Rottier Honored as Trial Lawyer of the Year
WAJ’s First Two-Time Honoree
The Wisconsin Association for Justice (WAJ) is proud to announce that Attorney Daniel A. Rottier of Madison has earned the 2019 Robert L. Habush Trial Lawyer of the Year honor. Dan is the 20th recipient of the Wisconsin Trail Lawyer of the Year Award. The only two-time winner of the award, Rottier was also honored as the 9th annual recipient in 2008.
Daniel Rottier is the President of Habush Habush & Rottier, a law firm with offices throughout the state. In addition to managing the firm, Dan handles complex medical malpractice and product liability cases. While practicing primarily in Wisconsin, his career has brought him to courts in 20 other states and to the United States Supreme Court.
His career began in an era where many more cases were tried before a jury than there are today. By 1990, Dan had tried 100 jury trials. Few lawyers today are able to spend as much time in the court room. The frequency of jury trials has long been in decline in Wisconsin and throughout the country. For example, in 2018, there were only 201 civil jury trials in the state of Wisconsin (for tort cases). The fact that Dan continues to try cases is a key reason why he is the first repeat honoree.
Not only does Dan Rottier continue to try cases, but he also repeatedly takes on some of the most challenging types, including medical negligence claims. By taking on these cases, Dan has proven he will continue to the fight for justice even against towering odds. Rottier successfully represented Ascaris Mayo at trial, obtaining a favorable verdict, and a favorable decision in the intermediate Court of Appeals.
Notably, Rottier has used his cases to obtain favorable results and improve public policy – even for people who were not his clients. This year, Rottier used information learned in the representation of Venkatasathvik Mallidi (a boy who suffered significant injuries while undergoing an operation for a tethered spinal cord at six weeks of age) to force an increase in compensation paid to past victims for their ongoing medical care.
For years prior to Mallidi, the Injured Patients and Families Compensation Fund (IPFCF) retained a portion of future medical expenses and invested them at extremely low rates of return, less than 0.5%. Rottier persuaded the IPFCF to correct the investment strategy for his client. He went further; his efforts led to the IPFCF applying the change to those who were drawing on past settlements. Rottier’s strategy led to a $13 million one-time increase that is expected to yield millions in additional yearly returns for those patients being compensated by the Fund.
“Dan’s work in these cases and throughout his career continues to inspire lawyers throughout the state. He is a prime example of somebody who has used their career to nudge the law in ways that benefit injured people and consumers,” said incoming WAJ President Beverly Wickstrom of Eau Claire.
Dan is a 1976 graduate of the University of Wisconsin Law School. He has taught trial advocacy at the University of Wisconsin Law School and is a frequent lecturer on trial practice techniques and the use of technology in litigation. He resides in Madison with his wife, Frankie.
About the Award:
The Robert L. Habush Trial Lawyer Of The Year Award was created in 2000 to recognize a Wisconsin attorney who had made significant contributions to the trial bar by handling a case involving significant change in the law; prosecuting a precedent setting or extraordinarily challenging case; or to recognize those who merit the honor due to their service to the organization or the public at large.
The award was presented at Wisconsin Association for Justice’s annual Winter Conference and President’s Dinner at the Pfister Hotel on December 6.
The Wisconsin Association for Justice was founded in 1957. As the largest statewide voluntary bar association, WAJ’s mission is ensuring a fair and effective civil justice system and the protection of the Constitutional right to a civil jury trial.