Ryan A. Williams Partner




Ryan Williams represents clients in complex premises liability and high-exposure general liability cases, construction defect matters, trucking and transportation matters, professional liability on behalf of architects and engineers, and nursing home and elder law matters. In addition, Ryan handles real estate litigation; commercial disputes in federal and state courts; and employment litigation, representing employers in cases arising under state and federal fair employment practices statutes. He has prevailed in numerous jury and court trials, and has extensive appellate experience before the Colorado Court of Appeals and Colorado Supreme Court. This wide-ranging experience enables Ryan to effectively represent clients at all stages of litigation. He partners with national and regional insurers to achieve effective defense strategies and resolution of claims in these areas.

Ryan clerked for the Honorable JoAnn L. Vogt of the Colorado Court of Appeals, where he researched and wrote on a broad range of legal topics, including commercial and real estate disputes, insurance law, and corporate, shareholder and fiduciary responsibilities. He then moved to a prominent Denver business firm, where he specialized in construction and real estate litigation. The son of a contractor, Ryan understands the unique needs of construction professionals and the legal issues they and their insurers face.

Areas of Focus

Commercial Litigation
Ryan's practice includes commercial and breach of contract lawsuits as well as a background in corporate transactional matters, and reviewing, drafting and negotiating contracts, leases and credit and security agreements.

Insurance Defense
Claims and litigation management, particularly in the areas of premises liability and catastrophic personal injury, is a mainstay of Ryan’s practice. Recognized for his involvement in high-exposure cases, he also handles more modest and less far-reaching matters with the same levels of rigor and discipline. Ryan's experience in both trial and appellate courts, combined with pragmatism and a willingness to work toward outcomes in his clients’ best interest, provides tailored resolutions to their most complex problems. Often engaged as monitoring counsel, Ryan provides prompt analysis and evaluation of the claim exposure, manages the progress and cost of the defense, and assists in negotiating the insurer’s settlement contribution. When necessary, he helps insurers identify potential coverage issues and navigate the claim to resolution while ensuring coverage obligations are fulfilled.

With an insider’s perspective on right-to-repair statutes, warranty programs and case law in various jurisdictions, Ryan provides experienced counsel in managing liability resulting from construction defects. Throughout the project development continuum − from planning, to design, to construction, to the efficacy of completed projects − he analyzes and handles complex construction defect and delay claims under typical general liability and payment and performance bonds, as well as subcontractor default insurance and consolidated insurance programs. Ryan also has extensive experience in construction accident claims, including claims for property damage and personal injury arising out of crane and equipment failures, and construction product liability. Among Ryan’s notable accomplishments is a published decision by the Colorado Supreme Court concerning the applicability to construction professionals of certain provisions of the Workers’ Compensation Act of Colorado.

Professional Liability/Architects & Engineers
In defending malpractice suits and providing pre-claim counsel to architects and engineers, Ryan boasts an enviable record of helping clients contain or avoid financial damages from the claims that increasingly characterize this area of law. He represents design professionals through all phases of construction litigation and counsel and, given Wilson Elser’s national footprint, he can obtain on-the-ground resources to serve them in different geographies. The firm’s attorneys work seamlessly across practices and jurisdictions, aligning the firm’s resources with each client’s individual requirements.

Medical Malpractice & Health Care
Beginning during a law school clerkship with one of California’s leading medical malpractice firms, Ryan has developed a detailed understanding of and clear insight into the challenges facing health care providers today. He is frequently called on to defend medical practitioners and facilities in multimillion-dollar lawsuits, given his familiarity with the substance and nuances of many fields of medicine. His depth of knowledge coupled with the firm’s strength in insurance defense has attracted a large and growing clientele, including members of the allied health professions in addition to managed care organizations and privately run emergency rooms. His knowledge of related state and federal regulations surrounding nursing home litigation and elder law, enable Ryan to defend nursing home malpractice claims through all phases of litigation and implement carefully crafted strategies that are designed to limit or avoid punitive damages available to plaintiffs under statute.

Representative Matters

Represented a golf course developer against claims for nuisance and trespass from neighboring homeowners, who alleged development activities and watering practices caused a change in groundwater conditions, resulting in damage to their homes. Developer moved for a directed verdict based on the lack of sufficient expert testimony connecting the golf course to any groundwater conditions. The court entered a directed verdict, as requested.

Represented the general contractor responsible for the construction of several buildings at county fairgrounds. After completion of the project, the county asserted various deficiencies in the assembly of the buildings, and sued for repair costs in excess of $25 million. After narrowing the scope of the claim through dispositive motions and effective discovery, the contractor achieved settlement, contributing only a small fraction of the multimillion-dollar amount ultimately paid to the county.

Represented a mechanical subcontractor in a construction accident case. The plaintiff appealed a prior entry of summary judgment to the Colorado Court of Appeals. Acting as lead counsel on behalf of 12 defendants, argued that plaintiff had misconstrued certain requirements under C.R.C.P. 54(b), and, as a result, failed to timely file its appeal. The Court of Appeals agreed, resulting in final dismissal of plaintiff’s appeal and affirmation of trial court order of summary judgment.

Represented the developers of a 320-condominium project. After completion of the project, unit owners sued for repair costs in excess of $57 million. After filing numerous effective motions that narrowed the scope of the association’s claim, achieved a significant settlement, equaling only a small fraction of the association’s original demand.

Represented the general contractor in a construction accident case. The plaintiff attempted to circumvent Colorado’s workers’ compensation protections for employers by asserting claims against general contractor who hired the subcontractor for which plaintiff worked. Argued novel issues concerning “statutory employment” before the Colorado Supreme Court, which adopted the position offered, resulting in reversal of Court of Appeals decision and ultimate dismissal of claims against general contractor.