David W. DeBruin is a litigation counsel who has served as the managing partner of the Washington, DC office and as co-chair of the firm’s Complex Commercial Litigation Practice. Mr. DeBruin has extensive litigation experience in energy matters, as well as in complex Supreme Court and appellate litigation. Mr. DeBruin draws on his experience as a former law clerk for Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens and as a former trial attorney at the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, where he handled a large number of jury and bench criminal trials. Mr. DeBruin has argued cases before the United States Supreme Court, numerous federal appellate courts, and state supreme courts.
In energy disputes, Mr. DeBruin provides extensive first-chair trial experience and deep proficiency in commercial energy markets. Mr. DeBruin has significant experience in hydroelectric power disputes and counsels on issues related to hydroelectric power. He is leading the representation of Exelon in a dispute with the State of Maryland concerning the Conowingo Hydroelectric Project. He also represented Exelon in connection with challenges to the recent merger of Exelon and Pepco Holdings, Inc., and he served as lead trial counsel in a case brought by Exelon, PSEG, Calpine and PPL in New Jersey involving state subsidies for construction of three natural gas generation facilities. He has been involved in contract disputes for natural gas deliveries, construction disputes in connection with new natural gas generating facilities in New England and a significant mischarging dispute at FERC, among other matters.
Mr. DeBruin also has extensive civil litigation experience beyond the energy industry. He has served as lead trial counsel for General Dynamics, General Electric, Honeywell, Prudential, and other companies in fraud, False Claims Act, and qui tam cases. He served as trial and appellate counsel for General Dynamics in the successful defense of an action brought by the United States in SDNY seeking more than $300 million under the False Claims Act, and he has represented General Dynamics in billion-dollar contract dispute and government claims matters. He served as lead trial counsel for independent booksellers in an antitrust case that went to trial in federal court in San Francisco, obtaining significant injunctive relief.
In appellate matters, Mr. DeBruin has argued cases before the United States Supreme Court, almost every federal Circuit court, and state courts of last resort in New York, Ohio, Georgia, Texas, and other states. He argued and obtained a unanimous decision in favor of his clients in a RICO case, Bridge v. Phoenix Bond & Indemnity Co., 553 U.S. 639 (2008), and he was appointed by the Supreme Court to argue and defend the judgment below in favor of the United States in Clay v. United States, 537 U.S. 522 (2003). Mr. DeBruin served as one of the principal lawyers for Theodore B. Olson in Morrison v. Olson, 487 U.S. 654 (1988), the case involving the constitutionality of the independent counsel statute. In Grutter v. Bollinger, 539 U.S. 306 (2003), Mr. DeBruin represented Microsoft, General Electric, and 63 other leading American businesses in support of the efforts of the University of Michigan to admit a diverse student body.
Mr. DeBruin also maintains an active pro bono practice and currently serves as lead counsel for inmates on death row in Georgia, Alabama, and Texas. He served for many years on the Steering Committee of the ABA Death Penalty Representation Project and as Vice Chair of the Pro Bono Committee of the District of Columbia Bar. Among numerous awards, he was recognized by the District of Columbia Bar as its 2009 Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year, and in 2013 he received the Frederick Douglass Equal Justice Award from the Southern Center for Human Rights. He is recognized by Chambers 2020 as Litigation: General Commercial – Band 1 (District of Columbia).