Best & Flanagan


Aaron A. Dean


Aaron Dean is a partner in the Construction and Litigation and Dispute Resolution practice groups. His practice focuses on all areas of the construction industry, including construction defects, mechanics liens and payment bond claims, performance bond claims, bid protests, bid mistakes, claim negotiation and prosecution, OSHA and MnOSHA defense work, defending MSHA citations, contract drafting and negotiation, insurance coverage, DBE enforcement, false claims act claims and other construction industry specific disputes.

Aaron’s clients include contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, owners, design professionals and lenders.  Aaron is a frequent speaker to Construction Industry Trade Groups on construction issues as evidenced by his list of recent speeches below. Prior to practicing law, Aaron was a law clerk for Honorable David S. Doty, United States District Judge for the District of Minnesota and Honorable James M. Rosenbaum, United States District Judge for the District of Minnesota.

Representative Matters


  • Represent contractors in dozens of bid protests in Minnesota, North Dakota, and Wisconsin. Represented contractors and government vendors in administrative and judicial protests on competitive bid and “Best Value” procurements.
  • Represent contractor joint venture in the largest successful bid protest in Minnesota history related to the Hiawatha Light Rail project. Raytheon, Ames, Kraemer v. MnDOT.
  • Represent DBE Contractor in an administrative contested case hearing following MnDOT’s first-ever attempt to decertify a DBE company. Stopped decertification.
  • Represent contactors in bid mistake cases to seek relief from contract awards and return of bid bonds.

Mechanic’s Lien Foreclosure:

  • Foreclosed hundreds of mechanic’s liens on commercial and residential projects in Minnesota, Wisconsin and North Dakota.
  • McCarron’s Building Center v. Titus Construction, Inc., A09-1571 (Minn. Ct. App. June 15, 2010) (unpublished). Represented lumber supplier on appeal. Establish priority of lumber supplier’s mechanic’s lien over bank’s mortgage and allow lumber supplier’s blanket lien to be foreclosed on less than all condominium units without apportionment.
  • Eischen Cabinet v. Dan Happe Construction et al., A08-1016 (Minn. Ct. App. May 19, 2009) (unpublished). Represented material supplier. Affirm judgment in favor of mechanic’s lien claimants and against lender regarding priority of various claims.
  • Stiglich Construction, Inc. v. Larson, 621 N.W.2d 801 (Minn. Ct. App. 2001). Represented contractor on appeal. Contractor did not waive right to seek attorneys’ fees by prosecuting mechanic’s lien and breach of contract claims in arbitration.
  • Woodside 5 Partnership, LLC et al. v. Interspace-West, Inc. et al., Court File No.: AC99-14328 (Hon. Cara Lee Neville). Represented building owner. Obtained dismissal of mechanic’s liens for failing to provide lienable services and intentionally overstating lien amounts.

Construction Defect:

  • Defend construction defect claims asserted against general contractors, subcontractors, building materials suppliers, and window suppliers.
  • Washington County v. Knutson Construction Services (Washington Cty. Dist. Ct.) Complete dismissal of County’s $2.0+ million claim for alleged defects to repair the County’s Law Enforcement Center.
  • Represent window supplier since 2000, including defense of construction defect and mold claims.

Transportation and Utility:

  • Represent road and underground utility general contractors in disputes with public owners and developers, including prosecuting claims for differing site conditions and disputed change orders, defending termination claims, backcharges, offsets, and deductive change order claims by public owners.

OSHA Defense Work:

  • Commissioner v. Lametti & Sons, Inc. (2014).  Represented underground utility contractor.  Obtained complete dismissal of MnOSHA citations issued to contractor.  Administrative Law Judge issued an Order dismissing MnOSHA’s Complaint with prejudice, dismissing MnOSHA citations in their entirety, and vacating all fines issued to a contractor.  Administrative Law Judge issued pre-trial ruling dismissing all claims against the contractor.
  • Defend general contractors and subcontractors in more than 75 federal OSHA and MnOSHA cases, including multiple fatality cases, multiple injury cases and scores of non-injury cases.
  • Commissioner v. Michels Pipeline, Dockets 8389 and 8640 (2009). Obtained dismissal of citations issued by MnOSHA following administrative contested case hearing based on employee misconduct defense. Dismissal of citations affirmed on appeal. MnOSHA v. Michels Pipeline, 2010 WL 4679836 (Minnesota Office of Administrative Hearings, October 18, 2010).
  • Secretary of Labor v. Q3 Contracting, Inc. Dismissal of federal OSHA citations on appeal following contested case hearing.

