Micah Mitchell Hines returned to Blackwell Burke as Special Counsel in 2015. Most recently, she served as general counsel and assistant chief of staff to Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton and Lieutenant Governor Yvonne Prettner Solon.
Ms. Hines served as chief legal advisor to the Governor, Lieutenant Governor and approximately thirty-five office staff on diverse subjects including human resources, human services, pardons, land exchanges, bonds, budgets, tribal matters, revenue and tax matters, natural resources, education, legislation, litigation and legal matters across the twenty-four executive branch agencies. She participated in the Governor’s interviews of candidates seeking appointments to Minnesota courts and served as the Governor’s designee on the Minnesota State Board of Investment (the state agency responsible for $82B in state and employee retirement assets).
Immediately before joining the Governor’s Office, Ms. Hines worked at Blackwell Burke. She also previously worked at Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease and State Farm Insurance Companies. She is an experienced litigator, having tried over 100 cases to verdict. She is admitted to the bars of the Supreme Courts of Minnesota and Ohio, and the Court of Appeals of Maryland.
- Chair, Minnesota State Board of Investment Proxy Voting Committee, 2011-2014
- Chair, Minnesota State Board of Investment Administrative Committee, 2011-2014
- Co-Chair, Governor’s 2013 Statewide Council on the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday
- Minnesota Advisory Committee on Capitol Security (Advisor), 2012-2014
- YWCA of Minneapolis (finance and nominating committees), 2012-2014
- Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin River Valleys (engagement committee), 2013-2014
- Duke University (B.A., Political Science and African American Studies), 1999
- The University of Michigan Law School (J.D., 2002), Dean’s Scholar
- Minnesota State Bar Association, North Star Lawyer (2012)
- Minnesota Lawyer, Rising Star (2007, 2009, 2011, and 2012)
- Minnesota Lawyer, 15 Up-and-Coming Attorneys (2005)
Micah has spoken on behalf of Governor Dayton at judicial investiture ceremonies, conferences, and community events. In addition, she has spoken on numerous panels.
- Gareis v. 3M Company (Bair Hugger™). 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.
- Khoury v. ConAgra Foods. Member of the trial team which successfully defended international food manufacturer ConAgra Foods, Inc. Consumers claimed disease from exposure to microwave popcorn vapors. After a month-long trial in the plaintiffs’ counsel’s home court in Jackson County, Missouri, a jury found in favor of ConAgra Foods on all claims resulting in a complete defense victory. The case was affirmed on appeal.
- Newkirk v. ConAgra Foods. Member of the trial team which refuted plaintiff’s argument that consumer exposure to popcorn additives was comparable to industrial-level exposure. A Washington federal district court excluded plaintiff’s experts on Daubert grounds, granted summary judgment and dismissed all claims in favor of ConAgra Foods, Inc. The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed.