Heley, Duncan & Melander, PLLP

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Brian W. Varland

Brian Varland’s practice includes business and construction law, real property, mechanics’ lien and mortgage foreclosure, contract and employment litigation, title insurance defense, governmental affairs, and environmental law. Outside of his practice, has taught law school students on contract drafting and negotiation skills, co-authored the North Dakota chapter in the State-By-State Guide to Construction Contracts and Claims (Michael Dodd & J. Duncan Findlay eds. 2013 & 2015 Supp.), assisted in drafting an article on contractual limitations of liability in design professional contracts in the Winter 2010 issue of the Journal of the American College of Construction Lawyers, and authored a law review article on the U.S. Supreme Court’s Eighth Amendment jurisprudence, 28 Hamline L. Rev. 311 (2005). Brian graduated in the top 10% of his law school graduating class and has been named a Rising Star by the Super Lawyers rating service.

Client Services:

Real Estate Litigation

Construction Litigation

Appellate Practice

Business and Contract Litigation

Employment Litigation

Administrative Law and Regulatory Compliance

Admitted to Practice:


United States District Court for the District of Minnesota

United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

Professional Activities:

Adjunct Professor, Hamline University School of Law (Contract Skills Lab) 2015

Member, American Bar Association

Member, Minnesota State Bar Association

Member, Hennepin County Bar Association

Representative Cases:

  • Northdale Construction Co., Inc. v. Veritas Development, Inc., 2013 WL 3868149 (Minn. App. July 29, 2013), review denied (Minn. Oct. 15, 2013) (holding that it is reversible error for a district court in a mechanic’s lien foreclosure action to apportion a blanket mechanic’s lien on the basis of equity, rather than on a pro rata, per-lot basis as required by the mechanic’s lien statute, Minn. Stat. ยง 514.09)

  • Security State Bank of Hibbing v. FDIC, 2013 WL 5487615 (D. Minn. Oct. 1, 2013) (construing a purchase and assumption agreement between FDIC as receiver of a failed bank and purchasing bank and holding that the purchasing bank was not liable for the failed bank’s alleged pre-closure breach of contract liability)

  • In re Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, 835 N.W.2d 487 (Minn. App. 2013) (holding as a matter of first impression that the preponderance of evidence standard applies to Torrens proceedings subsequent to initial registration to amend a certificate of title and holding that the doctrine of contemporaneous transaction and the equitable doctrine of instantaneous seisin may apply to Torrens property in determining that purchasers’ actual notice of a purchase-money mortgage permitted the district court to use equity to reverse the order of documents on the certificate of title to have the mortgage cover the entire property)

  • Collaborative Design Group, Inc. v. Mendota Homes, Inc., 2013 WL 1943070 (Minn. App. May 13, 2013), review denied (Minn. Aug. 6, 2013) (addressing extinguishment of a mechanic’s lien where the lien claimant did not timely redeem or take other available steps to protect its statutory redemption rights prior to expiration of the redemption period from a mortgage foreclosure sale in a consolidated foreclosure action where relative priority was in dispute at the time of expiration of the redemption period)

  • Slattengren & Sons Properties, LLC v. RTS River Bluff, LLC, 805 N.W.2d 279 (Minn. App. 2011) (holding as a matter of first impression that when a third-party lender’s purchase-money mortgage and a vendor’s purchase-money mortgage were taken as part of the same transaction, the mortgages arose simultaneously and the order in which the purchase-money mortgages were recorded establishes their priority)

  • 84 Lumber Co., Ltd. Partnership v. Dan Happe Constr., Inc., 2010 WL 3000555 (Minn. App. Aug. 3, 2010) (holding that a mortgage for a development had priority over mechanics’ liens for lumber provided for construction of quad homes where construction of the quad homes was intended to be a separate, independent project from the general infrastructure of the whole development and priority of the mechanic’s liens did not relate back to site preparation work performed prior to the mortgage)

Awards and Recognition:

  • Rising Star, Mpls.St. Paul Magazine
  • Best Brief Award (Hamline University School of Law Class of 2004)
  • CALI Award for Legal Research and Writing (Hamline University School of Law, 2002)
  • Distinction (Saint Olaf College Political Science Department, 2000)


Bachelor of Arts, Magna Cum Laude, Saint Olaf College, 2000

Law School:

Juris Doctor, Magna Cum Laude, Hamline University School of Law, 2004

Member, Phi Alpha Delta (Law Fraternity)

Managing Editor, Hamline Law Review

Brian W. Varland


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Carol Childs

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