Friday Photo

Friday Photo

Busy, busy here, but here’s a picture from last week’s hike at Bald Mountain/McNeil Point

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Dewberry v. Kitzhaber summary judgment affirmed — Indian Casinos aren’t “in” Oregon

The latest—but probably not the last—chapter in a case that I’ve been working on for over 8 years, and that has been going on for over nearly 10 years (!), was written today.  In State ex rel Dewberry v. Kitzhaber, a group of citizens have been challenging the Oregon Governor’s ability to enter into casino compacts with Native Tribes.  I don’t like to blog on pending cases, so I will simply offer the following key passage of the Court’s rationale for upholding summary judgment against us based on whether the Governor has the authority to enter into casino compacts, despite the Oregon constitution’s prohibition on casinos:

The restriction on casinos in Article XV, section 4(10), applies to lands subject to state jurisdiction. We reject relators’ contention at oral argument that all lands—even Indian tribal lands—located within the exterior boundaries of Oregon are subject to state jurisdiction for purposes of Article XV, section 4(10). See, e.g., North Pacific Ins. Co. v. Switzler, 143 Or App 223, 233-34, 924 P2d 839 (1996) (tribal members who lived on the Warm Springs Reservation did not “reside” in Oregon for purposes of personal jurisdiction because tribes occupy their own territory “in which the laws of Oregon have no force” except with assent of tribes or “in conformity with treaties and acts of Congress” (internal quotation marks omitted)).

Slip op. at 22.  This has been an interesting case, with potential widespread impact.  The clients are going to decide whether to challenge this ruling further.  

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Another new filing today: Toddler abused by Neighbor boy, Apartment management knew he was dangerous.

My friend Erin Olson and I filed a case today on behalf of a sweet, wonderful little girl who was terribly abused by a neighbor boy at her Canby apartment.  Here’s the press release:

Portland, OR — Lawyers representing a young toddler filed suit on her behalf today against Norris & Stevens and a Canby apartment complex known as Willamette Grove apartments, alleging that the girl suffered rape and molestation at the hands of a violent and dangerous neighbor boy when management failed to warn of the risk they knew he posed.

The suit, filed in Multnomah County Circuit Court, alleges that the apartment complex manager had previously received multiple reports of the boy engaging in acts including threatening other young children with a knife and inappropriately peeping in the bedroom window of another young child, but had taken no action in response to the reports.

“Apartment management had ample warning that the boy posed a risk to others is in the complex, and particularly to children younger than him, and they chose to protect the boy rather than the other residents.” said Erin Olson, one of the attorneys representing the interests of the victim.

Kristian Roggendorf, another attorney representing the victim added, “Apartment complexes in Oregon have a responsibility to warn their residents about known dangers, even when those dangers are other residents.”

The suit, which names as defendants Norris and Stevens and Grand Oaks Willamette, LLC, also alleges that the apartment’s management attempted to evict the victim’s family after family members complained to management about the assault, and warned other residents with small children of the danger posed by the assailant.

This case is truly tragic all the way around.  Our client was seriously harmed, but the boy is also obviously deeply damaged.  The management’s protecting him only emboldened him to take his actions to a terrible new level, and for that, Norris & Stevens and Grand Oaks Willamette must be held to account.  It deeply saddens me that they ever allowed this boy to go so far, and yet still tried t keep it secret, even after the abuse was disclosed.

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Roggendorf Law In the Oregonian

The last few weeks have been very busy, and I haven’t posted much.   In part, this is why:

Sex-abuse lawsuit filed against Archdiocese of Portland alleging rape by notorious priest

The Fr. Grammond cases are some of the most infuriating, even after a dozen years of doing this kind of work.  How—how—could the Archdiocese ignore multiple reports of a man sexually touching boys over the course of decades???  He obviously wasn’t ever going to get “better” and wasn’t ever going to stop.   


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Friday Photo

Friday Photo

Red Rocks State Park outside of Vegas is about the only reason to go to Las Vegas. Lots of incredibly fun climbing, and the most fascinating banded rock formations.

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Good fences sometimes make bad neighbors

On October 9, 2013, the Oregon Court of Appeals decided Minihan v. Stiglich, a boundary dispute case that has festered between two West Linn neighbors for nearly a decade.  The dispute involved a communal strip of land that provided access to the Willamette River, and one neighbor’s (Stiglich) ongoing insistence—in the face of a number of surveys all to the contrary—that he owned a significant part of the the access strip (or at least the part that allowed access to the river).  As neighbor disputes tend to do, the situation got ugly on several occasions, until Mr. Stiglich finally put in a fence to stop his neighbor from accessing the river to watch July 4 fireworks in 2007.  The fence was in fact on the communal lot, but stayed up until after litigation had commenced and a final survey showed again, what all the other surveys before had shown: that the boundary of the lot matched the plaintiff’s claim.  Finally, the fence came down in 2009 following that defense expert’s conclusion.

The interesting part of this case is just how many surveys were conducted, including one by the county and recorded thereafter, and yet the defendant continued to insist that his property line was where he wanted it to be.  By my count, at least three separate surveys were conducted before the lawsuit got filed, and they all confirmed the same boundary.  The defendant, according to the Court, never offered a concrete reason for insisting that the boundary line lay elsewhere,  So not only did the jury aware $10,000 for trespass, it imposed a whopping punitive damages award of $40,000 for a boundary dispute that really existed only in one person’s opinion.

The judge’s ruling following the bench trial confirmed that the judge thought the defendant’s conduct was unreasonable.  In awarding the upper limit of punitive damages for economic harm, the judge had this to say:

I think this is one of those cases that — to send a message to yourself and to someone else who might be inclined to engage in this kind of self-help, that it’s not appropriate.

From outside the fence looking in, it sure does seem that way to me.

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Happy Leif Erikson Day!

Leif Erikson Day actually on October 9, but since we’re celebrating Columbus Day, I figured we might as well celebrate the first European discoverer of the Western Hemisphere. 

Aside from the Solutreans, that is. 

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