Heather White leads the firm’s Governmental Law Practice Group. She focuses on the defense of governments in high profile civil rights disputes.
Heather defends governmental entities and their officers against complaints asserting the deprivation of civil rights. These include all types of claims of alleged misconduct, such as excessive force, search and seizure, wrongful arrest, false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, abuse of process and denial of medical care, to name a few. At any given time, Heather is involved in multiple officer-involved shooting cases through inception, including investigations by the Department of Justice and press inquiries, through conclusion.
Heather deeply respects her Utah police officer clients and their dedication to society at great personal expense. She listens closely to determine their individual needs – whether in out-of-court settlements or in public trials. To better understand and closely connect with her clients, and the matters they are involved in, she regularly participates in police ride-alongs, is certified by the Force Science Institute and conducts training sessions for law enforcement throughout the state, including entities who are not her clients.
Heather also represents the two primary insurers of government entities in the State of Utah—the Utah Risk Management Agency and the Utah Local Governments Trust—as well as a number of self-insured governmental agencies. She believes in the importance of educating her clients on legally-related elements of their complex, public careers. In this effort, she regularly speaks to agencies and insurers on police training issues, liability, risk management, and incident-prevention issues.
Heather has tried many governmental civil rights cases to a favorable defense verdict in state and federal trial and appeals courts. In addition, Heather regularly defends governments against claims involving accidents with government vehicles and premises liability, such as “slip and fall” accidents that might involve sidewalks, water meters, or swimming pools, cemeteries, playgrounds, recreational centers, and others.