David M. Ottenwess


Detroit, MI





David M. Ottenwess is the Managing Partner of the firm. He began practicing law in Michigan in 1986 and today concentrates his practice in the area of civil litigation matters, including professional liability claims, general healthcare law defense, contracts, labor and employment, constitutional and election law. For over 28 years, he has successfully litigated cases in Federal District Court as well as in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Monroe, Montcalm, Saginaw, Genesee and Washtenaw County Circuit Courts. He has successfully tried cases before juries in Federal and State Court on matters involving medical malpractice, contract disputes, Federal and State Polygraph Protection Acts, employment discrimination (Title VII), industrial accidents and trade mark infringement. Mr. Ottenwess has also successfully handled appeals in both State and Federal Courts capped by his defense of a Michigan Hospital and CEO in a complex matter involving issues of labor law, including Section 302 allegations, and claims of RICO Act violations. This litigation was eventually taken to the United States Supreme Court which ultimately vacated an unfavorable decision against his client by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals on the basis of a recently decided case.

In 2011, Mr. Ottenwess was appointed by a federal judge to serve as a Special Master in the decades-long litigation involving the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department litigation.

Mr. Ottenwess is a member of the Michigan Society of Healthcare Risk Management, Trial Section Chair of Michigan Defense Trial Counsel, and a Member of Defense Research Institute. In addition, he is a member of the American Bar Association and the State Bar of Michigan. Mr. Ottenwess is admitted to the United States Supreme Court, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States District Court, Eastern and Western Districts of Michigan.

Mr. Ottenwess’ honors in the legal professional include being inducted into the American Board of Trial Advocates, awarded the AV® Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Rating, the highest rating for legal ability and general ethical standards. Mr. Ottenwess has also been selected as one of Michigan’s Super Lawyers® from 2007-2014.

Including his litigation duties, Mr. Ottenwess has also served as a case evaluator over the past several years in Wayne and Washtenaw Counties.He has acted as a facilitator in contract disputes and has also acted as an arbitrator in civil personal injury matters. Mr. Ottenwess is also a frequent lecturer before health care groups including hospital personnel, physicians, residents and nurses.

Prior to forming his own Firm in 1997, Mr. Ottenwess served as an associate and, only 6 years into his career, was named as equity Partner at Detroit, Michigan-based Schureman, Frakes, Glass & Wulfmeier, PLLC.

Mr. Ottenwess earned his J.D. from the Michigan State University College of Law (formerly known as Detroit College of Law) in 1986, where he served as Executive Director of the Moot Court Program and was co-Director of the American Bar Association Oral Advocacy Program. He also was a member of the school's National Moot Court Team. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of South Florida in 1982.

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Areas of Practice

  • Professional Liability Defense
  • General Litigation
  • Constitutional Law
  • Election Law

Bar Admissions

  • Michigan, 1986
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of Michigan, 1986
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 6th Circuit, 1988
  • U.S. Supreme Court, 1989
  • U.S. District Court Western District of Michigan, 1999


  • Michigan State University, Detroit College of Law, East Lansing, Michigan
    • J.D. - 1986
  • University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida
    • Bachelor of Arts - 1982

Published Works

  • "Business As Usual With the Latest SGR Temporary Fix...But This One Includes a Stunning ICD-10 Delay" by David M. Ottenwess, Esq. and Stephanie P. Ottenwess, Esq., Healthcare Michigan, Volume 30, Issue 14, p. 9, April, 2014
  • "Bailey's Head & Neck Surgery Otolaryngology, 5th edition: Business Law and the Practice of Otolaryngology" by Robert S. Iwrey, Stephanie P. Ottenwess, Esq., Jessica Gustafson, Esq., Kathryn Hickner-Cruz, Esq., David M. Ottenwess, Esq. and Reginald Baugh, Esq.,, December, 2013
  • Medical Malpractice Tort Reform by David M. Ottenwess, Stephanie P. Ottenwess, Meagan A. Lamberti and Adrienne D. Dresevic, Radiology Management, Vol. 33, No 2, March/April 2011
  • Voodoo Economics? Loss of Parental Training and Guidance: The New Battleground in Medical Malpractice Damages by David M. Ottenwess, Stephanie P. Ottenwess and Melissa E. Graves, Michigan Defense Quarterly, Vol. 27, No. 1, July, 2010
  • Will Constitutional Changes Pop the Lid? by David M. Ottenwess and Daniel J. Dulworth, Michigan HealthCARE Business, February, 1998


  • Oakwood Symposium Presentation: “How Communication Breakdown Can Lead to Medical Care Letdown” by David M. Ottenwess, Esq., November 2014
  • Medical Malpractice Liability: What You Don’t Know May Hurt You, AHRA 39th Annual Meeting and Exposition, Dallas Texas, August 16, 2011
  • Defending Damages in 2010, Michigan Defense Trial Counsel, Winter Meeting, November 5, 2010
  • Michigan Supreme Court Update, Michigan Society of Healthcare Risk Management - Changing Legal Landscape in Healthcare, October 5, 2010
  • Professional Exposure in Radiology Cases in Michigan, Radiology Staff, Harper, Children’s and Detroit Receiving Hospitals, March 14, 2007
  • Professional Exposure in Radiology Cases in Michigan, Radiology Staff, Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital, March 6, 2007
  • Professional Exposure in Radiology Cases in Michigan, Radiology Staff, Sinai-Grace Hospital, February 27, 2007
  • Office Practice Issues - OIG and the Physician Practice, Medical Staff, POH Medical Center, April 29, 2006
  • How the NPDB Impacts Your Practice, Medical Staff, POH Medical Center, April 25, 2004
  • What is Informed Consent?, Medical Staff, POH Medical Center, June 16, 2003
  • What is Informed Consent?, Department of Surgery, Garden City Hospital, June 3, 2003
  • Today’s Legal Issues in Mammography, The 14th Annual GE Mammography Symposium, Dearborn Inn, Dearborn, Michigan, March 22, 2003
  • What is Informed Consent?, Medical Staff and Managers, Garden City Hospital, March 13, 2003
  • Legal Issues and Appropriate Documentation, Radiology Technologists, Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital, 2000, 2001 and 2002
  • Professional Liability Insurance Options in Michigan, Physician Members, Troy Internal Medicine, PC, June, 2002
  • State of the Law in Michigan under Tort Reform – An Overview, Radiology Staff of all DMC Hospitals, January, 2001
  • How to Act and React When Deposed in a Medical Malpractice Matter, Medical Staff, POH Medical Center, October, 1999
  • Pitfalls in Dictation, Radiology Staff, Bon Secours Hospital, March, 1996

Honors and Awards

  • Named Michigan Super Lawyers® for Medical Malpractice Defense in years 2007-2014
  • AV® Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Rating
  • Eve August Award (1984)

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • American Board of Trial Advocates
  • Michigan Society of Healthcare Risk Management
  • Michigan Defense Trial Counsel, Trial Section Chair, 2009 to Present
  • Defense Research Institute
  • American Bar Association
  • State Bar of Michigan, Negligence Law Section