April 01, 2021

Appellate Attorney Janet Schroer Wins in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

Janet Schroer and the Hart Wagner appellate team won affirmance  for defendant city and police officer of the trial court’s dismissal with prejudice of all of the multiple state and federal claims brought by the plaintiff Estate, and all claims but the ADA/Rehab Act claim asserted by plaintiff individually.

The Estate claimed defendants violated state and federal law in failing to take decedent into custody during manic episodes. He committed suicide several days later. The 9th Circuit held that the District Court properly dismissed with prejudice all of the Estate’s claims, including under the ADA and Rehab. Act, along with state law wrongful death statute, as there is no right to be arrested because of a disability, and no requirement to impose services on disabled individuals who do not desire help, and the defendants’ acts were not a substantial factor in decedent’s death. The court also held the defendants did not violate decedent’s substantive Due Process because the 14th Amendment does not confer an affirmative right to governmental aid.

The 9th Circuit affirmed the dismissal of Dunlap’s procedural Due Process claim because Oregon’s mandatory arrest statute, ORS 133.055 did not create any property interest protected by Due Process.

The 9th Circuit reversed Dunlap’s associational claims under the ADA/Rehab Act, as she alleged sufficient facts to show that by reason of her husband’s disability, and her association with him, she was denied a benefit-arrest of her husband for domestic abuse- as mandated by Oregon law when defendant had probable cause to arrest decedent. Dunlap v. City of Sandy and Officer Hodges.

February 12, 2021

Appellate Attorney Janet Schroer Wins in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

Janet Schroer and the Hart Wagner appellate team won reversal in the 9th Circuit of the District Court’s denial of qualified immunity to defendant Officer Tran on plaintiff’s 42 USC Section 1983 claim based on his arrest of Laizure for telephonic harassment of his ex-wife, despite Laizure’s later acquittal on the criminal charge.  

The 9th Circuit held the Officer Tran had probable cause to believe that Laizure committed the crime of telephonic harassment under ORS 166.090, as he knew that his ex-wife did not want to receive calls from him, as she found them harassing, and he nonetheless continued to make calls and texts. The 9th Circuit also found that there were no cases to clearly establish the law as applied to an officer acting under similar circumstances, that the officer’s conduct violated the 4th Amendment. For this reason, too, qualified immunity attached. Laizure v. Washington County and Officer Tran.

January 04, 2021

Hart Wagner Announces New Co-Managing Partners

We are pleased to announce that Mike Wiswall and Matt Kalmanson have been selected to serve as the firm’s co-managing partners effective January 1, 2021. Wiswall is a skilled trial attorney who represents and defends healthcare professionals. Kalmanson is an accomplished litigator and appellate attorney who represents individuals and businesses.  Collectively they bring over 4 decades of experience to this leadership role.  Together they will lead Hart Wagner’s continued mission of building collaborative relationships; earning respect of the legal community including clients, colleagues, and the courts; and dedication to delivering the very best service and results.

We would like to thank Gordy Welborn for his exceptional leadership as the firm’s managing partner over the last six years.  Welborn will continue his robust trial practice defending professionals. 

December 30, 2020

Hart Wagner Welcomes Attorney Blake Fry

We’re pleased to welcome associate attorney Blake Fry to Hart Wagner LLP.  Blake’s practice focuses on civil litigation in state and federal trial and appellate courts.  His practice includes defending public entities, public officials, and employers in civil rights and tort claims, and attorneys and other professionals in malpractice and related claims. 

Before joining Hart Wagner LLP, Blake was an attorney at Mersereau Shannon LLP for nine years.  He is a member of the Oregon State Bar, Multnomah Bar Association, and the Oregon Association of Defense Counsel – where he currently serves as the Chair of the Governmental Liability Section.  Blake received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Kansas and went on to receive his law degree from Lewis & Clark Law School. 

November 05, 2020

U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” Honors Hart Wagner with One National Tier 3, Nine Tier 1, and One Tier 2 Designations

U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” has issued its 2021 law firm rankings.  Hart Wagner received nine regional Tier 1 rankings, one Tier 2, as well as a one National Tier 3 ranking in Appellate Practice.  These rankings are based on lawyer evaluations, client feedback and peer reviews.

