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Charles (C.J.) Schoenwetter

Charles (C.J.) Schoenwetter

Co-Managing Partner

With nearly 30 years of litigation experience, C.J. Schoenwetter concentrates his civil litigation practice in the areas of general commercial, construction and premises liability litigation, with a special focus relating to Uniform Commercial Code, product liability and tort claims. C.J.’s experience also extends to the area of alternative dispute resolution, including arbitration.

C.J. represents both large and small clients, including Fortune 500 companies, entrepreneurs, government regulatory agencies, lenders, builders, developers and property owners. Representative cases include claims alleging negligence, breach of contract, violation of non-compete agreements, as well as enforcement actions on personal guaranties and claims brought under the Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act.

C.J.’s depth of experience in commercial litigation includes complex cases arising under the Uniform Commercial Code as well as liability for officers and directors based on claims alleging breach of fiduciary duties and gross negligence. On a routine basis, C.J. assists clients in defending claims alleging fraud, creditors rights, mechanic liens, negligent misrepresentation and statutory violations. Companies seeking to recover damages for damages caused by others also work closely with C.J. to obtain favorable resolutions.

In 1998, C.J. was recognized for his distinguished service rendered as a member of the Minnesota State Bar Association’s Board of Governors. C.J.’s bar association activities have also included membership on the Hennepin County Bar Association’s Governing Council as well as its Governance Committee. C.J. also served as a Director and Vice Chair of the Hennepin County Bar Association’s New Lawyer’s Section. Prior to entering private practice, C.J. clerked for the Honorable Patrick W. Fitzgerald.

C.J. authors many articles and teaches seminars across the country relating to commercial litigation, banking and construction issues.

Bar Admissions

  • Minnesota, 1994

Court Admissions

  • U.S. Court of Appeals, First Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, District of Colorado
  • U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota


  • University of Minnesota Law School, J.D., 1994
    —Dean's List
    —Maynard Pirsig Moot Court
  • Boston College, B.A., 1990
    —magna cum laude
    —Major: English
    —Major: Philosophy

Professional Associations

    • Defense Research Institute
      —Class Action Specialized Litigation Group
      —Commercial Litigation Steering Committee, 2013 — 2017
    • Builders Association of Minnesota
    • Builders Association of the Twin Cities
    • National Association of Home Builders
    • Hennepin County Bar Association
    • Business Contracts and Franchise
       —Advisory Board, Strafford Publishing
    • Construction Accounting and Taxation Journal
       —Board of Advisors and Contributors
    • Instructor for Building Officials and Residential Contractors, State of Minnesota


    • Super Lawyers Magazine
      —Minnesota Rising Stars, 2004 - 2007
    • Minnesota Law & Politics
      —Who’s Who in Arbitration, 2001 - 2002
    • MSBA Board of Governors
      —Distinguished Service Award, 1998

