- Federal Judge
- Personal Injury/Torts
- Professional Liability
- Real Estate
- Special Master/Discovery Referee
Hon. William F. Downes (Ret.) brings to his ADR practice 17 years of experience as a federal judge in the U.S. District Court of Wyoming, 12 years of which he was the Chief Judge. Judge Downes has extensive experience presiding over both bench and jury trials in areas such as product liability, energy matters, civil rights, catastrophic personal injury, and professional liability. Prior to becoming a judge, he was an accomplished trial lawyer in Wyoming, handling cases ranging from tort and real estate matters to medical malpractice and personal injury disputes.
Judge Downes’s experience as both a judg e and a trial lawyer provides him with a great deal of insight into the legal process, thus enabling him to evaluate resolution options and efficiently guide parties to settlement.
Judge Downes has handled numerous high profile cases in multiple states and he is known for his attentive, reasonable, and focused manner. He is praised by counsel for being extremely prepared and having a quick grasp of complex issues. Whether it is a complex dispute between two businesses, or a sensitive medical malpractice injury matter, Judge Downes has an innate ability to understand the reputations, emotions, and ongoing dynamics while still moving the case to resolution.
ADR Experience and Qualifications
- Served 17 years as a Federal Judge where he presided over hundreds of jury and bench trials
- Nineteen years of experience as a trial lawyer, where he tried numerous jury trials and handled hundreds of disputes
- Throughout his career, he served as a visiting judge in the Districts of Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, the Eastern and Northern Districts of Oklahoma and Utah
- Ayers v. University of Wyoming, Case No. 10-CV-079-WFD. Civil rights case regarding free speech and free association and assembly.
- Federal Trade Commission v. Accusearch, Inc., Case No. 06-CV-105-WFD, affirmed by Federal Trade Commission v. Accusearch, Inc., 570 F.3d 1187 (10th Cir. 2009). Federal Trade Commission (FTC) case against the operator of a website alleging unfair business practice in violation of federal laws regarding the sale of personal data.
- Echo Acceptance Corp. and Echosphere Corp. v. Household Retail Services, Inc., Case No. 95-WY-605-WD, affirmed by Echo Acceptance Corp. v. Household Retail Services, Inc., 267 F.3d 1068 (10th Cir. 2001). Business case involving a dispute over a credit and financing arrangement.
- Affirmed by In re Natural Gas Royalties, 562 F.3d 1032 (10th Cir. 2009). Plaintiff filed numerous coordinated qui tam actions under the False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. § 3729(a)(7), alleging that natural gas companies had underpaid royalties on gas purchased from federally owned or Indian lands. The cases were transferred as multi-district litigation (MDL) to Judge Downes in the U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming.
- Jefferson County School Dist. No. R-1 v. Moody’s Investor’s Services, Inc., 988 F.Supp. 1341 (D. Colo. 1997), affirmed by Jefferson County School Dist. No. R-1 v. Moody’s Investor’s Services, Inc., 175 F.3d 848 (10th Cir. 1999). Case involving school district’s attempts to refinance its indebtedness by issuing refunding bonds. School district brought fraud charges and allegations of materially false statements against Moody’s for interfering in contractual relations between the school and their credit rating agencies.
- As a lawyer, tried numerous professional malpractice cases, including medical malpractice cases to jury. Cases involved high emotions, professional reputations, complex medical and technical issues, as well as underlying insurance coverage considerations.
- Tried cases involving fraud issues related to financial and banking institutions and their officers and directors
- Handled multiple catastrophic personal injury cases
- Handled numerous insurance cases, including cases with claims of bad faith, subrogation, indemnity, inter-carrier and insured-carrier disputes, and liability coverage issues
- Named Honorary Professor of the State Educational Institute of Higher Professional Education, Saratov State Academy of Law, Saratov, Russian Federation, 2011
- Co-founder, The Ewing T. Kerr Fellowship in American Law, University of Wyoming College of Law, 1997-2011
- Member, Criminal Law Committee of the Judicial Conference of the United States, 2000-2006
- Member, Wyoming State Bar, 1975-present, Chair, Continuing Legal Education Committee, 1986-1990
- Member, Colorado State Bar, 1988-present
- American Law Institute, 2001-present
- Judicial Council of the 10th Circuit, 2008-2010
- AV Rated Lawyer, Martindale-Hubbell, 1988-1994
- Best Lawyers in America, 1990-1994
- Navy Commendation Medal with ‘V’; the Combat Action Ribbon and Vietnam Campaign Service Medal
- U.S. District Judge, District of Wyoming, 1994-2011
- Chief Judge from 1999-2011
- Partner, Brown & Drew Law Firm, Casper, Wyoming, 1978-1994
- Partner, Clark & Downes, Green River, Wyoming, 1975-1978
- U.S. Marine Corps, Active Duty 1968-1971
- Released August, 1971 after service in Vietnam and Western Pacific
- Honorably discharged with rank of Captain in 1980
- J.D., University of Houston Law Center, 1974
- B.A. Political Science, University of North Texas, 1968
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