 500 company coordinating the defense of its product liability, premises liability and commercial claims arising in state and federal courts nationwide. In that role, she handles a diverse array of legal claims and is focused on vigorously protecting the company’s legal and business interests while efficiently driving the cases toward resolution. Ms. Young also serves as national coordinating counsel for a Fortune 500 company coordinating the defense of over 1,000 lawsuits pending in a medical device products liability MDL.
Before joining the firm, Ms. Young practiced in the complex litigation group at Lane Powell PC in Seattle, Washington.
Ms. Young is the founder and first president of the Minnesota Mother Attorneys Association (MMAA). MMAA is a legal organization dedicated to promoting the career excellence of mother attorneys. While practicing in Seattle, she was an active member of King County Washington Women Lawyers, serving on its board of directors (2006–2008) and as co-chair of its Judicial Evaluation Committee (2007–2011).
- University of Minnesota Law School (J.D., 2002), cum laude; Outside Articles Editor, Journal of Law and Inequality; Study Abroad, University of Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa (2000)
- University of Wisconsin – Madison (B.A., 1998) with Honors; University of Wisconsin Symphony Orchestra (violin)
- Benchmark Litigation Minnesota Litigation Star
- Minnesota Super Lawyers®
- Benchmark Litigation “Under 40 List Hot List”
- Benchmark LitigationMinnesota Future Star
- Leadership Council on Legal Diversity Fellow
- Super Lawyers®-Rising Stars, Minnesota
- Super Lawyers®-Rising Stars, Washington
- Consumer Fraud Class Actions – Litigation and Settlement Strategy, American Bar Association’s Section of Products Liability Food & Supplements Fourth Annual Workshop, June 5, 2014, Wayzata, MN.
- Gareis v. 3M Company (Bair Hugger™). Member of trial team that won a complete defense verdict for one of the world's largest global innovation manufacturing companies in the first product liability multidistrict litigation (MDL) bellwether trial in Minnesota Federal District Court. The jury agreed with the defense that the warming device did not cause surgical site infections. This case is one of more than 4,500 cases in the Minnesota MDL all involving numerous complex novel scientific legal issues. With Mr. Blackwell’s leadership, the defense team has secured dismissal of all Minnesota State cases, prevented Plaintiffs from adding punitive damages, won a significant motion to compel, securing more than $11,000 in fees and costs for client. The verdict was widely covered in the media.
- State of Minnesota by its Attorney General Lori Swanson, Commissioner of Pollution Control, Commissioner of Natural Resources v. 3M Company. Co-counsel in resolving a long-standing environmental contamination action brought by the State of Minnesota Attorney General. The $850 million settlement was the largest environmental settlement in Minnesota, and the third largest in U.S. history, ending eight years of litigation over a former ingredient (fluorochemicals, or PFCs) that allegedly contaminated the state’s drinking water. The settlement was widely covered by the media.
- Nature Valley Putative Nationwide Class Action. Secured complete defense victory on behalf of General Mills, Inc. in a case filed in federal court, District of Minnesota, alleging false advertising of the company’s Nature Valley Snack bars. The plaintiffs claimed that the General Mills misled consumers by labeling its Nature Valley snack bars as “100% Natural” when the products contained allegedly non-natural ingredients. The plaintiffs sought certification of a nationwide class of Nature Valley purchasers as well as subclasses of New York and New Jersey buyers, in addition to compensatory, treble and punitive damages; injunctive relief; restitution; and reasonable attorneys' fees and expenses. On June 3, 2013, Chief Judge Michael Davis of the District of Minnesota dismissed the vast majority of plaintiffs’ claims, agreeing with the legal arguments involving the court’s jurisdiction, federal and state warranty law, and the pleading requirements necessary for plaintiffs’ fraud-based consumer claims. See Chin v. Gen. Mills, Inc., No. CIV. 12-2150 MJD/TNL, 2013 WL 2420455 (D. Minn. June 3, 2013). Plaintiffs subsequently dismissed their remaining claims, and the lawsuit, after General Mills served discovery.
- Yo-Plus Consumer Class Action. Defended General Mills, Inc. against a class action, on behalf of California purchasers, alleging that Yo-Plus probiotic yogurt did not promote digestive health as advertised. General Mills retained the firm as trial counsel after the court granted class certification. Blackwell Burke obtained de-certification of the class’s claims for damages, including its claim for punitive damages. The case settled shortly after the de-certification decision.
- Thiebes et al. v. Wal-Mart. Wage and Hour Collective Action two-phase trial involving allegations of off-the-clock work.
- Lattin v. Worldpac, Inc.Defended Worldpac in putative class action brought by former employee seeking to represent class of commissioned salespersons on breach of contract claim. Class certification denied.