Senior Counsel

David D. Burnett


David Burnett applies 15 years of experience to investigate complex economic and scientific issues in product liability, securities, and environmental litigation.

David is a part of Motley Rice’s team representing dozens of governmental entities, including states, counties, and cities, in litigation arising from the nationwide opioid crisis. He has taken and defended dozens of depositions of experts and governmental employees in these cases. He worked closely with experts on written reports, depositions, and trial testimony, including epidemiologists who quantify abatement needs and economists who quantify harms and abatement costs.
David represents investors in complex securities fraud class actions, including suits against Amazon, AbbVie, and Qualcomm. His work involves drafting complaints and briefs and working with experts. He previously worked on a class action against NYSE, Nasdaq, and BATS, alleging that the stock exchanges enabled high-frequency traders’ manipulation of the markets, in which he deposed the President of NYSE.

David also represents the New Jersey Attorney General’s office in environmental litigation arising from a Superfund site outside Philadelphia. The property, a former metal-plating factory, allegedly leached contaminated water into the drinking supply. Motley Rice is pursuing litigation to recover cleanup costs. He also helped originate and develop a case arising from workplace exposure to toxic chemicals. David is exploring further toxic-tort litigation with environmental non-profits.
David’s work also includes representing a consumer in Motley Rice’s Proton Pump Inhibitor case against major pharmaceutical companies, alleging kidney injury from stomach-acid medication. He also worked with victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks on documenting their harms at Ground Zero, helping to obtain monetary judgments through a Victims’ Compensation Fund.
Prior to joining Motley Rice, David served as a vice president of underwriting at Burford Capital, a leading litigation finance firm, where he evaluated the legal and economic merits of 50 potential investments in lawsuits and monitored dozens of active litigation investments. He gained experience in cost-benefit analysis of litigation and structuring financing terms commensurate with legal risks.
Previously, David worked for 11 years as an associate and of counsel at Quinn Emanuel in New York, where he represented institutional investors as plaintiffs in litigation arising from losses on mortgage-backed securities and CDOs following the 2008 financial crisis. He recovered hundreds of millions of dollars* in dozens of favorable settlements for plaintiffs in these suits.

During law school David was selected as a Hardy Cross Dillard Fellow (a teaching assistant in Legal Research and Writing), worked with professors as a journal editor, and published two journal articles.
Outside of work, David has served on the Board of Advisors of the Appalachian Mountain Club, the nation’s oldest conservation nonprofit, for eight years. He is the President of the Abenaki Tower and Trail Association, a century-old conservation organization in New Hampshire. Before law school, among other roles, David worked with at-risk youths for Outward Bound and bicycled across the country for charity.
The Importance of Data and Data Analysis in Litigation,’ Law360 (June 2022)

* Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.


J.D., University of Virginia School of Law, 2007

M.A., University of Texas at Austin, 2002

B.A. with high honors and distinction, University of Virginia, 1999

Licensed In

  • District of Columbia
  • New York

Admitted to Practice Before

U.S. District Courts for the Northern District of Illinois, District of Columbia and the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York