Moved to new site –

New Oregon Appellate Review blog entries are going to be at my main website.  I will continue to cross-post here for the next few months.

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Cross-posted – Court rejects ski releases for resort’s own negligence in Oregon

Just before Christmas last year, the Oregon Supreme Court decided Bagley v. Mt. Bachelor, Inc., 356 Ore. 543, 340 P.3d 27 (2014), a case involving a young and promising snowboarder left paralyzed by what was asserted to be a bad jump at the Mt. Bachelor ski resort.  That young man, Miles Bagley, took a jump on a terrain park that caused him to fall badly, breaking his neck.  As a result, he sued the resort because a poorly designed jump is not an “inherent risk” of snowboarding.  His case was dismissed based on the release he signed as part of his season pass.  The release absolved the resort of all responsibility for anything that happened at all on the mountain.  Such a broad and unthinking release is not legitimate in my opinion, and the result here was particularly unjust.

I wrote an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief on behalf of the Oregon Trial Lawyers Association, showing how widespread these “complete” releases really are.  You can read the brief her: Amicus MERITS Final (8MB file).  I hope it was helpful to the Court, but more importantly, the Oregon Supreme Court made a strong statement in favor of consumers and “little guy” by saying that complete releases were unconscionable in certain circumstances—including Miles’ case.

He hasn’t won yet, but at least now he has the chance to prove his case.  The analysis that went into the unconscionability analysis will be discussed more when I look at the Hoodoo Ski Bowl decision from last month.

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Roggendorf Law LLC in the news

We filed suit today against the Jehovah’s Witnesses.  Our incredibly brave client was willing to go on camera and microphone to advocate for child abuse victims.  What a tremendously brave and selfless woman.  Way to go, Valicia!

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Hillsboro teacher arrested for child abuse

Gregg Martin Jensen was arrested last Friday for abusing one of his students.  The Oregonian reports that he was charged with “sexual abuse, luring a minor and encouraging child sexual abuse.”  If guilty, let’s hope that Mr. Jensen doesn’t see the outside world for a long, long time.

But what gets me about this is the school’s reaction.  Instead of sympathy, we see defensiveness and minimization:

Communications Director Beth Graser said the district has been pointing concerned parents to police statements about the case and asking students not to speculate or spread rumors.

“It’s just hard because things like this happen and people want answers,” she said. “No one anywhere can provide an ironclad guarantee that nothing (like this) is ever going to happen.”

Nice strawman, Ms. Graser.  What, “everyone else has molesters, so it’s ok that the school had one”?  Is that really the best statement from the school after one of its students gets molested? 

What the public needs is not an “ironclad guarantee” but a reasonable response, and policies that prevent this from happening.  It’s early yet (and perhaps Ms. Graser should have just offered her sympathy, encouraged other victims to come forward, and say that it was too early to tell what happened), but in the hundreds of child abuse cases I’ve been involved in, almost all of them had times where a strictly enforced policy or a mindful co-worker could have cut short or prevented the abuse.  The predator doesn’t own a magic portal or invisible cloak, so most likely someone, at some point, saw something and either didn’t talk or was told to shut up.

Instead of accepting responsibility and seeking healing (& one can apologize for the abuse happening without accepting legal liability), what we see from the School in the Oregonian is preemptive spin, disclaiming of responsibility, and an attempt to squelch “rumors”—or more likely any discussion of the case at all in the school.  There is nothing at the school’s website even mentioning the abuse or advocating that victims come forward.

Creepy predatory teachers are nothing new to Oregon, and the school should know that while rumor-mongering about potential victims should be strongly discouraged, talking about the case and raising concerns are healthy.  If another child or children have been abused, they will only feel empowered to come forward in an environment that is supportive and accepts its responsibility to keep children safe.

Liberty High doesn’t sound like the kind of place where a victim would feel comfortable coming forward.  Maybe that’s why this creep Jensen got away with it for at least a little while.

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Erin’s Law in Oregon

Erin’s Law would require school districts to implement sexual abuse education to public school students.  Why this isn’t in place already everywhere is a mystery to me.  Maybe we can find some Oregon legislators to advance this in the next session.  Ask the state candidates in this election cycle if they support this law.  The schools are historically one of the worst places for abuse, and because of sovereign immunity and tort claim notice requirements, the victims are almost always denied civil justice.  Let’s get Erin’s Law passed in Oregon.

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New format

Moved some things around (including my office), but hopefully everything still works. 

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Never, under any circumstances, ever take naked pictures of yourself.

They can and do get out, and ruin lives in the process—especially if a kid does it themselves.  This is a terrible story from our own backyard:  Facebook stalker gets girl to give him naked pics, and then blackmails her and a friend for more.

The darker side of social media is maturing, so to speak, and the old methods of extortion, blackmail, stalking, and sexual harassment have become recognizable patterns.  Kids are new to everything, so even if you know never to friend someone you’ve never heard of, your child doesn’t. 

Molesters are invariably good at manipulating children—it’s all they think about and all the practice.  Always monitor your kids’ internet use by making them give you their password.  It’s “invasive”?  Tough.  Child abusers are evil incarnate, and they count on the “discretion” and “politeness” of society to keep their predations secret.  Be nosy.  The life you save may be your child’s.  Still, evil people do evil things, and the best we can do as parents is try to keep our kids safe. 

As for this poor girl and her friend, if they ever find this piece of filth who is blackmailing them, I hope they get a chance to use Masha’s law and bankrupt the creep.

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Sale of the Freeman Water Tank Property Delayed

Renaissance homes agrees to postpone the Freeman Water Tank sale.

We’ve won a temporary victory, in that the sale is no longer set in stone for the end of the month.  My clients still get their day in court, and with time to look at the merits more thoroughly, hopefully the judge will see our arguments as persuasive. 

Cranking out a 16 page memo, 80 pages of exhibits, and 4 declarations in 18 hours overnight was not pleasant (with almost one hour’s sleep—something I’m starting to get too old for), but it was enough to change “We are prepared to close, and will close” into let’s wait two weeks. 

Happy for my clients, but it’s still a long, uphill fight.

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I am Not Anti-Piscine

Contrary to Commissioner Fish’s aspersion, I am not now, nor have I ever been part of an anti-Nick Fish conspiracy

It’s unfortunate that he has to clean up others’ messes, but that’s a sign of how poorly Portland has been governed in the past.



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“Viewed Differently”

Exactly how were “child abuse [and] rape” viewed “differently” by the Chicago Archdiocese years ago?

SNAP: Chicago Archdiocese leaders should be prosecuted following release of priest sex abuse documents

Were they not considered grave, mortal sins?  Were they not to be punished to the full extent of the law?  Were they not heinous crimes against those the Christ himself said should come to no harm, lest the offender wish he had never been born?

Seriously, exactly how did Cardinals George, Bernardin and Cody view child rape?  As an occupational hazard perhaps.  Or maybe a risk management issue. 

However they viewed these vile transgressions against the dignity and innocence of little children, it was obviously not the correct way, or the behavior would have swiftly ceased after a few high visibility punishments.  Instead, these men silenced victims, condoned rape, and shuffled perverts around the Chicago Archdiocese and the nation.  Perhaps finding some jail time for them would be helpful, you know, pour encourager les autres.

Congratulations, SNAP, for shedding light on the dark practices of the Chicago Archdiocese. 

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