News Item
Supreme Court, District Court Judicial Appointments Announced

Posted: Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Court of Appeals Judge Christopher Dietzen was appointed as an associate justice to the Minnesota Supreme Court today by Governor Tim Pawlenty. Governor Pawlenty also appointed Thomas M. Neuville to a Third Judicial District trial court judgeship in Rice County, and Jerome B. Abrams, Janet L. Barke Cain, and Tim D. Wermager to First Judicial District trial court judgeships in Scott, Carver, and Dakota counties, respectively. 

Judge Dietzen, pictured here with his wife, speaks after being appointed.

Governor Pawlenty announced Dietzen's appointment by saying: “Judge Dietzen distinguished himself in private practice and as a member of the Minnesota Court of Appeals.  His private practice complex litigation experience and the thoughtful approach he takes as a member of the Court of Appeals makes him well-prepared for this position.  He has the professional background, intellect and wisdom to be an outstanding Supreme Court Justice."

Dietzen has been a judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals since December 2004.  Previously, he was a shareholder with the Larkin, Hoffman, Daly and Lindgren law firm in Bloomington where he was its senior litigator in the Real Estate Litigation Practice Group, and served on the firm’s Board of Directors from 1995 to 2002.  Prior to joining the Larkin Hoffman firm in 1978, Dietzen was an attorney and partner with the law firm of Richter, Wimberley and Ericson in Spokane, Washington from 1973 to 1978.  Dietzen earned his juris doctorate degree from Gonzaga University School of Law in Spokane in 1973 and his bachelor of business administration from Gonzaga University in 1969.

Governor Pawlenty announced Neuville's appointment by saying: "Tom has experience with a wide variety of cases, has solid legal skills, a congenial style, and a strong commitment to his community."

Neuville, of Northfield, is an attorney and partner with Grundhoefer, Neuville and Ludescher in Northfield, where he has practiced since 1976.  He has served as the Dundas City Attorney since 1990, was the Lonsdale City Attorney from 1978 to 1980, a part-time contract assistant state public defender from 1985 to 1996, and a part-time contract assistant Rice County public defender from 1977 to 1985. 

Governor Pawlenty announced Abram's appointment by saying: “Jerry is well-known among civil practitioners as one of the top lawyers in the field for his integrity, thoughtfulness, and ability to handle complex civil matters. He will be an immediate impact player on the bench.”

Abrams is an attorney and president of the Minneapolis law firm of Abrams and Smith.  He has been an attorney with the firm since 1997.  He was an attorney with the Austin and Abrams law firm in Minneapolis from 1988 through 1996, the Austin and Roth law firm in Minneapolis from 1982 to 1988, Schoenberger Legal Clinic in Richfield and Rochester from 1981 to 1982, and a law clerk with the Minneapolis Star Tribune Company in 1981.  Abrams earned his juris doctorate degree from William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul in 1981, and his bachelor of arts degree from Beloit College in Beloit, Wisconsin in 1977.

Governor Pawlenty announced Cain's appointment by saying: “Janet has established herself as a leader in the legal community in Carver County and the State. Her tremendous combination of professional legal skills, work ethic, and leadership will be a great asset to the bench.”

Cain is an assistant Carver County Attorney and head of the juvenile division.  She has been an assistant Carver County Attorney since 1994, and has also worked in the civil and criminal divisions of that office.  Cain was an assistant Minneapolis City Attorney from 1992 to 1994, and a law clerk to Fourth Judicial District Judge Robert G. Schiefelbein in Hennepin County from 1989 to 1992, a law clerk with the St. Paul law firm of Salmen, Brinkman and Martinson from 1988 to 1989, an intern to Chief Federal District Court Judge Donald Alsop in 1987, and a law clerk for the Minneapolis City Attorney’s office from 1985 to 1988.  Cain earned her juris doctorate degree cum laude from Hamline University School of Law in St. Paul in 1989, and her bachelor of science degree from the University of Minnesota in 1986.

Governor Pawlenty announced Wermager's appointment by saying: “Tim has been a Dakota County practitioner for 25 years and has earned a reputation as a hard-working, courteous and thoughtful lawyer who has earned a tremendous level of respect among practitioners and judges. As a judge, he will be immediately adept at handling the most contentious cases that come before him.”

Wermager is an attorney with the Hastings law firm of O’Connell, Wermager and Warg.  He has been an attorney with the firm since 1990.  He was an attorney with the Law Office of Harry P. Schoen in Hastings from 1982 to 1990.  Wermager earned his juris doctorate degree from the University of Iowa Law School in 1982, and his bachelor of science degree from Mankato State University in 1979.