Phil Downs is a trial lawyer who has defended public entities, law enforcement officers, and non-profit corporations against civil rights actions involving wrongful death, excessive force, disability discrimination, and retaliatory arrest. Phil has handled and tried cases with significant exposure and public visibility, including, in particular, police officer-involved shootings. Phil also has experience defending against employment discrimination, wage and hour, premises liability, trucking, and other personal injury actions.
Phil recently joined Cokinos | Young’s Greek Organization Litigation Practice Group and works out of its San Francisco office. Phil’s prior trial experience defending high-profile cases further adds to an already outstanding and nationally-recognized litigation team defending fraternities and sororities across the country.
Before becoming an attorney, Phil served in the United States Marine Corps as an Infantry Officer. A veteran of two combat deployments to Iraq, Phil fought against enemy combatants in order to secure the peace necessary for the Iraqi government to rebuild its civic institutions. On his second deployment, Phil spent nearly 13 months living with Iraqi National Police officers along the Syrian border, training them how to act under color of authority.
Inspired by his experience in Iraq, Phil decided to become an attorney. A 2014 graduate of the University of San Francisco School of Law, Phil has since dedicated his professional practice to trial advocacy. Besides practicing law, Phil studies American boxing and Brazilian Jiu Jitzu, and is an experienced lecturer on police officer use of force and de-escalation training.
- J. D., University of San Francisco School of Law, 2014
- B. A., University of California, Davis, 2003
- California State Bar
- United States District Courts, Northern and Eastern Districts of California
- Connolly v. Phillips (US District Court, Eastern District of California, Sacramento). Trial team in case against police officers involving claims of unlawful detention and unreasonable use of force. Defense verdict returned after jury trial.
- Crump v. BART (US District Court, Northern District of California, San Francisco). Trial attorney, Section 1983 civil-rights action and tort claims against police officers. Defense verdict returned after jury trial.
- Xiong v. Chavez (US District Court, Eastern District of California, Fresno). Trial Team, excessive use of force claims against police officers. Defense verdict returned after jury trial.
- Osotonu v. Lichau (US District Court, Northern District of California, Oakland). Lead attorney, excessive force and unlawful arrest claim against police officer. Complete summary judgment in officer’s favor.
- Littler, et. al v. BART (US District Court, Northern District of California, Oakland). Lead attorney, excessive force, unlawful detention, arrest, and search claims against three police officers by two separate plaintiffs. Complete summary judgment in favor of all three officers as to one plaintiff. Complete summary judgment in favor of two of three officers as to the second plaintiff. Resulted in second plaintiff voluntarily dismissing her entire action, with prejudice, before trial.