Trepanier MacGillis Battina P.A. 8000 Flour Exchange Building 310 Fourth Avenue South Minneapolis, MN 55415 612.455.0500
Trepanier MacGillis Battina P.A. 8000 Flour Exchange Building 310 Fourth Avenue South Minneapolis, MN 55415 612.455.0500

V. John Ella

V. John Ella

Shareholder Attorney
Direct Dial: 612.455.6237

V. John Ella practices in all aspects of commercial litigation, employment law, and business law, with an emphasis on unfair competition and defending employment claims. He also advises businesses, employers, corporations, boards of directors, non-profits, high-level executives, physicians and other professionals in the areas of employment contracts,  executive compensation, severance negotiations, non-competes, trade secrets, breach of duty-of-loyalty-claims, tortious interference, drug testing law, privacy law, constitutional law, commission claims, defamation, fraud, sexual harassment claims, employee handbooks and policies, employment and housing discrimination, ERISA litigation (including benefits claims, 510 retaliation claims, 401(k) issues, severance disputes, failure to contribute claims, breach of fiduciary duty and actions by the U.S. DOL), public accommodations under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act and state law (both private actions and U.S. DOJ investigations), wage and hour compliance including defense of collective actions and DOL litigation under the FLSA, responding to OSHA citations, whistleblower and Sarbanes-Oxley claims, Board of Medical Practice and professional licensing issues, manufacturer sales representative contracts, appeals, trust litigation, and closely-held corporation and partnership disputes.  Mr. Ella is also available to serve as a private mediator and has performed several workplace investigations as a neutral investigator. He is a Qualified Neutral under Rule 114 of the Minnesota General Rules of Practice and serves as an arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association. He has also served as an expert witness on the topic of employment law.

Mr. Ella has obtained successful verdicts in jury trials and court trials in federal and state district courts in Minnesota and 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 or arbitrated non-compete disputes in Iowa, Florida, Alabama, Minnesota, North Dakota, New York, and Wisconsin.

Mr. Ella is the author of Executive Employment Law – A Handbook for Minnesota Executives published in 2018 by Mill City Press as well as over one 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, non-competes, 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.  He has also written for local and national publications including the Wall Street Journal on the topic of municipal and local employment law ordinances.

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). He served as a public member of the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice from 2010 to 2018 and as a member and Chair of the Minnesota State Board of Legal Certification.

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. After ten years as an attorney at a local general practice firm he spent almost ten years at the nation’s second-largest labor and employment defense firm as a partner where he represented many Fortune 500 and large global corporations in all aspects of employment law. He joined Trepanier MacGillis Battina in 2016.

Practice Areas:

  • Employment Law
  • Business Law
  • Commercial Litigation


  • Tufts University, B.A. (1990)
  • University of Minnesota Law School, J.D. (1994) cum laude


  • Minnesota Top 100 Super Lawyer (2014)
  • Minnesota Law and Politics “Top 40” Employment Law Attorney (2006-2008)
  • Super Lawyer (2002-2021)
  • AV rated by Martindale Hubbell
  • Named to “Best Lawyers” 2019, 2020, and 2021
  • Named to “POWER 30” list of employment law attorneys by Minnesota Lawyer (2021)

Volunteer and Board Involvement:

  • Willmar Hispanic Alliance, Board of Directors (1995-1996)
  • University of Minnesota Law School, Legal Writing Instructor (1999-2001)
  • University of Minnesota Student Legal Services (USLS), Board of Directors (2001-2005)
  • Chair, Labor and Employment Committee, Hennepin County Bar Association (2003-2004)
  • Commissioner, City of Robbinsdale Human Rights Commission,  (2006-2007)
  • Law Enforcement Memorial Association (LEMA), pro bono attorney (2012-present)
  • Evergreen Montessori, Crystal, MN, Board of Directors (2014)
  • Public member, Minnesota Board of Medical Practice (2010 – 2018)
  • Minnesota State Board of Legal Certification (2015-2020)
    • Chair 2020  
  • Governing Council, Minnesota State Bar Association, Labor and Employment Law Section (2018-2020 and 2020-2022)
  • Governance Council, Ying Hua Academy, 2020 –
  • School Board, Ying Hua Academy, 2022 – 

Jurisdictions Admitted:

  • Minnesota Supreme Court (1994)
  • District of Minnesota (1995)
  • Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals (1996)
  • U.S. Court of International Trade (1995)
  • U.S. Court of Veteran’s Appeals (1996)
  • Western District of Wisconsin (1999)
  • U.S. Supreme Court (2000)
  • State of New York (2005)
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (2006)
  • Eastern District of Wisconsin (2007)
  • Iowa Supreme Court (2008)
  • Southern District of Iowa (2009)
  • Northern District of Iowa (2009)

Agency Appearances:

  • American Arbitration Association (AAA)
  • Bureau of Mediation Services (BMS)
  • Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA)
  • Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
  • Iowa Civil Rights Commission (ICRC)
  • International Chamber of Commerce (ICC)
  • Mason City Civil Rights Commission
  • Merit Systems Protection Board
  • Minnesota Board of Medical Practice
  • Minnesota Board of Private Detectives
  • Minnesota Board of Marriage and Family Therapy
  • Minnesota Board of Pharmacy
  • Minnesota Board of Nursing
  • Minnesota Board of Cosmetology 
  • Minnesota Board of Social Work
  • Minnesota Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board (PELSB)
  • Minnesota Board of School Administrators
  • Minnesota Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH)
  • American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT)
  • Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED)
  • Minnesota Department of Human Rights (MDHR)
  • Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DOLI)
  • Minnesota Department of Health
  • Minnesota Department of Human Services
  • Minnesota Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MNOSHA)
  • National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD)
  • National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)
  • North Dakota Civil Rights Commission
  • University of Minnesota, Office of Conflict Resolution
  • U.S. Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals
  • U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
  • U.S. Department of Labor
  • Wisconsin Division of Workforce Development

Professional Associations:

  • Federal Bar Association
  • American Bar Association
  • Association of the Bar of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
  • Minnesota State Bar Association
    • Labor and Employment Law Section
    • Appellate Practice Section
  • Iowa State Bar Association
  • Hennepin County Bar Association

Industry Experience:

  • Logistics Companies and Freight Brokers
  • Sales Representatives and Distributors
  • Staffing Companies
  • Professional Services Firms
  • Insurance Brokers and Mortgage Brokers
  • Restaurants and Hotels 
  • Retailers
  • Non-Profits
  • Home Health Care Agencies and Long Term Care Facilities
  • Manufacturers 
  • Small, Medium-Sized, and Large Businesses of all Kinds


  • Spanish