V. John Ella: Lawyer with Jackson Lewis P.C.

V. John Ella

Minneapolis,  MN  U.S.A.
Phone(612) 341-8131

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AV® Preeminent

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Practice Areas

  • General Employment Litigation
  • Non-Competes and Protection Against Unfair Competition
  • Privacy
  • e-Communication and Data Security
  • Education
  • Health Care
  • Professional Services
  • Transportation and Warehousing
University Tufts University, B.A., 1990
Law SchoolUniversity of Minnesota, J.D., cum laude, 1994
Admitted1994, Minnesota; 1995, U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota; 1996, U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit; 1999, U.S. District Court, Western District of Wisconsin; 2000, U.S. Supreme Court; 2005, New York and U.S. Court of International Trade; 2006, U.S. Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit; 2007, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Wisconsin; 2008, Iowa; 2009, U.S. District Court, Northern and Southern Districts of Iowa

Professional Associations and Activities

•Federal Bar Association
•Hennepin County Bar Association
•Iowa State Bar Association
•Legal Marketing Association Minnesota Chapter, Board of Directors (2003-2004)
•Minnesota State Bar Association

LanguagesPortuguese; Spanish

V. John Ella is a Shareholder in the Minneapolis, Minnesota, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He practices in all aspects of employment law and advises clients in the areas of employment contracts, handbooks, trade secret and noncompete litigation, drug testing law, privacy law, commission claims, defamation, sexual harassment claims, discrimination, plant closings, ERISA benefits litigation, wage and hour compliance, whistleblower and Sarbanes-Oxley claims, as well as closely-held corporation and partnership disputes.

Mr. Ella has obtained successful verdicts in jury trials and court trials in federal and state district courts in Minnesota and state court in Iowa, and has appeared before the Minnesota Court of Appeals, the Minnesota Supreme Court, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals and the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals. He has litigated non-compete disputes in Iowa, Florida, Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin and serves as the editor for the Jackson Lewis blog www.noncompetereport.com.

Mr. Ella is the author of over a hundred articles or book chapters for various legal publications. He frequently lectures on the topic of workplace privacy and employee monitoring. He also speaks on common law fraud and was co-author of the Summary Guide to Fraud, Misrepresentation and Deceptive Trade Practices.

Mr. Ella is a recognized commentator on the topic of “Executive Law” and has been quoted in dozens of newspaper and magazine articles regarding stock options, executive compensation, noncompetes, restrictive covenants and executive severance agreements and has lectured at several CLEs on the topic of Executive Law.

Mr. Ella is also known for having defended dozens of employers regarding claims under the Minnesota Drug and Alcohol Testing in the Workplace Act.

Mr. Ella is certified by the Minnesota State Bar Association as a Labor and Employment Law Specialist. He is also certified as an Information Privacy Professional (CIPP/US) by the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP).

Mr. Ella was a Law Clerk for Judge Carol B. Amon, Eastern District of New York from 1996-1997 and for Judge William E. Kalar, Ninth Judicial District of Minnesota from 1994-1995.


The determination of the need for legal services and the choice of a lawyer are extremely important decisions and should not be based solely upon advertisements or self-proclaimed expertise. This disclosure is required by rule of the Supreme Court of Iowa. Memberships and offices in legal fraternities and legal societies, technical and professional licenses, and memberships in scientific, technical and professional associations and societies of law or field of practice does not mean that a lawyer is a specialist or expert in a field of law, nor does it mean that such lawyer is necessarily any more expert or competent than any other lawyer. All potential clients are urged to make their own independent investigation and evaluation of any lawyer being considered. This notice is required by rule of the Supreme Court of Iowa.

Honors and Recognitions

Minnesota Law and Politics, Top 40 Employment Law Attorney (2006-2008)
•Super Lawyer Magazine, Top 100 Minnesota Lawyers (2014)

Pro Bono and Community Involvement

•City of Robbinsdale Human Rights Commission, Commissioner (2006-2007)
•Evergreen Montessori, Crystal, MN, Board of Directors (2014)
•Law Enforcement Memorial Association (LEMA), volunteer attorney (2012-2015)
•Minnesota Board of Medical Practice (Appointed 2010, Re-appointed 2014, Secretary 2014)
•Minnesota State Board of Legal Certification (Appointed January 2015)
•University of Minnesota Law School, Legal Writing Instructor (1999-2001)
•University of Minnesota Student Legal Services, Board of Directors (2001-2005)
•Willmar Hispanic Alliance, Board of Directors (1995-1996)

