Don Downing, ’82, was named a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. Downing is currently vice president of the St. Louis plaintiff law firm Gray, Ritter & Graham, P.C. He practices in the areas of class actions, mass torts, and complex commercial litigation.
Downing was one of four co-lead plaintiff counsel who, in 2018, obtained a $1.51 billion settlement with Switzerland-based Syngenta on behalf of U.S. corn growers in a nationwide class action lawsuit. It is believed to be the largest agricultural settlement in U.S. history. He previously was a national co-lead counsel representing thousands of U.S. rice farmers and other related businesses in multidistrict litigation over contaminated rice supplies. He led negotiations that resulted in a $750 million settlement for the plaintiffs. Additional settlement payments to affected businesses brought the total settlement payments to over $1 billion.
Downing was a member of the University of Missouri Board of Curators from 2009 to 2014, serving as chairman in 2014. In 2011, he received the Citation of Merit, the University of Missouri School of Law’s highest honor.