Stephen Couillard joined Stich Angell as an associate attorney in 2020. Prior to joining the firm, Stephen served as a judicial law clerk in Minnesota’s Tenth Judicial District. Observing how decisions are made at the trial court level informed Stephen’s practical and analytical approach to litigation.

Stephen received his J.D. from the University of Minnesota in 2018. While in law school, he worked as a law clerk for a firm specializing in employment and commercial law, and he was a member of the school’s ABA Moot Court Competition Team. Since his graduation, Stephen has continued to be involved in the Moot Court program by volunteering as a guest judge.

In his free time, Stephen enjoys playing basketball, going to the movies, and solving crossword puzzles.

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Zack S. Kaylor

Zack Kaylor joined Stich Angell as an associate attorney in 2019.  Zack’s practice focuses on general civil litigation, including personal injury, property damage, and commercial liability.

Zack brings a plaintiff-side perspective to Stich Angell after working as a law clerk with two different Twin Cities personal injury firms and spent time as a law clerk with the Consumer Protection Division of the Iowa Attorney General. Zack grew up on a family farm in Indiana where he learned the values of teamwork, hard work, and problem-solving that he applies to his everyday practice.

Zack received his J.D. from the University of Minnesota Law School in 2019, where he was a student attorney in the Consumer Protection Clinic and an editor of Law & Inequality: A Journal of Theory and Practice. While in law school, Zack volunteered with the Asylum Law Project and the Minnesota Justice Foundation. He received his Bachelor’s in Political Science from Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne in 2016.

Zack lives with his wife Aisha in Northeast Minneapolis where they enjoy the city’s parks and venture over to St. Paul for Minnesota United games.

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Timothy R. Murphy
Of Counsel

Since 1980, Tim Murphy has been representing clients throughout Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin. Tim has extensive jury and court trial experience having tried more than 100 jury trials to a conclusion.

Tim’s civil trial experience is in the areas of Construction Law, Personal Injury, Products Liability, Premises Liability, Professional Negligence, Legal Malpractice Defense, Medical Negligence Defense, Aviation Law, Business Litigation and Insurance Coverage.

Tim is licensed to practice in the states and federal courts of Minnesota, Wisconsin and North Dakota. He is also licensed to practice before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th and 8th Circuits and the United States Supreme Court.

Tim’s legal ability has earned him the distinction of being named a Civil Trial Specialist from both the Minnesota State Bar Association as well as the National Board of Trial Advocacy. In addition, Tim’s legal ability has been recognized by his peers where they have selected him as a Super Lawyer every year since 2003.  Tim has also been Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent rated for more than 20 years.

In addition to his civil trial practice, Tim is a Certified Alternative Dispute Resolution Neutral for Mediations and Arbitrations. His peers routinely call upon him to mediate or arbitrate their disputes.

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Cara C. Passaro

Since 2001, Cara Passaro has been representing clients throughout the upper Midwest. Cara is an experienced litigator and has successfully either tried to verdict, obtained a dispositive motion ruling, or otherwise litigated to the point of a favorable settlement hundreds of cases.

Cara has extensive experience representing construction contractors and design professionals in construction defect cases. In addition, her practice focuses on premises liability, products liability and personal injury defense.

Cara is licensed to practice in Minnesota state and federal courts and is recognized as a Super Lawyer Rising Star.

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Ryan A. Johannsen

For over 15 years, Ryan Johannsen has represented insurance carriers in a wide variety of civil litigation matters, earning their respect and trust as a well-rounded and highly skilled civil litigation attorney.  Ryan’s litigation practice focuses in the areas of local and national subrogation (specializing in fire and explosion, fire suppression system, construction, agriculture, hazardous material and product liability claims), construction defect defense, and insurance coverage disputes.

Ryan regularly travels all over the country from loss site to loss site to make sure his clients’ needs and interests are protected at the ground level.  Ryan is equally at home in the field on an inspection as he is in the court room during a trial.  This dedication to client needs has earned him a great deal of respect in the industry and amongst his peers.

Ryan is an active member of and lecturer for several industry specific associations, including the National Association of Subrogation Professionals, National Fire Protection Agency, International Association of Arson Investigators, Society of Fire Protection Engineers, and the Chemical Safety Board.  In addition to these memberships, he is also HAZWOPER certified pursuant to 29 C.F.R. 1910.120 and 1926.65, including asbestos awareness, confined space and lock out/tag out certifications.

A five-time recipient of Minnesota Law & Politics Rising Star award, he has been licensed to practice law in Minnesota since 2002, and admitted in federal court since 2003.

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Michael S. Kreidler

Throughout the course of his nearly 40-year legal career, Mike Kreidler has tried approximately 200 jury trials to a conclusion and is known as one of the best trial lawyers in the state. Mike brings a wealth of legal experience and an amiable nature to every case he handles. He’s widely respected for his ability to adeptly present the most complex case while gaining rapport with the jury. 

Mike’s litigation practice principally involves civil defense work for insurance companies and corporate clients in the areas of personal injury, products liability, employment discrimination, construction and insurance coverage disputes. In addition to handling countless cases on the defense side, Mike has also been very successful in representing select plaintiffs over the years.

