Attorney Blog - Oregon - Washington Personal Injury
About the Authors
Richard Vangelisti and Scott Kocher are trial attorneys based in Portland, Oregon.
Court Pilots Expedited Trials in Portland
The Multnomah County Circuit Court is now making expedited trials available in civil cases. The option appears best-suited to cases requiring limited discovery. See the media release which includes references to resources, and other documents on the Multnomah Bar Association's web site: the program description, an expedited civil jury trial motion, order and outline of what to expect at the first case management conference of an expedited case.
Another Window Fall Reminder
As temperatures rise, more windows are open, creating fall risks for toddlers and other children. Our firm continues to believe children deserve stronger protection, and supports legislation modeled on successful laws in states that requiring specific protections where window fall risks are present. Approximately 5,000 U.S. children are injured each year from window falls. Together, we can help prevent window falls.
Child Window Falls
Window Fall Prevention Week happens each April. See our window fall prevention resources for tips on preventing these serious child injuries.
A community forum was held on November 9, 2010, on "Understanding and Preventing Pediatric Window Falls" in Portland, Oregon at Legacy Emanuel Hospital. Firm attorney Richard Vangelisti was involved in planning the event.
Child Window Fall
A child fell from a window in Kent, Washington this week. The child is in serious condition at Harborview. Landlords and homeowners can install devices to prevent these injuries.
Jessica Finlay, who had been struck by a car at 80th Avenue and Foster in Porltland in November 2009, has died. She and her friend, Lindsay Leonard, were crossing Foster Road in a crosswalk when they were both struck. The firm represents the Estate of Lindsay Leonard. The Portland Police have not release its report.
Bike Commute Challenge
Congratulations to Partner Scott F. Kocher for once again leading the firm to meet its annual bicycle commute goal. Mr. Kocher rode--and sometimes jogged--to work approximately 240 days this year, for an estimated total of 1,450 miles. Mr. Kocher confirms that his new flat route remains much easier than riding over Skyline twice daily to the firm's previous offices at Peterkort Centre.
Pretrial Practice & Discovery
The Committee on Pretrial Practice & Discovery of the Section of Litigation of the American Bar Association has published Richard Vangelisti's latest article on some best practices relating to attorney professionalism entitled "Conflicts Between Lawyers – The Professionalism Antidote." Contact the firm for a copy.
Foster Child Files Case Against DHS
The Oregonian newspaper covered the firm's filing of a case against DHS relating to the abuse of a child in foster care. Scott Kocher is the lead attorney on the matter.
Firm Attorneys Listed in 2009 Super Lawyers
Firm attorneys Richard Vangelisti and Scott Kocher have been listed in the 2009 Oregon Super Lawyers publicaction under the Personal Injury categories. See superlawyers.com.
Kocher to Attend House of Delegates Meeting
Partner Scott Kocher will attend the meeting of the Oregon State Bar House of Delegates today at the Bar Center in Tigard. Kocher plans to support a proposal that will encourage Oregon attorneys to provide pro bono services to low income Oregonians. He plans to oppose an effort to change Oregon's pleading rules in a way that may make litigation in Oregon courts more expensive for individuals who have been harmed by the wrongdoing of others.
The Way to Justice
A philosophy our firm lives by has been well stated by Emily Couric in her book, The Trial Lawyers - "Justice is a friend of people who know best how to find it; it's attracted to intelligence, experience, perspicacity, ingenuity, and perseverance. "
Firm Attorney Presents at Federal Court CLE
Firm attorney Richard Vangelisti is presenting at the OLI/FBA CLE with Judge Garr (Mike) King on the topic of "Federal vs. State Court -- Comparisons and Contrasts." Contact Jamie Telegin (503.445.2100) of our office for more information.
Michael Moule is presenting an APBR (Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals) webinar "MUTCD: Bicyle and Pedestrian Signs, Markings and Experiments" on Wednesday, October 21, 2009. The viewing will take place at 12:00 noon, in the Burnside Conference Room, 8th Floor of the Portland Building (1120 SW 5th Avenue). Please RSVP to Sharon White with the Portland Bureau of Transportation at 503-823-7100.
Firm Contributes to Multnomah Bar Foundation
The firm recently made a contribution to the Multnomah Bar Foundation (MFB). The mission of the MBF is to "increase the public's understanding of the legal system; to promote civic education, public participation and respect for the law; to improve the quality and administration of the legal system; and to support programs and projects related to the MBF 's purpose."
Attorneys Preventing Child Abuse Through Mandatory Reporting
Firm attorney Richard Vangelisti is writing an article and producing a video for the National Law Foundation on Oregon's requirement that attorneys report incidents of child abuse. Mandatory reporting is critical to the prevention of child abuse.
