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Charles N. Nauen



Charles N. Nauen
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Janet M. Harvey
Legal Administrative Assistant
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Charles N. Nauen leads the firm’s environmental law practice representing clients in litigation arising under a variety of environmental laws. Mr. Nauen also leads the firm’s business litigation practice and the campaign finance and election law practice. Mr. Nauen has over thirty years of environmental and business litigation experience and trial practice in federal and state courts. He represents many municipal, government and political entities.

Charles Nauen was co-lead counsel for Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton in the 2010 gubernatorial election recount and he represented a group of individual voters in an effort to have their absentee ballots counted in connection with the 2008 senatorial election recount of U.S. Senator Al Franken. Charles Nauen has served as a mediator in environmental, commercial, class action and employment matters, and has been a court-appointed (i) Special Master in a complex insurance litigation matter, (ii) counsel to the Receiver in a federal securities lawsuit, and (iii) counsel to a Special Master in a district court case.

Mr. Nauen serves on the governing council of the Environment, Natural Resources, and Energy Section of the Minnesota Bar Association and is a past chair of the Hennepin County Bar Association’s Environmental Law Section. He has been named a “Super Lawyer” every year since 1994 and was recognized as one of the Top 100 Minnesota Super Lawyers in 2010, 2013, 2014 and 2015. He was also named a 2011 Attorney of the Year by Minnesota Lawyer.

Representative Cases

  • City of Minneapolis v. Lake and Knox, LLC, No. 27-CV-13-22018 (Hennepin Cty. Dist. Ct.)
    Represented City of Minneapolis in litigation regarding unauthorized discharge of groundwater to storm sewer system and Minneapolis chain of lakes.
  • Miller & Graham v. Ramsey County Sheriff Matthew Bostrom & County of Ramsey, No. 11-cv-2401 (D. Minn.).
    Represented defendants against claims of First Amendment retaliatory discharge by two former Ramsey County Sheriff's deputies. Obtained dismissal of Ramsey County and successfully defended Sheriff Bostrom in a jury trial in federal court.
  • Minnesota Public Radio v. Metropolitan Council, No. 62-CV-10-988 (Ramsey Cty. Dist. Ct.).
    Represented regional government entity in litigation regarding mitigation of light rail transit vibration and ground-borne noise.
  • AgStar Financial Services v. LOL Finance Company and 4 Square Cattle Services, No. 62-CV-10-9789 (Ramsey Cty. Dist. Ct.).
    Represented lender in breach of contract dispute against co-lender relating to multi-million agribusiness loan.
  • Regents of the University of Minnesota v. Metropolitan Council, No. 27-09-23445 (Hennepin Cty. Dist. Ct.).
    Represented regional government entity in complex environmental litigation involving construction of light rail transit line.
  • Dennis Peterson, et. al. v. Mark Ritchie, et. al., Ramsey County District Court (62-CV-09-56)
    Represented individual voters in petition to have absentee ballots counted in 2008 U.S. Senate Election Recount.
  • State of Minnesota v. Richard Lepak, Minnesota Court of Appeals (A09-1894)
    Represented private land owner in appeal of quick-take condemnation by the Minnesota Department of Transportation.
  • Nicollet Cattle Company, Inc. v. United Food Group, LLC, District of Minnesota (08-CV-05899)
    Represented seller of imported meat products in claim for damages resulting from a customer’s cancellation of numerous outstanding purchase agreements.
  • NAACP v. Metropolitan Council, 144 F.3d 1168 (8th Cir. 1998), cert. denied, 119 S.Ct. 73 (1998)
  • Ben Oehrleins & Sons & Daughter v. Hennepin County, 115 F.3d 1372 (8th Cir. 1997), cert. denied, 118 S.Ct. 629 (1997)
  • Robinson Rubber Products Co., Inc. v. Hennepin County, No. 4-95-220 (D. Minn.)
  • United States v. Oak Grove Sanitary Landfill Site Trust, No. 4-92-985 (D. Minn.)


Mr. Nauen has served as an adjunct professor of environmental law at the University of Minnesota Law School since 1991.

