• 406-255-7242
  • Billings, MT
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David L. Charles  Of Counsel

David Charles is Of Counsel in the Litigation Department. He has tried well over 100 civil jury cases to verdict in state and federal courts in multiple jurisdictions. His specialty is civil jury trial work, both plaintiff and defense, with types of cases tried including lender liability claims, general commercial disputes of all types, personal injury, product liability, employment, trade secrets, Lanham Act, medical and other professional malpractice, various types of estate disputes, real estate issues and condemnation matters. In addition David has tried cases involving the oil and gas industry in Montana and North Dakota courts. He also has tried numerous civil non jury cases of all types and has handled appellate work of all types.

David graduated with High Distinction from the University of Iowa College of Law in 1974 subsequent to receiving a political science degree in 1972, graduating Magna Cum Laude from Parsons College in Fairfield, Iowa. He has been Board Certified as a Trial Advocate by National Board of Trial Advocacy since 1989. After practicing law for thirty years in Iowa he moved his practice to Montana but still maintains an office and practice in Des Moines, Iowa.

He has an AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell and was named as one of the top 100 lawyers in the Mountain State Region in 2016. He has been named in Best Lawyers in America in various litigation categories since 2003 and been included in Mountain State Super Lawyers since 2010.

Practice Areas

Bar Admissions

  • Iowa, 1975
  • Montana, 2003
  • North Dakota, 2013
  • Numerous pro hac vice in various jurisdictions including Washington, Wyoming, Maryland, Kansas, Mississippi, Nevada, Nebraska
  • United States District Courts in Iowa, Northern and Southern Districts, and in Montana
  • Eighth Circuit and Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
  • United States Supreme Court


  • 1974 - J.D., University of Iowa College of Law
  • 1972 - University of Denver and Parsons College

Awards and Honors

  • Best Lawyers in America for Commercial Litigation, Personal Injury Litigation-Defendants, and Personal Injury Litigation-Plaintiffs (2003-Present)
  • Mountain States Super Lawyers for Business Litigation(2010-2015)
  • AV Preeminent Rating by Martindale-Hubbell
  • Order of the Coif
  • Board Certified by National Board of Trial Advocacy since 1986
  • Iowa Academy of Trial Lawyers
  • Litigation Counsel of America, Fellow

Community and Professional Involvement

  • Iowa Jobs Commission and Iowa State Historical (Board 1978-1986)
  • Children's Habilitation Center in Des Moines Board of Directors (1986-1994)
  • Polk County Bar Association
  • Iowa Bar Association Board of Governors (1986-1995)
  • Yellowstone County Bar Treasurer (2004)
  • Cub Scouts Asst. Pack Leader, Committeeman and Treasurer-Pack 12, (2008-2013)
  • Extensive political experience 1975-1994 including managing a campaign for statewide office

