profile headshot of Michael A. Dee

Specialties

I have been involved in trial practice and alternative dispute resolution for over 30 years, having tried cases in state and federal courts, argued dozens of times before state and federal appellate courts, and participated in hundreds of mediations. I am in and out of court all the time. As a mediator, I work with parties involved primarily in commercial, employment, personal injury, intellectual property and construction lawsuits to help them find common ground to settle without going to court.

My Approach

As an advocate representing a client in a lawsuit, I am candid and blunt. The worst thing a lawyer can do for his or her client is not provide all relevant information, even if the information may be bad news. I constantly provide clients my honest assessment of a lawsuit and the numerous issues that arise during the case and often can fall back on similar situations I have seen or experienced in my three decades of trial work. The goal always is to work with my client to reach a mutually agreeable path forward.

As a mediator, I try to be as direct as possible with all parties and their lawyers. The parties don't always appreciate hearing something they consider negative about their case or their prospects if they go to trial, but I firmly believe no party should leave a mediation without having heard the good as well as the bad of what could happen if they do not settle. In the many decades I have been involved in mediations, I have found the most effective mediators are those who do not mince words with the parties and lawyers.

More About Me

I'm a member of the Iowa Academy of Trial Lawyers, which is an invitation-only group with a limited number of members selected by other trial lawyers in the state, and was selected for Fellowship in the Litigation Counsel of America, which also is an invitation-only trial lawyer honorary society. I also was appointed to and currently serve on the Iowa Supreme Court Grievance Commission, which hears evidence of complaints against Iowa attorneys and determines whether or not the attorneys have violated ethics rules.

I have an AV Preeminent rating from Martindale Hubbell, was named one of only 17 “Litigation Stars” in the State of Iowa by the prestigious Benchmark Litigation, and was selected as a 2017 IP Star in the IP Stars from Managing Intellectual Property (MIP) magazine. I have been recognized by Best Lawyers® in the areas of Commercial Litigation, Litigation - Intellectual Property, Litigation - Patent and recognized in Chambers USA® every year for the past approximately ten years for litigation. I was selected by my peers as “Lawyer of the Year” in the 27th Edition of Best Lawyers® for my work in the Litigation - Intellectual Property area. I previously attended and completed Northwestern University's Mediation Training Program in Chicago.

Earlier in my career, I spent approximately five years as a federal prosecutor with the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., where I worked in the Criminal Division investigating and prosecuting white-collar crimes and as a prosecutor in the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.

My Specialties

  • Commercial Litigation
  • Intellectual Property
  • Construction
  • Employment and Labor Law
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution  

Federal Court Finds No Standing in Three “Drive By” Discrimination Lawsuits

08-28-2020   In the course of one week in early August 2020, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers Iowa and other Midwestern states, struck a blow to so-called “drive by” discrimination lawsuits – and bolstered employers’ defenses thereto – by holding in three separate lawsuits that three different plaintiffs who alleged violations of the...
Read More

Court Reaffirms Employees Complaining about Sexual Harassment Must Prove They Were Actually Offended

07-15-2020   The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers Iowa and other Midwestern states, recently affirmed the dismissal of a sexual harassment lawsuit because the plaintiff could not establish she was actually offended by the alleged harassing conduct.  Although this requirement seems like common sense – that a complaining employee must actually be...
Read More

Is Your Business at Risk for Coronavirus Lawsuits, and What Can You Do NOW To Avoid It?

04-6-2020   Whether you are a small business, large business or even a government entity, are you ready (or preparing your business) for the onslaught of lawsuits resulting from the pandemic?  Google “coronavirus lawsuits” — over 300 billion hits. Unfortunately, a number of those hits are plaintiffs’ class action law firms asking people to submit...
Read More

BW Wins Appeal in $30 Million Contract Dispute

02-18-2020   The Iowa Supreme Court on February 7, 2020, held that BrownWinick client Homeland Energy Solutions, LLC (HES) had an enforceable contract with a former HES board member to repurchase the member’s units in HES.  In 2013, HES entered into a contract with then-board member Steve J. Retterath to repurchase Retterath’s units in HES for $30 million. ...
Read More

Iowa Supreme Court Confirms Employers May Use Same Decision Defense in Discrimination and Retaliation Cases

12-6-2019 The Iowa Supreme Court recently issued an important decision for employers in employment discrimination cases. The Court confirmed that employers are entitled to raise the “same decision” affirmative defense, which states that even if a discriminatory factor played a motivating role in a decision to terminate an employee, the employer may avoid...
Read More

Cost-Plus Contracts - A New Warning For Contractors

10-21-2019 A recent decision from the Iowa Court of Appeals serves as a cautionary tale for contractors: Contractors must prove their actual costs under cost-plus contracts or they may not be paid.   In Olmstead Construction, Inc. v. Otter Creek Investments, LLC, the contractor and owner entered into a cost-plus contract to build a convenience store. After...
Read More

8th Circuit Upholds Iowa City's Rights Regarding Installation of Fiber Optic Networks

04-4-2018 BrownWinick successfully defended the City of Iowa City in an appeal before the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals involving the City’s passage of three resolutions to facilitate ImOn Communications, LLC’s ("ImOn") construction of a fiber optic network in Iowa City that would provide only telephone and internet service.  Mediacom sued the City...
Read More

Are You Ready if a Sexual Harassment Scandal Hits Your Business? - Part III

03-20-2018 As outlined in our earlier posts, business leaders are subject to increasing scrutiny in light of the national dialogue happening right now. This movement is not limited to the arena of celebrities and politicians. Does your business know what to do if allegations are lodged against your CEO or other critical managers?    Given the spotlight being...
Read More

Are You Ready if a Sexual Harassment Scandal Hits Your Business? - Part II

12-20-2017 Does your business have a handle on its policy enforcement? As outlined in our earlier post, charges of sexual harassment have always posed the potential for very serious liability.  Historically, however, sexual harassment has been relatively difficult to prove from the legal perspective. That tide is turning, however, as technology and social...
Read More

Are You Ready if a Sexual Harassment Scandal Hits Your Business?

