Douglas A. Hofmann
Doug Hofmann has been with Williams Kastner since 1975 and a Member since 1982. Mr. Hofmann is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and has been named to Super Lawyers every year since 2001 by Super Lawyers magazine, and Seattle Magazine has named him as a “Top Lawyer.” Mr. Hofmann was selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® each year since 2006 in the area of Personal Injury Litigation and in the area of Commercial Litigation since 2010.
Serving as National and Regional Counsel for several clients, Mr. Hofmann’s practice emphasizes litigation, and he has tried over 50 cases involving commercial disputes, construction, product liability, drug & medical devices, medical malpractice, toxic tort, defamation, insurance coverage, marine vessels, aviation and business claims involving unfair competition, royalty, trade secrets and patents. He has experience helping clients and businesses plan for construction, general liability exposure and risk management, and consults with businesses on insurance issues. Of the 50 some cases tried, two made the national list of the 10 most significant trials in the USA in those respective years and one, a successful medical malpractice quadriplegia defense was the subject of a book – The Hall Chair.
Mr. Hofmann has also worked on many appeals and argued cases to the Supreme Court of Washington where law was established on market share liability, joint and several liability, media reporting of criminal charges, defamation and qualified privilege, and successor liability. He has also served as the Phenylpropanolamine (PPA) MDL Co-Defense Liaison Counsel, which involved over 3500 cases, representing Bayer.
In 2018 Doug completed years of work on the Suunto dive computer class action. He was appointed class counsel by a San Diego California court who recently approved the settlement package which can be reviewed at www.suuntodivecomputersettlement.com. The settlement involves agreeing to test, repair and replace any defective dive computers as part of a settlement valued at about $50 million. Doug is the attorney who conceived of this class action following his work on lawsuits in Hawaii and Washington involving scuba diving death that occurred in Hawaii. Originally filed in May 2015, the class action alleged that the pressure sensors in certain scuba diving computers manufactured by Suunto and distributed by Aqua Lung were faulty, giving divers incorrect depth readings. The court also approved $5 million in attorneys’ fees and up to $280,000 in expenses.
Among his recent trials was a 3-month aviation trial in which Mr. Hofmann successfully defended engine manufacturer Continental Motors for a fatal plane crash in Alaska in which the plaintiff was seeking $120,000,000 in damages. Mr. Hofmann also was lead counsel for the defense of a $75,000,000 commercial case between the two largest aluminum producers in the world involving complications with 350 boats in the Northwest. Additionally, Mr. Hofmann served as lead counsel for plaintiffs in a construction collapse case involving a seven-figure recovery from the shoring supplier, defense of the shoring installer, and recovery of a seven-figure verdict and settlements from property insurers and another insurer who did not participate in the defense. Other significant cases are the construction of the Spy plane hangar on Shemya Island in the Aleutian Islands (from the book Cardinal in the Kremlin), trying 1st contribution case in Washington for Swedish Hospital involving operation of heat lung machine, working for Du Pont on toxic exposure cases and Hanford Downwinder cases, representing drug and medical device manufacturers such as Merck, Bristol Myers- Squibb and Medtronic.
Mr. Hofmann has litigated international arbitration matters with the International Court of Arbitration ICC in Paris and with the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce as well as the AAA.
- Washington State Bar Association
- King County Bar Association
- American Bar Association
- Vice Chairman, Products, General Liability and Consumer Law Committee
- Toxic and Hazardous Substance and Environmental Law Committee
- Washington Defense Trial Lawyers
- Association of Defense Trial Attorneys
- Executive Council, 1989 – 1992
- Vice President, 1992 – 1993
- President-Elect, 1993
- President, 1994
- Defense Research Institute
- Board of Directors, 1994 – Present
- Product Liability Advisory Council
- Federation of Insurance and Corporate Counsel
- American College of Trial Lawyers
Presentations & Seminars
- “PPA MDL: Recent Rulings, Status, and Life Expectancy,” Mealey’s Ephedra & PPA Litigation, New Orleans, Louisiana, June 2005
- “Spinnaker and Beyond: Indemnification Strategies and Theories, How to Avoid Spinnaker Pointe Indemnity,” Washington Defense Trial Lawyers, Condominium Construction Defect Litigation, Seattle, Washington, February 2004.
- “Legal Aspects of Construction Safety: Construction Law and Liability,” Northwest Center for Occupational Health and Safety, University of Washington, October 1998.