Published Works

•“Employers buffeted by layers of rules, ” Star Tribune Business Forum (June 2015) [Author]
•“Workplace Privacy Law in Iowa, ” Iowa Lawyer (June 2015) [Author]
•“Iran, nukes and alternative dispute resolution, ” Minnesota Lawyer (May 2015) [Author]
•“Narcissists, Inc., ” HR Magazine, May 2015 [Co-Author with Michael Farnsworth, M.D., D.F.A.P.A]
•“Strategic Perspectives - Jackson Lewis spotlights unusual state laws, ” Wolters Kluwer Employment Law Daily, April 10, 2015 [Co-Author with Beverly W. Garafolo]
•“Responding to Federal Housing Bias Complaints, ” Minnesota Lawyer, April 9, 2015 [Co-Author With Malcolm Terry]
•“Lessons Learned from Clinton's Case, ” Star Tribune Business Forum, March 30, 2015
The ADA Handbook, Chapter 11, “Defense Side - Tips and Strategies for Litigation” (Minnesota State Bar Association, 2013) [Co-Author]
Summary Guide to Filing and Responding to EEO Charges of Discrimination in Minnesota. (Minnesota State Bar Association - CLE, 2008) [Co-Author]
Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Trade Practice Regulation in Minnesota (MN, 2007) [Contributing Author]
Summary Guide to Fraud, Misrepresentation and Deceptive Trade Practices, 2nd ed. (MN: Minnesota State Bar Association - CLE, 2004) [Co-Author]
For the Record: 150 Year of Law and Lawyers in Minnesota (MN, 1999) [Contributing Author]
• Monitoring Personnel-Developing Clear Policies, Employee Benefits Planner, Vol. 21, No. 2 (2014) [Author]
• Law Protects Employees Who Use Medical Marijana, Minnesota Lawyer (June 19, 2014) [Author]
•Legal QuickSheet Employee Monitoring and Workplace Privacy, Minnesota CLE (2014) [Author]
• Court records overexposed in today's light, Minneapolis Star Tribune (July 17, 2013) [Author]
• Employment Law Compliance Tips for Long-Term Care Communities, published on www.leadingage.org(May 15, 2013 ) [Author]
• When to Quit: We Make the Call, Employment Law has Made the Decision to Retire Largely Our Own, Minneapolis Star Tribune (March 4, 2013) [Author]
• Book Review: Executive Law, The Federal Lawyer [Author]
• Lessons in EEOC: Priorities and Tactics from EEOC v. Van Expedited, Iowa Lawyer (September 2012)
• Workplace Defamation Claims in Minnesota, Bench & Bar (August 2012)
• HR v. HR - Relationships get awkward fast with an HR Plaintiff, HR Magazine (September 2010)
• Employment Practices Liability Insurance Comes of Age, Hennepin Lawyer (September 2010)
• We've entered the age of the whistleblower, Star Tribune Business Forum (August 9, 2009)
• Federal Court Tackles NFL Drug Testing Program, Sports Litigation Alert 7.1 (January 2010) [Co-Author]
• Now's the Time to Review your Noncompetes, Star Tribune Business Forum (September 2009) [Author]
• Frost/Nixon offers a few Deposition tips for Lawyers, Minnesota Lawyer (August 2009) [Author]
• State Should Reform Drug Testing Law, Minneapolis Star Tribune Business Forum (July 20, 2009) [Author]
• Employment Law by the Numbers, Minnesota Lawyer (June 1, 2009) [Author]
• Diagnosing Employment Law Issues in the Health Care Industry, Hennepin Lawyer (May 2009) [Author]
• Charge! A Look at Federal, State, and Local Discrimination Charges in Minnesota, Hennepin Lawyer (April 2008) [Co-Author]
• What Do They Have in Mind? Minnesota's Drug -Testing Law Turns 20, Minnesota Bench & Bar (September 2007) [Author]
• Responding to Employee Embezzlement, Employment Law 360 (May 30, 2007) [Author]
• Common Law Fraud Claims: A Critical Tool for Litigators, Bench & Bar (September 2006) [Author]
• Golden Parachutes to Golden Handcuffs: An Executive Law Glossary, Twin Cities Business Journal (May 19, 2006) [Author]
• Employment Law 'No-Brainers, ' Twin Cities Business Journal (November 14, 2005) [Author]
• No Longer Commission Impossible - Bonus Claims Get Boost, Hennepin Lawyer (July-August 2005) [Author]
• Pay for Peformance (Book Review) Minneapolis Star Tribune (January 10, 2005) [Author]
• Tips for Federal Court III, Bench and Bar (December 2004) [Co-Author]
• Anatomy of an Answer, Hennepin Lawyer (July/August 2004) [Author]
• Bad Faith Trumps Minnesota Nice When it Comes to Stock Options, Hennepin Lawyer (May/June 2004) [Author]
• The Firm of the Future (Book Review) Federal Lawyer (May 2004) [Author]
• Reviewing SEC Disclosures Can Yield Dividends, Minnesota Lawyer (March 25, 2002) [Author]
• Executive Perspective, Minneapolis Star Tribune (Nocember 5, 2001) [Author]
• Legal Issues are on the Menu for Restaurant Owners, Law Watch (Spring 2001) [Author]
• When The Green Card gets the Pink Slip, Minnesota Lawyer (January 12, 2001) [Author]
• Be a Tender Sender: Tender Claims for Insurance Coverage, American Bar Association: The Young Lawyer (October 2000) [Author]
• Clerking Outstate: Northern Exposure, Minnesota Style, Minnesota Lawyer (July 31, 2000) [Author]
• More Tips for Litigation in Federal Court, Bench & Bar (May/June 2000) [Co-Author]
• Test Your Knowledge of Federal Legislation, Federal Lawyer (January 2000) [Author]
• 17 Steps to Protect Your Trade Secrets, You and the LAW 30.1 (January 2000) [Co-Author]
• A Stock Options Primer for the Employment Law Attorney, Hennepin Lawyer (June 1999) [Author]
• Qui Tam Lawsuits Increasing, Law Watch (Winter 1998) [Co-Author]
• Front Pay Damages in Eighth Circuit Employment Law Cases, Minnesota Lawyer (August 1998) [Author]
• Settlement Negotiations - They're Not that Confidential, Bench & Bar (April 1998) [Co-Author]
• Tips for Litigation in Federal Court, Bench & Bar (March 1997) [Co-Author]
• Lawyers Make the Best Lawmakers, Minneapolis Star Tribune (August 10, 1996) [Author]
• Minnesota Legal Terms - A Quiz, Minnesota Journal of Law & Politics (November 1995) [Author]
• The Visegrad Countries of Central Europe: Integration or Isolation? Minnesota Journal of Global Trade 2.1 (Summer 1993) [Co-Author]

