Thomas J. Vollbrecht

Thomas J. Vollbrecht



Practice Areas

  • Public Bidding, Procurement and Bid Protests
  • Construction Disputes
  • Surety Claims
  • Fidelity Claims
  • Commercial Litigation
  • Arbitration and Mediation
  • Independent Contractor vs. Employee Classifications

Representative Cases

Tom represents clients in negotiations, investigations, litigation, arbitration, mediation and administrative proceedings in numerous states, including Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota, Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, California, Oregon, Hawaii, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Representative engagements include:

    • I-35W Bridge Bid Protest Litigation: Tom successfully represented the joint venture awarded a $234 million “best value” replacement contract for the interstate highway bridge that collapsed in downtown Minneapolis during evening rush hour on August 1, 2007. Tom defeated a TRO motion seeking to halt any work on the contract and subsequently obtained complete dismissal of a lawsuit challenging award of the contract and seeking disgorgement of funds paid under that contract.
    • Polk County Events Center Litigation: Tom obtained favorable settlement on behalf of the surety for a defunct steel erector facing multi-million dollar delay, disruption and acceleration claims in Iowa federal district court.
    • Stone Arch/Washburn Lofts Condominiums: Tom obtained a seven-figure net award in favor of the developer of two high-end condominium projects in downtown Minneapolis facing significant HVAC, mold, repair, relocation, delay and disruption claims in a 50+ day arbitration proceeding and related litigation.
    • Red Mesa Wind Farm Project: Tom represents the general contractor of a substantial wind farm project in Cibola County, New Mexico against multiple claims filed by a subcontractor and its suppliers in New Mexico state court and in related North Dakota federal court and AAA arbitration proceedings.
    • Bid Protests: Tom recently successfully defended “best value” contract awards for the St. Croix River Bridge Project between Minnesota and Wisconsin and the I-35E MnPass Project in state and federal court proceedings.  Tom has successfully prosecuted—and defended against—numerous bid protests on diverse public projects, including highway, wastewater treatment, sports arena, demolition and telecommunications projects.  Tom also has successfully handled bid protests on substantial non-construction public procurements, including contracts for a statewide teacher certification program and an automated fingerprint identification program.
    • Ohio Savings Bank Litigation: Tom obtained dismissal of a lawsuit in Minnesota federal district court seeking a multimillion-dollar recovery under a Financial Institution Bond arising out of a multi-state mortgage refinancing embezzlement scheme.

Representative Reported Decisions

Sayer and Phillippi v. MnDOT and Flatiron-Manson, 790 N. W.2d 151 (Minn. 2010). Upholding dismissal of lawsuit protesting award of I-35 replacement bridge contract.
Ohio Savings Bank v. Duncanson and Progressive Ins. Co., 521 F.3d 960 (8th Cir. 2008). Summary judgment for fidelity carrier on Insuring Agreement (E), Fraudulent Mortgage Rider and misrepresentation claims.

Liberty Mutual Ins. Co. v. Mandaree Public School District No. 36, 503 F.3d 709 (8th Cir. 2007). Defeated motion to compel surety to arbitrate unique surety defenses in pending arbitration between obligee and principal.

Winthrop and Weinstine, P.A. v. Travelers Cas. and Surety Co., 187 F.3d 871 (8th Cir. 1999). Summary judgment for fidelity carrier based upon late notice
Johnson Bros. Liquor Co. v. The Home Indemnity Co., Minn. Ct. App. C6-1099, C6-1100, C6-1101 (Unpublished, 1996) Summary judgment for fidelity carrier based upon illegality of alleged underlying contract.

D.H. Blattner & Sons, Inc. v. Firemen’s Ins. Co., 525 N.W.2d 671 (Minn. Ct. App. 1995). Reversal of jury verdict and entry of judgment as a matter of law in surety’s favor.
Subsurfco, Inc. v. Osceola Rural Water System, 914 F.2d 1072 (8th Cir. 1990). Confirmation of arbitration award in surety’s favor.

Carl Bolander & Sons, Inc. v. City of Minneapolis, 451 N.W.2d 204 (Minn. 1990). Affirmation of bid protest for a substantial public demolition contract.

Publications and Speeches

Speaker, “Liquidated Damages Recovery Issues,” Construction Law Seminar, Minneapolis

Speaker, “The Performance Bond Zone: The Surety’s Rights and Obligations Related to a Performance Bond Claim,” (co-presenter) ABA Tort, Trial & Insurance Practice—Fidelity & Surety Law Committee

Speaker, “Deepening” Insolvency Claims: Can You Become More Bankrupt? Can You (or Someone Else) Sue if You Do?,” Fidelity Law Association Annual Meeting

Speaker, “Deciding to Litigate: The Surety’s Management of the Complex Surety Case and the Ethical Considerations,” ABA/FSLC Complex Surety Program

Speaker, “Fidelity Bond Coverage for Losses Involving Intangible Property,” Surety Claims Institute, Annual Meeting and Seminar

Speaker, “Residential Construction Panel,” CFMA Day

Speaker, “Using Contract Forms To Control Risk in Multi-Unit Residential and Design-Build Projects,” AIA Minnesota Annual Convention

Speaker, “Life Isn’t Always Fair: A Review of Bidding Rights and Responsibilities for Subcontractors and Suppliers,” Minnesota Construction Association

Contributing Author, “The Contract Surety’s Subrogation Rights,” ABA/FSLC

Contributing Author, “The Annotated Financial Institution Bond,” Third Edition, ABA/FSLC

Contributing Author, “The Law of Performance Bonds,” Second Edition, ABA/FSLC

Contributing Author “Payment Bond Manual,” Third Edition, ABA/FSLC

Contributing Author, “Managing and Litigating the Complex Surety Case,” Second Edition, ABA/FSLC

Author, “’Deepening’ Insolvency Claims: Can You Become More Bankrupt? Can You (or Someone Else) Sue if You Do?,” Fidelity Law Journal

Author, “The Surety’s Response to Claim Notices, Warning: What You Say (or Don’t Say, or Someone Else Says) May Be Used Against You,” Fidelity & Surety Law Committee Newsletter

Author, “Removing A Non-Diverse Bond Case To Federal Court,” Fidelity & Surety Law Committee Newsletter

Author, “ERISA Bond Claims Over Employer Stock Losses: The Landscape in a Post-Enron World,” Fidelity Law Journal

Author, “Recovery for Extra Work and Delay Damages,” Minnesota Construction Lien and Bond Law

Author, “The Surety’s Liability for Damages: Breach of Contract, Bad Faith and Punitive Damages,” Minnesota Institute of Legal Education

Professional Organizations and Achievements

Member, Minnesota State Bar Association and Construction Law Section

Member, Hennepin County Bar Association

Member, American Bar Association and Forum on the Construction Industry, Tort and Insurance Practice Section, and Fidelity & Surety Law Committee:

  • Vice Chair, Fidelity & Surety Law Committee
  • Editor-in-Chief, Fidelity & Surety Law Committee Newsletter

Minnesota “Super Lawyer”

AV (highest) rated by Martindale-Hubble Law Directory


  • J.D., Harvard Law School, 1986
  • B.A., St. John’s University, cum laude, 1982


  • State of Minnesota
  • United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit
  • United States District Court, Minnesota

Mr. Vollbrecht has also been admitted pro hac vice numerous times for purposes of state and federal proceedings throughout the United States.

  • Email:
  • Direct: 612.359.7659
  • Fax: 612.359.7602

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