12-7-2017 Does your business have the basics covered? For the past several months, we have been inundated with daily news about entertainers, media personalities, and politicians being accused of sexual harassment and worse.  Victims of such conduct are no longer remaining silent – and rightfully so.  The era of responding to an employee’s allegation of...
Read More

BrownWinick Law Firm Attorneys Featured in 2021 Great Plains Super Lawyers and Great Plains Rising Stars

08-20-2021 BrownWinick is excited to announce the following attorneys were selected for inclusion in the Great Plains Super Lawyers directory for 2021. Seven BrownWinick attorneys were selected for inclusion in the 2021 Great Plains Super Lawyers online listing: William Brown - Tax Michael Dee – Business Litigation Thomas Johnson – Business/Corporate James...
Read More

Chambers USA 2021 Recognizes BrownWinick Attorneys and Practices

05-25-2021 BrownWinick, a preeminent business law firm with offices in Des Moines and Pella, has once again been ranked among leading law firms in the exclusive Chambers USA 2021 Guide. The Chambers USA 2021 Guide is compiled through a research-based review that evaluates the multiple practice areas of hundreds of law firms through investigative research and...
Read More

Patent Litigation Team Secures Victory After Eight-Year Battle.

03-23-2021   The United States Supreme Court recently denied a petition for writ of certiorari filed by the opposing party in a patent infringement matter handled by BrownWinick Patent Litigation attorney Michael Dee. Effectively ending more than eight years of vexatious litigation against five BrownWinick clients. The plaintiff, GS CleanTech, filed suit...
Read More

Court Grants Motion for Summary Judgment

01-18-2021 BrownWinick attorneys Michael Dee and Megan Moritz recently succeeded on a motion asking the court to dismiss a lawsuit filed against its clients, a small floral business, and the business’s owner. The plaintiff, a former employee, sued in state court, making claims of sexual harassment and constructive discharge in violation of the Iowa Civil...
Read More

BrownWinick Attorneys Named to 2021 Best Lawyers in America List

08-21-2020 BrownWinick is pleased to announce that 26 lawyers have been included in the 2021 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America. Since it was first published in 1983, Best Lawyers® has become universally regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence. Best Lawyers® has published their list for more than three decades, earning the respect of the...
Read More

Mike Dee Now Offering Mediation Services

11-7-2019 BrownWinick is pleased to announce that Mike Dee has expanded his practice to include mediation services. Earlier this year, Mike completed Northwestern University’s Mediation Program in Chicago. With more than 30 years of trial work and litigation experience, Mike will focus his mediation services in the areas of commercial, contract, tort,...
Read More

BrownWinick Attorneys Named to 2020 Best Lawyers List

08-15-2019 BrownWinick is pleased to announce that 24 lawyers have been included in the 2020 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America. Since it was first published in 1983, Best Lawyers® has become universally regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence. Best Lawyers® has published their list for more than three decades, earning the respect of the...
Read More

BrownWinick Attorneys Featured in 2019 Great Plains Super Lawyers and Great Plains Rising Stars

07-11-2019 Eleven BrownWinick attorneys were selected for inclusion in the 2019 Great Plains Super Lawyers online listing: William Brown – Tax Elizabeth Coonan – Employment and Labor Michael Dee – Business Litigation Alice Helle – Employee Benefits Thomas Johnson – Business/Corporate Ann Holden Kendell – Employment and Labor James Pray – Environmental Brian...
Read More

BW Wins Defense Verdict in Disability Discrimination Trial

06-11-2019 Following an eight-day jury trial in Linn County, Iowa, BrownWinick attorneys Michael Dee and James White won a defense verdict in a case involving claims of disability discrimination and retaliation. BrownWinick represented a large national energy company and two of its employees who were sued by a former employee alleging the company terminated...
Read More

Assistant

Helen Mollenbeck

515-248-6635

Undergraduate

Iowa State University

B.S., with distinction, with honors, 1984

Legal

University of Iowa

J.D., 1987

Admitted

Pennsylvania, 1988; District of Columbia, 1990; Iowa, 1995; U.S. Court of International Trade, 2020

 

Memberships & Associations

  • Iowa Academy of Trial Lawyers
    Member
  • Iowa Supreme Court Grievance Commission Member, 2021-2024
  • Academy of Trial Lawyers
    Member
  • Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America
  • Trial Law Institute
    Member
  • Diversity Law Institute
    Member
  • Barrister, Order of Justitia
  • Advocate, Order of Certus
  • America's Top 100 High Stakes Litigators
    Member
  • Attorney Admission Fee Fund Advisory Committee, Current Member
    Appointed by Chief District Judge John Jarvey, Southern District of Iowa
  • Magistrate Judge Merit Selection Committee
    Committee Member appointed by the Chief Judge of the Southern District of Iowa
  • Polk County Bar Association
    Member; Board of Directors, 2002-2006
  • Iowa State Bar Association
    Member; Sections on: Alternative Dispute Resolution; Construction Law; Intellectual Property Law; Litigation; Labor and Employment Law
    Federal Practice Committee, 2004-Present, Chair, 2010-2012
  • Greater Des Moines Partnership
    Government Policy Council, Chair, 2010