Adam Duerk

Member
Duerk, Adam

Phone

Email

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Office Location

283 West Front Street
Suite 203
Missoula, MT 59802

Prior to returning to private practice, Adam was a federal prosecutor in the United States Attorney's Office. Both as a prosecutor and trail lawyer in the private sector, Adam has been involved in complex litigation and trial work throughout his entire career.

Adam has tried cases to verdict before juries in state and federal courts, for both plaintiffs and defendants, representing corporations and individuals in civil and criminal trials. Prior to joining Knight Nicastro Mackay, Adam served as a federal prosecutor in several different capacities – as an Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA), a Special Assistant United States Attorney (SAUSA), and by special appointment as a Special Attorney to the United States Attorney General. During the terms of these appointments, Adam was a prosecutor in the criminal division and a trial attorney in civil cases. His duties included prosecuting complex criminal fraud and environmental cases, assisting with Affirmative Civil Enforcement actions, and defending civil cases brought against the United States under the Federal Tort Claims Act.

Prior to his work with the Department of Justice, Adam was a partner at a Montana law firm. There, he tried cases on behalf of his clients for over a decade. In civil matters, Adam has obtained favorable results representing power companies, manufacturers, medical care providers and other corporations and individuals. In addition to his work on behalf of private-sector clients, Adam has also served by appointment as a special prosecutor for the Montana Attorney General’s Office, the Montana State Auditor, the Montana Commissioner of Political Practices and various County Attorneys’ Offices. In this capacity he has prosecuted cases involving political malfeasance, securities fraud, insurance fraud, elder exploitation, homicide and other violent crimes as a special prosecutor.

Because of Adam’s skill set, he is frequently called into cases that involve fraud and patterns of fraudulent conduct. Whether assisting corporations to investigate fraudulent claims, representing individuals affected by fraud, or prosecuting cases on behalf of various government agencies, shareholders and other entities, Adam’s experience benefits his clients in a variety of case types. These cases typically involve:

  • Bank Fraud
  • Securities Fraud
  • ESOP and Retirement Fund Fraud
  • Medicare/Social Security and False Claims Act (Qui Tam) claims
  • Toxic Tort, Class Action and Multi-District Litigation Panel claims
  • Title IX Retaliation and Discrimination claims
  • Federal Tort Claims Act cases
  • Insurance Fraud
  • Railroad Defense
  • Environmental Law

Adam is a member of the Montana Bar Association, the American Bar Association and the Federal Bar Association. He is admitted to practice in Montana State Courts, the United States District Courts for the District of Montana, United States Tax Court and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

In 2014, Adam was selected as a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). Membership in ABOTA is by invitation only and requires a minimum of 10 civil jury trials as lead counsel resolved by verdict. In 2017, Adam was the recipient of the Themis Award at the United States Attorney’s Office for his skills in handling a significant, complex white collar matter. Adam was also recognized by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for his outstanding prosecutorial skills in 2018. Adam’s most recent jury trial was in 2021.

Past Notable Trials, Verdicts and other Litigated Matters include the following:

U.S. v. Manlove, et al.: Prosecution of former CEO of one of Montana's largest companies convicted by unanimous jury after three week trial on 170 counts of wire fraud, money laundering and conspiracy related to executive team raiding ESOP funds and bankrupting Vann’s Inc. $2.4M forfeiture verdict.

U.S. v. Loftis: Defendant convicted by unanimous jury on all counts for defrauding investors in a scheme involving fraudulent sales of fractional shares of oil wells in Texas, Oklahoma and Montana. $1.6M forfeiture judgment.

U.S. v. Wood, et al.: Trucking Company and CEO convicted of conspiracy to defraud the government, insurers and others in case involving illegal transport of hazardous flammable materials resulting in explosion and 8-day fire at a natural gas processing facility in Eastern Montana. This trial involved fraudulent insurance claims by defendant and a cover-up to support those false claims. $1.29M forfeiture judgment.

U.S. v. W.R. Grace, et al.: Earlier in his career, Adam served as local counsel for an individual defendant in a 3 month trial involving six defendants charged with a 40 year conspiracy to violate the Clean Air Act by allegedly covering up releases of tremolite asbestos into the ambient air in Libby, Montana. The trial, resulting in acquittal for all defendants, has been described as the largest environmental crimes trial in U.S. history.

State v. Johnson: Prosecution of University of Montana Quarterback in a series of high-profile sexual assault cases involving the University prior to the“MeToo” era. This trial (and Adam’s cross examination of the defendant) became part of the focus of a New York Times bestseller by Jon Krakauer: Missoula: Rape and The Justice System in a College Town (Doubleday, 2015).

Beauchamp v. United States: Prosecution of civil matter under the Federal Tort Claims Act against the United States and several other entities involving the drowning of two tribal members in a federally managed waterway. $1.6M Judgment.

Kampf v. BNSF; Dunlap v. BNSF; Alcock v. BNSF; Ahner v. BNSF: Successful defense of the railroad in multiple FELA and mass toxic-tort cases premised on theory that plaintiffs contracted asbestos related disease through employment with BNSF. Multiple cases dismissed with prejudice (by plaintiffs) after Adam’s cross-examination of medical experts revealed no credible causation theory, or radiographic evidence, of pulmonary disease caused by the railroad.

ASARCO v. ARCO (British Petroleum): CERCLA contribution case resulting in $26M verdict in U.S. District Court for ASARCO related to dispute over cleanup costs at East Helena Smelter site. Prior to leaving private practice to work for the DOJ, Adam served as local counsel for ASARCO, assisting in preparation of expert witnesses and eliciting sworn-testimony submitted to the court at trial.

In addition to his law practice, Adam serves as a volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocate for CASA of Missoula. CASA volunteers serve as the “eyes and ears” of the judge, gathering relevant information in cases involving the best interests of abused and neglected children to ensure that those children are placed in safe, permanent, nurturing homes. Prior to law school, Adam was an instructor and course director in the United States and Mexico for the Colorado Outward Bound School as a mountaineering, whitewater and sea-kayaking guide for wilderness courses of 14-81 days in length in Utah, Colorado and on the Baja Peninsula.

Practice Areas

  • Energy
  • Product Liability
  • Transportation
  • Design and Construction
  • Environmental, Natural Resources and Toxic Tort Law
  • Civil and Tort Litigation
  • Criminal

Education

  • University of Montana School of Law, Missoula, Montana
    • J.D.
  • Earlham College, Indiana
    • B.A.

Bar Admissions

  • Montana
  • U.S. Tax Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 9th Circuit
  • U.S. District Court District of Montana

Past Positions

  • Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA)
  • a Special Assistant United States Attorney (SAUSA)
  • Special Attorney to the United States Attorney General

Honors

  • Youngest Member, American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA)

Classes & Seminars

Pro-Bono Activities

Published Works

Fraternities or Sororities

Representative Clients

Representative Cases

Certified Legal Specialties

Professional Associations

  • Federal Bar Association
  • American Bar Association

Current Employment Positions

  • Member

Ancillary Businesses

References 

Languages