A sought-after mediator and arbitrator, Mike’s excellent reputation and personable and balanced approach allow him to resolve even the most complex and contentious of legal disputes. On average, Mike handles 200 mediation/arbitration cases per year, with over 3,500 successfully managed throughout the course of his career.  

Mike is licensed to practice in both state and federal courts in Minnesota and Wisconsin. He has been recognized as a Super Lawyer every year since 2003 by Minnesota Law & Politics

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Stacey L. Sever

Stacey Sever is a civil litigator who approaches each case with a strategic and practical eye. She’s always mindful of the end goal: getting her client the best possible result in the most efficient manner. Stacey has handled a wide variety of claims over her career. She focuses her practice in the areas of sexual abuse litigation, general liability, products, employment, and personal injury.

A respected trial attorney, Stacey’s trial experience covers a variety of issues including breach of contract, employment, discrimination, personal injury, and insurance coverage issues. Her skill as a trial lawyer has been recognized by both clients and the legal community, as illustrated by her recognition by the Minnesota State Bar Association as a Board-Certified Civil Trial Specialist, and her acceptance into the American Board of Trial Advocates.  Stacey has been recognized as a Minnesota Super Lawyer yearly since 2015, and in prior years was consistently recognized as a Rising Star by Minnesota Law & Politics.

Before law school, Stacey worked as an analytical chemist and is a licensed patent attorney. Never discouraged by highly technical or complex legal issues, Stacey has a gift for synthesizing the most complicated and convoluted of cases into a well-reasoned, manageable message and conveying it to a judge or jury with confidence.

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Kirsten (Kit) Hansen is a confident, self-assured litigator specializing in unique legal issues. Licensed in both Minnesota and Wisconsin, Kit joined Stich Angell in November 2009, and has been practicing in the area of civil litigation since 2002. She represents corporations, individuals and insurance companies in employment law, business disputes, professional liability, construction defect claims, bad faith, personal injury litigation, premises liability, and general liability claims. She is also an appellate court attorney.

Kit has tried a number of cases to verdict and has resolved hundreds of disputes through mediation and arbitration. Additionally, she’s successfully handled a number of appellate court cases. Whether through trial or alternative dispute resolution, Kit works to resolve each matter to her clients’ satisfaction.

A frequent presenter on employment law and construction defect claims to clients and other attorneys in both large and small groups, Kit is a 2015 Minnesota Law & Politics Rising Star. When not practicing law, Kit enjoys traveling and supporting causes like the Minnesota Humane Society, among others. 

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An extraordinarily versatile, reliable, and skilled trial attorney, Jim Knudsen has more than 120 jury trials to his credit. His extensive legal knowledge gives him the unique ability to pick up a case one week and try it the next.

His vast legal background spans the defense of commercial, corporate, private, and insurance clients in a wide variety of civil litigation matters including premises liability, complex products liability, fire loss, construction defect, auto and trucking liability, subrogation, and insurance coverage issues. In premises liability matters, Jim represents retailers and restaurants as well as small businesses, corporations and schools in personal injury and property loss claims. In construction defect claims, Jim’s clients include developers, general contractors, subcontractors and material suppliers. He also defends small and large agricultural businesses in personal injury, property and business disputes. In addition to his litigation practice, Jim represents clients in all forms of ADR matters including mediations and both voluntary and mandatory arbitrations.    

Jim has been practicing at Stich Angell since 1985. In recognition of his proven trial skills, he has been certified as a Civil Trial Specialist by the Minnesota State Bar Association since 1996. He has also been AV-rated by Martindale-Hubbell since 1996.  

Jim is licensed to practice in both Minnesota and Wisconsin.  

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Garth J. Unke

In over 25 years of practice, firm president Garth J. Unke has secured a reputation as a skilled and persuasive litigator, with over 50 jury verdicts to his credit. His extensive experience spans a wide variety of civil litigation matters, including the handling of personal injury/wrongful death, product liability, sexual abuse, fire loss, and construction defect lawsuits.

Garth regularly represents businesses, individuals, retailers, contractors, insurers, and youth service organizations in their hour of need. Clients rely on his expertise in handling the most sensitive of cases, including those with emotionally charged damages, arising from egregious or intentional conduct.  Over the last two years, he has resolved through motion practice or settlement over 35 sexual abuse cases for the largest Youth Service Organization in the country.   

Garth frequently speaks on topics related to personal injury and construction work. In 2015, he testified in collaboration with the Minnesota Subcontractor’s Association before the Minnesota State Senate on the issue of contractual indemnification among contractors. Garth is also a much sought-after presenter of continuing education classes for insurance professionals and retailers on the intricacies of personal injury law, risk management, and the judicial process.

A perennial  honoree of the Minnesota Law & Politics Super Lawyer Award, Garth was selected as a Top 100 Super Lawyer in 2009. He was also certified as a Civil Trial Specialist by the Minnesota State Bar Association in 2001. Garth has been licensed to practice law in Minnesota since 1988 and Illinois since 1985. He’s an AV Preeminent rated lawyer by Martindale Hubbell and a Member of the National Association of Distinguished Counsel. He frequently serves as a party-appointed mediator and arbitrator, and has been a Qualified Neutral Mediator by the Minnesota Supreme Court since 1998. Garth currently practices in both the state and federal courts throughout the State of Minnesota.

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