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ClayH-4.2-bioClayton Halunen is the founder of Halunen Law, representing employees, consumers, and whistleblowers in individual, and qui tam, and class actions.

Under his leadership, Halunen Law has achieved a national reputation as a fearless, tenacious, and successful plaintiffs’ law firm, bringing a laser focus on delivering justice for its clients and creating meaningful social change.

Halunen’s passion for his work took root early while growing up in northern Minnesota, and each of his parents experienced the repercussions of discrimination. Those experiences fueled his determination to assure that all people are treated with decency and respect for their human rights and hold businesses accountable for illegal conduct.

After more than 20 years of practice, Halunen has successfully tried to verdict employee discrimination, harassment, and whistleblower cases. He has litigated and won countless high-profile cases that have significantly altered corporate practices and garnered millions of dollars in awards and settlements for his clients.

Halunen obtained judgment in excess of $1 million for a for-profit school whistleblower

In the fall of 2013, Halunen represented Heidi Weber, former dean of the Globe University Minnesota Medical Assistant Program. Weber alleged that the for-profit university had dismissed her for exposing unlawful and unethical practices at the school, including consumer fraud. Halunen obtained a judgment for Weber in excess of $1 million. His efforts were followed up by the Minnesota Attorney General’s office, which subsequently brought a consumer fraud lawsuit against the school. The case was featured on the CBS television “Whistleblower” series in the fall of 2018.

Halunen’s Representation of Vikings punter Chris Kluwe led to historic LGBTG Summit

Halunen’s representation of Vikings punter Chris Kluwe, during the team’s investigation of Kluwe’s allegations of homophobic comments by a Vikings coach in 2014, was instrumental in achieving a historic settlement advancing LGBT rights in professional sports. As a result of the case, the Vikings organization agreed to make substantial contributions to several local and national LGBT-related organizations and host the first-ever professional sports LGBT summit. The event brought together gay athletes and advocates with sports management representatives and others for day-long event and panel discussions on creating greater inclusivity in sports at all levels.

Halunen reached a whistleblower settlement of $1 million with Rochester, MN Police Department

In 2017, Halunen represented Lt. Elisa Umpierre in a $1 million settlement against the Rochester Minnesota Police Department. The suit alleged discrimination and retaliation against Lt. Umpierre after she expressed on Facebook her support of the Standing Rock protesters and criticized excessive force by police at the protests.

Halunen was also counsel for a whistleblower in one of the largest qui tam settlements against a drug company—$1.5 billion.

The case against Abbot Labs involved several whistleblowers who spoke out against the promotion of the prescription drug Depakote for uses that had not been approved by the FDA. The company was accused of marketing the drug “off-label,” including for nursing home-patients, persons with schizophrenia, and children, and provided kickbacks to medical providers who prescribed the medication.

Halunen played a pivotal role with a team of attorneys who successfully represented James Friedlander in a whistleblower case heard by the Minnesota Supreme Court. The case clarified Minnesota legislative policy that a “good faith” report essentially must be truthful, creating a clearer path for whistleblowers to make their claims, while holding employers accountable for illegal conduct and preventing them from relying on technicalities to escape liability.

Clayton is currently acting as co-lead counsel, along with nationally renowned trial lawyer Mark Lanier, in a substantial government fraud case against Hoffman-La Roche. The claim alleges fraud relating to the sale of its drug Tamiflu to the United States government for stockpiling during the nation’s influenza pandemic preparations in the mid-2000s. The suit asserts that U.S. taxpayers were bilked over $1.5 billion by the company for a drug that did not provide any pandemic benefits such as protecting against complications, hospitalizations, and transmission.

Halunen has gained national recognition for his class action work, including leadership positions in numerous prominent nationwide cases. He has litigated class actions in such areas as employee misclassification, defective products, product mislabeling, and consumer fraud.

Widely respected for his success, Halunen is the recipient of numerous prestigious honors and awards acknowledging his professional acumen and advocacy. In 2018, as a recipient of the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal’s Business of Pride Award, Halunen was recognized for his leadership within the LGBT and business communities. He was named one of the Attorneys of the Year by Minnesota Lawyer in 2014 and 2017 and has been selected to the Minnesota Super Lawyers list consistently since 2003.

  • False Claims Act (“qui tam”) Litigation
  • Employment Litigation
  • Whistleblower Litigation
  • Retaliation in Employment
  • Executive and High Level Severance Workouts
  • Consumer Fraud
  • Products Liability
  • Class Action/Mass Torts
  • International Whistleblower Representation
  • Minnesota
  • Hamline University School of Law, St. Paul, Minnesota
    • Juris Doctor
  • North Dakota State University, Fargo, North Dakota
    • B.S. Psychology
  • 2018: Halunen and his client Heidi Weber were featured in CBS television series Whistleblower. “The Case Against Globe University” episode had more than 2 million viewers and brought national attention to this important case.
  • 2018: Halunen received a Business of Pride Award from Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal for his professional accomplishments and advocacy on behalf of the LGBT community.
  • 2017: Minnesota Lawyer selected Halunen as one of the Attorneys of the Year for his work on the whistleblower case heard by the Minnesota Supreme Court which ultimately changed Minnesota legislative policy.
  • 2016: Halunen was named Minnesota Attorney of the Month by Attorney at Law Magazine in October. He was featured on the cover of the magazine and interviewed for a four-page editorial about his career in law.
  • 2013-2015: Halunen was recognized as “Lead Counsel Rated” by the Lead Counsel Review Board.
  • 2014: Halunen was named one of Minnesota Lawyers’ “Attorneys of the Year” for his advocacy of LGBT rights in the NFL.
  • 2014: Halunen received the distinction of being named to the “Top 100 Trial Lawyers” from The National Trial Lawyers.
  • Halunen has also been selected to the Minnesota Super Lawyer list by Super Lawyer Magazine consecutively since 2003.
  • Minnesota State Bar Association
  • Federal Bar Association- Board Member
  • National Employment Lawyers Association, Member
  • Minnesota Trial Lawyers Association

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Watch Clayton Halunen’s False Claims Act and Whistleblowers Q&A on Reel Lawyers

Clayton’s cases have been highlighted by an array of media sources such as the New York Times, MSNBC, NBC, ABC, and CBS affiliates, local, and national radio talk shows, and numerous legal periodicals. One of his cases was the basis of an episode of CBS’s “Whistleblower” series. Clayton has been featured in publications including Attorney at Law and “A Whistleblower’s Best Friend” in Super Lawyers Magazine. He is Lead Counsel-rated and was inducted into the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. Clayton is a frequent speaker at seminars and conferences across the county, sharing insights on his specialized practice, strategies, and success.

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“I am so fortunate to do this work every day with courageous clients and a team of the most capable and dedicated motivated attorneys and staff. Our client’s courage coupled with our attorneys’ expertise, has resulted in exceptional outcomes.”

Clayton D. Halunen

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Contact Us For Help

Our firm's Minnesota employee rights lawyers are available to advise you about your legal rights and your options for moving forward. Contact us at 612-605-4098 or toll free at 866-523-8533 for assistance.