Stephen F. Rufer

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map_btn Fergus Falls
phone_btn (218) 998-9408 - phone
(218) 736-3950 - fax

Practice Groups
 ●  Litigation
 ●  Aviation Law
 ●  Professional Malpractice
 ●  Mediation & Arbitration
 ●  Personal Injury


What Steve's Clients Say

  • “We want to thank Steve for so kindly giving his time and for being a great friend in a time of need.  We’ll never forget it.”

  • “I cannot even tell you how much I continue to appreciate Mr. Rufer’s assistance. Not only have I been able to move forward with my life, but my entire family has been able to put the matter in the past. It has been absolutely amazing working with Mr. Rufer.”

MSBA Certified Civil Trial Specialist

Steve joined Pemberton Law in 1974 and works in the Fergus Falls office.  Steve’s practice includes general civil litigation, personal injury, auto and farm accidents, business litigation, professional malpractice, real estate, construction, and aviation.  Foremost in Steve's practice of law is his concern for his clients.  Every client and every case is important.  He has achieved settlements for clients in excess of one million dollars on several occasions.

Every year, Steve is selected as a “Super Lawyer” by Minnesota Law & Politics and was selected as a leading attorney in Minnesota by American Research Institute.

Professionally, he is a past chair of the Civil Litigation Section of the Minnesota State Bar Association and is also on the Board of Governors of the Minnesota
Association for Justice.  Steve is licensed to practice in state and federal courts in both Minnesota and North Dakota. He is a MSBA Board Certified Specialist in Civil Trial Law and is a Civil Trial Specialist certified by the National Board of Trial Advocacy.

He served on the MSBA Civil Litigation Jury Task force from 1994 to 1996 and was the publications committee co-chair for the Minnesota Association for Justice. He served on the MNAJ Board of Governors from 1996 - 2006. He is a member of the Academy of Certified Trial Lawyers of Minnesota and was elected to its Board of Governors in 1996, where he continues to serve.  He currently serves on the Minnesota Judicial Selection Commission, appointed by Governor Mark Dayton.

He serves as a neutral for both arbitration and mediation. He was selected to serve on the panel of arbitrators for the Prudential Insurance mass litigation appeals process, deciding dozens of appeals by policyholders. He serves as a panel member of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association legal services plan.

A Fergus Falls native, Steve graduated from Fergus Falls High School and was awarded a National Merit Scholarship to attended Macalester College, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude, was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, and was president of student government.  Steve graduated Cum Laude in 1974 from the University of Minnesota Law School.

In the community, Steve is a member of United Methodist Church of Peace, member and past president of the Otter-Risers Kiwanis Club, and is past president of Fergus Falls Center for the Arts.  Steve is a trustee and past board chair of Lake Region Healthcare Corporation and director, general counsel, and past president of Communicating for America, Inc., a non-profit rural advocacy group which hosts the largest international agricultural exchange program in the country. Steve is past president of the Otter Tail County Historical Society and the Otter Tail County Bar Association.  He is an Eagle Scout and is involved in Boy Scouts (where he currently serves as District Finance Chair), and has served on the Fergus Area College Foundation board, the Salvation Army community board, the regional board of KCCM-Minnesota Public Radio and the board of Pioneer Public TV. He is also a trustee of the Roger and Agnes Dell Charitable Trust and is chair of Fergus Falls Downtown Council, Inc.  Steve rides annually in Minnesota's MS150 bike ride.

Steve’s interests include travel, bicycling, photography, history, politics and camping. Steve is a licensed commercial pilot and certified flight instructor. He is married to Sandy Rufer, an American Sign Language interpreter, and has three grown children and five grandchildren.


1. Civil Trial Specialist both by the Minnesota State Bar Association, 1994.

2. Civil Trial Specialist by the National Board of Trial Advocacy, 1995.

Reported Appellate Cases :

1. Hellermann v. Sunderman, 1992 WL 350289 (Minn.App., Dec. 1, 1992)(NO. C8-92-821)

2. Maroney v. Peterson, 1992 WL 15577 (Minn.App., Feb. 4, 1992) (NO. C2-91-1386)

3. Hough Transit, Ltd. v. National Farmers Organization, 472 N.W.2d 358, 1991-1 Trade Cases P 69,469 (Minn.App., Jun 25, 1991) (NO. C1-90-2700)

4. Hegerle v. Hegerle, 355 N.W.2d 726 (Minn.App., Sep 18, 1984) (NO. C5-84-97)

5. Alexandria Lake Coalition Inc. v. Douglas County, 348 N.W.2d 369 (Minn.App., May 15, 1984) (NO. C1-83-1222)

6. Koons v. National Family Ins. Co., 301 N.W.2d 550 (Minn., Jan 09, 1981) (NO. 50884)

7. P.M.B. v. Anderson et al, 61 Fed 3d 908 (8th Cir. 1995).

8. Storm v. Swike, 1995 WL 365368 (Minn.App. 1995)

9. Lindquist v. Liebl, 1996 WL 162565 (Minn.App. 1996)

10. D.E.M. v. North Star, 555 N.W.2d 596 (N.D. 1996)

11. Hindt v. Hindt, 1998 W.L. 799167 (Minn.App. 1998)

12. Jenson v. Dept. of Econ. Security, 617 N.W.2d 627 (Minn.App.2000)

13. Westrom v. MN Dept. of Labor and Industry, 686 N.W.2d 27 (2004)

14. Anderson v. State, Dept. of Natural Resources, 693 N.W.2d 181 (2005)

15. Brian and Kevin Kuehl Farms, v. Gerald Barth WL 9598 (2006)

16. Kenneth L. Johnson v. Elkton Township, Clay County, MN WL 91809 (2006)

17. Custom Ag Service of Montevideo, Inc. v. Commissioner of Revenue 728 N.W.2d 910 (2007)

18. Cook Sign Company v. Daniel Combs, et al WL 3898267 (Minn.App.) (2008)

19. Terry C. Colton, et al d/b/a Scenic Point Resort v Clitherall township WL 113260 (Minn.App.) (2009)

20. Bennie James Gilyard, Jr., as Trustee of the Gilyard Family Trust v Craig Stephen Lichtsinn, Jay Eileen Lichtsinn WL 5137126 (Minn.App.) (2008)

21. Slindee v Fritch v Landecker & Assoc., Inc. 760 N.W.2d 903

22. In the Matter of the Application of: Holiday House II, LLC WL 1587090 (Minn.App.) (2009)

23. American National Bank of Minnesota v. Housing & Redevelopment Authority for City of Brainerd 773 N.W.2d 333

24. Terry Drake, et al v Ryan Norman Brady, et al WL 2928157 (Minn.App) (2009)

25. Randy A. Vee, et al v Badri Abas Ibrahim, et al American President Lines, Ltd.

26. DLM, LLC v Jon A. Saetre WL 5071336 (Minn.App.) (2010)

27. EEP Workers' Compensation Fund v. Fun & Sun, Inc., Wagner/Hanish 794 N.W.2d 126

28. Ralph Schmitz, et al v. Rinke, Noonan, et al 783 N.W.2d 733

29. Dean deNeui, et al v Eric J. Slindee, et al WL 292156 (Minn.App.) (2011)