Prior Experience

  • I. Appellate Cases:
  • Baur v. Baur Farms, Inc., Iowa Court of Appeals, July 27, 2016, No. 14-1412 (unpublished disposition)
  • Baur v. Baur Farms, Inc., Iowa Supreme Court, 832 N.W.2d 663 (Iowa 2013)
  • Feller v. First Interstate Bancsystem, Inc., 369 Mont. 444 (Mont. 2013)
  • Flagstone Development, LLC v. Joyner, 545 Fed. Appx. 602 (Mont. 2013)
  • Three Minnows, LLC v. Cream, LLC, 832 N.W.2d 385 (Iowa 2013)
  • In re Estate of Nelson, Iowa Court of Appeals, 814 N.W.2d 623 (2012)
  • In re Estate of Nelson, Iowa Court of Appeals, 780 N.W.2d 248 (2010)
  • Baur v. Baur Farms, Inc., Iowa Court of Appeals, 780 NW2d 249 (2010)
  • Silver Hill Financial Bayview Loan Servicing, LLC v. Mosser, 354 Mont. 393 (Mont. 2009)
  • In re Estate of Anderson-Feeley, 340 Mont. 352 (Mont. 2007)
  • Caylor-Campbell Farm Trust ex rel. Campbell v. Howe, 720 N.W.2d 195 (Iowa 2006)
  • Lincoln National Life Insurance Co v. Payne., 374 F.3d 672 (Eighth Cir. 2004)
  • Harvey v. Care Initiatives, Inc., 634 N.W.2d 681 (Iowa 2001)
  • EFCO Corp. v. Alumna Sys. USA, 268 F.3d 601 (8th Cir. 2001)
  • EFCO Corp. v. Norman Highway Constructors, Inc., 606 N.W.2d 297 (Iowa 2000)
  • EFCO Corp. v. Symons Corp., 219 F.3d 734 (8th Cir. 2000)
  • Robbins v. Heritage Acres, 587 N.W.2d 262 (Iowa 1998)
  • Matter of the Estate of Todd, 585 N.W.2d 273 (Iowa 1998)
  • Nelson v. Agro Globe Engineering, Inc., 578 N.W.2d 659 (Iowa 1998)
  • Cox v. Dubuque Bank & Trust Co., 163 F.3d 492 (8th Cir. 1998)
  • Kempeke v. Monsanto Co, 132 F.3d 442 (8th Cir. 1998)
  • State ex rel. Miller v. Grodzinsky, 571 N.W.2d 1 (Iowa 1997)
  • Waddell v. Forney, 108 F.3d 889 (8th Cir. 1997)
  • Transform, Ltd. v. Assessor of Polk County, Iowa, 543 N.W.2d 614 (Iowa 1996)
  • Wilson v. Darr, 553 N.W.2d 579 (Iowa 1996)
  • United States of America v. Articles of Drug for Veterinary Use, 50 F.3d 497 (8th Cir. 1995)
  • Haupt v. Miller, 514 N.W.2d 905 (Iowa 1994)
  • Engstrand v. West Des Moines State Bank, 516 N.W.2d 797 (Iowa 1994)
  • In re Marriage of Hankenson, 503 N.W.2d 431 (Iowa 1993)
  • Citizens State Bank of Des Moines v. Hansen, 449 N.W.2d 388 (Iowa 1989)
  • Federal Deposit Ins. Corp. v. First Interstate Bank of Des Moines, N.A., 885 F.2d 423, 58 U.S. L.W. 2260, 28 Fed.R.Evid.Serv. 1188 (8th Cir. 1989)
  • Kaiser Agr. Chemicals, a Div. of Kaiser Aluminum & Chemical Corp. v. Ottumwa Production Credit Ass’n., 428 N.W.2d 681 (Iowa 1988)
  • Sioux County State Bank v. Veenstra, 372 N.W.2d 309 (Iowa 1985)
  • First Nat. Bank of Creston v. Creston Implement Co., 340 N.W.2d 777 (Iowa 1983)
  • Bankers Trust Co. v. Woltz, 326 N.W.2d 274 (Iowa 1982)
  • Xerox Corp. v. Board of Review of City of Cedar Rapids, 298 N.W.2d 416 (Iowa 1980)
  • Chicago and North Western Transp. Co. v. Hurst Excavating, Inc, 498 F.Supp 1 (D.C. Iowa 1978)
  • 1975-1977, Assistant Secretary of Iowa Senate

