Attorneys Focusing on Wrongful Death and Serious Injury Due to Excessive Police Force and Jail/Prison Misconduct
Erik J. Heipt
An experienced courtroom litigator with a passion for civil rights, Erik Heipt is a member of the Washington, California, and District of Columbia bars. Erik graduated from the University of Colorado in 1991 and received his law degree in 1994 from Willamette University College of Law, where he was Associate Editor of the Willamette Law Review.
Following law school, Erik clerked for Justice Mario Ramil of the Hawaii Supreme Court. After finishing his one-year judicial clerkship, Erik worked for two years as a litigation associate for the law firm of Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson in Washington D.C., where he worked alongside nationally prominent attorneys on a variety of complex civil litigation cases.
Erik came to Seattle in 1998 to join his former law school classmate, Ed Budge, and the two of them formed Budge & Heipt—a law firm dedicated to representing family members and victims of police brutality and excessive force, as well as family members and victims of jail abuse, neglect or misconduct that causes serious injury or death.
Erik has a particular interest in all manner of excessive force cases against police and has unique experience in handling cases involving wrongful death and serious injuries as a result of police shootings, asphyxia and suffocation, and other forms of police force. In pursuing these cases, Erik routinely works with some of the nation’s foremost medical, forensic, and law enforcement experts. He has taken hundreds of depositions of police officers, sheriff’s deputies, opposing experts, and others at locations throughout the country.
Erik has litigated multiple jury trials in state and federal courts in Washington as well as federal courts around the country. He has won many favorable jury verdicts and settlements on behalf of plaintiffs in civil rights cases, totaling in the tens of millions of dollars. Erik has been selected as a “Super Lawyer” by Washington Law & Politics Magazine, an honor given to less than 5% of attorneys in the State of Washington.
Erik Heipt lives in Seattle with his wife, Wendy, who is also an attorney, and their two daughters. Erik spends most of his free time with his family. Erik also enjoys running, biking, and swimming, regularly competes in local races, and is a volunteer coach of a middle-school girls’ cross-country team.
Federal Courtroom Experience
Represented victims of civil rights violations for two decades
Litigated in federal court in multiple states
Many high-profile civil rights jury trials
Experienced in wrongful death and traumatic brain injury cases
Won cases for victims of police brutality and jail/prison mistreatment
Defeated federal, state, and county government agencies
Wrongful death by police
Wrongful death in jail or prison
Traumatic brain injury in police or jail/prison cases
Drug and alcohol withdrawal death in jail or prison
Reported by the Seattle Times: Attorneys Obtain Police Shooting Settlement of $2.5 Million The state Department of Corrections has agreed to pay $2.5 million to a man who survived 16 gunshots fired by a corrections officer and King County sheriff’s deputy in 2012, ending a lawsuit in which the judge raised serious questions about what […]
Seattle Times reports on $1.75 million settlement obtained by police brutality lawyers, Budge & Heipt: The city of Seattle will pay $1.75 million to a mentally ill man who suffered severe brain damage during a violent arrest involving 15 Seattle police officers in May 2010. Brian Scott Torgerson’s father had filed a federal civil-rights lawsuit […]
On October 12, 2004, Jefferson County, Washington, agreed to pay $1.6 million to settle a lawsuit arising from the wrongful death of Kevin Bledsoe in the Jefferson County Jail. The settlement is one of the largest ever for excessive use of force by a county in the Pacific Northwest, according to the family’s attorneys. On […]
In one of the largest police brutality verdicts in the history of the Northwest, Amy Conroy was awarded $8 million on Feb.2 by an Oregon federal district court jury. The jury found Oregon State patrolman David T. Henry guilty of excessive force. “I think the jury is sending a message, and they wanted their voices […]
If you or a loved one has been a victim of serious injury and/or death at the hands of police or in jail or prison, tell us about your case.