Recent Verdicts & Case Studies


Recent News, Events and Blogs

Speaking Engagements

  • “Litigating Non-Compete Agreements,” Co-Presenter, Webinar, November 2019
  • "Minnesota Mechanic's Lien Issues: Doing It the Right Way," Builders Association of the Twin Cities, March 2012
  • "Getting Paid What You Deserve - Managing the Change Order Process," Builders Association of the Twin Cities, March 2012
  • "Effectively Resolving Construction Disputes," Builders Association of the Twin Cities, February 2012
  • "Get Paid What You Deserve - By Managing the Change Order Process," National Association of Home Builders, February 2012
  • "Managing the Change Order Process: Get Paid What You Deserve," World of Concrete, January 2012
  • "Surviving & Negotiating Personal Guaranties," Builders Association of the Twin Cities, January 2012
  • "Personal Guaranties in Business Loan Defaults," National Business Institute, November 2011
  • "Ten Ways to Look Good and Save Money," with C. Paul Carver, Association of Corporate Counsel's 8th Annual Legal Sampler, September 2011
  • "Construction Defect Litigation: Case Law Updates (Rulings that Affect Your World)," National Business Institute, February 2011
  • "Business Contracts," Minnesota Trucking Association's Trucking Law Conference, January 2011
  • "Managing the Change Order Process to Make Sure You Get Paid What You Deserve," 2011 International Builders Show, January 2011
  • "On the Road to Recovery: How to Minimize & Avoid Liability Under Personal Guaranties," CONSTRUCT2010, May 2010
  • "Gearing up to Grow: Legal Lessons for Recovery (Strategies for Guarantors)," National Association of Home Builders International Builders Show,  January 2010
  • "Emerging Issues In Premises Liability Litigation: Causation Issues In Mold Cases," ABA's Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section, November 2009
  • "Commercial Loan Guarantees Under Heightened Scrutiny: Strategies for Lenders and Guarantors in Drafting, Negotiating and Enforcing Guaranties," Legal Publishing Group of Strafford Publications, July 2009
  • "Resolving Legal Disputes with Subcontractors," Builders Association of Minnesota, Builders Symposium, December 2008
  • "Marketing and Professional Development for New Lawyers," Hennepin County Bar Association, New Lawyers Section, December 4, 2008
  • "Is Your Personal Guaranty Enforceable?," Client Presentation, Detroit, MI, December 2008
  • "The Enforceability of Non-Compete Agreements," University of St. Thomas - Opus College of Business, MBA Program, November 2008
  • "Avoiding Tort Claims by Application of the Economic Loss Doctrine," Client Presentation, October 2008
  • "Professional Liability in Design and Construction Contracts: Defending Claims Against Architects," Engineers and Other Design Professionals, National Business Institute, August 2008
  • Recent Changes to the AIA General Conditions of the Contract for Construction, AIA Form A201-2007, National Business Institute, August 2008
  • "Solving Minnesota Lien-Related Title Problems - Defending Against Mechanic's Liens," HalfMoon LLC, June 2008
  • "Best Construction Practices: Effectively Managing Changes to Contracted Work," Associated Builders and Contractors, June 2008
  • "Effectively Resolving Construction Disputes," CONSTRUCT2008, June 2008
  • "Minnesota Law of Construction Defects and Failures - Defenses to Claims for Defects and Failures," HalfMoon LLC, May 2008
  • "Best Construction Practices: Effectively Resolving Construction Disputes," Associated Builders and Contractors, March 2008
  • "Class Action Litigation Against Window and Door Manufacturers," WDMA Annual Conference, January 2008
  • "Changes to Contracted Work," HalfMoon, LLC, October 2007
  • "Look Good and Save Money: Ten Strategies for In-House Counsel to Obtain Excellent Results in an Efficient Manner," Minnesota Lawyer In-House Counsel Event, June 2007
  • "Effectively Resolving Construction Disputes, National Business Institute," April 2007
  • "Subrogation and the Economic Loss Doctrine in Minnesota," National Association of Subrogation Professional Central Region, October 2006
  • "Defending Against Mold Claims in Court: How to Succeed," 15th Annual Energy Design Conference and Expo, March 2005
  • "10 Ways to Avoid Legal Liability," Edina Rotary Club, 2004
  • "Mold Litigation and Successor Liability," Speaker, 14th Annual Energy Design Conference, March 2004
  • "Liability for Individuals Engaged in Business: What Liabilities Are You Facing as a Builder?," Builders Association of Minnesota, 2003
  • "Liability and How to Avoid It Under the Minnesota Energy Code," Builders Association of Minnesota, 2003
  • "State v. Arkell: Violations of the Building Code and Being a Responsible Corporate Officer in Minnesota's Construction Industry," Builders Association of Minnesota, 2003
  • "Foundation & Authentication Issues For Computer Generated Evidence," 2003
  • "Enforceability of Non-Compete Agreements," 2001
  • "The Pitfalls of Complex Arbitration," 2001 


