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Overview

A former state Deputy Solicitor General and Assistant Attorney General, Dave helps people and businesses solve tough legal issues in courtrooms and before state government officials nationwide.

Dave is a highly regarded public law litigator, having served in Nebraska’s Attorney General’s Office as Assistant Attorney General and as the state’s first Deputy Solicitor General; in the Civil Litigation Bureau; and in the Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources Bureau. In these roles, he routinely handled high-profile matters at the trial and appellate levels in both state and federal courts including:

  • Public entity and public official defense
  • Section 1983 civil rights claims
  • Tort claims
  • Environmental enforcement
  • Constitutional litigation
  • Public records disputes

Dave maintains a robust appellate practice, counseling clients through all stages of appeals including briefing and oral argument. He has argued more than 25 civil appeals before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, the Nebraska Supreme Court and the Nebraska Court of Appeals, obtaining favorable results in the overwhelming majority of those cases. He has a unique perspective on the importance of strategic amicus curiae support in the appellate process, having advised the Nebraska Attorney General on the state’s amicus participation and authorship in courts across the country.

Dave co-leads Husch Blackwell's State Attorneys​​ General Practice​, drawing on a national network of senior contacts in AG front offices and Solicitor General units to help clients form strategic coalitions and resolve challenging regulatory issues in a wide array of industry areas.

Dedicated to
pro bono service.
Dedicated to
pro bono service.

Industry

Services

Education

  • J.D., University of Nebraska College of Law
    • Order of Barristers
    • National Moot Court Competition regional semifinalist
    • Thomas Stinson Allen Moot Court Competition, Winner and Best Brief Award
    • Roscoe Pound Award for Best Moot Court Oral Advocate
  • B.A., University of Nebraska at Omaha
    • Real Estate and Land Use Economics
    • Rho Epsilon Real Estate Fraternity

Admissions

  • Nebraska
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, District of Nebraska
  • U.S. District Court, District of North Dakota
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Iowa

