A Partner at Halunen Law, Melissa Wolchansky chairs the complex litigation and class action practice. Her work is squarely focused on combatting consumer deception, particularly in the consumer products arena. Melissa has taken a leadership role in numerous large class actions and multi-district litigations in cases across the country. These include cases challenging tobacco marketing, predatory pricing for low-income consumers, defective construction products, and misleading food and product labels. Melissa’s astute legal skills and steadfast determination have brought success in the courtroom and at the negotiation table, where she is known to work tirelessly to achieve resolutions that are creative and fair.
Melissa is a frequent lecturer on deceptively labeled consumer products, class action procedures and food law at local and national conferences. She serves on the Steering Committee for the Plaintiffs’ Class Action Forum, an invitation-only professional group focused on emerging trends in class actions.
A contributor to her professional community, Melissa chairs the Program Committee for the Twin Cities Cardozo Society, an affinity group for the Twin Cities Jewish Federations. She is active in the Federal Bar Association, including work on its Annual Seminar, and serves on the Minnesota Bar Association Food & Drug Law Council. In recognition of her outstanding efforts in the legal community, each year since 2012, Melissa has been named a Super Lawyers Rising Star by Minnesota Law & Politics.
Melissa’s community service also reflects a particular commitment to organizations and initiatives benefiting children. She established the Young Professionals Committee for Make-A-Wish™ of Minnesota, which grants inspiring wishes to numerous recipients each year.
Notable cases and leadership roles include:
- Co-lead counsel in the Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Litigation
- Co-lead counsel in Parm v. Bluestem Brands, Inc., (D. Minn), a Truth in Lending Act matter regarding deceptive pricing targeted at low-income consumers.
- Serving as counsel in several large defective product class actions such as
- IKO Roofing Shingles Products Liability Class Action, (C.D. Ill.).
- James Hardie Siding Products Liability Class Action, (D. Minn.).
- Owens Corning Shingle Products Liability Class Action, (W.D. Penn.).
- Scott v. Honeywell Int’l Inc., (D. Colo.),.
- Disher et v. Tamko Building Prods., Inc. et al., (S.D. Ill).
- Named class counsel in numerous class actions focused on consumer products deceptively labeled as “natural,” including:
- Frohberg v. Cumberland Packing Corp., (E.D.N.Y.) (misleading “natural” sweetener).
- Martin et al. v. Cargill, Inc., (D. Haw.) (misleading “natural” sweetener).
- Gay v. Tom’s of Maine, Inc. (S.D. Fla) (misleading “natural” personal care products).
- Baharestan v. Venus Laboratories, Inc. d/b/a Earth Friendly Products, Inc. (N.D. Cal.). (misleading “natural” cleaning products).
- Barron v. Snyder’s-Lance, Inc., (S.D. Fla.) (misleading “natural” food products).
Areas of Practice
- Class Actions
- William Mitchell College of Law, St. Paul, Minnesota
- University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan
- Major: Political Science; Minor: Spanish
Honors and Awards
- Super Lawyers, Rising Stars, 2012-2016
- Minnesota State Bar Association, Labor & Employment Law Section Award for Excellence in the Study of Employment Law, 2008
Professional Associations and Memberships
- Minnesota State Bar Association
- U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota
- Communications Committee Member – Public Justice