Ms. Downs focuses her representation on hospitals, large specialty groups, and multi-specialty groups and individual health care providers in a variety of medical and nursing specialties in professional malpractice claims before the circuit courts of Maryland and the United States District Court for the District of Maryland. In addition, Ms. Downs has extensive experience in the defense of professional negligence, products liability and a myriad of personal injury claims.
Ms. Downs represents self-insured institutions including The Johns Hopkins Hospital, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center and University of Maryland Medical Systems, and insurance companies including Princeton Insurance Company, Preferred Professional Insurance Company, Professional Risk Management Services, Inc., HPIX, and The Doctors Company.
Ms. Downs is highly experienced in trial presentations, building highly successful outcomes through tenacious and thorough preparation, especially in complex and complicated cases. Her skills and success in the courtroom begin with preparing for all aspects of defending a case, from initial motions practice through discovery and ultimately to trial. After trying nearly 200 jury trials in various courts, Ms. Downs’ trial skills are well documented in the region. She has successfully tried cases in both Circuit and Federal District courts, uniquely qualifying her in this specialty. Among her peers, she is considered fearless in court.
Representative cases she has tried through successful verdict include highly emotional and complex cases such as maternal death; wrongful death caused by dialysis catheter insertion; brain damage to child from alleged inappropriate treatment of status epilepticus; wrongful birth of a Down syndrome child following alleged negligent advice on an abnormal MSAFP; plaintiff who developed pancreatitis following an ERCP; wrongful death from undiagnosed PE; injury to knee from alleged negligent design of a knee brace; emotional and psychiatric injury from admitted sexual relationship with a psychiatrist; emotional injury from denied sexual relationship with psychiatrist; and birth trauma cases.
Ms. Downs lectures frequently to doctors and lawyers on issues relating to trial advocacy and trial skills. She served on the faculty of the International Association of Defense Counsel’s Trial Academy at Stanford University in July 2014. Her strong commitment to trial advocacy includes lecturing to law students on trial advocacy and deposition training at the law schools of the University of Maryland and University of Baltimore and through the Maryland State Bar Association.
Ms. Downs has been honored by election as a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and awarded membership in the American Board of Trial Advocates as well as the International Association of Defense Counsel. Ms. Downs has been selected by peers for work in the field of Medical Malpractice and Personal Injury Defense by Best Lawyers in America, every year since 2009. She is AV Preeminent rated by Martindale-Hubbell.
She has organized and been defense counsel in several mock trials, including those presented before the department of emergency medicine at The Johns Hopkins Hospital as well as the department of anesthesiology at The Johns Hopkins Hospital.
- Medical Professional Liability Defense
- Professional Liability
- Health Law
- General Liability
- United States District Court for the District of Maryland
- United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
- University of Maryland School of Law, J.D., 1982
- Mount Saint Mary’s College, B.A., summa cum laude, 1979
- American College of Trial Lawyers
- American Board of Trial Advocates
- International Association of Defense Counsel
- Maryland State Bar Association
- Baltimore County Bar Association
- Maryland Defense Counsel
- Women’s Law Center
- MD-DC Society of Hospital Risk Management
Honors and Awards
- Rated AV Preeminent – Martindale Hubbell