Antitrust Litigation 

Complex Case Analysis

Our client, a large seafood processor, was accused of an antitrust conspiracy to fix the price of seafood products in a $500 million class action lawsuit brought by commercial fishermen.  Plaintiffs relied on the similarity of prices for seafood products up and down the west coast as evidence of a price-fixing conspiracy.  We took a different approach.  We learned the industry, spoke with fishermen and processors and analyzed data from a database that identified every catch up and down the west coast.  What we learned was that the market was highly competitive but that the competition was based more on volume than price.  The most competitive fishermen, when paired with a processor that could purchase and process large volumes of …

Appeals 

Impact Litigation

We worked with the Oregon ACLU to protect the constitutional rights of criminal defendants to a jury trial, the assistance of counsel, and proof beyond a reasonable doubt. During the Occupy Portland movement, police and prosecutors adopted a strategy of arresting protestors for misdemeanors, booking them, posting their mugshots online, and then, at arraignment, downgrading the charges to violations. An Oregon statute authorized this procedure, which allowed the state to clear the streets and parks (because of the criminal charges at arrest) and yet avoid the cost and risk of criminal trials (because the constitutional protections afforded criminal defendants do not apply to violation charges). We argued the protestors’ case in the Oregon Supreme Court, which unanimously held the statute unconstitutional …

Precedent Setting

When we took on our client’s appeal, the Oregon Court of Appeals had just affirmed the dismissal of her claims under the statute of limitations, because our client had not discovered the theft of a treasured family heirloom for several years.  Her only hope was the Oregon Supreme Court, which accepts review in only a fraction of the cases brought to it.  We delved into the history of Oregon’s statutes of limitations, including statutes adopted in 1843 by the provisional government, landmark precedent from the 1960s, and recent Court of Appeals cases that had strayed from that precedent.  We took our client’s case to the Supreme Court, which not only accepted the case but reversed and unanimously held that our …

Business & Commercial Litigation 

Trial Tested

Our client worked for years for a start-up weapons manufacturing company on the promise he would one day receive a percentage of the profits should the company ever become profitable.  The company did become profitable but our client’s profit share was not forthcoming.  He was told that since there was no “signed” agreement, there was no agreement despite his years of hard work.  We took the case and when the defendants refused to settle for what the case was worth, we took them to trial, winning a seven-figure jury verdict for our client.

Battle Ready

When the founders of a successful regional healthcare delivery system were faced with a hostile take-over from their well-financed private equity investor, they came to us. The private equity fund stretched the company thin with promises of significant investments and then, when the money was needed the most, demanded they give up control of the company they founded and grew into one of the Portland Business Journal’s “Most Admired Companies.” When the founders came to us, their backs were against the wall; the private equity investor filed a mountain of paperwork seeking appointment of a receiver, and sought a temporary restraining order with a hearing scheduled on one day’s notice. Represented by a large international firm, the private equity fund …

Fearless

We represent 125 investors who collectively lost over $50 million in a local Ponzi scheme. To get their money back, we sued one of the largest international law firms, the largest accounting firm in the U.S., one of the largest stock brokerage firms, a bank, and a national valuation firm that participated and materially aided the sales of the securities. The defendants deployed teams of attorneys from some of the largest and most reputable law firms in Portland and across the country. That did not deter us. We have defeated multiple motions to dismiss, rebuffed attempts to delay justice for our clients by, among other things, defeating mandamus petitions filed with the Oregon Supreme Court, taken and defended more than …

Efficient Defense

When a franchised waste hauler sued our client for its doorstep trash and recycling services at apartment complexes, our defense resulted in dismissal of all claims without significant cost. The franchised hauler alleged that our client’s moving trash and recycling from apartment residents’ doorsteps to the apartment complexes’ trash compactors amounted to providing solid waste services without a franchise. Our client faced over $1 million in claimed damages as a result of the steep liquidated damages provisions in the municipal ordinances. Given the high stakes, we designed a robust, but efficient defense that sought victory through motions practice without conducting expensive discovery. In summary judgment briefing, we created a clear record distinguishing the services our client provided from those of …

