Jeffrey P. Downer, Shareholder

Phone: 206.621.3482
Toll Free: 877.624.7990
Fax: 206.624.5944
Email: jpd@leesmart.com
VCF file

Jeffrey P. Downer is a senior shareholder at Lee Smart, P.S., Inc. He graduated from the University of Washington School of Law in 1982 and was admitted to the Washington State Bar that year. He joined Lee Smart, P.S., Inc. as an intern in 1980 and as a lawyer in 1982. He became a shareholder in the firm in 1987. In 1994 the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory gave Mr. Downer its “AV” rating, which is its highest. He has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America for the past seven years and in Washington Super Lawyers magazine for12 of the past 13 years. Mr. Downer’s diverse litigation practice includes professional-liability defense, especially for lawyers and real estate brokers; insurance-coverage and bad-faith claims; appellate practice; premises liability; and product liability. Mr. Downer is Costco Wholesale Corporation’s national coordinating counsel in defense of claims across North America arising from allegations of E. coli O157:H7 infection and other claims of food-borne illness or food contamination. He has served as arbitrator in numerous lawsuits involving personal injuries and commercial disputes and as an expert witness in legal-malpractice cases, insurance bad-faith actions, and other cases. He has spoken at Continuing Legal Education seminars regarding claims of food-borne illness, professional liability, and many other aspects of defense litigation. A cum laude graduate of the University of Washington with a degree in editorial journalism, Mr. Downer is the editor of The Lee Smart Quarterly, a newsletter regarding litigation and the insurance-defense practice.

Representative Cases

Significant cases Mr. Downer has handled include several multi-million-dollar environmental-coverage matters; class-action insurance litigation; and bad-faith claims against insurers. He has defended E. coli O157:H7 claims; a $40 million Superfund proceeding; the product-liability actions ofTuttle v. The Stroh Brewery Co. and Zamora v. Mobil Oil Corp.; Boggs v. Whitaker Lipp & Helea, an insurance-coverage action involving approximately 300 claimants and $65 million in claims; and numerous appellate cases.

Mr. Downer has argued appeals to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the Washington Supreme Court, and the three divisions of the Washington State Court of Appeals. Reported appellate decisions he has litigated include:

  • Piris v. Kitching, ___ Wn.2d ___, 375 P.3d 627 (Jul. 7, 2016) (legal malpractice).
  • Kenco Enterprises Northwest, LLC  v.  Wiese, – 172 Wn. App. 607, 291 P.3d 21 (2013) (legal malpractice).
  • Jackowski v. Borchelt – 174 Wn.2d 720, 278 P.3d 1100 (2012) (real estate professional liability).
  • Verbeek Properties, LLC v. GreenCo Environmental, Inc – 159 Wn. App. 246 P.2d 205 (2010) (applicability of arbitration clause).
  • Losh Family, LLC v. Borchelt – 155 Wn. App. 458, 228 P.3d 793 (2010) (commercial lease).
  • Stienke v. Russi – 145 Wn. App. 544, 109 P.3d 60 (2008) (real estate professional liability).
  • Adler v. Fred Lind Manor 153 Wn.2d 331, 103 P.3d 773 (2004) (employment contract).
  • Byrd v. System Transport, Inc. – 124 Wn. App. 196, 99 P.3d 394 (2004) (worker’s compensation bar to suit).
  • Minahan v. W. Wash. Fair Ass’n. – 117 Wa. App. 881, 73 P.3d 1019 (2003) (workplace safety).
  • McMahan & Baker, Inc. v. Continental Cas. Co. – 68 Wn. App. 573, 843 P.2d 1133 (1993) (insurance coverage).
  • Sorenson v. Keith Uddenberg, Inc. – 65 Wn. App. 474, 828 P.2d 650 (1992) (premises liability).
  • White v. Kent Medical Center, Inc. – 61 Wn. App. 163, 810 P.2d 4 (1991) (medical malpractice).
  • Nichols v. CNA Ins. Cos. – 57 Wn. App. 397, 788 P.2d 594 (1990) (insurance coverage).
  • Boggs v. Whitaker, Lipp & Helea, Inc. – P.S., 56 Wn. App. 583, 784 P.2d 1273 (1990) (insurance coverage).
  • Merrigan v. Epstein – 112 Wn.2d 709, 773 P.2d 78 (1989) (professional liability).
  • Young v. Key Pharmaceuticals, Inc. – 112 Wn.2d 216, 770 P.2d 182 (1989) (professional liability).
  • Kent v. Lee – 52 Wn. App. 576, 762 P.2d 24 (1988) (medical malpractice).
  • Chapman v. Black – 49 Wn. App. 94, 741 P.2d 998 (1987) (quadriplegia; industrial accident).
  • Zamora v. Mobil Oil Corp. – 104 Wn.2d 211, 704 P.2d 591 (1985) (product liability).

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Practice Areas

Education

  • University of Washington School of Law, Cum Laude, 1982

Admissions

  • Washington State Bar, 1982
  • United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
  • Washington State Supreme Court

Professional & Civic Affiliations

  • Washington State Bar Association
  • Editor of the Lee Smart Quarterly newsletter