National Tier 3
Appellate Practice

Metropolitan Tier 1
Portland – OR
Appellate Practice
Commercial Litigation
Ethics and Professional Responsibility Law
Legal Malpractice – Defendants
Medical Malpractice – Defendants
Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants
Professional Malpractice Law – Defendants

Eugene – OR
Medical Malpractice Law – Defendants
Professional Malpractice Law – Defendants

November 03, 2020

Appellate Attorney Janet Schroer Wins In The Ninth Circuit Court Of Appeals

Janet Schroer won an appeal in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals,  reversing the District Court’s ruling denying qualified immunity to two police officers based on what the court found were issues of fact. Plaintiff sued under 42 USC § 1983  alleging the excessive use of force against a suspect who was fleeing after 911 calls reported he had committed violent crimes,  after the suspect stopped on a dark street, turned and displayed a shiny object perceived as a knife. At issue were both jurisdiction to hear the interlocutory qualified immunity appeal and the officers’ entitlement to qualified immunity. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held it had jurisdiction to determine whether the defendant officers violated clearly established law in using lethal force, viewing the facts in the light most favorable to plaintiff. The court held that no clearly established law put defendants on notice that what they did violated the suspect’s Fourth Amendment right against excessive use of force.

October 08, 2020

Troy Bundy and Taylor Lewis Obtain Dismissal of Lawsuit Against Dialysis Clinic

Troy Bundy and Taylor Lewis prevailed again in an Oregon medical malpractice action brought against a dialysis clinic.  The plaintiff alleged that the clinic wrongfully discharged him from its dialysis program after he grabbed a staff member’s ponytail and pulled her head back.  He claimed that that the clinic’s reasons for discharging him were pretext, and that he was actually discharged because he had made complaints about the care he was receiving.  After the plaintiff failed to appear for his deposition, defendant successfully moved to dismiss the entire case with prejudice. 

October 02, 2020

Troy Bundy and Taylor Lewis Prevail in Cosmetic Surgery Malpractice Lawsuit

Troy Bundy and Taylor Lewis prevailed on summary judgment in an Oregon medical malpractice lawsuit alleging that a well-regarded plastic surgeon’s treatment fell below the standard of care.  The plaintiff claimed various complications following an abdominoplasty and liposuction, and sought damages for pain and suffering and expenses for revision surgery.  Following oral argument, the court agreed with defendants’ legal analysis and ruled in favor of defendants’ on all claims.

September 25, 2020

Karen O’Kasey and Andrew Weiner Prevail in Federal Court

Karen O’Kasey and Andrew Weiner prevailed on summary judgment in a federal lawsuit alleging an employer’s violation of due process and equal protection as well state law claims for wrongful discharge, defamation, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The plaintiff claimed that an investigation into his misconduct was tainted, and that the employer improperly refused to remove him from a Brady list. US District Court Judge Michael McShane agreed with the defendants’ legal analysis, ruling in the defendants’ favor on all claims.

September 24, 2020

Gordy Welborn Named Chair of the Oregon Chapter of the American College of Trial Lawyers

We’re pleased to announce that our managing partner Gordy Welborn has been named the Chair of the Oregon Chapter of the American College of Trial Lawyers (ACTL), one of the premier legal associations in North America.  He will serve in this leadership position for two years.  Gordy was inducted as a Fellow in 2012, and has served as the Vice Chair of the Oregon Chapter.    

Founded in 1950, the College is composed of the best of the trial bar from the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Fellowship in the College is extended by invitation only and only after careful investigation, to those experienced trial lawyers of diverse backgrounds, who have mastered the art of advocacy and whose professional careers have been marked by the highest standards of ethical conduct, professionalism, civility and collegiality. Lawyers must have a minimum of fifteen years trial experience before they can be considered for Fellowship.

Membership in the College cannot exceed one percent of the total lawyer population of any state or province. There are currently approximately 5,800 members in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, including active Fellows, Emeritus Fellows, Judicial Fellows (those who ascended to the bench after their induction) and Honorary Fellows which include each of our Supreme Court justices. The College maintains and seeks to improve the standards of trial practice, professionalism, ethics, and the administration of justice through education and public statements on independence of the judiciary, trial by jury, respect for the rule of law, access to justice, and fair and just representation of all parties to legal proceedings. The College is thus able to speak with a balanced voice on important issues affecting the legal profession and the administration of justice.