Speeches and Presentations

•“Compliance for Multi-State Employers, ” Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute (St. Paul, MN, May 2015) (Presenter)
•“50 State Non-Competes, ” Minnesota CLE, Business Law Institute (Minneapolis, MN, May 2015) (Presenter)
•“Workplace Privacy - What Can Employers Say and Do? What Must Employers Avoid?, ” Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute (St. Paul, MN, May 2014) (Presenter)
•“Privacy and Social Media in the Workplace, ” Employment Law Beyond the Basics, Sterling Education Services, Inc. (Minneapolis, MN, May 2014) (Presenter)
•Association of Corporate Counsel National Webinar (March 2014) (Presenter)
•“ADA Compliance - Getting it Right, ” Minnesota CLE (December 2013) (Presenter)
•“Non-Competes - One Size Does not Fit All 50 States, ” Jackson Lewis Half Day Employment Law Seminar (October 16, 2013)
•“Midwest Madness - Varying Enforcement in the 5-State Region, Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute, St. Paul, MN, (May 21, 2013)
•“Protecting your Organization: An Advanced Course on Handbook and Policy Drafting, Des Moines, IA (May 16, 2013)
•“Privacy and Other Workplace Issues”, Sterling CLE, Minneapolis, MN (May 8, 2013)
• Workplace Defamation and Tortious Interference, Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute (May 22, 2012)
• 12 Tips for 2012, Iowa Breakfast Series, Des Moines, Iowa (April 19, 2012)
• March Madness - Minnesota Marital Status Claims, Minnesota State Bar Association (March 21, 2012)
• Drafting Bonus and Commission Plans and Litigating Wage Claims in Minnesota, Hennepin County Bar Association (February 7, 2012)
•“Linked in or Left Out? - The Collision of Social Media and Employment Law, ” Jackson Lewis Breakfast Series, Des Moines, Iowa (April 14, 2011) and Cedar Rapids, Iowa (October 27, 2011)
• Employee Documentation, Discipline & Discharge, National Business Institute, Eau Claire, Wisconsin (August 31, 2011)
• Midwest Madness - Employment Laws of Neighboring States, Minnesota CLE - Midwest Employment Law Institute (May 23, 2011)
•“Defamation and Tortious Interference Claims - Recent Developments” Hennepin County Bar Association (Feb. 1, 2011)
•“Up in Smoke - Is Complying with Minnesota Drug Testing Laws a Pipe Dream?” Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), Annual State Conference, Duluth, Minnesota (October 12, 2010)
•“Legal Update for Recruiters, ” U.S. Recruiting Network, National Conference (October 1, 2010)
•“Linked in or Left Out? - The Collision of Social Media and Employment Law, ” Jackson Lewis Breakfast Series (September 23, 2010)
• The Minneapolis EEOC Area Office - an Update on What is New at the EEOC Locally, Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute (May 24, 2010)
• ERISA Litigation Update, Hennepin County Bar Association (October 6, 2009)
• Midwest Madness - Highlights of Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute, Minnesota CLE (August 19, 2009)
• Midwest Madness - Employment Laws of Neighboring States, Minnesota CLE - Midwest Employment Law Institute (May 30, 2009)
• Common Law Fraud, Minnesota CLE (May 1, 2009)
• Top Evidentiary Issues in Employment Law Litigation, Hennepin County Bar Association, Section on Labor & Employment Law (December 2, 2008)
