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David C. Richards

david.richards@chrisjen.com
VCard

257 East 200 South, Suite 1100
Salt Lake City, UT 84111
 

Dave Richards has been with Christensen & Jensen for 29 years and has been a shareholder and director of the firm since 1998. He is the former president of the firm and a member of the firm's executive management committee. Dave currently chairs the firm's Hiring Committee and has been a litigator during his entire tenure with the firm, having represented both plaintiffs and defendants. His specialty is Vaccine Injury Law. Dave was deployed as a canine handler at the World Trade Center site and to Hurricane Katrina as a member of FEMA's Utah Task Force 1.

AREAS OF PRACTICE

Vaccine Injury Law:

  • People injured by certain vaccines have a legal right to compensation for their injuries.  The federal government operates the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (“VICP”).  VICP provides compensation to people that are found to be injured by certain vaccines.  The program is funded by the pharmaceutical companies through the sale of vaccines.
  • Anyone person that has been injured following the administration of a vaccine, that is covered by VICP, is entitled to file a claim with the VICP.  Additionally, parents or guardians of children or disabled adults that have been harmed by a vaccine that is covered by VICP may file a claim with VICP on behalf of their injured child or injured disabled adult. 

Commercial and Business Litigation: 

  • Dave represented The Utah Newspaper Project/Citizens for Two Voices in an antitrust lawsuit over the Salt Lake Tribune. Dave has also represented one of the country's largest environmental assessment companies.  Most recently, Dave obtained a jury verdict for his client in a shareholder derivative suit.

Governmental Defense:

  • Dave has represented numerous governmental entities, including water districts, cities, fire departments, road departments, and police officers. He has handled a variety of cases for governmental entities, such as water disputes, development disputes, employment cases, civil rights litigation, and flooding cases.

Water Law, Land Use, and Natural Resources:

  • Dave has represented scores of canal and irrigation companies, water conservancy districts, and public water entities. Such cases include issues such as water rights disputes, water delivery systems, forfeiture claims, interference claims, condemnation proceedings, contracts, and liability cases based on flooding or personal injury. He also handles many cases involving canal safety issues.

Construction:

  • Dave has represented contractors, owners, engineers, and construction managers in suits involving personal injuries, construction defects, and contract issues such as indemnification and tenders of defense. He is the author of the American Law Firm Association's chapter on Utah Construction Law.

Personal Injury:

  • Dave has represented plaintiffs and defendants in personal injury suits based on premises liability, product liability, and professional negligence. He is one of the few Utah attorneys admitted to the United States Court of Federal Claims handling vaccine injury cases.

PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS & ADMISSIONS

  • Admitted to Utah State District Courts
  • Admitted to Federal District Court for the District of Utah
  • Admitted to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals 
  • Admitted to Bar of the United States Court of Federal Claims
  • Admitted to United States Supreme Court 

SELECT RULINGS & OPINIONS

  • Pyle v. Woods, 874 F.3d 1257 (10th Cir. 2017). Successful federal trial court and appellate defense of governmental client against claims alleging civil rights violations relating to access and use of Utah’s Controlled Substances Database as well as alleged violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
  • Brown v. South Salt Lake City, 653 F.App’x 577 (10th Cir. 2016)(unpublished). Successful federal trial court and appellate defense of peace officer accused of federal and state civil rights violations arising out of injuries sustained by a prisoner in an automobile accident during transport of the prisoner between the court and jail. (This case was selected by the 10th Circuit as one of the six cases to be argued before it and law school students at the University of Utah SJ Quinney School of Law during the court’s annual visit to that law school.)
  • Haik v. Town of Alta, 176 F.3d 488 (10th Cir. 1999). Successful representation of town regarding development disputes over available water.
  • Blackner v. UDOT, 48 P.3d 446 (Utah 2002). Successful representation of town marshal regarding peace officer immunity.
  • DeVillier v. Utah County, 882 P.2d 1161 (Utah App. 1994). Successful representation of county regarding county's liability and immunity.
  • Lyon v. Burton, 5 P.3d 616 (Utah 2000). Successful representation of fire chief regarding personal liability of fire chief for accident that occurred in course and scope of his employment.
  • Steenblik v. Rasmussen, 906 P.2d 872 (Utah 1995). Successful representation of client regarding violation of Utah Securities Act.
  • DuBois v. Grand Central, 872 P.2d 1073 (Utah 1994). Successful appellate defense of trial court’s dismissal of all claims against client on a wrongful termination claim.
  • Qwest Corp. v. Tetra Tech, 438 F.Supp. 1321 (Utah 2006). Obtained dismissal of all claims against client, an international engineering/construction company.
  • Doyle v. Lehi City, 2012 UT App 342. Successful appellate defense of trial court’s dismissal of civil rights claims against clients, city officials, based on qualified immunity.
  • Haik v. Town of Alta, 567 Fed. Appx. 621 (10th Cir. 2014). Successful appellate defense of trial court’s dismissal of civil rights and civil conspiracy claims against client, the Town of Alta, and the town’s administrator.
  • Jenkins v. Jordan Valley Water Conservancy District, 2013 UT 59. Successful appellate defense of water conservancy district against property damage claims, overturning Utah Court of Appeals.
  • Salt Lake City v. Big Ditch Irrigation Co., 2011 UT 33. Successful defense of irrigation company, allowing company to seek changes to its use of water.
  • Pyle v. Woods, 874 F.3d 1257 (10th Cir. Nov. 1, 2017) Successful defense of trial court dismissal based on qualified immunity.

SELECTED LECTURES & PUBLICATIONS

  • Canal Safety and Officer/Director Liability, Duchesne County Water Summit, 2010.
  • American Law Firm Association, Compendium of Construction Law, 2007, 2009, 2012.
  • Utah Fit Premises Act, Utah Law Review, 1991.
  • The Grey Area of EIS Mitigation, Journal of Energy Law and Policy, 1989.
  • Utah State EMT Convention, Operation of Emergency Vehicles and Medical Malpractice, 2002.

EDUCATION

  • B.A., Business, University of Utah, 1984, cum laude.
  • Juris Doctorate, University of Utah, 1991, William P. Leary Scholar, Law Review Development Editor, Teaching Assistant for Legal Writing.

  • Dave and his search dog Cowboy featured in "Wirth Watching" story about their rescue efforts during the days and weeks after 9/11, as well as their special bond with one another.

 

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