David M. Donovan’s Biography
David M. Donovan’s training for law practice began in college, competing in intercollegiate debate. Following his law school education, David clerked for a United States District Court Judge in Little Rock, before beginning private practice. He is licensed in both Arkansas and Arizona, and has actively litigated in both jurisdictions.
David’s practice focuses on complex insurance and commercial litigation. In recent years, he has focused his practice on: ERISA and disability insurance; insurance bad faith; products liability; professional liability, defending lawyers, engineers, architects, and insurance brokers; construction litigation; complex commercial litigation, including the defense of consumer class actions; and the prosecution and defense of lender liability claims. David also has an active medical malpractice practice.
David has extensive experience in federal court. He was appointed by the Judges of the Eastern District of Arkansas to the Court’s Federal Practice Committee, serving as chairman in 2010. He has conducted CLE seminars on federal court practice.
David’s practice extends to both trials and appeals. He is one of the select few Arkansas litigators who is recognized as both an accomplished trial and appellate lawyer.
David has been the lead defense counsel in the litigation of the constitutionality of the ‘Arkansas Tort Reform’ legislation.
Misrepresentation in the Life, Health, and Disabilty Insurance Application Process: A National Survey, Author of the Arkansas Section. American Bar Association, 2009.
Applying the Church Plan Exception to ERISA: When is a Benefit Plan Maintained by a Church?, Defense Research Institute, Life, Health and Disability News, September 2005.
The following are the reported appellate decisions in which David was both the lead trial counsel and appellate counsel.
- Baker v. Safeco Ins. Co. Am., 175 F.3d 618 (8th Cir. 1999)(insurance bad faith)
- U.S. Fire Ins. Co. v. Kresser Motor Servs., 26 F.3d 91 (8th Cir. 1994) (insurance coverage)
- Williams v. Carter, 10 F.3d 563 (8th Cir. 1993) (prisoner rights)
- United States v. Maples, 754 F.2d 299 (8th Cir. 1984) (criminal defense issues)
- J.D. Ashley, Sr. Fam. Ltd. Partn. v. Valley Forge Ins. Co., 395 Fed. Appx. 318 (8th Cir. 2010) (insurance coverage)
- Chronister v. Unum Life Ins. Co. of Am., 563 F.3d 773 (8th Cir. 2009) (ERISA)
- McNeil v. Abiseid, 203 Fed. Appx. 748 (8th Cir. 2006) (ERISA)
- Martin v. E-Z Mart Stores, Inc., 464 F.3d 827 (8th Cir. 2006) (products liability)
- Riddell v. Unum Life Ins. Co. of Am., 457 F.3d 861 (8th Cir. 2006) (ERISA)
- Chronister v. Baptist Health, 442 F.3d 648 (8th Cir. 2006) (ERISA)
- Pennsylvania Natl. Mut. Cas. Ins. Co. v. City of Pine Bluff, 354 F.3d 945 (8th Cir. 2004) (surety law and municipal immunity)
- St. Paul Fire & Marine Ins. Co. v. Amsoil, Inc., 51 Fed. Appx. 602 (8th Cir. 2002) (insurance coverage)
- Smith v. Unum Life Ins. Co. of Am., 305 F.3d 789 (8th Cir. 2002) (ERISA)
- Wal-Mart Stores v. RLI Inc. Co., 292 F.3d 583 (8th Cir. 2002) (insurance coverage and contractual indemnity)
- Vincent Soybean & Grain Co. v. Lloyds Underwriters of London, 246 F.3d 1129 (8th Cir. 2001) (insurance bad faith)
- House v. Paul Revere Life Ins. Co., 241 F.3d 1045 (8th Cir. 2001) (ERISA)
- Rosamond v. MCX Transport, Inc., 168 F.3d 495 (8th Cir. 1999) (evidentiary rulings and personal injury)
- Campbell v. Asbury Auto, Inc., 2011 Ark. 157 (2011) (consumer class action)
- Jewell v. Fletcher, 2010 Ark. 195 (2010) (attorney professional liability)
- Boatman v. Samaritan Health Servs., Inc., 168 Ariz. 207, 812 P.2d 1025 (1990) (employment, wrongful discharge)
- Sims v. Fletcher, 368 Ark. 178, 243 S.W.3d 863 (2006) (attorney professional liability)
- Asbury Auto Group, Inc. v. Palasak, 366 Ark. 601, 237 S.W.3d 462 (2006) (class certification)
- Crisler v. Unum Life Ins. Co. of Am., 366 Ark. 130, 233 S.W.3d 658 (2006) (insurance coverage)
- Unum Life Ins. Co. of Am. v. Edwards, 362 Ark. 624, 210 S.W.3d 84 (2005) (insurance bad faith)
- Med Marc Cas. Ins. Co. v. Forrest Healthcare, Inc., 359 Ark. 495, 199 S.W.3d 58 (2004) (insurance coverage)
- Williams v. First Unum Life Ins. Co., 358 Ark. 224, 188 S.W.3d 908 (2004) (insurance coverage)
- Elam v. First Unum Life Ins. Co., 346 Ark. 291, 57 S.W.3d 165 (2001) (insurance coverage)
- Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Saline Cty. Cir. Ct., 329 Ark. 357, 947 S.W.2d 12 (1997) (medical malpractice)
- Nabholz Constr. Corp. v. Graham, 319 Ark. 396, 892 S.W.2d 456 (1995) (contractual indemnity)
- Scott- Huff Ins. Agency v. Sandusky, 318 Ark. 613, 887 S.W.2d 516 (1994) (professional liability, insurance broker) (appellate counsel only)
- Davis v. Wausau Ins. Co., 315 Ark. 330, 867 S.W.2d 444 (1993) (professional liability, insurance broker)
- Watkins v. S. Farm Bureau Cas. Ins. Co., 2009 Ark. App. 693 (2009) (insurance coverage)
- Hill v. Billups, 92 Ark. App. 259, 212 S.W.3d 53 (2005) (medical malpractice) (appellate counsel only)
- Anderson Gas & Propane, Inc. v. Westport Ins. Corp., 84 Ark. App. 310, 140 S.W.3d 504 (2004) (insurance coverage)
- Miller v. Pro-Transp., 78 Ark. App. 52, 77 S.W.3d 551 (2002) (personal injury)
- American Investors Life Ins. Co. v. Butler, 76 Ark. App. 355, 65 S.W.3d 472 (2002) (insurance coverage)
- Farm Bureau Mut. Ins. Co. v. Whitten, 51 Ark. App. 124, 911 S.W.2d 270 (1995) (insurance coverage)
- Johnson v. Rockwell Automation, Inc., 2009 Ark. 241, 308 S.W.3d 135 (2009) (products liability, tort reform)