• Filing and Responding to Charges: Agency Insights and Hot Topics, Minnesota CLE - Midwest Employment Law Institute (May 30, 2008)
• Employment Practices Liability Insurance: What Every Employment Lawyer Needs to Know, Minnesota CLE (May 21, 2008)
•“Blogging and Employment Law, ” Minnesota CLE (April 15, 2008)
•“DATWA Turns Twenty - A look back at Minnesota's Drug and Alcohol Testing in the Workplace Act twenty years after enactment, ” Hennepin County Bar Association, Section on Labor & Employment Law (September 18, 2007)
•“Age Discrimination Update, ” Minnesota CLE - Midwest Employment Law Institute (May 30, 2007)
•“Common Law Fraud, ” Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Trade Practices Regulation in Minnesota, Minnesota CLE (May 9, 2007)
•Planning Committee Member and Speaker on Special Issues Involving Executives at Publicly Traded Companies and Noncompetes, Restrictive Covenants & Trade Secrets at Advanced Executive (and Key Employee) Law, Minnesota CLE (February 7, 2007)
• The Lurking Menace of Duty of Loyalty Claims, Hennepin County Bar Association, Section on Labor & Employment Law (November 15, 2005)
• Noncompete Agreements in the Great Lakes Region, Lawyers Associated Worldwide - Great Lakes Sub Regional Meeting (March 10, 2006)
•“Executive Law, ” Business Law Institute, Minnesota CLE (April 19, 2005)
•Program Chair, “Fraud, Misrepresentation and Deceptive Trade Practices”, and speaker, “Common Law Fraud, Minnesota CLE (March 11, 2005)
•“Law of the Executive, ” Annual Midwest Employment Law Institute, Minnesota CLE (May 26, 2004)
•Program Chair, “Fraud, Misrepresentation and Deceptive Trade Practices, and speaker, “Common Law Fraud, Minnesota CLE (August 15, 2002)
•“The WARN Act, Reductions in Force, Minnesota Institute of Legal Education (MILE) (February 14, 2002)
•“Legal Writing Should Not Be A Crime, Minnesota Institute of Legal Education (MILE) (October 20, 2000)
•“Legal Issues Concerning Employee Stock Options, Greater Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce (November 15, 2000)
•“Opening and Closing Battles: Preemption, Removal, Remand and Fee Awards Under ERISA, ERISA Litigation Institute, Minnesota Institute of Legal Education (MILE) (April 12, 2000)
•“Trade Secrets 2000: An Introduction to Trade Secrets, ” Non-competes and Confidentiality Agreements?” Trade Secrets -- Protection from Industrial Espionage, (MILE) (January13, 2000)
•“When is A Plan Under 'Serious Consideration?' ERISA Litigation Institute, Minnesota Institute of Legal Education (MILE) (February 25, 1999)
•“An Overview of Trade Secrets, Confidentiality Agreements, and Covenants not to Compete, Minnesota Institute of Legal Education (MILE) (January 26, 1999)
•“Non-Competes and Trade Secrets: Protecting Personnel & Ideas in a High-Tech Society, National Practice Institute (M.P.I.) Law & Technology Show (September 1, 1998)
•“Understanding the Nature of Trade Secrets, Successful Trade Secret Protection and Enforcement Strategies, Minnesota Institute of Legal Education (MILE) (May 14, 1998)
•“A Litigator Looks at Trade Secrets, Covenants Not to Compete and Confidentiality Agreements, Trade Secrets, Minnesota Institute of Legal Education (MILE) (January 27, 1998)

