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Ronald B. Leighton

Ron is a recently retired U.S. Federal District Court Judge (Tacoma) with eighteen years of experience on the bench and a distinguished career as an American College of Trial Lawyer, having tried more than sixty complex cases to verdict. Ron is available to use his unique skills to help litigants in this time of unprecedented court congestion to privately try, arbitrate or mediate cases. Ron also handles complex litigation matters with an emphasis in business, personal injury (plaintiff and defense), products liability, professional negligence, employment, aviation, environmental and intellectual property litigation.

Judicial Experience

During his distinguished career on the U.S. Federal District Court, Judge Leighton presided over jury and bench trials, as well as dispositive motions in the following areas of law:

  • Civil Rights – Section 1983, Excessive Force, Education Plans
  • Commercial Litigation – Securities, Class Action, Shareholder Litigation, Contract
  • Employment Litigation – ADA, WLAD
  • Environmental Law – CERCLA, MCTA, Clean Water Act
  • False Claims – Qui Tam
  • Immigration
  • Indian Law – Compacts, Hunting/Fishing Rights
  • Intellectual Property – Patent, Copyright, Trademark
  • Labor – FLSA, Railway Labor Act, ERISA
  • Maritime – Jones Act
  • Personal Injury – Medical Malpractice, Product Liability, Asbestos
  • RICO, Constitutionality of State Action

Practice Areas

  • Aviation Litigation
  • Business Litigation
  • Employment Litigation
  • Environmental Litigation
  • General defense Litigation
  • Intellectual Property
  • Personal Injury (Plaintiff and Defense)
  • Products Liability
  • Professional Negligence


  • Mediator Training, Strauss Institute, Pepperdine Law School, 2020
  • University of California, Hastings College of Law, J.D., 1976
  • Whitworth College, B.A., 1973

    -  Student Body President

Professional Experience

  • Fain Anderson VanDerhoef Rosendahl O’Halloran Spillane PLLC, Of Counsel, September 2020 – Present
  • United States District Judge, Ret. (2002-2020)
    -  Nominated by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the Senate in 2002.  Sworn into office on November 26, 2002; retired August 31, 2020
    -  U.S. Judicial Conference Committee on Court Administration and Case Management – (2006 – 2013)
-  U.S. Delegation Member (2007 – 2012) – Teaching prosecutors and judges in the former Soviet Union how to deal with problems of smuggling nuclear and radiological materials under the auspices of the U.S. State Department, Office of Weapons of Mass Destruction

    -  Served as a settlement judge – predominantly, white collar crime

  • Gordon, Thomas, Honeywell, Malanca, Peterson & Daheim, LLP, Partner 1976 – 2002; Associate 1976 – 1978; specializing in general litigation with an emphasis in business, personal injury, products liability, professional negligence, employment, aviation, environmental and intellectual property litigation

Professional Memberships

  • Washington State Bar Association, 1976 – present
    -  Chairman, Judicial Recommendations Committee, 1990 – 1991
  • Tacoma-Pierce County Bar Association, 1976 – present
  • Western District of Washington
  • Federal Bar Association, 1980 – present
  • American College of Trial Lawyers, Fellow, 1996 – present
  • American Board of Trial Advocates
    -  Past President, Washington Chapter
  • International Society of Barristers, Fellow, 2001 – present
  • Washington Defense Trial Lawyers

    -  Past President

Pro Bono Activities

  • Merle Palmer Minority Scholarship Foundation

    -  Former Secretary
  • Whitworth University, Board of Trustee, 1976 - 2002

Publications & Presentations

  • Chapter on Defenses, Washington Civil Procedure Deskbook (1991)
  • Chapter on Default Judgment, Washington Civil Procedure Deskbook (1992)

Judicial Honors & Awards

Rated among the Top 500 Judges in the United States at all levels (State/Federal/Appellate Trial)

  • Dragon Law 2006

Professional Honors & Awards

  • Fellow: American College of Trial Lawyers since 1996
  • Fellow: International Society of Barristers since 1997
  • Selected Among Best Lawyers in America in both Business Litigation and in Personal Injury Litigation – 1999, 2000, 2001, and 2002
  • Selected by “Washington Law & Politics” reader poll as Superlawyer in Washington – 1999, 2000, 2001, and 2002.  Voted as one of the Top 10 Trial Lawyers in Washington in 2001 and 2002
  • Honorary Doctor of Laws, Whitworth College, 2003
  • Washington Law & Politics, Selected Among Top 10 Lawyers in Washington, 1991-2001

Ronald B. Leighton
Of Counsel