David Catanese

David was born and raised in the small steel mill town of Steubenville, Ohio where he lived until the family returned to their hometown of Niagara Falls, NY. He spent his early youth in Western New York where he attended Canisius College in Buffalo, N.Y., and graduated in 1984 with dual majors and a bachelor of arts degree in Honors History as well as Honors Political Science. David moved to Arizona in 1984 to attend Arizona State University College of Law where he graduated in 1987.

David was admitted to the State Bar of Arizona in 1988 and began as an associate in a small size firm offering a variety of legal services, including representing injured persons. Shortly thereafter, David was recruited to join a new Phoenix law firm formed by a group of the top litigation attorneys in Arizona. There David worked exclusively representing injured persons, with most of the clients suffering catastrophic type injuries including severed limbs, paraplegia, quadriplegia, permanent disabilities, and death. The complexity of the cases was also unique and included such diverse tort areas as product liability, construction accidents and defects, aviation litigation, mass torts, environmental torts, and even complex business litigation. During this time David was fortunate to be working alongside and being trained by the top litigators in Arizona on both sides of the case. David found himself in both state and federal court successfully battling such defendants as Ford, GM, Toyota, Kawasaki, Honda, Mercury Marine, the State of Arizona, and even the United States of America.

In 1994 David became a partner with the law firm of Rake & Catanese, P.C., and continued his representation of severely injured people. During the 14 years of that firm’s work, he and his partner continued successfully representing Arizona’s injured, including winning cases against large manufacturers and companies to make their products and services safer for Arizona consumers. David and his firm found success in a wide range of tort litigation including construction accidents, product liability, medical malpractice, legal malpractice, employment violations, and civil rights violations to name a few. These successes included representing one of the four Tucson youths wrongfully arrested for the murder of 9 Buddhist Monks, one of the top ten jury verdicts in Arizona in 1997, and at its time the largest sexual harassment verdict in Arizona.

In 2008 David formed the Catanese Law Firm where he focused strictly on taking cases to trial. Using his 20-plus years of courtroom experience, David was retained by other attorneys and their firms looking for an experienced litigator to assist their clients in the courtroom. Over the next seven years, David tried case after case in both state and federal court, trying as many cases for Arizona’s injured as any Plaintiff’s attorney in the state. The result of this courtroom experience was better offers of settlement for his clients whose cases did not have to go to trial and were able to be settled.

In 2015 David was honored to join the Zachar Law Firm. Having known Chris Zachar since law school and having worked alongside Chris, it was the dedication to the needs of the client and integrity to the practice of law and especially the skill of being trial lawyers that attracted him to the firm. While at the Zachar Law Firm David has continued to find success in the courtroom having secured verdicts in excess of $3.1 Million, including multiple punitive damages verdicts. In addition to the victories in the courtroom, David has secured settlements in excess of $16.6 million.

David has also successfully briefed and argued appeals before the U.S. District Court in San Francisco:



In addition to his love of being a trial lawyer, David loves to spend time with his two boys, Seth and David, who give him constant joy, laughter, and love.

Education and Legal Memberships 

  • Canisius College, B.A. 1984
  • Arizona State University, J.D. 1987
  • Admitted to Arizona Bar 1988
  • Admitted to Ninth Circuit, U. S. Circuit Courts 1988
  • Arizona Trial College 1991


  • Certified Specialist in Personal Injury & Wrongful Death since 1999
  • American Board of Trial Advocates Member
  • AV Preeminent Rating by Martindale-Hubbard
  • 2021 Top 100 Medical Malpractice Litigators 
  • 2021 Top 100 High Stakes Litigators


Notable Successes

Automotive Safety Advances – Multiple litigations against auto manufacturers including Ford, GM, and BMW led to stronger seat-backs and stronger government standards.

Jet Ski Safety Advances Multiple litigations against jet-ski manufacturers including Kawasaki and Sea-Doo led to design changes to increase the riders’ visibility and conspicuity.

Bruce v. Maricopa County Sheriff – Represented one of the “Tucson Four” who were coerced into confessing to the execution-style murders of nine Buddhist Monks at their Temple in west Phoenix despite the evidence. The real killers were subsequently caught. The litigation forced changes in the outdated interrogation methods used in Arizona law enforcement.

Brown v. Anthony Crane — $2.6 Million verdict involving negligent maintenance on one of the 3 largest mobile cranes in the world. The verdict was one of the Top 10 Jury Verdicts in Arizona for 1997.

Jones v. Desert Classic Corp. – $500,000 verdict was one of the first verdict Arizona verdicts holding a company liable for the sexual harassment of a female employer by her male manager. At the time it was the largest sexual harassment verdict in Arizona.

David’s motto in life is that every day is a holiday, and every meal is a banquet and he enjoys taking this same passion into preparing a case and taking it before a jury.

Practice Areas:

Position: Attorney
Experience: 31 Years
Location: 714 East Rose Lane, Phoenix, AZ 85014
Email: Contact Me
Phone: 602.962.8610
Fax: 602.494.3320

David Catanese’s Team
LarkAnn Stewart
Evangeline Lee

Contact Zachar Law No pressure. Speak to an attorney. No hidden fees.