photo of Jeff Downing
photo of Jeff Downing

Jefferson Downing

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Jeff Downing is a third generation Nebraska Lawyer who has had the privilege of successfully representing clients in a number of precedent-setting cases. Mr. Downing is held in high regard by his peers in the legal community, who have rated him at the highest level of professional excellence.
Education & Admissions:

Education

  • University of Nebraska College of Law, Lincoln, Nebraska, 1990 J.D.
    National Order of Barristers
  • University of Texas-Dallas, 1986 B.A.
    Cum Laude

 

Bar Admissions

  • Nebraska, 1990
  • U.S. District Court District of Nebraska, 1990
Professional Associations:
Lincoln Bar Association Member
National Lawyer’s Association Member
Nebraska Association of Trial AttorneysMember
Nebraska Christian Legal Society President, Member
Alliance Defending Freedom Honor Corps
Nebraska State Bar Foundation Fellow
American Bar Association Member
Notable Achievements:
Notable Cases

 

Medical Malpractice

Successfully prosecuted a federal tort claim for medical malpractice on behalf of a client who suffered an advanced and disabling form of breast cancer due to a clinic not having communicated the troubling results of radiographic imaging.

Achieved a settlement of $600,000 for the wrongful death of 18 year-old Olivia Manes who was institutionalized at the Beatrice State Developmental Center. A state investigation revealed that a cascading series of errors led to Olivia’s death and the state’s chief medical officer declared that the center was too dangerous for “medically fragile” residents.

Successfully represented 4 plaintiffs who contracted Hepatitis C after a nurse at a Fremont cancer clinic used a common bag of saline on multiple patients while administering chemotherapy. These actions resulted in one of the largest outbreaks of Hepatitis C in our nation’s history.

After significant litigation, successfully settled a tragic case involving the death of a three-year old boy who died after his breathing tube was negligently removed. The child was admitted to the hospital with a croupy type breathing condition but had to be sedated and intubated to treat an infection. When the breathing tube became plugged with secretions, hospital staff made the fateful decision to pull the tube and then failed to contact a doctor for more than ten minutes causing irreversible brain damage.

Settled a complex medical malpractice case involving a trucker who had survived a one-vehicle accident. While on their way home from another call, a rural ambulance service happened upon the scene of the accident and found the trucker laying in a ditch near his overturned rig. The emergency workers stabilized the injured man and transported him to the hospital only to learn that he later died due to a botched intubation when he had to undergo exploratory surgery.

Successfully settled the case of a 54 year old college professor who died after his family doctor failed to timely order a transesophogeal echocardiogram. The professor had been feeling ill and suffering recurrent fevers for many months during which time he saw his family doctor on multiple occasions. Each time the doctor treated the symptoms as a cold or the flu rather than ordering a TEE. When the proper test was finally ordered, it revealed “massive vegetation” on the patient’s artificial heart valve.

Successfully resolved a medical malpractice claim on behalf of a woman who sustained a catastrophic perforation of her uterine sidewall during a D & C. The client suffered multiple seizures at the clinic due to massive blood loss and later had to undergo a total hysterectomy in order to save her life. The OB/GYN who saved her life said it was the worst damage she had ever seen inflicted during this type of procedure.

Successfully represented the widow of a man who died after undergoing a routine bone marrow biopsy. The gentleman had shown signs of anemia and his doctors decided that a biopsy was in order. The decision was made to take tissue from the patient’s sternum. When the patient asked if there was any chance that the needle might poke his heart, the physician assured him he had never heard of such a thing. Tragically, the surgeon punctured the sac around the patient’s heart causing the patient’s death a short time later.

 

Significant Serious Personal Injury

Obtained a favorable jury verdict for the pain and suffering of a client who sustained a temporomandibular joint injury in a motor vehicle accident despite the defense vigorously disputing whether the TMJ injury was related to the car accident.

Successfully settled a products liability case in which our client was injured through the negligent design of a tow-behind water toy. The toy was designed in such a way that the driver of the boat and the person riding in the water toy were unable to see one another and communicate if the rider was in danger.

Obtained a verdict of $1,653,650 in Lancaster County District Court on behalf of a young man who sustained a traumatic brain injury as a result of a motor vehicle accident. The injury left him with permanent impairments in cognitive functioning, sustained attention, amnestic processes, motivation, self-starting, and social functioning.

Settled the case of a totally disabled man who had been an inspiration to all who knew him. Unfortunately, due to the negligence of his caregivers, the client who had almost no ability to move and who could not speak, drowned after being left unattended in a hot tub.

Successfully resolved a complex injury case involving a Missouri River boating accident for more than $500,000.00 on behalf of a client who sustained lacerations resulting in permanent injury and disfigurement.

Before going to trial in federal court, settled a complex case involving the wrongful deaths of two over-the-road truckers who were killed on Interstate 80 near North Platte. The men were team drivers returning to California to spend the Christmas season with their families when another truck lost control and crossed the median striking their vehicle nearly head-on. After the defense lawyers vigorously disputed liability, the case settled when the president of the trucking company admitted in his deposition that “of course” the accident was their fault.

Settled the case of an all-American teenager tragically killed in a rollover accident on a county road in rural Nebraska. The young man was a passenger in a car driven by another teen-age driver who lost control of the car on loose gravel.

Obtained a favorable jury verdict for the tragic death of a young man who was killed on Highway 34 when a construction vehicle made a left turn in front of his motorcycle. During the case it was discovered that the driver of the construction truck only had vision in one eye and misjudged the distance between his vehicle and the oncoming motorcycle.

Obtained a jury verdict of $50,000 for a farmer who sustained a soft tissue injury to his neck when another farmer negligently pulled his tractor from a field driveway onto the county road causing a collision. In instructions to the jury, the court had limited the evidence the jury could consider on lost future earnings. Despite the limiting instruction, the jury generously compensated the plaintiff for his injuries.

 

Constitutional Law

Heins v. Webster County, 250 Neb. 750, 552 N.W. 2d 51 (1996), the Nebraska Supreme Court threw out the invitee/licensee distinction in premises liability law, a rule going back to the common law of England. The decision represented a significant change in Nebraska law lowering the burden on injured parties to bring their claims against negligent landowners.

Rader v. Johnston, 924 F. Supp. 1540 (D. Neb. 1996) a federal court held for the first time that a student could be exempted from a university’s on-campus housing requirement for religious reasons.

Doe v. School District of Norfolk, 340 F.3d 605 (8th Cir. 2003), the Court ruled that a school board member’s prayer at graduation did not violate the Establishment Clause.

ACLU Nebraska v. City of Plattsmouth, 419 F.3d.772 (8th Cir. 2005), the Court held that a city’s display of a Ten Commandments monument in a city park was constitutional.

In re Interest of Anaya, 276 Neb. 825, 758 N.W.2d 10 (2008), a case which garnered national attention, the Nebraska Supreme Court found improper a juvenile court’s aggressive exercise of jurisdiction over a newborn whose parents objected to mandatory medical screening on religious grounds. The Supreme Court ruled that the juvenile court’s orders were “a nullity.”

Mr. Downing successfully represented five African American prison guards in Ellis v. Houston, 742 F.3d 307 (8th Cir. 2014). The guards were subjected to a racially hostile work environment and retaliation when they dared to complain. Though the district court initially dismissed the case, the Eighth Circuit reversed finding that the lower court had utilized a novel – and faulty – standard by looking at the claims of the group “as if there were but a single plaintiff and a single defendant.” After the case was remanded, it settled for more than $777,000.00.

 
Practice Areas
Serious Personal Injury
Personal Injury
Medical Malpractice
Constitutional Law