Early in his career, Don became a part of legal history when he served as counsel at the trial and appellate levels in the famous “snail darter” case (Tennessee Valley Authority v. Hill, 437 U.S. 153 ), litigated under the Endangered Species Act of 1973. The litigation resulted in a successful review by the U.S. Supreme Court. In addition to practicing law in Chicago and the Pacific Northwest, Don has also taught law and served in senior administrative positions at the University of Puget Sound, University of Michigan, and University of Tennessee law schools.
Since joining GTH in 1982, Don’s practice has focused on telecommunications, energy, and other utility law, state and municipal law, and business litigation, including complex litigation. He serves as General Counsel to public utilities and consortiums of public utilities engaged in telecommunication and energy, including rural area broadband projects and renewable energy.
For the past 30 years, Don has been actively involved in a number of community boards and civic activities promoting the quality of life in the City of Mercer Island, Washington, where he was named Citizen of the Year in 2000.
Washington State Bar Association
American Bar Association
Federal Bar Association for the Western District of Washinton
King County Bar Association
Mercer Island Parks & Recreation Commission (2019-present)
Mercer Island Town Center Stakeholder Group (2015)
Mercer Island Sustainability Policy Task Force (Chair, 2012)
Board of Trustees, Mercer Island Open Space Conservancy Trust (2004 - 2012; Chair, 2008-2010)
Mercer Island Parks Levy Stakeholders Committee (Chair, 2007-2008)
Mercer Island Planning Commission (1991-2001; Chair, 1996-2001)
Mercer Island Citizen of the Year (2000)
Seattle University School of Law Board of Visitors (1997-2001)
Serves as General Counsel to public utilities and consortiums of public utilities engaged in telecommunications and energy activities, including rural area broadband projects and renewable energy.
Successfully represented defendant in trial court and Court of Appeals in Shoulberg v. Public Utility District No. 1 of Jefferson County, 169 Wn. App. 173 (2012), a complex utility property tax class action lawsuit.
Represented defendant at trial and on appeal in Maleng v. King County Corrections Guild, 150 Wn.2d 325 (2003), which involved the constitutionality and charter compliance of a voter initiative to reduce the size of the County Council.
Successfully represented city in the SeaTac Airport “third runway expansion” litigation, 113 Wn. App. 375 (2002), in State of Washington Growth Management Hearings Board proceedings and appeals to Superior Court and Court of Appeals.
Represented public utilities and Board and Council members in Washington Public Power Supply System Securities Litigation, which involved a multi-billion dollar municipal bond default.
Counsel at trial and appellate levels in Tennessee Valley Authority v. Hill, 437 U.S. 153 (1978) – the “snail darter” case – seminal litigation under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, resulting in successful review by U.S. Supreme Court.