- “Injury and Litigation Prevention – Trial Demonstration and Evaluation,” Northwest Center for Occupational Health and Safety, University of Washington, October 1998.
- “Daubert and its Implications,” American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys, Las Vegas, Nevada, September 1997.
- “Powerful Expert Witness Strategies in Washington, How and Where to Find Qualified Expert Witnesses and Direct Examination,” National Business Institute, Seattle, Washington, July 1997.
- “How to Think Like a Scientist to Prepare Your Case and Use Daubert,” presentation for CLE of the Nevada State Bar Association, Las Vegas, Nevada, September 1996.
- Legislative Briefing: “Construction Issues, Job Site Liability, and the Statute of Repose”, presentation to Washington state legislators and Liability Reform Coalition, Seattle, WA, June 1996.
- “Construction Safety and Development of Washington Law of Job Site Liability,” presentation to Reliance Insurance, Seattle, WA, May 1996.
- 1996 Construction Update, “Historical Development of Construction Law and Job Site Safety,” presentation to CNA Insurance, Seattle, WA, May 1996.
- “Historical Development of Job Site Liability in Washington and Construction Safety,” presentation to USF&G Insurance, Seattle, WA, May 1996.
- “Using Alternative Fee Structures to Improve Profitability and Client Relations,” panel presentation to the Association of Defense Trial Attorneys meeting in San Francisco, CA. April 1996.
- “Construction Safety: The Bottom Line,” Northwest Center for Occupational Health and Safety, Department of Environmental Health, University of Washington. How should owners, general contractors, and subcontractors deal with safety so that they will reduce or eliminate their exposure to litigation: Should the general contractor be involved in the subcontractor’s safety plan? April 1996.
- “Washington Liability and Claims Handling Overview for Personal Lines Insurance,” presentation to CNA Insurance Companies West Coast Regional Office, Sacramento, CA, March 6, 1996.
Articles & Publications
- “New Laws Have Yet to Stem Tide of Condo Suits – The Legislature’s Goal was to Curb Litigation, Lower Insurance Costs and Promote Multifamily Housing Projects,” Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce, March, 2004.
- “To Indemnify, or Not to Indemnify: That is the question…,” Condominium Construction Defect Litigation, Washington Defense Trial Lawyers, February 2004.
- Washington chapter on tort law published in Tort Law Desk Reference: A Fifty State Compendium, January 2004.
- Washington chapter on tort law published in Tort Handbook: A Fifty State Compendium, January 2000.
- Construction Law Update: “Legal Aspects – Construction Safety: Limiting Liability from Falls and Other Hazards,” October 1998.
- “Daubert and its Implications – to Prepare Your Case, You Must Think Like a Scientist,” for American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys, September 1997.
- “How and Where to Find Qualified Expert Witnesses and the Expert Witness at Trial,” for NBI, July 1997.
- “How to Think Like a Scientist and Prepare Your Case and Use Daubert: To Beat Them You Must Join Them – or Become One of Them,” for Nevada State Bar Association, September 1996
- “Allocation of Defense Indemnity Costs Among Successive Insurers for Continuous Occurrence Claims,” published in Declarations, of the Excess Surplus Claims Association, Summer 1996.
- 1996 Construction Law Update, “Construction Safety: The Bottom Line, April 1996.
- Washington Liability and Claims Handling Overview for Personal Lines Insurance, March 1996.
- Defense of product liability cases, including drug and medical device litigation.
- Defense of health care providers, including physicians, hospitals, clinics and other health professionals in malpractice, antitrust, conspiracy and product litigation.
- Representation of owners, general contractors, subcontractors, construction managers, material suppliers, architects, and engineers on issues and disputes regarding construction projects.
- Representation of businesses in claims for unfair competition, royalty disputes, trade secrets and patent claims.
- Coverage opinions on time of tender, trademark and copyright infringement, employment discrimination, personal injury protection, stacking issues, uninsured and underinsured insurance, intentional torts, eminent domain, defamation, credit reporting, other insurance clause and joint coverage issues, vendor’s endorsements, completed operations hazard and property damage issues.
- Insurance coverage analysis for health care providers under comprehensive general liability policies, professional liability policies and personal line policies and rendering coverage opinions.
- Litigation regarding environmental claims involving the occurrence, property damage and pollution exclusion clauses.
- Preparation of warnings and review of transactional documents and consultation with businesses regarding avoidance and preparation for liability claims.