Attorneys Focusing on Wrongful Death and Serious Injury Due to Excessive Police Force and Jail/Prison Misconduct
For nearly two decades, Hank Balson has devoted his legal career to helping individuals and groups challenge civil rights abuses by governments and corporations. He became of counsel to Budge & Heipt in 2017.
Following law school, Hank served as a staff attorney with a statewide legal services organization in Washington, where he litigated class actions and individual claims on behalf of prisoners challenging the conditions of their confinement. He represented clients in state and federal courts, at the trial and appellate levels, in cases aimed at securing constitutionally adequate medical care, eliminating gender and disability discrimination, obtaining basic and special education services, enforcing public disclosure laws, and opposing violations of other state and federal rights.
In 2007 Hank became a partner at a private civil rights firm in Seattle, where he continued to litigate constitutional claims on behalf of prisoners, including a major statewide class action brought by women who had been sexually abused by prison staff. He also represented individuals and groups challenging civil rights violations by their employers.
Hank has obtained favorable settlements and jury verdicts for numerous clients throughout his career. His work is driven by his staunch belief that the lives of prisoners and police detainees have the same value as the lives of free people. As a society, we entrust our police and prison officials with enormous power and serious responsibilities. And when government officials harm someone in their custody by abusing that power or ignoring those responsibilities, we must hold them accountable. In addition to his work on behalf of his clients, Hank helps to promote civil rights laws as a member of the board of directors of the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington.
Hank is admitted to practice in all state and federal courts in Washington, and before the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. Outside of his lawyer life, Hank volunteers with a local hospice organization. He also enjoys running and yoga, which he balances with a robust appetite for cookies and ice cream.
Federal Courtroom Experience
Significant civil rights litigation experience
Focus on prisoner and inmate rights cases involving denial of medical care
Favorable jury verdicts and settlements in civil rights cases
Federal court experience at trial court and appellate levels
Victories and favorable settlements against state and local entities
A highly skilled trial attorney with more than 20 years of litigation experience, Ed has won some of the highest verdicts and settlements in the country for victims of police brutality and jail/prison abuse.
A veteran courtroom litigator with over two decades of trial experience and a passion for civil rights, Erik has won multiple verdicts and settlements in high-profile police brutality and jail/prison misconduct cases.
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.