David W. Howenstine

Attorney | Seattle | 206.223.7035 |

Areas of Practice

David Howenstine maintains an active civil litigation practice in federal and state courts throughout the Northwest. His work focuses on aviation, insurance coverage, tort defense and products liability, and ERISA and non-ERISA life, health, and disability cases. David has successfully defended aviation clients in cases alleging negligence, wrongful death, premises liability and disability discrimination. He also routinely analyzes complex insurance coverage issues and represents insurance carriers in lawsuits involving coverage disputes, bad faith and contribution. As a former law clerk for two federal judges, David gained valuable experience participating in a wide range of civil cases from the initial filing of the lawsuit through trial.

Professional Experience

  • Mills Meyers Swartling, Attorney (2010-2014)
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, Law Clerk to the Honorable James L. Robart (2008-2010)
  • U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California, Law Clerk to the Honorable Ernest M. Robles (2007-2008)

Admitted to Practice

  • Washington
  • California (inactive)
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Washington
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Washington
  • Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals


  • University of Washington (J.D., with high honors, 2007)
    • Washington Law Review, Executive Notes and Comments Editor (2006, 2007)
    • Order of the Coif
  • Reed College (B.A., 2003)

Practice Group and Specialty Team Memberships

  • Aviation
  • Diversity Committee
  • Insurance
  • Life, Health, Disability and ERISA
  • Litigation
  • London Insurance
  • Products Liability and Mass Torts Litigation
  • Securities Litigation
  • Transportation Client Team

Publications and Speaking Engagements

  • “Litigating Air and Space: Recent Jurisdictional Developments and Emerging Issues in Aviation and Commercial Space Law,” 44th Annual King County Bar Association Pacific Northwest Aviation Law Conference, Co-Presenter (September 24, 2017)
  • “ERISA: New Questions for Church-Affiliated Organizations After The Supreme Court Expands ERISA Church-Plan Exemption,” Boom: The ERISA Law Blog (June 13, 2017)
  • “Ninth Circuit Holds Airline Deregulation Act Does Not Bar Putative Class Action Claims to Recover $15 Baggage Fees,” Lane Powell Legal Update (May 5, 2017)
  • “Washington Court Finds Port District Liable for Worker’s Severe Injuries at Airport and Rejects Federal Aviation Preemption Defense,” Lane Powell Legal Update (April 6, 2017)
  • “Litigation and Federal Regulations Under Part 107 in the Coming Era of Drones,” Lane Powell Legal Update (March 1, 2017)
  • “Washington Supreme Court Restricts Claims Under the Insurance Fair Conduct Act,” Lane Powell Legal Update (February 3, 2017)
  • “Washington Supreme Court Rejects Implied Federal Field Preemption of Aviation Product Liability Claim,” Lane Powell Legal Update (January 27, 2017)
  • “A Practical Guide to Federal Court: E-Discovery, Evidence and Experts,” NBI CLE (November 2016)
  • “Obtaining Attorneys’ Fees in Insurance Coverage Disputes,” Litigation News, Volume 25, No. 2 (Spring 2013)
  • “Short & Sweet: Tips for Effective Discovery Motions Practice,” Litigation News, Volume 23, No. 2 (Summer 2011)
  • “Beyond Rational Relations: The Constitutional Infirmities of Anti-Gay Partnership Laws Under the Equal Protection Clause,” Washington Law Review, 81 Wash. L. Rev. 417 (May 2006)

Awards and Honors

  • Named as a “Washington Rising Star,” Super Lawyers® magazine, Personal Injury — General: Defense (2013-2015), Civil Litigation: Defense (2016-2017)
  • Recipient of the Paul Ashley Memorial Scholarship for Public Interest Work (2006-2007)
  • Recipient of the Public Interest Law Association Grant (2006)

Professional and Community Activities

  • Fellow, Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (2017)
  • Washington State Bar Association
    • Fellow, Leadership Institute (2012)
    • Litigation Section
  • Federal Bar Association of the Western District of Washington
    • Local Rules Committee
    • Volunteer Attorney, Pro Bono Panel
  • King County Bar Association
    • Appellate Law Section
    • Aviation Law Section
  • QLaw Bar Association
    • Board Member and Treasurer (2012-Present)
  • Northwest Aviation Insurance Association
  • Northwest Insurance Coverage Association
  • Washington Defense Trial Lawyers
  • Commissioner, Seattle LGBT Commission (2011-2014)

David W. Howenstine

Attorney | Seattle | 206.223.7035 |