Donna Renfrow Rutala

Of Counsel

Donna Renfrow Rutala, B.S.N., J.D., practices in the areas of medical malpractice defense litigation and health law. In her work, Donna represents hospitals, physicians, and other health care providers in civil litigation as well as administrative proceedings. She also advises hospitals on health law and employment law issues.

Donna has trial experience in both the federal and state courts of North Carolina and has appeared before various administrative tribunals including the North Carolina Medical Board, North Carolina Board of Nursing, the North Carolina Board of Pharmacy, the Employment Security Commission, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Donna joined Young Moore and Henderson as a shareholder in 2007, after practicing a number of years with another law firm. While attending the evening law program at NCCU, Donna worked as a risk/claims manager for UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill. While in that position, she was involved in analyzing, negotiating and resolving patient claims against the hospital system and provided education to hospital employees in the area of risk management. Donna’s unique combination of experience in the health care setting enables her to provide an in-depth understanding of multiple problems faced by the health care industry. Donna is a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America™ and has an AV Peer Review Rating from Martindale-Hubbell.

She is married to William A. Rutala who is a professor in the Department of Medicine at the UNC School of Medicine and Director of the Statewide Program for Infection Control and Epidemiology. They reside in Chapel Hill and have two daughters, Melissa and Meredith. Her hobbies include international travel and photography.


Education & Bar Admissions

  • J.D., North Carolina Central University School of Law
  • B.S.N., University of North Carolina

Admitted in

  • North Carolina, 1989
  • U.S. District Courts for the Eastern and Middle Districts of North Carolina



  • North Carolina Bar Association
    • Health Law Section
    • Litigation Section
    • “Women In The Profession” Committee (2007-2018)
  • American Bar Association
    • Health Law Section
    • Litigation Section
  • National Association of Professional Women
  • N.C. Association of Defense Attorneys
    • Awards Committee (2019-2020)
    • Board of Directors (2007-2011)
    • Medical Malpractice Practice Group, Chair (2007-2008)
    • Medical Malpractice Practice Group, Vice Chair (2006-2007)
    • Judicial Committee, Chair (2009-2010)
    • Ethics Committee, Co-Chair (2010-2011)
    • The North Carolina Defense Fund, Board of Directors (2010-2011)
    • Member of the Judicial Committee (2012-2013)
  • Defense Research Institute
  • NC Chapter of the American Society for Healthcare Risk Management (ASHRM)
  • UNC Newman Catholic Student Center Student Advisory Board (1998-2009)

Publications & Presentations

  • “Basic Principles of Litigation For Infection Control Professionals,” Statewide Program For Infection Control and Epidemiology, 2008-2010
  • “Understanding the Physician’s Role in Cases of Alleged Medical Negligence & Loss Prevention Strategies,” University of North Carolina Medical School, May 12, 2008
  • “Trends in Medical Malpractice Litigation: Past, Present & Future,” American Society of Hospital Risk Management, North Carolina chapter, Spring meeting, May 7, 2008
  • “Duke University Department of Surgery/Medical/Legal Seminar Series,” 2007, 2008
  • “Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center Medical/Legal Seminar Series,” May 2009, March 2011
  • “The Nurse’s Role in Cases of Alleged Negligence and Related Risk Management,” UNC School of Nursing Alumni Appreciation Day Continuing Education Seminar, 2007
  • Rex Hospital Internal Medicine Grand Rounds, June 2011


  • Dunkley v. Shoemate, 129 N.C. App. 255, 497 S.E.2d 713 (1998), affirmed, 350 N.C. 573, 515 S.E.2d 442 (1999).
  • Lumley v. Capoferi, 120 N.C. App. 578, 463 S.E.2d 264 (1995).
  • Mudusar, by and through Baloch v. V.G. Murray & Co., 100 N.C. App. 395, 396 S.E.2d 325 (1990).

Disclaimer: The above information may not necessarily reflect the attorney’s entire record, and the outcome of any particular future matter cannot be predicated on the attorney’s or law firm’s past results.