Relentless

In a classic “bet the company” case we represented a 50% shareholder in litigation against the other 50% shareholder and President of an Ohio company that operates health care facilities on the west coast. We fought tooth and nail to get the discovery we needed to show how thoroughly the President was abusing the company. After a two week derivative shareholder jury trial, our client prevailed on behalf of the company on claims including breach of fiduciary duty and conversion. We showed that the President was using the company coffers as his own piggy bank, spending company funds on everything from Nordstrom shopping sprees to trips to Europe. After the multi-million dollar verdict, the court awarded our client her full …

Environmental Litigation 

Creative Solutions

Our client, a metal recycler, was sued for $5 million under state and federal environmental statutes related to the contamination and clean-up of PCB containing oil by the company that recycled our client’s used oil. The Plaintiff collected used oil from our client among others which it then took to an off-site location where it was stored in large tanks holding oil from hundreds of different sources. When the oil in that tank was later tested and determined to contain PCBs in violation of state and federal laws, Plaintiff pointed the finger at our client. We soon learned that the Plaintiff had destroyed oil samples from other potential sources of the PCBs and filed a motion for sanctions for spoiliation …

Integrated Approach

Among the hundred plus potentially responsible parties in one of the nations’ largest environmental cleanup sites, our client reached out to us to help them navigate through the complex legal and factual issues of the Portland Harbor Superfund Site.  There is a lot at stake.  Together, industry, landowners, and governments face staggering remediation costs, estimated over $1.4 billion to address legacy contamination.  The case concerns facts going back over 100 years and has a lengthy parade of allegations.  Staying focused, we have guided our client to the facts and positions that really matter.  Controlling costs for the long haul is essential.  Working in a multi-talented team of scientists, experts, and lawyers, we have and continue to arm our client with the …

Financial Institutions Litigation 

Getting it "Write"

We tried a case for a national bank that was trying to enforce a personal guaranty of a substantial corporate debt. In response to the guarantor’s defense that it was not her signature on the guaranty, we presented handwriting analysis testimony by a former Oregon State Police forensic handwriting expert. The court held the guarantor liable. It found that, even though the signature in question was anomalous, it did match the guarantor’s signature on a sample of checks she admitted having written.

You Can Bank on Us

In a classic exemplar of bookkeeper embezzlement, we tried a case for a national bank against whom the plaintiff car dealership made allegations of failing to detect and put a stop to the bookkeeper’s fraudulent diversion of company funds to herself. A Portland jury rendered a complete defense verdict in favor of our client.

Trailblazing

Our client, a national bank, was sued for violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act for allegedly wrongful reporting of a personal debt owed by the plaintiff to the bank. After several attempts to collect a debt, the bank reported the balance due on the plaintiff’s credit report. Later, one of the plaintiff’s businesses applied for credit to purchase machinery but was unsuccessful, due in part to our client’s credit reporting. The plaintiff sued, but prior to trial the bank moved in limine to exclude expert testimony on the plaintiff’s damages on the grounds that FCRA does not apply where a credit report is used for business or commercial purposes. The district court agreed and dismissed the lawsuit. The plaintiff appealed …

Health Care Litigation 

Battle Ready

When the founders of a successful regional healthcare delivery system were faced with a hostile take-over from their well-financed private equity investor, they came to us. The private equity fund stretched the company thin with promises of significant investments and then, when the money was needed the most, demanded they give up control of the company they founded and grew into one of the Portland Business Journal’s “Most Admired Companies.” When the founders came to us, their backs were against the wall; the private equity investor filed a mountain of paperwork seeking appointment of a receiver, and sought a temporary restraining order with a hearing scheduled on one day’s notice. Represented by a large international firm, the private equity fund …

