Ava Cavaco is an award-winning attorney with the law firm Nigh Goldenberg Raso & Vaughn. She specializes in defective drugs and medical devices, personal injury cases and slip and falls.

Currently, she holds leadership positions in the Philips Recalled CPAP, Bi-Level Pap and Mechanical Ventilator Products multidistrict litigation. She is a member of the Discovery Committee and co-chair of the Leadership Development Committee.

This litigation is important to Cavaco because she is also personally affected by the Philips CPAP recall. As a result, she can relate to and sympathize with those injured by these devices.

While pursuing her bachelor’s degree, Cavaco served as the health care committee clerk in the Hawaii State Legislature. She began a career in health care compliance and administration, where she worked in academic medicine, women’s health and OB-GYN research, before pursuing a career in law.

Cavaco clerked for the general counsel’s office, health care compliance division of Planned Parenthood North Central States and the Department of Justice U.S. Attorney’s Office – Civil Division as its health care fraud law clerk. She also clerked for Meshbesher & Spence, one of the largest plaintiff law firms in Minnesota. She then joined the firm as an associate attorney specializing in personal injury, mass torts, medical device litigation and medical malpractice.

Cavaco credits her upbringing as an Indigenous and Asian child on the diverse island of Hawaii for her perception of equity and justice. In addition to practicing law, she is an adjunct professor at Mitchell Hamline School of Law.


  • Mitchell Hamline College of Law, Juris Doctorate
  • University of Hawaii at Manoa, Bachelor of Arts in English Literature
  • Certificate in Conversational Japanese, Konan University, Japan

Professional Associations and Memberships

American Association for Justice

  • Board of Governors, Minnesota Revitalization Representative
  • New Lawyers Division Co-Chair, Professional Development Committee
  • Minority Caucus Co-Chair, Scholarship Committee
  • Minnesota Association for Justice (Member)
  • Minnesota American Indian Bar Association (Member)
  • Minnesota Women Lawyers (Member)

Bar Admissions

  • State of Minnesota, 2019
  • U.S. District Court of Minnesota, 2020
  • U.S. District Court of Michigan, 2020
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, 2020
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, 2020

Leadership Positions

In Re: Philips Recalled CPAP, Bi-Level Pap and Mechanical Ventilator Products Litigation

  • Co-Chair, Leadership Development Committee
  • Member, Discovery Committee

Honors and Awards

  • Minnesota Super Lawyers Rising Star (2022-Present)
  • American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division Emerging Leaders Fellowship (2017-18)
  • Minnesota Asian Pacific Bar Association Public Interest Summer Law Fellowship (2015)
  • Minnesota American Indian Bar Association Law Student Scholar Award (2015)

Presentations & Publications

  • CPAP Update, CPAP Litigation Group, American Association for Justice (2023)
  • Building Your Book of Business, Minnesota Association of Justice New Lawyer Bootcamp (2022)
  • Mass Torts, Can I Do This? The Inaugural Shades of Mass Annual Meeting (2022)
  • Overcoming the Slip & Falls of Statutory Immunity, Minnesota Association of Justice Premises Liability Seminar (2022)
  • Updates On Current Litigations – CPAP, Harris Martin’s MDL Conference (2022)
  • CPAP Litigation Update, Mass Torts Made Perfect Connect CPAP Webinar (2022)
  • CPAP – A Class Action Perspective, Mass Torts Made Perfect (2021)
  • Lawyering w/a Reproductive Justice Lens, If/When/How Leadership Institute (2018)
  • Reproductive Justice 101, Minnesota Lavender Bar and MHSL Joint CLE (2018)