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Josh Johanningmeier

Josh Johanningmeier

  • Biography
  • Representative Experience
  • Admissions, Activities & Honors
  • Updates, News & Presentations
  • Education
Josh Johanningmeier

Josh is a shareholder in Godfrey & Kahn’s Products Liability & Torts Practice Group and a member of the firm’s Labor & Employment Litigation and Insurance Practice Groups.

Product Liability

Josh is the chair of the firm’s Products Liability and Torts Practice Group. In product litigation, Josh defends manufacturers in cases involving personal injury, wrongful death and property damage. In addition to litigation, Josh works with manufacturers to assess and develop on-product warnings as well as instruction and user manuals for products. He also counsels manufacturers, distributors and retailers on regulatory compliance and recall issues, including incident and defect reporting to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Josh has defended and counseled clients on matters involving numerous products, including asbestos-containing products, adhesives, all-terrain vehicles and ATV accessories, automobiles and automobile accessories, building products, laundry and cleaning chemicals, clothing, fasteners, furniture, magnets, motorcycles, pneumatic tools, personal watercraft, respirators, snowmobiles, toys and vehicle accessories.

Labor and Employment Litigation

Josh represents employers in administrative agency proceedings, as well as state and federal trial and appellate courts. He has defended discrimination and retaliation claims, as well as disputes regarding restrictive covenants, trade secrets, wage claims and whistleblower claims and termination disputes. Josh regularly represents public and private employers in disputes involving union and non-union employees.


Josh is also a member of Godfrey & Kahn’s Insurance Practice Group, where his practice includes serving as General Counsel to the Independent Insurance Agents of Wisconsin (the “Big I”), the state’s largest insurance agency trade association, which provides a Legal Services Hotline to its membership (IIAW Hotline Information). Josh also represents insurance companies and agents in litigation and before the Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance.

Representative Experience

McKee v. Madison Area Technical College, United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin Case No. 13-CV-181 (May 23, 2014: Summary judgment dismissing claims of disability discrimination and retaliation).

State of Wisconsin v. Par Pharmaceutical, et al. Dane County Wisconsin Circuit Court Case No. 11-CV-5544 (February 17, 2014: Dismissal of state qui tam act claims against generic pharmaceutical companies based on average wholesale pricing).

MATC Part-Time Teacher’s Union v. Madison Area Technical College, Dane County Wisconsin Circuit Court Case No. 12-cv-3374 (December 23, 2013: Summary judgment granted in favor of college in union challenge seeking exemption from status as public employee union).

Stoughton Lumber Company v. Sveum, United States Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Wisconsin (August 1, 2013: Trial victory on non-dischargeability of debt due to fraud or defalcation; affirmed by district court and Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals). Click here to read Seventh Circuit opinion.

Singer v. Pneumo-Abex LLC, Wisconsin Court of Appeals 2010AP2614 (January 18, 2012: Reversing trial court's denial of brake lining manufacturer's motion for summary judgment in wrongful death mesothelioma case and vacating $1.5 million jury verdict). Click Here to Read Court of Appeals Opinion.

Rebholz v. Club Car, et al., Wisconsin Court of Appeals 2010AP364 (August 9, 2011: Allegations of defective golf cart design--affirming dismissal of design defect claims based on interpretation and enforcement of general release signed by plaintiffs with other parties). Click Here to Read Court of Appeals Opinion.

Norman-Nunnery v. Madison Area Technical College, et al. United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (November 8, 2010: Seventh Circuit affirms summary judgment in favor of prospective employer dismissing claims of spoliation of evidence, race discrimination, and intimate association discrimination). Click Here to Read Seventh Circuit Opinion.

Simonson v. Morbark, Inc., Jackson County Circuit Court Case No. 07-CV-96 (alleged defective design of commercial wood chipper in wrongful death products liability case: Defense Verdict on October 8, 2010).

Wisconsin Insurance Security Fund v. Krist Oil Co., Wisconsin Court of Appeals 2008AP3094 (December 18, 2009: Affirming trial court's application of the net worth provision in Wisconsin's insurance guaranty fund statutes, requiring reimbursement of settlement and defense costs incurred by guaranty fund).