Cyclists' Safety Remains a Top Priority
The Oregonian newspaper reported a serious bicycle collision on Terwilliger Boulevard in SW Portland this morning. This and other recent serious injury collisions are a reminder that the safety of cyclists remains a major problem in Portland and elsewhere. Vangelisti Kocher LLP encourages others to join the firm in supporting the Bicycle Transportation Alliance, working to make it safer for people to travel by bicycle in Portland and statewide.
State of Oregon DHS
Audit of Complaints of Child Sex Abuse
The Oregonian newspaper reported on September 3, 2009, that the Oregon DHS would establish a team of outside experts to examine whether Oregon adequately investigates foster parents and complaints of sex abuse of children. The team is expected to report back within 90 days. In 2008, there were approximately 83 children abused in state-certified family foster homes in Oregon. Lawyers with Vangelisti Kocher LLP have handled sex abuse cases, including a case involving sex abuse of a child while in foster care.
The Safety Store
The Safety Store of Legacy Emanuel Children’s Hospital has opened with great success in providing our community with products to prevent child injuries. Families and landlords have purchased window guards from the store to prevent child window falls. Visit The Safety Store for more info.
Support the Juvenile Rights Project
Vangelisti Kocher LLP is proud to be the Juvenile Rights Sponsor of the Juvenile Rights Project 2009 Champions for Children fundraiser. Visit JRP to learn more about how you can support Oregon's children in the courtroom and the community.
UPDATED! Trial Attorney Resources
Our updated Trial Attorney Resources page provides an easy-to-use collection of the rules, statutes and practice aids most commonly used by trial attorneys in Oregon state and federal courts. Also included is a selection of articles focused on Oregon civil practice, starting with "Welcome to Oregon: What Every Lawyer Should Know About Practice In Oregon Courts."
Industrial Accidents Raise Important Issues for Lawyers, Regulators and Manufacturers
News of industrial accidents continuing this year in Portland and across the country is a tragic reminder to product manufacturers and regulators that equipment safety must remain a top priority. Likewise, industrial accident attorneys handling claims on behalf of victims and families must remember that workers compensation is not the only source of recovery. Potential claims against product manufacturers and other non-employer parties are often overlooked as significant sources of additional recoveries for victims and their families. Products liability law is often the most complex area, and can present challenges to industrial accident lawyers. Read more about Oregon products liability claims.
Firm Attorney Awarded Federal Practice Award
Firm Attorney Richard Vangelisti was awarded the 2009 Judge James M. Burns Federal Practice Award. The Oregon Chapter of the Federal Bar Association annually bestows two awards, one to a civil practitioner and one to a criminal law practitioner, recognizing contributions to federal practice and professionalism. U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon Karin Immergut was the other award recipient.
Safety Check: It's Time To Look at Your Child's Bicycle Helmet
Spring is in the air, and once again it’s time to check that your children’s bicycle helmets, and your own, are adjusted properly, and will not shift or come off in the event of an accident. Each year, especially in the spring, we see children riding with helmets that are not protecting the child’s forehead, not ANSI-approved for bicycling, or that just don’t fit. Helmets that have been crashed, show signs of wear, or have even hairline cracks should be discarded and replaced immediately. Helmet fit and strap adjustment can be especially tricky. Take the time to get it right. These adjustment tips on our bicycle safety page give you a head start.
Retailer Stops Selling
Bed Rail Product After Lawsuit Filed
On April 27, 2009, Care Medical Equipment, Inc., a medical products retailer based in Oregon, disclosed that it would stop selling a bed rail product manufactured by Bed Handles, Inc. The model is BA10W Bedside Assistant, and the retailer is considering a recall. Vangelisti Kocher LLP had filed a lawsuit against the retailer, manufacturer and the assisted living facility where the bed rail had been used with a resident who died of asphyxia. Click here for the Complaint.
Attorney Fees and Cost Recovered In Child Window Fall Case
On April 9, 2009, the Multnomah County Circuit Court awarded Vangelisti Kocher LLP attorneys fees and costs for having been required to prove certain facts at trial. Attorneys Richard Vangelisti and Scott Kocher had obtained a $560,000 verdict in January 2009 on behalf of a toddler injured in a fall from a second-story window, after the landlord's insurer denied the claim. Before trial the lawyers hired by the insurance company for the defendants had denied the reasonableness of the child's medical bills incurred at Legacy Emanuel Children's Hospital and the authenticity of the MRI of her brain done by a radiologist. The Court reimbursed the lawyers for the child for having to prove those facts at trial. Under ORCP 46 C, the Court determined that the defendants "did not present any evidence demonstrating that they had reasonable grounds to believe that they might prevail on [those] matters . . . " Click here for the Court's Letter-Ruling.