In the News

May 31, 2015
Minneapolis Star Tribune

John Ella Authors the Article City law-making makes compliance a big challenge for employers

May 31, 2015

John Ella authors the article City law-making makes compliance a big challenge for employers published in the Minneapolis Star Tribune.View Article (subscription may be requir


April 2, 2015

Confidentiality Agreements May Violate Dodd-Frank Act

April 2, 2015

The Securities and Exchange Commission has filed, and settled, its first administrative proceeding and enforcement action against an employer under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 (DFA), based on the employer's use of a form confidentiality agreement. The SEC asserted that certain language in...

June 3, 2014

New Minnesota Medical Cannabis Law Protects Employees against Discrimination for Medical Cannabis Use

June 3, 2014

Minnesota's new Medical Cannabis Act, signed into law on May 29, 2014, narrows the kind medical cannabis permitted, as compared to many other state laws, but may offer considerable protections to applicants and employees in the workplace. The Act became effective upon enactment, but it will take time for a system to be created to...

April 17, 2014

Wisconsin Limits Employers' Access to Personal Social Media Accounts of Employees, Job Applicants

April 17, 2014

Adopting restrictions on employers' ability to access the social media accounts of employees and job applicants, Wisconsin has joined 12 other states with similar restrictions. Wisconsin Public Act 208, effective April 9, 2014, prohibits employers, regardless of size, from requiring or requesting passwords or access...


Drug and Alcohol Testing Law Advisor
Federal Court Finds “Field Preemption” of Minnesota Drug Testing Statute
September 2, 2015

It has long been recognized that federal regulations mandating drug testing for certain employees in safety-sensitive industries preempt contrary provisions in Minnesota's state drug testing law known as “DATWA” (Drug and Alcohol Testing in the Workplace Act).

By V. John Ella

Non-Compete & Trade Secrets Report
Continued Employment Ruled Adequate Consideration for Non-Compete in Hawaii
August 17, 2015

After surveying the law across the country, a federal judge has determined that Hawaii would likely follow the majority of states in holding that continued employment is adequate consideration for a non-compete under Hawaii law. A full analysis of the decision is posted on the Jackson Lewis website: Continued Employment Adequate Consider

By V. John Ella

Non-Compete & Trade Secrets Report
Eighth Circuit Finds Non-Compete May be Assignable Under Arkansas Law; Reverses Dismissal of Breach of Fiduciary Duty and Conspiracy Claims Where Manager took Subordinates with him.
August 12, 2015

The Eight Circuit has concluded that the Arkansas Supreme Court would likely adopt the majority rule that a covenant not to compete can be assigned to the purchaser of a business. Stuart C. Irby Company, Inc. v. Tipton, No. 14-1970 and 14-2682 (8th Cir. Aug. 6, 2015) The appellate court reversed an across-the board win...

By V. John Ella and James R. Mulroy


Documents by this lawyer on Martindale.com

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Confidentiality Agreements May Violate Dodd-Frank Act
Richard J. Cino,V. John Ella,David R. Jimenez,Joseph C. Toris, April 16, 2015
Among other things, the DFA established the statutory framework for the SEC’s whistleblower program. After developing and implementing the program, the SEC said that it would turn its focus to employer agreements — whether separation agreements, confidentiality agreements, or other...

$40 Million In Sale of Business Held Sufficient Consideration for Non-Compete
V. John Ella, March 31, 2015
A federal court in Minnesota has rebuffed a plea by the founders of medical device company Rochester Medical to invalidate five year non-competes they signed in connection with the sale of their business to C.R. Bard, Inc. Conway v. C.R. Bard, Inc. (D. Minn. Feb. 12, 2015). Plaintiffs argued that...

Eighth Circuit Affirms Judgment on the Pleadings in Arkansas Non-Compete Case
V. John Ella,James L. Mulroy, March 31, 2015
The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed a lower court decision granting judgment on the pleadings to defendant in non-compete dispute based on Arkansas law. The decision in NanoMech, Inc. v. Suresh rested in part on the fact that the non-compete did not include a geographic limitation and...

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Office Information

V. John Ella

225 South Sixth Street, Suite 3850
MinneapolisMN 55402


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