An experienced courtroom litigator with a passion for civil rights, Erik Heipt is a member of the Washington and California 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’s cases have been prominently featured in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Newsweek Magazine, CNN, NBC, CBS, NPR, the Huffington Post, and a host of other well-known news organizations.

Erik has a particular interest in obtaining justice for families who have lost loved ones due to jail and prison neglect and in excessive force cases against the police. He has unique experience in handling cases involving wrongful death and serious injuries as a result of police shootings, asphyxia, 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 is regularly 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. Erik spends most of his free time with his family. Erik also enjoys running, biking, swimming, and competing in local races.

Federal Courtroom Experience

  • Represented victims of civil rights violations for nearly three 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, county government agencies, and for-profit correctional companies

Litigation Focus

  • Wrongful death by police
  • Wrongful death in jail or prison
  • Traumatic brain injury in police or jail/prison cases
  • Police shootings
  • Drug and alcohol withdrawal death in jail or prison
  • Restraint asphyxia and suffocation

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.