Project Counseling and Dispute Mitigation:

  • Counsel construction industry clients while construction contracts are being performed to help manage risks and try to avoid disputes.

Contract Drafting and Negotiations:

  • Draft and negotiate construction contracts, change orders, and settlement agreements for clients working on construction projects.

Appellate Work:

  • Represented contractors and material suppliers on appeal after replacing their district court counsel.
  • Contractors Edge, Inc. v. City of Mankato, A11-916 (Minn. Ct. App., Jan. 17, 2012) (unpublished), rev. denied (Minn., March 28, 2012). Represented contractor on appeal from summary judgment obtained by defendant municipality in district court.
  • McCarron’s Building Center v. Titus Construction, Inc., A09-1571 (Minn. Ct. App. June 15, 2010) (unpublished). Represented lumber supplier on appeal and reversed District Court ruling against building supplier.

Alternative Dispute Resolution:

  • Mediated (as counsel for a party) more than 150 construction cases.
  • Represented public owners, general contractors, and subcontractors in binding arbitrations. Served as an arbitrator or represented parties in more than 40 arbitrations.


  • Kraus-Anderson v. City of Chanhassen (Carver Cty. Dist. Ct. 2006). Bench trial. Successful defense of 98+% of contractor’s claims against the City related to construction of $5.1 million public library. De minimis award below settlement offer.
  • M.N. v. D.S. (Minn. Ct. App. 2000). Successfully defended and obtained dismissal of breach of contract, emotional distress, fraud and “heart balm” claims arising from alleged breaches of promises to marry and to have children.


