Elizabeth L. Willey

Shareholder

Elizabeth Willey is a shareholder with the firm. Her practice focuses on representing healthcare providers in a wide range of legal matters, including medical malpractice and licensure disciplinary actions.  Elizabeth carries a medical background that brings increased value to her practice and significantly benefits her clients.

Having obtained her undergraduate degree in nursing, and then receiving a master’s degree in physiological nursing, she holds the unique title of Nurse Attorney.  As a registered nurse, Elizabeth worked in both adult and pediatric medical-surgical and intensive care units.  With training as a clinical specialist in critical care, and also being a trained educator, Elizabeth’s nursing practice evolved into a teaching career.  She was the Course Director of Critical Care Nursing at Brigham Young University. In this position, Elizabeth received many awards including Teacher of the Year, as well as various civic and student association awards.

As a member of the State Board of Nursing, Elizabeth served several years as the Education Chair and then as the Chair of the Board. She has chaired numerous state and national committees, worked with the Utah Department of Health on rules for Specialty Hospitals, and chaired numerous local nursing committees. Elizabeth has also spoken widely on the subject of politics and nursing, and been involved in nursing politics at state and national levels. During her years as chair of the State Board of Nursing, Elizabeth was actively involved in revising the Utah Nurse Practice Act.

For more than 25 years, Elizabeth has defended healthcare providers against a wide range of claims.  Applying her vast knowledge in nursing, medicine, and healthcare-related legal issues, Elizabeth represents hospitals, physicians, long term care and rehabilitation facilities, dental specialists, psychologists, and mental health therapists in medical malpractice claims, including childbirth injury claims, wrongful death claims, and catastrophic injury claims where the damages sought are in the multimillion-dollar range. She has also represented manufacturers in product liability cases, and has an extensive background in defending personal injury lawsuits involving brain injuries. Elizabeth is keenly interested in medical malpractice defense issues as well as minimizing and preventing the filing of medical claims.  She is a frequent speaker, logging over 50 national and local presentations to healthcare providers on a variety of topics from avoiding malpractice claims, to preparing healthcare clients for litigation through mock trials.

Elizabeth is also involved in the study of ethics and healthcare.  She has given numerous ethics related presentations to healthcare providers, addressing decision making processes and doctor/patient relationships. Having defended healthcare providers in trial and participated in more than 20 arbitrations, Elizabeth understands the demands of the providers and the complex areas in which they work. She is particularly skilled at preparing clients for deposition and in crafting creative case themes and developing strategic defenses.

Education

  • J.D., University of Utah, S.J. Quinney College of Law, 1989
  • M.N., University of Washington, Nursing, 1979
  • B.S., University of Utah, Nursing, magna cum laude, Mortar Board, Phi Kappa Phi, Sigma Theta Tau, 1976

Bar & Court Admissions

  • Utah State Bar
  • U.S. District Court, District of Utah
  • District of Columbia, United States Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit
  • United States Supreme Court

Elizabeth is a frequent author and speaker, locally and nationally, on a broad range of healthcare related topics.

  • Utah Bar Association
  • Salt Lake County Bar Association
  • American Association of Nurse Attorneys
  • American Bar Association
  • American Association of Healthcare Risk Management
  • Defense Research Institute
  • Utah Association for Justice
  • Utah Defense Lawyers Association
  • Utah Society for Healthcare Risk Management
  • Individual vs Corporation: Brain Injury – Obtained a no cause of action in a case alleging product liability claims resulting in brain injury.
  • Individual vs Individual: Medical Emergency – Obtained a no cause of action verdict in a case alleging injury claims due to driver of a car losing control of his vehicle following a sudden medical emergency.
  • Individual vs Individual: Dental Injury – Obtained a dismissal of claim in a case alleging dental injuries.
  • Individual vs Individual: Dental Implants Injury – Obtained a dismissal of claim in a case alleging dental injuries related to improperly placed implants.
  • Individual vs Insurance Company: Neurological Condition – Obtained a defense verdict in a case alleging aggravation of an underlying neurological condition.
  • Individual vs Individual: Brain Injury – Obtained a defense verdict in a case alleging serious injuries, including a brain injury from an errant golf ball which hit a visitor at Lake Powell.
  • Individual vs Health Care Entity: Statute of Limitations – Prevailed on motion for summary judgment on a Statute of Limitations defense.