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Jocelyn Knoll
Jocelyn Knoll

The POWER 30: Jocelyn Knoll

Dorsey & Whitney LLP

Jocelyn Knoll is having a really good run, including zeroing out a $115 million claim against her client, the Regional Transportation District (RTD) of Denver.

The plaintiff, Denver Transit Partners (DTB) agreed to design, build, finance, operate and maintain a commuter rail system pursuant to a public-private partnership with Defendant RTD. When a wireless crossing activation system failed, DTB had to spend about $111.5 million for crossing guards, and sought reimbursement from RTD.

But the judge found DTB was in control of the crossing system. He did deny RTD’s $11.6 million counter claim, but appeal of that was undecided at deadline. The bench trial was two years ago.

The case is the largest defense decision in a P3 (public private partnership) construction-related trial, Knoll said. She is the leader of Dorsey & Whitney’s P3 claims practice, and a member of the Construction, Development & Infrastructure, Energy & Natural Resources, and Litigation groups.

In other cases, Knoll has secured a $74 million arbitration award in favor of her global EPC client (engineering, procurement and construction), a unanimous jury award of $2.4 million and rejection of a $50 million claim on a P3 mixed-use project. She also secured a $7 million award in favor of a manufacturing client and a $3.9 million award in favor of a mining client. She has defeated other trial/arbitration claims in the amounts of $25 million, $20 million, $10 million, and $7 million, respectively.

Public-private partnerships are not legal in all states, but Minnesota authorizes them under Minn. Stat. 174.45. They provide resources for infrastructure work, Knoll said. “That’s not the cheapest way but perhaps it is because it gets done,” she said.

Knoll is a member of the ABA Construction Forum which brings together construction lawyers across the country and provides education and mentoring. She is a firm believer in mentoring, both in Dorsey and through the Forum.