  • Speaker, “How to Get Paid for Your Work on Minnesota or North Dakota Construction Projects,” seminar sponsored by national contractor trade association (Moorhead, Minnesota, April 23, 2014).
  •  Speaker, “Training Your Employees to Handle OSHA Inspections and Defending Your Company’s Safety Record,” seminar sponsored by national contractor trade association (Fargo, North Dakota, April 9, 2014)
  • Instructor, “Contract Documents and Construction Law,” Supervisory Training Program for large contractor trade organization (St. Paul, Minnesota, multiple dates in 3/2014 and 4/2014 for weekly course)
  • Speaker, “Training Your Employees to Be Ready for OSHA Inspections and Defending OSHA Citations,” Northern Region Association of Safety Professionals, (Fargo, North Dakota, March 19, 2014)
  • Speaker, “Contractor Payment Remedies in Minnesota and North Dakota,” Half-Day Seminar sponsored by regional surety/insurance broker (Fargo, North Dakota, March 19, 2014)
  • Speaker, Half-Day Seminar for Contractors sponsored by national surety/insurance broker (Jackpot Junction in Morton, Minnesota, March 12, 2014).
  • Speaker, “Expert Course in Construction Contracts,” seminar sponsored by several Minnesota subcontractor trade associations (Roseville, Minnesota, March 3, 2014)
  • Speaker, “What to Do When OSHA Shows Up On Your Job Site,” Contractor Safety Day (St. Cloud, Minnesota, February 28, 2014)
  • Co-Speaker with Minnesota State Senator Vicki Jensen, DFL District 24, “Minnesota’s New Indemnity Statute,” seminar sponsored by national surety and insurance broker (Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, February 20, 2014)
  • Speaker, “Intermediate Course on Construction Contracts,” seminar sponsored by several Minnesota subcontractor trade associations (Roseville, Minnesota, February 19, 2014)
  • Speaker, “Introductory Course on Construction Contracts,” Seminar sponsored by several Minnesota subcontractor trade organizations (Roseville, Minnesota, February 5, 2014)
  • Speaker, “How to Get Paid for Your Company’s Work,” Seminar sponsored by Regional Council of Union Contractors from six Midwestern States (St. Paul, Minnesota, February 5, 2014)
  • Speaker, “Employee Safety Training for Annual Safety Seminar,” (Bloomington, Minnesota, January 25, 2014)
  • Speaker, “Protecting Your Company’s Safety Record,” Associated General Contractors Safety Committee (St. Paul, Minnesota, December 12, 2013)
  • Panelist, “Ask the Attorney Panel,” Minnesota Subcontractors Association (Roseville, Minnesota, December 10, 2013)
  • Speaker, “Managing Construction Risk and OSHA Inspections,” CFMA of North Dakota (Fargo, North Dakota, September 26, 2013)
  • Speaker, “Training Your Employees to Handle an OSHA Inspection and Resolving OSHA Citations,” webinar sponsored by national contractor trade association (Oak Brook, Illinois August 14, 2013)
  • Speaker, Safety Conference,” seminar sponsored by local insurance/surety broker (St. Paul, MN, April 30, 2013)
  • Speaker, “Safety Round Table:  Current Issues with OSHA,” seminar sponsored by local insurance/surety broker (Bloomington, MN, April 19, 2013)
  • Speaker, “How to Get Paid for Your Company’s Work,” seminar sponsored by several contractor trade associations (St. Cloud, Minnesota, April 12, 2013)
  • Speaker, “How Specialty Subcontractors and Suppliers Can Ensure They Are Paid When Working in Multiple States,” webinar sponsored by specialty contractor trade association (Oak Brook, Illinois, April 10, 2013)
  • Speaker, “Beginners Course for Understanding Construction Contracts,” seminar sponsored by several contractor trade associations (Rochester, Minnesota, April 5, 2013)
  • Speaker, “How Contractors Go Out of Business,” seminar sponsored by contractor trade association (Moorhead, Minnesota, April 3, 2013)
  • Speaker, “Construction Contracts for Beginners,” seminar sponsored by several contractor trade associations (Twin Cities, Minnesota, March 5, 2013)
  • Speaker, “OSHA Citations and Responding to OSHA,” seminar sponsored by several contractor trade associations (Twin Cities, Minnesota, February 27, 2013)
  • Speaker, “Training Your Employees to Handle OSHA Inspections,” seminar sponsored by national insurance broker (Twin Cities, February 21, 2013)
  • Speaker, “Negotiating Changes and Payment with the Government” and “Training Foremen and Competent Persons to Handle an OSHA Investigation,” seminars sponsored by a construction trade group (Twin Cities, February 5, 2013)
  • Speaker, “Defending Federal OSHA and MnOSHA Citations,” sponsored by construction industry trade association (Moorhead, Minnesota, January 22, 2013)
  • Speaker, “How to Get Paid for Your Work,” seminar sponsored by several contractor trade associations, including the AGC, Minnesota Mechanical Contractors Association, National Electrical Contractors Association, and SMARCA (Roseville, Minnesota, December 12, 2012)
