Defense is a matter of course for William (Bill) Blakely. As a former Marine Corps aviator, he turned a career based upon  constructing, fabricating, operating and maintaining complicated equipment into a national civil litigation trial practice that uses this experience to explain to juries and tribunals how and why processes have failed. 

This background uniquely positioned him for a practice that includes significant experience adjusting, construction claims, disputes and disasters, to litigating aviation accidents and advising clients of risks that potentially could have devastating consequences to them or their company. 

A top trial lawyer adept at handling complex litigation, Bill has been practicing in Washington, D.C. for more than 35 years. He has counseled both defendants and plaintiffs in state and federal courts as well as arbitration tribunals. He has recovered multi-million dollar judgments on behalf of both individuals and companies, and has prevailed in “bet the company” matters where alleged damages were in excess of $500 million.  Today, Bill’s practice covers most aspects of commercial litigation, including aviation, construction litigation, mass torts, wrongful death, false claims, deceptive trade practice and health care. 

Bill always has given back to the community. He worked and established an award-winning mentor program for young, inner-city high school kids at the law firm, and currently provides pro bono legal services to an association serving the African continent.

  • Achieved a dismissal of a $60 million suit for defamation and fraud, when a hospital was sued over its contact with patients after the hospital advised its former patients that a second opinion may be needed to evaluate the necessity for heart stents previously inserted by a physician of the hospital.
  • Recovered a significant sanction award on behalf of a health care provider against a plaintiff insurance company that included the dismissal of a $16 million damage claim and an award of 1.2 million in attorney fees for the opposing party’s discovery abuses.
  • He also has been involved in many disputes involving complex construction projects. These involve claims or lawsuits arising from a contractor’s default in the construction of a nuclear power generating plant in Texas; in claims arising from the construction of a large hospital in Delaware; from claims arising from the installation of a prefabricated power plant in the Ohio River; from claims arising from the design and construction of power transmission lines; from claims arising from the reconstructions of track and bridge work and facility construction for a major railroad; and from claims arising from the design and construction of waste water treatment plants.
  • Jury awarded treble damages and attorney fees in excess of $1.2 million when the client’s home collapsed following defective work completed by a contractor. The case is one of the first in the District of Columbia where the basis of the suit was the Consumer Protection Statute.
  • Served as co-lead Multi-District Litigation (MDL) trial counsel in the air disaster in Croatia (In re Air Disaster Dubrovnik, April 6, 1996) that resulted in the death of all on board an Air Force CT-43, including Secretary of Commerce, Ron Brown, sixteen US businessmen, Commerce Department employees and the flight crew.
  • Served as lead trial counsel in numerous other air disasters where the design of the aircraft or the performance of the pilot was at issue: the crash of a U.S. Marine Corps AH-1W Helicopter caused by the defective design of the tail rotor; the crashworthiness of the fuel system of a general aviation aircraft; a deadly crash of a general aviation aircraft caused by a defective carburetor; the defective design of a commercial jet’s fuel transfer system; the crash of a commercial airliner in Hawaii due to gross pilot techniques; the fatal accident involving the defective design of the F-18 landing gear system; the crash of a 747 at O’Hare International Airport due to FAA air traffic control negligence, and more than 30 other general aviation accidents . He also was involved in the investigation of the Challenger disaster in 1986.
  • Defended a major religious organization after a fire bombing in Harlem by a disgruntled protester who killed a number of customers in leased commercial space owned by the church. The basis of the suit was a premises liability claim and the damages were alleged to be in excess of $500 million; the case was successfully defended and resolved on the eve of trial. Defended the Organization also in a bitter dispute over the election of its ecclesiastical leader. The dismissal of the action against the church for fraud in the election was affirmed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit on First Amendment grounds.
  • Served as legal counsel to senior executives of a major accounting firm who had been accused by a U.S. Attorney of marketing illegal tax shelters.
  • Managed and resolved a multi-million dollar claim for non-payment of amounts due and owing to a hospital for services provided to Native Americans through the Indian Health Service (IHS).
  • Served as counsel in a matter before the US Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit where it was held that the Department of Energy had exceeded its rule-making authority by imposing energy efficient standards on decorative gas fireplaces and log sets sold as consumer products.
  • Organized and managed the legal oversight of the Government Contract issues concerning the U.S. Marine Corps’ lease of a large parcel of land for its rapid deployment force.
  • Served as pro bono legal counsel in a class action involving allegations of racial discrimination by claimants who allegedly were denied equal “accommodations” at a national restaurant chain.
  • Served as trial counsel in the landmark environmental case, Love Canal, where he asserted on behalf of the Chemical Company, claims against the U.S. Army for indemnity arising from the corporate predecessor’s (the Hooker Chemical Company) manufacture of chemical munitions for WWII.
  • Prosecuted a head-injury case against a national restaurant chain and achieved a significant settlement at the end of the trial for the traumatic brain injury of the plaintiff.

webinar Webinars
February 19, 2015
Publications & Presentations
Legal Risks Associated with Not-For-Profit Governance
Presentation at the American Baptist Convention
Publications & Presentations
Ethics and Spoliation
Presentation and Paper, SMU Air Law
Publications & Presentations
Construction and Terrorism: An Explosive Mix
Presentation and Paper, Center for International Legal Studies’ Construction Law Conference
Publications & Presentations
Government Contractor Defense
Presentation and Paper, SMU Air Law
Publications & Presentations
Co-Author, Blakely & Hawbaker, Architect-Engineer Liability
Ch. 41 Personal Injury Defense Techniques, Dombroff