Don M. Downing

Location: St. Louis, Missouri
Phone: 314-241-5620
800-451-2950 (Toll Free)
Fax: 314-241-4140
Email: E-mail Don M. Downing










Don Downing is a former managing partner of the St. Louis office of one of the region's largest law firms.

His private practice has focused on complex commercial litigation. He has represented large and small businesses in complex commercial disputes, including banks in insurance coverage litigation and other commercial disputes, Big Four accounting firms in securities and malpractice litigation, and cities, school districts and other public entities.

Mr. Downing has also represented farming entities in numerous cases.  In 2020, as the court-appointed Chair of the Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee in the dicamba crop damage multidistrict litigation, he led negotiations on behalf of famers in several states that resulted in a $400 million settlement agreement with Monsanto.

In 2015, Mr. Downing was appointed national co-lead plaintiff counsel in multi-district litigation involving U.S. corn growers’ claims that actions by Switzerland-based Syngenta with its genetically modified strains of corn led to the loss of a chief market for U.S. corn, causing them economic harm.

In 2017, in the first certified state class action bellwether trial, he and the three other co-lead plaintiff counsel won a $217.7 million verdict on behalf of Kansas corn farmers.  That verdict amount equaled 100 percent of actual damages requested by co-lead counsel.  Following the verdict he was named a recipient of a 2018 “Influential Lawyer” award by Missouri Lawyers Weekly.

In 2018 he and the other co-lead plaintiff counsel obtained a $1.51 billion settlement of the nationwide class action lawsuit, believed to be the largest agriculture litigation settlement in U.S. history. It was named the Largest Plaintiff’s Settlement in 2018 by Missouri Lawyers Weekly.

He was appointed national co-lead counsel for thousands of plaintiff farming operations in multi-district litigation involving contamination of the U.S. rice supply by genetically modified rice. He was lead trial counsel in three bellwether rice cases, and obtained plaintiffs' verdicts totaling in the millions of dollars. Mr. Downing led a negotiation that resulted in a global settlement of that litigation for $750 million. Additional settlement payments to affected businesses have brought total settlement payments to over $1 billion.

He has represented hundreds of farmers in several states and recovered millions of dollars in cases involving defective cotton seed and crop damage caused by herbicide drift. He has obtained a multimillion dollar settlement for a class of farmers in a federal court lawsuit against the federal government. He also has represented farmers in several states in antitrust claims against seed and technology providers.

Mr. Downing  was named the Best Lawyers in Americ's® 2022 St. Louis Litigation - Bankding and Finance "Lawyer of the Year," the Best Lawyers 2020 St. Louis Litigation – Banking and Finance "Lawyer of the Year," the Best Lawyers 2018 St. Louis Litigation – Banking and Finance "Lawyer of the Year," Best Lawyers 2014 St. Louis Litigation – Banking and Finance "Lawyer of the Year" and Best Lawyers 2013 St. Louis Litigation – Antitrust "Lawyer of the Year." He is also listed in Best Lawyers in the categories of Commercial Litigation, Mass Tort Litigation/Class Action – Plaintiffs, Litigation – Antitrust, and Litigation – Banking & Finance. He has an AV Preeminent Peer Review Rating from Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, which is the highest given.

Mr. Downing has been annually selected to Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers since 2006, in the area of Business Litigation. He has been named among the Top 50 attorneys in St. Louis and the Top 100 attorneys in Missouri and Kansas by the publication. He is included in the Lawdragon 500 Leading Lawyers in America.

A native of Kennett, Missouri, Mr. Downing earned a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of Missouri in 1979, and his law degree from the University of Missouri School of Law in 1982.

Mr. Downing has served on the University of Missouri Law School Foundation Board of Trustees and the Law Library Campaign Committee. He received the Law School's highest award, the Citation of Merit. In 2009, he was appointed by Governor Jay Nixon and confirmed by the Missouri Senate to serve on the University of Missouri Board of Curators for a term ending January 1, 2015.

He is licensed to practice in Missouri and Illinois, as well as before the Supreme Court of the United States, the Eighth Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern and Western Districts of Missouri, and the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois.

Mr. Downing is a Fellow of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers and a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.  He is a Missouri Lawyers Weekly 2020 ICON Award recipient.

Areas of Practice
Commercial Litigation
Antitrust Litigation

Bar Admissions
Missouri, 1982
Illinois, 1983
U.S. District Court Eastern District of Missouri
U.S. District Court Western District of Missouri
U.S. District Court Southern District of Illinois
U.S. Court of Appeals 8th Circuit
U.S. Supreme Court

University of Missouri School of Law, Columbia, Missouri
J.D. - 1982
Law Review: Missouri Law Review

University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri
B.S.cum laude - 1979
Major: Economics

Published Works
Committee Bars Section 1983 Action for Unconstitutional Ad- ministration of State Tax System 47 Missouri Law Review 897, 1982

Enforcement of Due-On-Sale Clause by Federal Savings & Loan Association 47 Missouri Law Review 366, 1982

Honorary Recognition and Awards
Missouri Lawyers Weekly ICON Award, 2020

Best Lawyers In America ® 2018 St. Louis Litigation – Banking and Finance Lawyer of the Year

Member, The Missouri Bar Task Force on Complex Litigation

Best Lawyers 2016 St. Louis Lawyer of the Year - Banking & Finance 

Best Lawyers 2014 St. Louis Lawyer of the Year - Banking & Finance Litigation

Best Lawyers 2013 St. Louis Litigation: Antitrust Lawyer of the Year

2012 Lawdragon 500 Leading Lawyers in America

Named National Litigator of the Week, American Lawyer Litigation Daily, July 7, 2011

The Best Lawyers in America, 2005 - Present

Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers, 2006 - Present

2011 Recipient, Citation of Merit from the University of Missouri School of Law

Appointed by the judges of the United States Court for the Eastern District of Missouri to serve as a member of the merit selection panel for the appointment of a United States Magistrate Judge, 2013

Professional Associations and Memberships
Faculty-Alumni Award, Mizzou Alumni Association, 2015

Chairman, University of Missouri Board of Curators, 2014

Member, University of Missouri Board of Curators, 2009-2014

University of Missouri Law School Foundation, Board of Trustees, Law Library Campaign Committee

University of Missouri Jefferson Club

National Benevolent Association, Chair, Board of Directors, Legal Committee

Fellow, American Bar Foundation