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Stephen Safranski
Stephen Safranski

2019 Attorneys of the Year: Stephen Safranski

Stephen Safranski was a new partner at Robins Kaplan when he began defending Supervalu in a complex antitrust class action.

Some 11 years later, Safranski is the only team member still on the case, achieving a significant win with dismissal of all re­maining claims against the Eden Prairie-based grocery wholesaler, which the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed in December.

Safranski, now with a flourishing antitrust practice, saw the case through half a dozen trips to the 8th Circuit, a U.S. Supreme Court petition, an FTC investigation and seemingly “every type of proceeding you can imagine on every type of antitrust issue you can imagine.”

“You have to come to work every day with fresh eyes and look hard at things that you maybe have looked at a dozen or two dozen times before because, as events unfold, there are always new strategies and new ways of making the best case possible for your client,” said Sa­franski, a University of Minnesota Law School graduate with a polit­ical science degree from Northwestern University.

The Supervalu case substantially developed antitrust law in the 8th Circuit, with other federal courts citing its decisions more than 60 times.

Safranski’s pro bono work for Friends of the Boundary Waters Wil­derness includes suing over the Trump administration’s restoration of mineral leases for Twin Metals’ proposed mine adjacent to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

“All of my cases are important, but advocating for the Wilderness has special meaning,” Safranski, an outdoors enthusiast and former Friends board member, said.

Read more about Minnesota Lawyer’s superb class of Attorneys of the Year for 2019 here.

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