As a trial court judge for nearly 28 years, Hon. William L. Downing (Ret.) brings to JAMS expertise in many different areas of law. He has handled thousands of cases as a King County Superior Court Judge, and is widely respected by the legal community as being fair and genuinely neutral.
As a judge, he has concentrated almost exclusively on civil litigation of all types. He has established a reputation as being hard-working and even-handed but, beyond that, someone with keen insights into the perspectives of the litigants, the attorneys, and the jury’s likely view of a case.
As an author of many high school mock trial exercises, Judge Downing’s goal has been to help young people appreciate the importance of examining any issue from all sides, a skill he employs everyday as a neutral.
In addition to his experience as a jurist and attorney, as Chair of the Bench-Bar-Press Liaison Committee, Judge Downing has mediated hundreds of disputes involving the balancing of interests involved in access to public records.
Judge Downing is also a sought-after lecturer and has spoken on topics such as Discovery, Electronic Evidence, Expert Witnesses, Technology & the Courts, and Trial Practice.
ADR Experience and Qualifications
- King County Superior Court Trial Judge for nearly 28 years
- Mediated hundreds of disputes involving the balancing of interests with regard to access to public records issues as Chair of the Bench-Bar-Press Liaison Committee for more than 16 years
- Served as Chair of the Washington Pattern Jury Instructions Subcommittee on Medical Malpractice for more than 20 years
- In this capacity and as Co-Chair of the full Committee, he worked to bring experts to consensus about often difficult legal propositions.
- After handling a series of high profile mass murder cases as a top prosecutor in the 1980s, he joined the bench and shifted his focus almost entirely to civil litigation.
- Handled allegations of breach of contract, fraud, misrepresentation, tortious interference, trade secret violations
- Cases have dealt with sales of coffee shops, laundries, and restaurants; dissolution of medical practices, law firms and architects’ partnerships
- Seafirst v. Pretzer, aff’d in unpublished opinion, 81 Wn. App. 1053 (1996). Case regarding a creditor’s duty of disclosure to a surety
- Class Action
- Including litigation involving a national retail sales force, delivery drivers, insurance claims processing and other contexts
- Construction Defect
- Has handled cases involving the building of condos, prisons, and a variety of other types of buildings
- Cases have involved the tech industry, maritime industry, restaurants, retail sales, government, with defendants such as Worldcom, Brusco Tug & Barge, Denny’s, Bose, Costco, Gene Juarez, Seattle, and Snohomish County
- Long v. Brusco Tug & Barge, aff’d 185 Wn. 2d 127 (2016)
- Allegations of retaliation for engaging in protected activity regarding handicap discrimination
- Family Law
- A wide array of issues involving characterization, tracing, valuation and division
- In re: Marriage of Short, 125 Wn. 2d 865 (1995)
- A landmark case dealing with Microsoft stock options
- Andersen v. King County, 158 Wn. 2d 1 (2006)
- A matter involving a challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act
- Larson v. Calhoun, 178 Wn. App. 133 (2013)
- A case involving hundreds of millions of dollars in assets (including a major league baseball team)
- Personal Injury
- Actions against government entities, nightclubs, private security companies, motorists
- Rollins v. King County, aff’d 148 Wn. App. 370 (2009)
- Landmark case involving injuries allegedly caused by the interplay between negligence of a defendant and intentional conduct of a third party
- Montgomery v. Brewhaha, aff’d No. 73447-4-I (Wash. Ct. App. Aug. 8, 2016)
- Liability of a nightclub owner for a gun death resulting from lax security screening
- Professional Liability: Medical Malpractice
- Cases involving obstetricians, oncologists, orthopedic surgeons, nurses and other health care providers
- Rufer v. UWMC, 154 Wn. 2d 530 (2005)
- Complex multiparty case involving allegations of product liability and medical negligence leading to an unnecessary hysterectomy
- Professional Liability: Legal Malpractice
- Cases involving allegations concerning bankruptcy, family law and criminal practices
- Product Liability
- Matters regarding asbestos, automotive passive restraint systems, medical devices, home heaters and other products