  • Cutting Edge Issues in Environmental and Energy Justice, 11th Annual Minnesota Environmental Institute, 4/23/2015
  • Judicial Election Results (and What They Mean for Attorneys and Their Clients), presented to the League of Women Voters-Minnesota, 2/6/2015
  • 2014 Judicial Election Results: What Do They Mean for Civil Attorneys and Their Clients?, Hennepin County Bar Association, Civil Litigation Section, 12/8/2014
  • Facilitated “Electronic Discovery & Litigation Readiness” hosted by Lockridge Grindal Nauen P.L.L.P., 6/3/2014
  • “Food for Thought” series, Mount Zion Temple, St. Paul, Moving Forward in the Fight for Marriage Equality (discussing the 6/26/2013 U.S. Supreme Court decisions regarding marriage equality, the aftermath and implementation of the decisions, and the next steps in the fight for marriage equality in the United States), 11/15/2013.
  • Warren E. Burger American Inn of Court, Town & Country Club, St. Paul. Along with attorney Joe Friedberg presented "Coleman-Franken Revisited" and discussed the historic 2008 senate race recount and subsequent election contest, 11/20/2013.
  • The Basics of Environmental Review, Minnesota Environmental Institute, 4/23/2009
  • The Future of Environmental Review and Environmental Rights in Minnesota, Minnesota Environmental Institute, 4/19/2007
  • Panelist on Freeman Lecture Forum, Water, Water, Everywhere? 4/8/08

Professional Associations

  • Hennepin County Bar Association (Environmental Law, Civil Litigation, and Mediation and Arbitration Sections), Environmental Law Section Co-Chair (1999-2010)
  • Ramsey County Bar Association
  • Minnesota State Bar Association (Environmental, Natural Resources and Energy Law, Civil Litigation, and Antitrust Sections), Council Member, Environment, Natural Resources and Energy Law Section Council (2004-present)
  • Wisconsin State Bar Association
  • South Dakota State Bar Association
  • Federal Bar Association (Energy, Environmental and Natural Resources, Antitrust and Trade Regulation, and Federal Litigation Sections)

Civic Associations

  • Jewish Federation of St. Paul (f/k/a/ United Jewish Fund & Council (St. Paul)): Vice President (2015); Campaign Chair (2012); Men's Division Chair, (2008/2009) Annual Campaign; Member, Board of Directors (2009-present)
  • Mount Zion Temple, Board Member (2011-2015)
  • Twin Cities Cardozo Society, Member (Cardozo Society Annual Dinner Co-Chair, 2010)
  • One of 130 lawyers and jurists from around the world invited to a conference hosted by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs in September 2010. He and Andrew Parker, a fellow attendee from the Twin Cities, make presentations throughout the community discussing their visit to Israel and efforts to combat the world-wide delegitimization of Israel.
  • Board Member and Scholarship Director, St. Paul Blackhawks Soccer Club (2003-2010)
  • Chair, Board of Directors, St. Anthony Park Community Foundation (2006-2008) (member 2000-2008)

Professional Recognition

  • Named Best Lawyers’ 2017 Environmental Law “Lawyer of the Year” for Minneapolis.
  • Rated AV Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell.
  • Minnesota Super Lawyer for environmental law (1994-2010 by the Minnesota Journal of Law and Politics and 2011-2015 by Super Lawyers®, a Thomson Reuters business).
  • Recognized as one of the Top 100 Minnesota Super Lawyers in 2010, 2013, 2014 and 2015.
  • 2011 Attorney of the Year by Minnesota Lawyer.
  • 2012 Minneapolis Lawyer of the Year for Environmental Litigation by Best Lawyers®.
  • 2010 Minneapolis Lawyer of the Year for Environmental Law by Best Lawyers®.
  • Listed in Best Lawyers® since 1999.
  • Recipient of Stanley V. Kinyon Teaching Award for Excellence in Education as Adjunct Professor of the Year at University of Minnesota Law School, 2011.


  • University of Minnesota Law School, 1980, cum laude
  • Baylor University, 1976, cum laude

Bar Admissions

  • 1980, Minnesota
  • 1998, Wisconsin
  • 2015, South Dakota

Court Admissions

  • U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Wisconsin
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Wisconsin
  • U.S. District Court, District of Colorado
  • U.S. District Court, Central District of Illinois
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court