Practice Areas

  • Litigation
  • Medical Malpractice
  • Professional Liability


  • Colorado
  • New York
  • U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Katherine Otto


Phone: 646.595.1102
Office: Denver, New York

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BackgroundEducation & HonorsAwardsAssociations

Katherine Otto is a trial lawyer and leads the defense of healthcare professionals in Colorado and New York. Her practice is primarily devoted to professional malpractice litigation and defense of licensure before state licensing boards. In addition, she frequently advises healthcare professionals on risk management and employment issues that arise in the healthcare context. She has represented every level of healthcare licensure across multiple disciplines, including medical, chiropractic, dental, podiatry, mental health, and veterinary medicine. She also has experience defending attorneys in malpractice actions and grievances before the Office of Attorney Regulation.

Katherine also defends catastrophic personal injury litigation, and has successfully defended FLSA claims in nationwide arbitrations. She has extensive experience at all levels of litigation, and has tried cases to jury verdict in both state and federal courts. She enjoys teaching continuing legal education seminars to her colleagues and risk management continuing education to her clients.

At Messner Reeves, Katherine mentors a team of associates in the Colorado and New York offices. She regularly conducts in-house training sessions, and is committed to the professional development of attorneys on her team. She is rated AV Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell, and a Colorado Super Lawyer.

Katherine is also active in a number of professional organizations. She has held a leadership position on the Medical Liability Committee for the Defense Research Institute (DRI) since 2018, and is currently serving as Marketing Chair for Medical Liability and Healthcare annual conference. She has worked with Colorado Attorney Mentoring Program (CAMP) and Metro Volunteer Lawyers as a volunteer attorney. She is active with the New York State Medical Defense Bar organization, and previously served on the Board of Directors for the Colorado Defense Lawyers Association as Communications Director from 2014 – 2018.

She is personally and professionally committed to advancing inclusion and equity in the legal profession, with a focus on women, BIPOC, and LGBTQ+. Outside of work, one of her passions is volunteering with a non-profit dog rescue, Big Dogs Huge Paws. She has three Newfoundlands, and she fosters giant breeds in search of their forever homes. She also enjoys training for and running half-marathons.

Prior to joining Messner Reeves, Katherine was an attorney at a national law firm for 9 years, following completion of a one-year judicial clerkship in Colorado’s 18th Judicial District.

  • University of Denver College of Law (J.D. 2007)
  • University Of Northern Colorado (B.A. 2004)
  • Super Lawyer Rising Star 2014 – 2018
  • Super Lawyer 2020 – present
  • AV Preeminent 2018 – present
  • Board of Directors, Communications Director, Colorado Defense Lawyers Association -2014 – Present
  • American Bar Association – 2007 – Present
  • Association of Healthcare Risk Management of New York, 2017 – Present
  • Colorado Bar Association – 2007 – Present
  • Defense Research Institute – 2015 – Present
  • Denver Bar Association – 2007 – Present
  • Medical Malpractice Committee, Vice-Chair, Colorado Defense Lawyers Association -2013-2014
  • Colorado Pledge to Diversity Committee – 2014 – 2017
  • Membership Committee Chair, Colorado Defense Lawyers Association – 2011-2014
  • Metro Volunteer Lawyers – 2009-2010
  • New York City Bar Association 2017 – Present
  • New York State Medical Defense Bar Association 2017 – Present
  • DRI, Women in the Law Committee – 2016 – Present
  • DRI, Medical Liability and Healthcare Committee
  • Defense Attorneys of New York, 2016 – Present
  • Claims and Litigation Management Alliance, 2018 – Present
Publications and Speaking Engagements
  • Embracing Social Media Investigation: Five Steps to Optimize Admissibility at Trial, For the Defense, 05.2018
  • The Lack of Insurance Coverage and Reimbursement for Medical Marijuana, J. Zen Jackson and K. Otto, M.D. Advisor,10.18.2013
Community Involvement

Ambassador, Project Angelheart (501(c)(3))- 2005 -Present

Professional Experience
  • Attorney, McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney & Carpenter, LLP 2008 – 2017
  • Judicial Clerk, Honorable Gerald J. Rafferty, Eighteenth Judicial District, State of Colorado, 2007 – 2008
Representative Experience

Foster et al. v. Structual Integrity Associates, Inc. et al., No. 12CA0402 (Colo. App. Div. 6 2013) (cert. denied)

Alice Casias v. Interstate Brands Corp. and Ace American Ins. Co., W.C. No.4-740-818-02 (I.C.A.O. 2013)

David Cortese v. Kaiser Space Products and Home Insurance Co. c/o Colorado Insurance Guaranty Association, W.C. No. 4-171-138 (I.C.A.O. 2010)

Barnett v. Elite Prop. of America, Inc., 252 P.3d 14 (Colo. App. Div. 2 2010) (cert. denied)

Clements DPM v. Davies DPM, 217 P.3d 912 (Colo. App. 2009) (cert. denied)

Holly Hand v. Peterson Contractors Excavation, Inc. W.C. No. 4-392-766 (I.C.A.O. 2009)

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