  • II. Representative cases David has tried since 2005 include those listed below. (He has tried other cases since 2005 involving lender liability, breach of contract, nuisance and various other tort claims )
  • 2005 Flying J. Inc., et al. Oil field accident, wrongful death claim against client. Tried to a jury in Montana Federal Court. Defense verdict August, 2005.
  • 2006 C & N Development Breach of contract, fraud and related claims asserted by client. Tried to a Polk County, Iowa jury. Verdict for client $305,364.96.
  • 2006 Estate of Louise Nelson Undue influence claim prosecuted for client. Tried to Guthrie County Iowa District Court October 2006. Verdict in client’s favor. All disputed transactions set aside by the Court.
  • 2008 EFCO Corp. individually and on behalf of others similarly situated Class action initiated on behalf of client seeking recovery as a result of a demutualization. Tried to a jury in Polk County Iowa District Court. Verdict for client class on 4/9/08 - $41,927,983.35
  • 2008 Hadachek, James as Personal Rep. of the Estate of MJA Undue influence claim prosecuted for client. Tried to a jury in Montana Federal Court. Jury verdict for the client on 5/2/08, $3,900,351.32 in compensatory damages and $50,000 in punitive damages
  • 2009 EFCO Corp, Charles Watrous, et al. Injured employee claimed gross negligence by client supervisors. Tried to a jury in Polk County Iowa District Court. Verdict for the defense.
  • 2011 Robert F. Baur Plaintiff alleged fraud by client and claimed oppression as a minority shareholder in a closely held farm corporation controlled by client. Case tried to the Madison County District Court in March, 2011. Decision in client’s favor. Case reversed by Iowa Supreme Court.
  • 2011 First Interstate Bank Client sued with plaintiff making various lender liability claims. Case tried to a jury in Yellowstone County Montana District Court in February, 2011. Defense verdict.
  • 2011 First Interstate Bank Claim of conversion against client as a result of its decision to offset $2,623,396.40 in depositor’s account to apply to an outstanding debt he guaranteed. Tried to a jury in Yellowstone County, Montana. Jury returned a verdict in April, 2011 finding offset wrongful offset but awarded depositor only the $2,623,396.40 offset and denying plaintiff punitive damages. Client ultimately obtained summary judgment against the depositor for the amount of the unpaid debt.
  • 2011 Yellowstone Bank Lender liability claim against client. Tried to a jury in Gallatin County, Montana District Court in June 2011. Defense verdict.
  • 2011 Stuart A. Davis Product liability claim prosecuted for client against manufacturer of a pain pump. Tried to a jury in U.S. District Court for Montana in August, 2011. Jury returned verdict on 8/16/11 finding the product defective but finding that state of the art was a defense. Case subsequently settled for six figures.
  • 2012 CREAM, LLC Plaintiff claimed breach of contract and fiduciary duty resulting from a limited liability company transaction. Trial to a jury in Polk County Iowa District Court in January, 2012. Directed verdict in client’s favor.
  • 2013 West Bank Client sued by depositor alleging various claims arising from the payment of checks drawn on his account. Tried to a jury in Polk County Iowa District Court. Directed verdict entered in client’s favor at the close of plaintiff’s case.
  • 2014 Robert F. Baur Retrial of plaintiff’s oppression claim resurrected by the Iowa Supreme Court. Case tried to the Madison County Iowa District Court in March, 2014. Client prevailed in trial court again. Case affirmed on appeal by the Iowa Court of Appeals on 7/27/16.
  • 2016 John Holt/Holt Oil Properties, Inc. Plaintiff sued alleging client was liable to him for more than $27 million as a result of a joint venture lease play in the Bakken. Tried to a jury in U.S. District Court sitting in Fargo, ND in April, 2016. Defense verdict.

  • III. Prior Work Experience:
  • 1977-1994, Gamble Riepe Webster Davis & Green, Des Moines, IA
  • 1994-2005, Belin McCormick, Des Moines, IA

Professional Affiliations

  • Iowa State Bar Association
  • State Bar of Montana
  • North Dakota State Bar Association
  • American Bar Association-Litigation Section
  • National Board of Trial Advocacy
  • American Association for Justice
  • Iowa Defense Counsel
  • Iowa Academy of Trial Lawyers
  • Litigation Counsel of America
  • Iowa Association for Justice
  • American Society of Legal Advocates
  • Polk County Bar Association
  • Montana Defense Counsel
  • Montana Trial Lawyers