  • Speaker, “Subcontractor Payment Remedies on Private and Public Construction Projects,” Minnesota Subcontractors Association (Roseville, Minnesota, November 15, 2012)
  • Speaker, “Statutory Bases to Vacate Arbitration Awards,” Minnesota State Bar Construction Law Section’s Annual Symposium (Minneapolis, Minnesota, June 8, 2012)
  • Speaker, “Contract Law, Part II in Minnesota,” Construction Financial Management Association and American Subcontractors Association (Minneapolis, Minnesota, May 2, 2012)
  • Speaker, “How to Protect Your Bottom Line,” Associated Building Contractors of Minnesota and North Dakota (Moorhead, Minnesota, April 5, 2012)
  • Speaker, “Risks in Today’s Contracting Environment,” Goldleaf Financial (Fargo, North Dakota, April 4, 2012)
  • Speaker, “Legal Training for the Upcoming Construction Season,” Training for 20 Construction Executives at a Large Local Electrical Contractor’s Office (St. Paul, Minnesota, March 5, 2012)
  • Speaker, “How to Get Paid for Your Work,” The Builders Group (Eagan, Minnesota, March 1, 2012)
  • Speaker, “Contract Law in Minnesota,” Construction Financial Management Association and American Subcontractors Association (Minneapolis, Minnesota, February 23, 2012)
  • Speaker, “Legal Training for the 2012 Construction Season,” Minnesota Asphalt Paving Association (Shoreview, Minnesota, February 21, 2012)
  • Speaker, “Common Mistakes that Make Contractors Go Out of Business or Suffer Financial Distress,” Minnesota Mechanical Contractors Association and National Electrical Contractors Association (Roseville, Minnesota, February 15, 2012)
  • Host, “Federal Contracting Symposium,” Minnesota State Bar Association’s Annual Symposium for the Construction Law Section (Minneapolis, Minnesota, June 10, 2011)
  • Co-Presenter, “Payment Remedies for Contractors, the New Minnesota False Claims Act, Bid Protests, and Defending OSHA Citations,” All Day Seminar for 60 Contractors (Minnetonka, Minnesota, April 6, 2011)
  • Speaker, “Defending Defect Claims, Differing Site Condition Claims, and Getting Paid,” Presentation to the Minnesota Asphalt Paving Association (Shoreview, Minnesota, April 5, 2011)
  • Speaker, “Bid Terms, Contract Terms, Payment Remedies, and Proposed Legislation,” American Subcontractors Association, St. Paul, Minnesota (February 24, 2011)
  • Speaker, “Handling an OSHA Inspection and Defending OSHA Citations,” Minnesota Mechanical Contractors Association, SMARCA, National Electrical Contractors, and Other Contractor Trade Organizations (Roseville, Minnesota, February 2, 2011)
  • Speaker, “Protecting Your Bottom Line in a Difficult Economy” (Speech to 60+ construction professionals), Bloomington, Minnesota (October 21, 2010)
  • Speaker, “Handling OSHA Investigations,” Presentation to the Minnesota Chapter of the Construction Financial Management Association (Minneapolis, Minnesota, September 16, 2010)
  • Speaker, “Construction Contracts and Inherent Risks,” National Business Institute (Bloomington, Minnesota, February 24, 2010)
  • Speaker, “OSHA Inspections and OSHA Citations,” Associated General Contractors, Minnesota Chapter, 25th Annual Safety Day (Minneapolis Convention Center, February 23, 2010)
  • Speaker, “Insurance and Indemnity from the Subcontractor’s Perspective,” American Subcontractors Association, hosted at the University of Minnesota’s Continuing Education Conference Center, St. Paul, Minnesota (February 18, 2010)
  • Speaker, “Show Me How to Keep, How to Avoid Losing, and How to Collect the Money” (speech to 50+ project managers and construction executives in Otsego, Minnesota, on January 28, 2010)


  • William Mitchell College of Law, J.D., summa cum laude, 1994
  • Lafayette College, B.A., 1990, Marquis Scholar, Economics and Government

Practice Areas


  • Real Estate & Development


  • State of Minnesota
  • State of Wisconsin
  • State of North Dakota
  • U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 8th Circuit

Professional Associations & Memberships

  • American Bar Association
  • Minnesota State Bar Association (Construction Law Section, Chair, 2011-2012; Vice-Chair, 2010-2011; Treasurer, 2009-2010; Secretary, 2008-2008; and Council Member)
  • Minnesota Subcontractors Association (Vice President, 2013-2014; Treasurer, 2012-2013; and Board Member, 2012-2014)
  • Construction Financial Management Association (Board Member 2013-2014)
  • William Mitchell College of Law Alumni Board (2003-2008)
  • American Subcontractors Association, Minnesota Chapter (Board of Directors 2008-2012)
  • ABA Forum on the Construction Industry
  • Member, Safety Committee of the Associated Builders & Contractors, Inc. of Minnesota/North Dakota Chapter (2013-2014)