Donna L. Burden

Founding and Managing Partner

P: (716) 849-6800
F: (716) 849-6806
E: dlb@bhhattorneys.com

Donna L. Burden is an experienced trial attorney and a founding member of Burden, Hafner & Hansen, LLC. She practices throughout New York State in the areas of trucking and transportation negligence, automobile liability, labor law, employment law, sexual harassment and discrimination, school law, products liability, medical device, municipal law/government liability, professional liability and premises liability. She has approximately 30 years’ experience defending against catastrophic personal injury claims.

Ms. Burden is a frequent presenter on and instructor in trial advocacy skills, including on topics such as transportation law (trucking and buses), traumatic brain injury/mild traumatic brain injury, emergency response, handling life-care plans at trial and employment law matters. She speaks on a variety of topics at seminars and conferences held by national defense counsel organizations and groups such as DRI and IADC, and also including groups focused on the transportation industry, such as TIDA, CTLA and the Arkansas Trucking Seminar.

Ms. Burden has participated in mock trials, mock mediation and other presentations through the Themis Advocates Group. She is a frequent contributor to various national newsletters and publications on a variety of topics, including transportation, product liability, toxic tort and cyber liability.

An accomplished trucking law attorney, Ms. Burden has been selected for membership in the Trucking Industry Defense Association (TIDA), the only international organization devoted to the defense of the trucking industry in personal injury, property damage, and workers’ compensation claims, and is serving a third term on the Board of Directors.

Ms. Burden coordinates the Burden, Hafner & Hansen Emergency Response Team, which includes attorneys, field adjusters and accident reconstruction experts. The team is available 24/7 to handle all kinds of catastrophic loss response, including in major trucking, busing and automobile accidents; product failure; falls; and other incidents involving significant injury or loss of life.

Professional Affiliations/Activities

  • International Association of Defense Counsel (IADC)
    • Vice Chair of Webinars for Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee, 2018-present
    • Nominating Committee, 2016
    • Chair, Transportation Committee, 2013-2014
    • Vice Chair, Sub-Committee, Transportation Committee, 2012-2013
    • Faculty, Trial Academy in Stanford, CA, 2015
    • Contributor, chapter, Defense Counsel Training Manual (Third Edition, 2016)
  • The Foundation of the International Association of Defense Counsel
    • Director, 2017-present
  • Trucking Industry Defense Association (TIDA)
    • Director, 2012-2018
    • Board Advisor, Canadian Relations Committee, 2013-2017
    • Board Advisor, Interactive Committee, 2012-2017
    • Board Advisor, Young Professionals Committee, 2012-2016
    • Member, Membership Committee, 2016-2017
    • Co-Chair, Advanced Skills Seminar, 2008
  • Defense Research Institute (DRI)
    • National Director, 2009-2012
    • Chair, Trucking Law Committee, 2007-2008
    • Vice Chair, Trucking Law Committee, 2006-2007
    • Program Chair, Trucking Seminar, 2006
  • Themis Advocates Group
    • Chair, Membership Committee, 2017
    • Chair, Trucking and Transportation Practice Group, 2017
    • Chair, Annual Meeting Program Chair, 2018
  • American Bar Association
    • Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section
  • New York State Bar Association
    • Torts, Insurance and Compensation Law Section
  • Canadian Transport Lawyers Association (CTLA)
  • Ontario Trucking Association
  • Claims and Litigation Management Alliance (CLM), Upstate New York Chapter
    • Transportation Committee
  • Transportation Lawyers Association (TLA)
  • Western New York Trial Lawyers Association
  • Defense Trial Lawyers Association of Western New York
  • Erie County (N.Y.) Bar Association
    • Treasurer 2012-2013
    • Deputy Treasurer 2011-2012
    • Negligence Committee

