Early in his career, Don became a part of legal history when he served as counsel at the trial and appellate levels in the famous “snail darter” case (Tennessee Valley Authority v. Hill, 437 U.S. 153 ), litigated under the Endangered Species Act of 1973. The litigation resulted in a successful review by the U.S. Supreme Court. In addition to practicing law in Chicago and the Pacific Northwest, Don has also taught law and served in senior administrative positions at the University of Puget Sound, University of Michigan, and University of Tennessee law schools.
Since joining GTH in 1982, Don’s practice has focused on telecommunications, energy, and other utility law, state and municipal law, and business litigation, including complex litigation. He is General Counsel to various public utilities and consortiums of public utilities, primarily in the fields of telecommunications and energy.
For the past 30 years, Don has been actively involved in a number of community boards and civic activities promoting the quality of life in the City of Mercer Island, Washington, where he was named Citizen of the Year in 2000.
Serves as General Counsel to public utilities and consortiums of public utilities engaged in telecommunications and energy activities, including rural area broadband projects and renewable energy.
Successfully represented plaintiff in Public Utility District No. 2 of Pacific County v. Comcast, Charter, and CenturyLink, 8 Wn. App. 2d 418 (2019), a complex lawsuit spanning twelve years that upheld the legality of the utility’s rates and contract under which the three companies attach their telecommunications equipment to the utility’s electric poles and resulted in multi-million dollar judgments in favor of the utility after two trials and multiple appeals.
Successfully represented defendant in trial court and Court of Appeals in Shoulberg v. Public Utility District No. 1 of Jefferson County, 169 Wn. App. 173 (2012), a complex utility property tax class-action lawsuit.
Represented defendant at trial and on appeal in Maleng v. King County Corrections Guild, 150 Wn.2d 325 (2003), which upheld the constitutionality and charter compliance of a voter initiative to reduce the size of the County Council.
Successfully represented the city in the SeaTac Airport “third runway expansion” litigation, 113 Wn. App. 375 (2002), in State of Washington Growth Management Hearings Board proceedings and appeals to Superior Court and Court of Appeals.
Represented public utilities and Board and Council members in Washington Public Power Supply System Securities Litigation, which involved a multi-billion dollar municipal bond default.
Counsel at trial and appellate levels in Tennessee Valley Authority v. Hill, 437 U.S. 153 (1978) – the “snail darter” case – seminal litigation under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, resulting in successful review by U.S. Supreme Court.
J.D., Northwestern University School of Law, 1970, cum laude
Board of Editors, Northwestern University Law Review
Order of the Coif
B.A. Psychology, Washington University, St. Louis, 1967
Phi Beta Kappa
Omicron Delta Kappa
JURISDICTIONS ADMITTED TO PRACTICE
Washington State Courts
U.S. District Court, Western District of Washington
U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Washington
U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
U.S. Supreme Court
U.S. Court of Federal Claims
PROFESSIONAL & BAR ASSOCIATION MEMBERSHIPS
Washington State Bar Association
Law School Liaison Committee, 1979-80, 1986-88, Chair, 1987-88
Washington Supreme Court Task Force on Education for the Judiciary, 1980
American Bar Association
Public Utility, Communications and Transportation and Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar Sections
Federal Bar Association for the Western District of Washington
Joined Firm, 1982
University of Puget Sound School of Law, Acting Dean, 1980, Associate Dean, 1979 & 1981, Associate Professor, 1978-82
University of Michigan Law School, Assistant Dean & Director of Graduate Studies, 1976-78
University of Tennessee College of Law, Assistant Dean & Assistant Professor, 1974-76
Private Business, 1972-74
Attorney, Jenner & Block, Chicago, 1970-72
HONORS & AWARDS
Selected for the 2015-2021 Washington Super Lawyer lists
Recognized by Peers as the “Lawyer of the Year” in the practice area of Municipal Law in Seattle, 2016
Best Lawyers – Seattle, 2015 Municipal Law
Best Lawyers in America, 2015-2018; 2020 Municipal Law
AV Preeminent Rated by Martindale Hubbell
Named Gordon Thomas Honeywell 2015 “Partner of the Year”
City of Mercer Island Citizen of the Year, 2000
Mercer Island Parks & Recreation Commission, 2019-present
Mercer Island Town Center Stakeholder Group, 2015
Mercer Island Sustainability Policy Task Force, Chair, 2012
Board of Trustees, Mercer Island Open Space Conservancy Trust, 2004 – 2012; Chair, 2008-2010
Mercer Island Parks Levy Stakeholders Committee, Chair, 2007-2008
Mercer Island Planning Commission, 1991-2001; Chair, 1996-2001
Mercer Island Citizen of the Year, 2000
Seattle University School of Law Board of Visitors, 1997-2001
Rated by Super Lawyers