Profile

Dave’s 30 years of litigating in both the public sector and in private practice have allowed him to handle nearly every type of case, and his 20 years of experience in representing public entities have given him a unique ability to defend government entities and managers against all manner of challenges.  His record of success both in trial and on appeal demonstrates his ability to identify and communicate his client’s winning argument.

Before establishing Savitt Bruce & Willey with Jim Savitt in 1999, Dave served as Assistant City Attorney for the City of Seattle, in the Civil Division, and before that tried criminal cases as Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for King County.  Dave began his career at Perkins Coie in Seattle.  He is a graduate, magna cum laude, of the Cornell Law School.

When not in the office, Dave spends his time making music both in his garage band and at church choir, skiing, traveling, sailing and reading with Dr. Ann Bruce, and, when fate smiles, with their sons.

Areas of Practice

Prior Professional Experience

  • Seattle City Attorney’s Office, 1994-1999
    • Senior Assistant City Attorney, 1998-1999
    • Assistant City Attorney, 1994-1998
  • Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff LLP, Cincinnati OH, 1991-1994
  • King County Prosecutor’s Office, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney, 1989-1990
  • Perkins Coie LLP, Seattle WA, 1985-1988
Representative Cases

Baerwaldt v. City of Seattle, et al.  Defended challenge under Initiative-91 to agreement among the City of Seattle, King County and Chris Hansen’s ArenaCo regarding public financing for a new NBA basketball arena in Seattle; prepared and argued motion to dismiss on behalf of all defendants and obtained dismissal of all claims on ripeness grounds.

Otrubova v. City of Seattle.  Defended City against tort and inverse condemnation claims alleging damages caused by stormwater outfall; obtained summary judgment on some claims and complete defense verdict at jury trial on remaining claims; argued all results on appeal, and prevailed in Court of Appeals.

Lane v. Port of Seattle, et al.  Defended King County in class action alleging that acquisition of rail corridor for use in trail system exceeded governmental authority; obtained dismissal of all claims on summary judgment.

Pande Cameron v. Central Puget Sound Regional Transit Authority, et al.  Defended inverse condemnation and constitutional claims arising from City of Seattle’s participation in regional transit authority construction project; obtained summary judgment on all claims; defended judgment on appeal and prevailed in the Ninth Circuit.

Alki Condominium Association v. City of Seattle.  Defended City against multi-million dollar landslide damage claims; obtained complete defense verdict at jury trial.

Davis et al. v. City of Seattle, et al.  Defended Superintendent of Seattle City Light against sex and gender discrimination claims under state law and equal protection claims under federal law; obtained dismissal of all claims by summary judgment.

In the Matter of Christine O. Gregoire, et al.  Conducted investigation of claims of ethical violations asserted against Attorney General.

Streeter & Associates v. Largo.  Defended breach of contract claims; developed and prosecuted counterclaims for architectural malpractice; obtained dismissal of all claims against client, settlement in client’s favor, and substantial award of attorneys’ fees incurred.

Correa v. City of Seattle.  Defended City against retaliation and employment discrimination claims; obtained dismissal of all claims by summary judgment.

SigmaTek v. Dixon.  Prosecuted trade secret and non-compete claims against former employee; obtained preliminary injunction following evidentiary hearing and then favorable settlement.

Valley Medical Center Governance Issues.  Undertook detailed analysis of possible conflicts issues for publicly-owned hospital, and prepared a conflict of interest policy for the Valley Medical Center Board of Trustees.

Mystic Ltd. v. Georgia-Pacific Corporation.  Prosecuted breach of contract and Robinson-Patman claims against major paper manufacturer; obtained favorable settlement.

Recognition & Leadership

Professional Recognition & Honors

  • Selected to Best Lawyers in America, 2014-2020
  • Ranked in Chambers USA Guide to Leading Lawyers, 2013, 2015-2020
  • Selected to Washington Super Lawyers, 2004-2020
  • Selected to Washington Super Lawyers Top 100 List, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2017
  • Selected as Benchmark Litigation “Litigation Star” for Washington, 2012, 2013
  • AV Preeminent Rating from Martindale-Hubbell (5.0 out of possible 5.0 peer review rating)
  • 10.0 Rating on Avvo.com

Professional Associations & Leadership

  • Washington State Association of Municipal Attorneys
  • Federal Bar Association of the Western District of Washington
  • Washington State Bar Association

Civic & Community Leadership

  • Rolling Bay Presbyterian Church, Bainbridge Island, WA
    • Deacon, 2008-present

Publications & Presentations

  • Communications and Action after a Natural Disaster, League of California Cities Annual Conference, presenter, 2018
  • Class Certification: The End or Just the Beginning, 21st Annual Labor & Employment Law Conference, The Seminar Group, presenter, 2018
  • After the Slide – Post-Disaster Government Communications and Actions, Landslides in Washington CLE Conference, Law Seminars International, presenter, 2017
  • When Disaster Strikes: What Will Your City Be Expected to Do and Defending Municipalities Against Disaster Related Claims, International Municipal Lawyers Association Annual Conference, presenter, 2016
  • Landslides: The Science, Changing Regulations, Risk Assessment in Public Policy and Proof in Litigation, Law Seminars International, presenter, 2014
  • Defense of Flooding Cases, Washington Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, presenter, 2011
  • Adhere to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, NBI Continuing Legal Education, presenter, 2008
  • We Get the Government We Pay For, Seattle Post-Intelligencer Op-Ed, 2002

Education

  • Cornell Law School, J.D. magna cum laude, 1985
    • Cornell International Law Journal, 1983-1985
  • American University, School of International Service, B.A. summa cum laude, 1981

Bar Admissions

  • Washington
  • Ohio (inactive)
  • United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
  • United States District Court, Western District of Washington
  • United States District Court, Eastern District of Washington
  • United States District Court, Southern District of Ohio