Professional Memberships and Certifications

  • Federal Bar Association, Nebraska Chapter
  • Federalist Society, Nebraska Lawyers Chapter Co-President
  • Nebraska State Bar Association,​ Appellate Practice Section Executive Committee
  • Omaha Bar Association​
Experience
  • Successfully engaged as eleventh-hour deal counsel to negotiate with state attorney general to secure clearance for major nonprofit asset sale after regulatory review had stalled.
  • Successfully obtained 90% reduction of six-figure late filing penalty assessed by state campaign finance regulator.
  • As appointed Special Assistant Attorney General, successfully defended senior correctional facility official in federal civil rights litigation stemming from a major prison assault.
  • Successfully presented argument to Nebraska Supreme Court to affirm district court's assigned value of $893 million—$300 million more than defendants' competing valuation—for major biotech company in shareholder oppression case, one of the largest valuation disputes in Nebraska history. Additionally secured affirmance of award of over $250 million in interest.
  • Co-authored amicus brief of 26 States and Territories in the U.S. Supreme Court in Guam v. United States on settlement and contribution claim issues under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (the federal Superfund law).
  • Successfully defended, on behalf of the Governor, Secretary of State, and state election commissioners and chief deputies, constitutionality of Nebraska's election commissioner appointment laws against challenge by state Attorney General in rare intragovernmental constitutional dispute.
  • Recruited strategic State Attorney General support of biotechnology client's complaint before the U.S. International Trade Commission regarding foreign economic espionage and intellectual property theft.
  • Served as key member of the firm's COVID-19 response team, tracking rapidly changing state-by-state rules, restrictions and orders, and developing guidance on, among other matters, essential business designations.
  • Recruited and coordinated strategic coalitions of State Attorneys General to support client positions in multiple major cases.
  • Authored or co-authored strategic and/or multistate amicus briefs in multiple cases in the U.S. Supreme Court, the federal Courts of Appeals, and the Nebraska Supreme Court.
  • Won summary judgment on behalf of prison officials and investigators in claim by former inmate who claimed he was retaliated against after reporting sexual assault by guard. Over five years of litigation and two appeals, successfully demonstrated the integrity of the officials' response in investigating the incident and protecting the inmate from further harm.
  • Successfully represented the Nebraska Public Service Commission in defense of its approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline.
  • Defeated eleventh-hour federal claim by foreign pharmaceutical company seeking to enjoin State of Nebraska from using materials it allegedly manufactured in pending capital case.
  • On issue of first impression before the Nebraska Supreme Court, successfully established that correctional officers are equivalent to "law enforcement officers" for purposes of asserting state sovereign immunity under the Nebraska State Tort Claims Act.
  • Member of federal trial team that successfully defended Nebraska's funeral picketing law against challenge brought by the Westboro Baptist Church.
  • On issue of first impression before the Nebraska Supreme Court, successfully established that the misrepresentation exception to the Nebraska State Tort Claims Act is not limited to commercial activities and can also apply in the purely personal injury context.
  • Won reversal on interlocutory appeal of district court's denial of qualified immunity to Nebraska State Trooper in civil rights lawsuit by arrestee who claimed his roadside detention to await a drug dog violated the Fourth Amendment. Authored a successful brief in opposition to petition for further review in U.S. Supreme Court.
  • Lead counsel in managing State of Nebraska's last-minute marriage litigation and in guiding relevant state agencies to immediately comply with post-Obergefell requirements.
  • Negotiated and obtained favorable settlement on behalf of Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services in case involving claims by national welfare advocacy group that the state was too slow in processing benefits claims.
  • Won bench trial verdict against Nebraska Wrongful Conviction Act plaintiff.
  • Member of appellate team responsible for representing State of Nebraska in tribal reservation boundary dispute, successfully petitioned for review in the U.S. Supreme Court, and briefed and prepared arguments in that court.
  • On issue of first impression before the Nebraska Supreme Court, successfully established that statutory time periods for post-incarceration commitments under the Sex Offender Commitment Act are directory, not mandatory.
  • Won federal jury verdict in Fair Labor Standards Act claim against state employee alleging multiple years of unpaid overtime.
  • In consolidation of several actions by losing bidders for the State of Nebraska's multi-billion dollar integrated Medicaid administration contracts, defeated the losing bidders' requests for a preliminary injunction of the winning contracts' implementation and to force a re-bidding of the entire procurement.
  • Defeated series of state and federal claims—in district court and ultimately on appeal to the Nebraska Supreme Court and Eighth Circuit, respectively—brought by estates of victims murdered by former state inmate who was released and immediately embarked on citywide crime spree in Omaha.
  • Won reversal on interlocutory appeal of district court's denial of qualified immunity to group of state corrections officials and medical personnel in lawsuit by inmate who alleged federal civil rights and medical malpractice violations regarding his housing conditions and care for posttraumatic stress disorder.
  • Won pleadings-stage dismissal of state employee's claim in the Nebraska Commission of Industrial Relations (the state's industrial disputes tribunal) for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
  • Won summary judgment for State of Nebraska against national impact litigation organization seeking to judicially force the state to issue drivers licenses to then-ineligible non-citizens.
  • Represented state department of environmental quality in an enforcement action against a municipality's non-functioning, New Deal-era wastewater treatment facility. Structured a solution-oriented consent decree that enabled the municipality to take appropriate steps to obtain funding to overhaul the facility and bring it into compliance.
  • Won summary judgment for State of Nebraska against murder victim's estate, which had alleged State officials had a duty to intervene to protect victim based on previous reports of abuse.
Case Studies
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands

The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) watched with great concern as another U.S. territory (Guam) fought the U.S. Government in court over financial responsibility for a hazardous waste site initially developed and operated by the U.S. Navy. After losing on appeal in the D.C. Circuit, Guam convinced the U.S. Supreme Court to hear its case. Fearing how negative precedent could affect other U.S. states and territories, CNMI’s Attorney General approached Husch Blackwell to prepare an amicus curiae brief.

Media Mentions | April 26, 2021
C-SPAN: Guam v. United States Oral Argument
Outside the Office

Dave climbs fourteeners.

Dave has climbed 15 of Colorado’s 54 “fourteeners” – mountains over 14,000 feet high.

Community Leadership
  • Aksarben Floor Committee
  • Habitat for Humanity, Global Village Mission, Portugal, 2016
  • Creighton Preparatory School, Young Alumni Board, 2013-2016
  • Mercy Housing, Omaha Advisory Board, 2011-2013

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