Publications/Speaking Engagements

  • Speaker, “What to Do When you Get the Call? The Do’s and Don’ts of a Catastrophic Loss Response,” DRI Trucking Committee Webinar (2018)
  • Speaker, “EPLI Trends in the USA-Sex, Money and Race,” Themis Advocates Group, London Presentation (2018)
  • Speaker, “Autonomous Vehicles/Vessels/Aircraft Panel,” Presentation at Fernandes Hearn LLP, Toronto, Ontario, Canada (2018)
  • Speaker, “New York No-Fault: A Review, Analysis and Application,” presentation to ProSight Specialty Insurance (2017)
  • Speaker, “Preparing and Responding to the Crash in the Middle of the Night…and the Aftermath:   The Inner Workings of an Effective Emergency Response Program,” Perrins Conferences (2017)
  • Speaker, “The 21st Century Law Firm—Managing the Practice,” FDCC/IADC Joint Firm Management Conference (2017)
  • Speaker, “Shhh!! The Attorney Client and Work Product Privileges Can “Sometimes” Apply to Insurance Adjusters,” presentation to Canal Insurance Company (2017)
  • Speaker, “2017 US Trucking Insurance Seminar,” Themis Advocates Group, London Presentation (2017)
  • Participant, Themis Advocates Group, Mock Mediation (2017)
  • Co-author, “Motions in Limine,” IADC Defense Counsel Training Manual (Third Edition, 2016)
  • Speaker, “Articulating Value and Distinguishing Yourself from the Competition: Top 5 Conversations that Capture the Attention of Prospective Clients,” CLM (May 2016)
  • Participant, Themis Advocates Group, Mock Trial (June 2016)
  • Participant, Themis Advocates Group, Mock Mediation (August 2016)
  • Co-author, “Diversity of Citizenship Removal: What Transportation Attorneys Should Know About ‘Bad Faith’ and the One Year Time Limitation,” IADC Transportation newsletter (January 2015)
  • Co-author, “Security Software Vendors Battle Against Impending Strict Products Liability,” IADC Product Liability newsletter (August 2015)
  • Co-author, “Transportation Network Companies: Recent Regulatory Challenges and Proposed Regulations,” IADC Transportation newsletter (August 2015)
  • Speaker, “Hot Topics in Transportation,” Themis Advocates Group Annual Meeting (2015)
  • Participant, Themis Advocates Group, Mock Trial (June 2015)
  • Speaker, “US Bus Modal Update: FMCSA Enacts Regulations to Tighten Enforcement in Wake of Crashes,” CTLA Annual Conference (2014)
  • Speaker, “It’s a Motor Carrier…It’s a Broker…It’s a Freight Forwarder…It’s Your Client!”, TLA Annual Conference/CTLA Midyear Meeting (2014)
  • Speaker, “Major Claims from Minor Head Injuries-The New Age of Minor Traumatic Brain Injuries,” CLM Upstate New York Chapter Educational & Networking Event (2014)
  • Speaker, “Negligent Hiring and Mismanagement of Risk—The Gateway to Punitive Damages,” Arkansas Trucking Seminar (2014)
  • Speaker, “Successful Strategies for Effective Defense of Mild TBI (mTBI) Claims with Major Settlement Demands,” IADC Mid-year Meeting (2014)
  • Speaker, “First Response Team—What You Need to Know to Protect Your Client and Its Employees,” IADC Mid-Year Meeting (2013)
  • Participant, Themis Advocates Group, Mock Trial (June 2013)
  • Co-author, “Is New York Moving away from Frye?” IADC Toxic and Hazardous Substances Litigation newsletter (April 2012)
  • Co-author, “WARNING: Warnings for Seatbelts May Not Be Necessary,” IADC Product Liability newsletter (January 2012)
  • Speaker, “A Litigator’s Approach to Preparing for and Trying Brain Injury Cases,” Arkansas Trucking Seminar (2011)
  • Co-author, “Panel Groups, Trial Simulations and Selecting a Products Liability Jury,” American Bar Association, Litigation Section
  • Speaker, “Wrongful Death Law: A Primer for New York State Actions” (2009)
  • Author, “Punitive Damages in New York” (2009)
  • Author, “The Nuts and Bolts of DMV Fatality Hearings: Revisited” (2008)
  • Speaker, “Using the Right Tool for the Right Job: A Product Liability Litigation Toolkit,” American Bar Association Women in Products Liability Conference (2007)
  • Speaker, “The Disconnect Between Safety Departments and Risk Management with Respect to the Preventability of an Accident,” American Bar Association Megaconference on Transportation Law (2006)
  • Speaker, “Commercial Motor Vehicles—Negligent Hiring and Retention of Drivers/Employees,” DRI Trucking Seminar (2005)
  • Speaker, “Negligent Hiring and Negligent Retention of Commercial Truck Drivers,” DRI (2004)
  • Author, “The Nuts and Bolts of DMV Fatality Hearings” (2000)

Education

  • State University of New York at Buffalo, School of Law, J.D. 1987
  • St. Bonaventure University, B.A. (cum laude) 1984

Admitted to Practice

  • New York State – All Courts
  • United States District Court, Western District of New York
  • United States District Court, Northern District of New York
  • United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit

Civic Activities

  • Heritage Centers, Board of Directors, 2000-2011
    • Chair, 2009-2011
    • Vice-Chair, 2007-2009
    • Secretary, 2005-2007
  • Heritage Centers Foundation (Heritage Oak Foundation), Board of Directors, 2009-2011
  • Center for Handicapped Children (CHC Learning Center), Board of Directors, 2001-2011
  • Skating Association for the Blind and Handicapped (SABAH), President, Board of Directors, 1998-2008
  • Buffalo Hearing and Speech Foundation, Board of Directors, 1999

Honors and Awards

  • Who’s Who in Law, Buffalo’s Business First in 2008, 2011
  • Buffalo Business First’s 15th annual “40 Under Forty” ranking of Buffalo’s Leaders under the age of 40 in 2001
Photo of Donna L. Burden

Education

  • State University of New York at Buffalo, School of Law, J.D. 1987
  • St. Bonaventure University, B.A. (cum laude) 1984

Admitted to Practice

  • New York State – All Courts
  • United States District Court, Western District of New York
  • United States District Court, Northern District of New York
  • United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit

Civic Activities

  • Heritage Centers, Board of Directors, 2000-2011
    • Chair, 2009-2011
    • Vice-Chair, 2007-2009
    • Secretary, 2005-2007
  • Heritage Centers Foundation (Heritage Oak Foundation), Board of Directors, 2009-2011
  • Center for Handicapped Children (CHC Learning Center), Board of Directors, 2001-2011
  • Skating Association for the Blind and Handicapped (SABAH), President, Board of Directors, 1998-2008
  • Buffalo Hearing and Speech Foundation, Board of Directors, 1999