Need to Protect Private Records Leads to Creative Class Action

Because public agencies are under tight deadlines to produce requested records, it takes swift and decisive action and knowledge of administrative and civil procedures to challenge a disclosure decision in court. When the Oregon Department of Justice ordered another state agency to disclose personal financial records of over 200 shareholders of a private corporation to the Register-Guard newspaper, we filed a lawsuit on behalf of the affected shareholders against the newspaper and agency custodian. We navigated several procedural challenges from the defendants and ultimately succeeded in certifying a class action that ensured that shareholders’ privacy concerns could be efficiently presented to the court. Before we could have a trial about whether the shareholders’ records were exempt under the “personal privacy” …

Insurance Coverage Disputes 

Clean Up Hitters

We represented the owners of a commercial building in which tenants’ inventories were ruined due to a sewage back-up that occurred after a heavy rainfall. Drain pipes had been clogged by another tenant’s dumping of restaurant waste into the plumbing system. Our client’s insurance carrier refused to cover our client’s significant losses on the basis of a pollution exclusion in the insurance policy. We took the insurer to court and defeated its motion for summary judgment, which was based on that pollution exclusion. Shortly after the court’s ruling, the insurance company settled by paying our client’s claim.

Fighting for Cover

We represent a client being sued by the State of Oregon for fraud and unjust enrichment in his capacity as an officer of his company. After we tendered defense of the claims to the insurer for his company he obtained insurance defense counsel to represent him. The company’s insurer is now claiming that it is not obligated to provide him coverage. In what has become an increasingly common strategy for insurers, it has filed a declaratory judgment action in federal court while simultaneously providing our client defense counsel in the state court litigation. We are moving to stay the federal court case on several legal theories.

Intellectual Property Advice & Litigation 

Trade Secret Success

Our intellectual property and public records law expertise came in handy when rideshare company Lyft asked for our help protecting its confidential ride and driver data in Portland.  The Oregonian newspaper sought Lyft’s competitively sensitive ride and vehicle data from the City of Portland, which received data from Lyft pursuant to nondisclosure agreements and City regulations of transportation network companies.  After the District Attorney ordered the City to produce the data to The Oregonian, we obtained a temporary restraining order blocking the release of the data by making a preliminary showing that it qualified as trade secret data.  In later briefing and a hearing on the merits and requesting an injunction against the release of records, we argued that Lyft’s …

Battle of the Brands

Our client, an apparel company, was sued by a craft brewer for specific performance of settlement and consent agreements resulting from a trademark dispute involving conflicting uses of the ROGUE brand.  The brewer alleged our client failed to amend certain trademark applications and registrations pursuant to a settlement agreement, which our client maintained was unnecessary because of certain actions of the trademark office.  In response, we developed the record showing that there was “clear and unambiguous” evidence that the settlement agreement was terminated as a consequence of the brewer’s aggressive actions toward our client.  After hearing argument on cross motions for summary judgment, the court agreed with our position and dismissed the claims against our client.

Non-Compete and Non-Solicitation Agreements 

Shutting Down the Competition

Within a just a few days of learning our client’s former employee was using proprietary and confidential information to steal away customers, we filed a complaint and headed into court seeking a temporary restraining order. The court granted the motion and ordered the former employee to cease using our client’s information to market her services to our client’s customers. At the preliminary injunction hearing, because the non-competition clause in the former employee’s contract was impermissibly broad we narrowed our request to what could legally be restrained and received the relief we sought. After her deposition, the former employee entered into a settlement agreement that replicated the permissible restrictions in her employment agreement and confessed to a judgment in favor of …

Taking Care of Business

A Fortune 500 company sued our clients, a highly successful officer of the company and his team, and the national company they moved to, for breach of contract, violation of non-competition and non-solicitation contract provisions, misappropriation of trade secrets and proprietary information and other claims and sought $22 million in damages. We and our co-counsel recognized that these parties needed to settle this case in short order for the transferred book of business to be properly serviced. Before we filed an answer, within three months of the complaint being filed, the parties began negotiating a settlement on terms reasonable for all the parties, that was inked six weeks later. This was a case where getting back to business was far …

Property Damage & Real Estate Disputes 

Airshow Blues

When an antique fighter jet that was in flight for an air show crashed into and destroyed the homes of three families, we represented them in their negligence claims against the air show. After extensive discovery that included FOIA requests to the FAA and depositions of aviation officials, and after defeating a defense of FAA preemption at summary judgment, just days before trial, our clients settled their claims on highly favorable terms.

