David is an experienced trial and appellate lawyer, regularly handling complex and novel litigation in federal and state courts. He has extensive experience in all phases of litigation and over his career has worked for a diverse clientele, from Fortune 100 companies to locally-owned businesses, on a wide range of issues. He has been named to Best Lawyers in America® since 2006, including recognition as “Lawyer of the Year,” among other honors.
David is President of the Federal Bar Association, Rhode Island Chapter, and Chair of the Rhode Island Board of Bar Examiners. He is also co-author of a leading treatise on civil and appellate procedure. He received his law degree from Duke University School of Law, where he was Moot Court Champion and Senior Editor of Law and Contemporary Problems. After law school, he served as a law clerk to Judge Danny J. Boggs of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, and Judge James F. Couch, Jr. of the Court of Appeals of Maryland.
Successful arbitration for wind farm owner
Hinckley Allen served as counsel to the owner of wind farm in Hawaii that was experiencing structural and geo-technical issues with its turbine foundations. David and his partners, including Jerry Petros were able to obtain a favorable resolution of the dispute after filing arbitration claims against the wind farm’s general contractor.
Counterclaims for Boston Hospital net multi-million dollar judgment
David served as lead trial counsel for a Boston hospital accused by its former parent corporation of failing to pay certain fees under a terminated affiliation agreement. David pressed counterclaims against the parent for breach of fiduciary duty, gross negligence and misrepresentations during the parent’s ownership of the client hospital. After a three-week trial in federal court, David and his associate Adam Ramos secured a multi-million dollar judgment in the client’s favor. The case was one of the first to establish a hospital network owed fiduciary duties to its member hospitals.
Establishing the economic loss doctrine as a defense in construction cases
David served as counsel for an excavator who was sued for negligence when a construction project resulted in wetlands violations. David obtained summary judgment for the client, arguing the economic loss doctrine precluded damages for negligence. The Rhode Island Supreme Court affirmed, accepting David’s argument on appeal that the doctrine applied to sophisticated commercial entities in the construction context.
Successful defense of multi-national corporation in stock option dispute
David served as counsel for a multi-national corporation sued by a disgruntled employee for failing to pay certain stock option benefits. Securing dismissal of the case, David convinced the federal court that the employee’s claims for breach of contract, breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing and promissory estoppel had no merit and should not proceed to the discovery phase.
Successful defense of age and disability discrimination claims on appeal
As appellate counsel, David convinced the Rhode Island Supreme Court to affirm summary judgment for a large automobile dealership sued for age and disability discrimination. When the former employee argued that the trial court had erred in granting summary judgment, David’s brief and oral argument persuaded the Supreme Court that the employer had a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for terminating the employee and was not required to follow its progressive discipline policy before doing so. According to the Supreme Court, courts should not sit as super personnel departments, assessing the merits or even the rationality of employers’ non-discriminatory business reasons, and an employer may terminate an employee for any reason, good or bad, provided the decision is not based on a discriminatory reason.
- Partner (2013-Present)
Adler Pollock & Sheehan P.C.
- Partner (1996-2013)
- Associate (1993-1995)
Arnold & Porter
- Associate (1988-1993)
The Honorable Danny J. Boggs, United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
- Law Clerk (1987-1988)
The Honorable James F. Couch, Jr., Court of Appeals of Maryland
- Law Clerk (1986-1987)
Honors & Awards
- Best Lawyers in America® (2006-2019)
- Lawyer of the Year (2012, 2015-2019)
- Super Lawyers, Rhode Island (2007-2018)
- Chambers USA
- Martindale-Hubbell, AV rating recipient
- Benchmark Appellate, Local Litigation Star (2013)
- Rhode Island Bar Association Federal Court Bench/Bar Committee, Member
- Rhode Island Board of Bar Examiners, Chair
- Rhode Island
- United States Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit
- United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit
- United States District Court, Massachusetts
- United States District Court, Rhode Island
- United States Supreme Court
- In-House Counsel: Protecting Confidential Communications and Work Product (for clients) (2015 – Present)
- Business Valuation: The Theory- The Law- The Trial, The Edward Gallogly American Inn of Court (August 10, 2013)
- “May it Please the Court: Best Practices for Rhode Island Supreme Court Appeals,” Rhode Island Bar Association CLE Presentation (2011) (co-presenter)
- “Courtroom Graphics: PowerPoint and Beyond,” Rhode Island and Federal Bar Associations (April 12, 2006) (panelist)
- “Nuts & Bolts” of Handling an Appeal, Rhode Island Bar Association Annual Meeting, (June 9, 2005) (panelist)
- “Post-Trial Motions and Appellate Practice,” Rhode Island and Federal Bar Associations (May 12, 2004) (panelist)
- “Revising the Rules,” Rhode Island Bar Association Annual Meeting (June 12, 2003) (panelist)
- Attorney General Sheldon Whitehouse’s Fourth Annual Open Government Summit (2002) (panelist)
- “Introduction to the Courtroom Technology Available in the Renovated Courthouse,” Federal bar Association and Federal Court Bench/Bar Committee, U.S. District Court, District of Rhode Island (Nov. 15, 2002)
October 18, 2018
The Super Lawyers has selected 38 Hinckley Allen attorneys as Super Lawyers and Rising Stars. Each year,
August 15, 2018
Hinckley Allen is pleased to announce that Best Lawyers® has recognized 51 attorneys in the 2019 edition…
July 30, 2018
David A. Wollin and Timothy M. Zabbo provide a Q&A guide to appeal from an intermediate appellate…
January 1, 2015
Civil lawsuits and government investigations targeting corporations are routine these days, often involving…
Hinckley Allen served as counsel to the owner of wind farm in Hawaii that was experiencing structural…
David served as counsel for a multi-national corporation sued by a disgruntled employee for failing…