  • "Minnesota Supreme Court Recognizes a New Common Law Cause of Action for Negligent Selection of an Independent Contractor," Co-Author, Legal Alert, July 2024
  • "FTC Issues Final Rule Banning Non-Compete Clauses — And Legal Challenges Have Already Been Filed," Co-Author, Legal Alert, April 2024
  • "The Practical Effects Of Justices' Arbitration Exemption Ruling," Co-Author, Law360, April 2024
  • "EPA Issues Enforceable Limits for PFAS in Drinking Water," Co-Author, Legal Alert, April 2024
  • "PA Supreme Court Rejects Industry and Government Standards as a Viable Defense," Co-Author, Legal Alert, December 2023
  • "FTC Proposes Banning Non-Compete Clauses, Putting Trade Secrets and Confidential Information at Risk," Co-Author, Legal Alert, February 2023
  • "Supreme Court Rejects “Wholly Groundless Exception” In Determining Arbitrability," Co-Author, Client Alert, January 2019
  • “White Paper: Successfully Defending Against Cobb-based Claims Brought by Consumers for Wrongful Repossession and Conversion,” Co-Author, Minnesota Bankers Association, Legal Compliance Bulletin, November 2018
  • "Minnesota's One-Way Indemnity Bill Becomes Law: Now What?" Co-Author, Trucking Minnesota, June 2012
  • "Recent Application of Minnesota's Credit Agreement Statute of Frauds," Co-Author, The Hennepin Lawyer, June 2011
  • "How to Avoid Personal Liability and Hang on to Your Hard-Earned Money," Co-Author, Builders' Digest, April-June 2011
  • "Integration Doctrine at Risk for Manufacturers in New Jersey," Co-Author ABA Construction Litigation, December 8, 2010
  • "If a Bear Dies in the Woods...," Co-Author The Hennepin Lawyer, November 2010
  • "Qualified Immunity For Architects and Engineers," Construction Accounting and Taxation, November/December, 2008
  • "Is Your Personal Guaranty Enforceable?" Construction Accounting and Taxation, July/August 2008, 2008
  • "Personal Guaranties: Do They Really Equal Personal Liability?" MN Builder, Volume 7, Issue 3, 2008
  • "Ask the Lawyer: Enforcing Personal Guaranties," Co-Author, NAHB E-Newspaper - Nation's Building News, July 28, 2008
  • "The 2007 AIA Contract Revisions: What Contractors Need to Know About A201," Co-Author, Construction Accounting and Taxation, May/June, 2008
  • "Change Orders: Recognizing Cardinal Changes & Knowing Your Rights," Co-Author,, April, 2008
  • "Is Your Personal Guaranty Enforceable?" Co-Author,, April, 2008
  • "What Contractors Need to Know About the 2007 Revisions to the AIA's A201 Contract," Co-Author, ABC's Building Minnesota, March/April, 2008
  • "Efficient Lawyering: Strategies for Construction Companies," Co-Author Journal of Construction Accounting and Taxation, January, 2008
  • "National Counsel: An Approach to Consider," Co-Author, American Bar Association, Tort Trial & Insurance Committee News, 2008
  • "Legal Action Report," Minnesota Builder, Volume 6, Issue 3, 2007
  • "Court of Appeals Weakens Notice and Opportunity to Repair Law," Building Minnesota, October, 2007
  • "Spotlight on Minnesota: Completed Operations Insurance Coverage Now Required," Lorman Education Services, Construction Update, October, 2007
  • "Making the Case For National Counsel," Co-Author, Minnesota Lawyer, In-House Quarterly Special, Quarterly Focus, September 17, 2007
  • "Look Good and Save Money: Ten strategies for in-house counsel to obtain excellent results in an efficient manner," Co-Author, Minnesota Lawyer, June, 2007
  • "How to Mount a Successful Defense Against Toxic Mold Claims," Texas Reporter, June, 2006
  • "How to Mount a Successful Defense Against Toxic Mold Claims," Construction Accounting and Taxation, January/February, 2006
  • "Making a Case for a Rise in Toxic Mold Litigation," ABC Construction Executive, August, 2005
  • "Protecting Against a Rise in Toxic Mold Litigation," Buildings, June, 2005
  • "Fraud in the Execution of a Contract as a Basis for Litigating Rather than Arbitrating Disputes," 3, The Journal of American Arbitration, 37, 2004
  • "Corporate Officers and Directors Deserve Fair Indemnity Protection," Finance and Commerce, December 4, 2003 at 5
  • "Applicability of Ethical Rules To Arbitrators: The Eighth Circuit's Decision In Delta Mine Holding v. AFC Coal Properties," The Hennepin Lawyer, vol. 71, no. 9 at 6, 2002
  • "Bucking the 'Trend': The Uniform Commercial Code, the Economic Loss Doctrine, and Common Law Causes of Action for Fraud and Misrepresentation," 84 Iowa Law Review, 875, 1999

Representative Cases

Representative Cases


  • Armas v. Fifth Third Bankcorp and Freddie Mac, 315 F. Supp. 3d 1118 (D. Minn. 2018)
  • Colonial Funding Network, Inc. v. Genuine Builders, Inc., et al., 4:17-CV-04119-LLP, 326 F.R.D. 206 (D.S.D. 2018)
  • OMG, Inc. v. Thomas J, Varecka and HEK, LLC, File No. 27-CV-17-14111 (Minn. 4th Jud. Dist., April 17, 2018)
  • In the matter of J.P. Morgan Mortgage Acquisition Trust 2006-WMC4, File No. 62-TR-CV-17-34 (Minn. 2nd Jud. Dist. Oct. 17, 2017)
  • Wells Fargo Insurance Services USA, Inc. v. Sherman Insurance Agency, Inc., Case No. 15–cv–4378 (PJS/HB), 2016 WL 6892108 (D. Minn. July 29, 2016)
  • Broberg v. Debt Arbitrators, et al., Case No. 13-cv-2131 (TNL) (D. Minn. May 6, 2015)
  • Nelson v. EFA Processing L.P., et al., Case No. 0:13-cv-03037 (D. Minn. July 29, 2014)