That Sinking Feeling

After three homeowners’ brand new houses began to crack and sink, we filed a lawsuit on their behalf against the contractor, engineers, and others, including a soils testing firm. In discovery we learned that the soil engineering firm performed faulty testing and did not detect that the engineered fill under our clients’ homes was inadequately compacted. We employed a divide and conquer settlement strategy that left the soils engineer settling last and on terms highly favorable to our clients.

Uphill Climb

When a general contractor excavated the toe of an unstable slope he set off a landslide that severely damaged uphill homes. We represented the homeowners in their negligence claims against the contractor, property owner, and engineers working on the project. After settling with all defendants but the contractor, we tried the case putting on and cross-examining expert geotechnical engineers, appraisers, contractors, and our clients. The case settled on very favorable terms when it became apparent there would be a judgment in excess of the contractor’s policy limits.

Public Records Litigation 

Need to Protect Private Records Leads to Creative Class Action

Because public agencies are under tight deadlines to produce requested records, it takes swift and decisive action and knowledge of administrative and civil procedures to challenge a disclosure decision in court. When the Oregon Department of Justice ordered another state agency to disclose personal financial records of over 200 shareholders of a private corporation to the Register-Guard newspaper, we filed a lawsuit on behalf of the affected shareholders against the newspaper and agency custodian. We navigated several procedural challenges from the defendants and ultimately succeeded in certifying a class action that ensured that shareholders’ privacy concerns could be efficiently presented to the court. Before we could have a trial about whether the shareholders’ records were exempt under the “personal privacy” …

Trade Secret Success

Our intellectual property and public records law expertise came in handy when rideshare company Lyft asked for our help protecting its confidential ride and driver data in Portland.  The Oregonian newspaper sought Lyft’s competitively sensitive ride and vehicle data from the City of Portland, which received data from Lyft pursuant to nondisclosure agreements and City regulations of transportation network companies.  After the District Attorney ordered the City to produce the data to The Oregonian, we obtained a temporary restraining order blocking the release of the data by making a preliminary showing that it qualified as trade secret data.  In later briefing and a hearing on the merits and requesting an injunction against the release of records, we argued that Lyft’s …

Securities Litigation 

Strategic Judgment

We represented 27 investors who had lost over $5 million in a fraudulent real estate offering.  The perpetrator of the fraud was insolvent and our clients seemingly had little prospect for recovery.  Before filing an action, we researched the case and learned that a local law firm had aided the sales by preparing many of the offering materials.  Rather than suing the firm, we engaged in settlement discussion, exchanged the documents from our investigation, received documents related to the firm’s engagement, and then, following mediation, eventually reached a significant settlement for our clients.  Mediating first rather than filing a public complaint was a motivating factor for the firm to settle rather than having its errors publicly exposed.  Our clients also …

Fearless

We represent 125 investors who collectively lost over $50 million in a local Ponzi scheme. To get their money back, we sued one of the largest international law firms, the largest accounting firm in the U.S., one of the largest stock brokerage firms, a bank, and a national valuation firm that participated and materially aided the sales of the securities. The defendants deployed teams of attorneys from some of the largest and most reputable law firms in Portland and across the country. That did not deter us. We have defeated multiple motions to dismiss, rebuffed attempts to delay justice for our clients by, among other things, defeating mandamus petitions filed with the Oregon Supreme Court, taken and defended more than …