Kai H. Richter is an experienced attorney who has fought for the rights of everyday people throughout his legal career. As one of the leaders of the firm’s ERISA litigation team, Kai has handled over 20 different cases involving breach of fiduciary duty claims relating to 401(k) plans and other retirement plans, and has spoken at several national forums on ERISA litigation. In addition, Kai has handled numerous cases on behalf of consumers against banks, mortgage servicers, and other large companies, and successfully argued before the First Circuit Court of Appeals in Lass v. Bank of America, N.A., 695 F.3d 129 (1st Cir. 2012). During his tenure at the firm, Kai has negotiated several class action settlements that have made a combined total of more than $200 million in relief available to class members nationwide.
Prior to joining Nichols Kaster in April 2010, Kai managed the Complex Litigation Division of the Minnesota Attorney General's Office, where he supervised and handled a large number of consumer enforcement cases. For example, in June and September of 2009, Kai co-chaired a three-week trial involving claims for fraudulent sales of annuities and legal plans to over 1,200 Minnesota senior citizens, and won a favorable judgment from the trial court. In addition, he also spearheaded a significant enforcement action against Sprint Nextel relating to wrongfully-imposed contracts and early termination fees.
Kai also has several years of prior experience representing plaintiffs in private practice, including two landmark class actions. For example, in Braun v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., a statewide wage and hour class action against Wal-Mart, Kai briefed and successfully co-argued the issue of class certification and significantly participated in the three-month trial of the case, paving the way for a multi-million dollar payout to Wal-Mart’s Minnesota workers. In addition, Kai was one of only three plaintiff trial attorneys in Grutter v. Bollinger, a landmark class action lawsuit against the University of Michigan Law School that was decided by the United States Supreme Court in 2003.
Kai received his law degree from the University of Minnesota Law School in 1999 and received a B.A. from Dartmouth College in 1995. He also has taught legal writing at Hamline University and previously served as a co-director of the Robert F. Wagner Moot Court Program at the University of Minnesota Law School.
Admissions & Education
United States Supreme Court Minnesota Supreme Court 9th Circuit Court of Appeals 8th Circuit Court of Appeals 6th Circuit Court of Appeals 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals 1st Circuit Court of Appeals U.S. District Court – District of Minnesota U.S. District Court - Eastern District of Michigan U.S. District Court – Western District of New York
J.D. University of Minnesota 1999, cum laude B.A. Dartmouth College 1995 cum laude
Speaking Engagements & Publications
Webinar speaker, “Fee Litigation,” American Bar Association (Nov. 12, 2019). Panelist, American Law Institute Employee Benefit Plans for Tax-Exempt and Governmental Employers Act 2019 conference, “Current State of Plan Litigation and Its Implications” (October 19, 2019). Panelist, Professional Liability Underwriting Society (PLUS) D&O Symposium, “Plan Fee Litigation – Is There an End in Sight?” (Feb. 6, 2019). Panelist, American Bankers Association Risk Management Forum, “Sleepy Fiduciary – Active Litigation” (Feb. 5, 2019). Webinar speaker, “Excessive Fee Litigation,” American Law Institute (Nov. 28, 2018). Panelist, “The Current State of Fee Litigation and Its Implications,” American Law Institute Tax-Exempt and Government Plans Education Series (September 24, 2018). Panelist, “The Moving Litigation Frontier,” Retirement Advisor Council Annual Meeting (May 22, 2018). Panelist, 15th National Forum on ERISA Litigation, “The Continued Rise in Fiduciary Investment Litigation: 401(k)/Excessive Fee Litigation, Proprietary Fund and Stable Value Cases, and Other Investment Vehicle Challenges,” American Conference Institute (Nov. 2, 2017). Panelist, 14th National Forum on ERISA Litigation, “Fiduciary Investment Litigation Update: Recent Developments in Employer Stock, 401(k) Fee, and Service Provider Cases,” American Conference Institute (Mar. 1, 2017). Webinar speaker, “When a Sale Really Isn’t a Sale: False Discounts and Consumer Protection,” Seminar Web (Sept. 27, 2016). Panelist, “Class Action Claims Against Retailers: Deceptive Pricing, False Advertising, Privacy and Gift Card Compliance,” Strafford (Mar. 1, 2016). Webinar speaker, "Discovery - Getting the Information You Need” (Oct. 6, 2015). Speaker at National Consumer Law Center Mortgage Training Conference, “Discovery – Getting What You Need to Litigate Mortgage Servicing Cases” (July 9, 2015). Testified before Minnesota House of Representatives Civil Law Committee regarding Senate File No. 429 relating to consumer enforcement litigation and other social justice matters (2012). Consumer Law In Minnesota, Course Chair, Minnesota CLE (2011). "Contemporary Issues in Consumer Law," sponsored by the Minnesota Attorney General's Office, 2010. Panelist for "Mortgage Foreclosure Training," sponsored by the National Attorneys General Training & Research Institute (2009). Co-Author Spoliation of Evidence: Will the New Millennium See a Further Expansion of Sanctions for the Improper Destruction of Evidence (Laurie Kindel, 27 Wm. Mitchell L. Rev. 687, 2000).
Titles, Awards, & Memberships
Named to Lawdragon 500 Leading Plaintiff Employment Lawyers list, 2020 Former Co-Chair, Minnesota State Bar Association Consumer Litigation Section American Bar Association Member Hennepin County Bar Association Member Minnesota State Bar Association Member National Association of Consumer Advocates Member