Heather White leads the firm’s Governmental Law Practice Group. She focuses on the defense of governments in high profile civil rights disputes.
Heather defends governmental entities and their officers against complaints asserting the deprivation of civil rights. These include all types of claims of alleged misconduct, such as excessive force, search and seizure , wrongful arrest, false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, abuse of process and denial of medical care, to name a few. At any given time, Heather is involved in multiple officer-involved shooting cases through inception, including investigations by the Department of Justice and press inquiries, through conclusion.
Heather deeply respects her Utah police officer clients and their dedication to society at great personal expense. She listens closely to determine their individual needs – whether in out-of-court settlements or in public trials. To better understand and closely connect with her clients, and the matters they are involved in, she regularly participates in police ride-alongs, is certified by the Force Science Institute and conducts training sessions for law enforcement throughout the state, including entities who are not her clients.
Heather also represents the two primary insurers of government entities in the State of Utah - the Utah Risk Management Mutual Association and the Utah Local Governments Trust – as well as a number of self-insured governmental agencies. She believes in the importance of educating her clients on legally-related elements of their complex and public careers. In this effort, she regularly speaks to agencies and insurers on police training issues, liability, risk management, and incident-prevention issues.
Heather has tried many governmental civil rights cases to a favorable defense verdict in state and federal trial and appeals courts. In addition, Heather regularly defends governments against claims involving accidents involving government vehicles and premises liability, such as “slip and fall” accidents that might involve sidewalks, water meters, or swimming pools, cemeteries, playgrounds, recreational centers and others.
Presentations & Publications
- Author, Government Entities - Approved Amendments, Heather White, Firm blog
- Author, Government Entities - Case Law Update, January 2018
- Speaker, Tech Ethics - New Rules? New Guidance!, Utah State Bar Fall Forum - Little America Hotel
- Author, Government Entities - Case Law Update, August 2017
- Author, Government Entities - Case Law Update, June 2017
- Speaker, Writing Police Reports - webinar, Utah Local Governments Trust, April 2017
- Speaker, Case Law/Legislative Update Webinar, September 2016
- Speaker, Transgender restroom and locker room issues, Utah Risk Management Mutual Association, August 2016
- Speaker, Public Accommodations as they Relate to Transgender Individuals, Utah Municipal Attorneys Association, May 2016
Heather is a frequent lecturer on police training, liability and risk management and prevention issues.
Professional & Civic Involvement
Utah State Bar Technology and Innovation Committee, Co-Chair
American Academy of Trial Attorneys, Member
Utah Bar Association
American Bar Association
Salt Lake County Bar Association
U.S. District Court, District of Utah - Local Rules Committee, 2008-present
Federal Bar Association - Past President, Utah Chapter, 2004-2005
Model Utah Jury Instructions, Chair of Subcommittee on Civil Rights Instructions
Magistrate Merit Selection Panel, 2003
Defense Research Institute
Utah Defense Lawyers Association
Utah Municipal Attorneys Association
Honors / Awards / Unique Recognition
- Rated by Martindale-Hubbell® Peer review as AV® Preeminent™ 4.8 out of 5.0.*
- Recognized as a Utah Super Lawyer by Super Lawyer Magazine
- Recognized Utah Legal Elite by Utah Business Magazine
- Listed in Best Lawyers in America®
- Distinguished Faculty, Lorman Education Services
*Peer review Rated Lawyer of AV® Preeminent™ 5.0 out of 5.* *AV® Preeminent™ and BV® Distinguished™ are certification marks of Reed Elsevier Properties Inc., used in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies. Martindale-Hubbell is the facilitator of a peer review rating process. Ratings reflect the anonymous opinions of members of the Bar and the Judiciary. Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings fall into two categories - legal ability and general ethical standards.
Unique Recognition - Education
Law School: University of Utah, S.J. Quinney College of Law, 1996
William H. Leary Scholar
Judicial Clerkship: Honorable Dee V. Benson, United States District Court, District of Utah
Clara Lewis v. UTA - Obtained a no cause of action against defendant in a collision of a commuter rail train with a van.
Barney v. Roy City - Obtained a no cause of action against defendant in a fall into a meter hole.
Odegaard v. Snowbird - Obtained a favorable defense verdict in a personal injury claim arising from a slip and fall.
Outside of the office, Heather is an avid runner - with her canine running companion. She enjoys spending quality time with her husband and two teenage sons.