Kluck v. Klein Tools, Inc., Waupaca County Circuit Court Case No. 07-CV-207 (allegation of failure to warn and defective design in chemical hand cleaning towels--summary judgment dismissing claims on July 14, 2008).

Westphal v. Smelser, et al., Wisconsin Court of Appeals 2007AP827 (July 3, 2008: Reversal of trial court's denial of summary judgment resulting in dismissal of conspiracy and tort claims against Chief Operating Officer by former management employee)

Stoughton Lumber Company, Inc. v. Christopher Brian McGee, Bankruptcy Court, W.D.Wis. (June 9, 2008: Summary judgment of non-dischargeability for theft by contractor)

Schwoegler v. American Family Financial Services, W.D.Wis., (May 16, 2006: Claim against lender dismissed based on Rooker-Feldman doctrine).

Frankenmuth Insurance Co., et al. v. Design Electric, Inc., et al. Dane County Circuit Court Case No. 03-CV-1048 (allegation of defective wiring in commercial installation leading to fire-defense verdict on November 1, 2005).

Samuel Fleischman v. Illinois Tool Works Inc., Polk County Circuit Court Case No. 03-CV-54 (allegation of defective design in pneumatic nailer-defense verdict: August 5, 2005).

Kohn v. Darlington Community Schools & Illinois Tool Works, 686 N.W.2nd 455 (Wis. 2005) (July 1, 2005: Wisconsin Supreme Court upheld summary judgment in favor of defendant manufacturer on grounds of statute of repose for improvements to real property).

Spacesaver Corp. v. Kevin Carmody, Dane County Circuit Court Case No. 2002-CV-3535 (August 4, 2004: Jury verdict against former executive for misappropriating company's confidential information).

Kenneth Betts M.D. v. Affiliated Medical Center, Rock County Circuit Court Case No. 02-CV-1441 (March 29, 2004: summary judgment declaring physician's restrictive covenant invalid).

William Macey v. Illinois Insurance Guaranty Fund, et al, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, Austin Division (February 24, 2004: Dismissal of guaranty fund and its executive director from civil RICO action based on lack of personal jurisdiction).

WEA Insurance Corp. v. Office of the Commissioner of Insurance, Dane County Circuit Court Case No. 02-CV-1654 (March 24, 2003: Reversing Insurance Commissioner's decision regarding legality of operation of insurance pool)

Jimenez v. Madison Area Tech. Coll., 321 F.3d 652, 658 (7th Cir.2003) (Affirming District Court's dismissal of action and frivolousness sanctions against plaintiff's counsel)

Murray v. Ecolab, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York (June 22, 2001: Summary judgment in favor of product manufacturer in chemical injury product liability case)

Kline v. Polaris, Supreme Court, Seneca County, NY Case No. 29883 (April 6, 2001: Summary judgment dismissing design defect claim against snowmobile manufacturer based on plaintiffs' spoliation of critical evidence)

Representative Clients
Independent Insurance Agents of Wisconsin

Admitted To Practice

Illinois - 2015

Iowa - 2007

Minnesota - 1999

Wisconsin - 2002

Court Admissions

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit
United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit
United States District Court, District of Minnesota
United States District Court, Eastern District of Wisconsin
United States District Court, Western District of Wisconsin

Professional Associations

American Bar Association
Defense Research Institute (DRI)
National Conference of Insurance Guaranty Funds and National Organization of Life and Health Guaranty Associations
State Bar of Wisconsin


ABA Products Liability Section – Website Subcommittee Co-Chair

American Cancer Society – Fundraising Committee

Wisconsin Defense Council – Board of Directors


Listed in Best Lawyers (Product Liability Litigation - Defendants, 2012-present)

Recognized as a Wisconsin Rising Star (2010-2012)

Recognized a a Wisconsin Super Lawyer (2014-present)

Honored as one of In Business Magazine's 40 Under 40 winners (2012)

News & Publications

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Juris Doctor, University of Iowa College of Law, 1999, with high distinction

Master of Arts, Iowa State University

Bachelor of Arts, Luther College

One East Main Street
Suite 500
Madison, WI
Jackie Lysne
833 East Michigan Street
Suite 1800
Milwaukee, WI

Best Lawyers 2019

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