Statutes of Limitations: Still Dangerous But a Little Less So
In 2007 Scott Kocher wrote an article about statutes of limitations applicable to personal injury claims in Oregon. Read the March 2009 update of Traps for the Unwary: Is Oregon’s Statue of Limitations for Injury Claims Really Two Years? Learn how a recent Oregon Supreme Court decision helped injured tenants, and how the Oregon Legislature fixed a loophole that left parents exposed for medical bills even when the deadline was extended for the rest of a child's personal injury claim.
Litigator? How Do You Leash a Bulldog Adversary?
What “nuts and bolts” strategies can protect clients’ interests in the face of unprofessional tactics by an adversary? In May 2008 the Oregon State Bar Bulletin published Mr. Vangelisti's original article addressing fundamentals of how litigators can maintain professionalism even when confronted by an adversary’s unprofessional conduct. Read Mr. Vangelisti's new article sharing more solutions here.
Verdict Provides Care for Brain-Injured Girl
Attorneys Richard Vangelisti and Scott Kocher obtained a $560,000 verdict this week on behalf of a toddler injured in a fall from a second-story window, after the landlord's insurer denied the claim. The verdict affirms the duty of Oregon landlords to warn or protect tenants from low or otherwise dangerous windows at rental properties. The case follows lobbying by the property management industry to defeat specific legislation to protect Oregon children from window falls. Nationally, more than 4,700 children are injured in window falls each year, including more than 12 in the Portland area last summer. Read the full Press Release and the Oregonian article about this case. For more information, please contact Jamie Telegin at 503-445-2103.
Bike Commute Annual Recap
Congratulations to Partner Scott F. Kocher for once again leading the firm beyond its 2008 bicycle commute goal. Mr. Kocher rode approximately 2,600 miles, including more than 175,000 vertical feet uphill. The firm recently moved its offices from the West Hills to downtown Portland. Mr. Kocher says his new flat route is "a lot easier" than riding over Skyline twice daily.
Crib Defects Revealed
Beyond Sticks and Stones
When does bullying become intolerable, and when does the law get involved? Scott Kocher discusses Oregon law dealing with bullying and online abuses or "cyberbullying" here.
Congratulations to firm attorney Scott Kocher, one of three attorneys included in the Oregon Super Lawyers 2008 Rising Stars list for plaintiff's personal injury work. The non-paid listing is based on peer recognition and professional achievement. Mr. Kocher’s nomination predated his work as lead counsel on a ground-breaking $904,200 verdict in May. More information about the selection process is available here.
Firm Attorney Appointed to
OSB Professionalism Commission
Firm attorney Richard Vangelisti has been appointed to the Oregon State Bar's Professionalism Commission for a two year term beginning January 1, 2009. The Professionalism Commission works to raise the professionalism standards for lawyers. For further information, please contact Jamie Telegin at 503-445-2103.
Bed Handles, Inc. Attaches New Warning
Bed Handles, Inc. is attaching a new warning to its "bed handle" model. The firm's attorneys are handling a claim aginst Bed Handles, Inc. Click here for the Complaint. For further information, please contact Jamie Telegin at 503-445-2103.
Firm Attorney will Appear on KATU's AM Northwest
Attorney Richard Vangelisti will appear on KATU's AM Northwest on September 30. He is going to discuss legal and practical issues related to the recent child window falls in the Portland area. For further information, please contact Jamie Telegin at 503-445-2103.
Firm Attorney Selected as Co-chair Of Lawyer Representatives
Attorney Richard Vangelisti was selected as Co-Chair of the Lawyer Representatives for the Unites States District of Oregon to the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference. For further information, please contact Jamie Telegin at 503-445-2103.
Firm Files Claim Against Fred Meyer
The firm filed a products liability action against Fred Meyer entities on behalf of client. The client suffered severed tendon and nerve in his thumb resulting from shattered vase portion bamboo arrangement. For further information, please contact Jamie Telegin at 503-445-2103.
Firm Attorney to Attend Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference
Attorney Richard Vangelisti will attend the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference in Sun Valley, Idaho in late July. The US District of Oregon appointed Richard in 2006 to a three-year term as one of the District's Lawyer Representatives. For further information, please contact Jamie Telegin at 503-445-2103.
Firm Obtains $904,200 Verdict Against Residential Care Facility
Attorneys Scott Kocher and Richard Vangelisti obtained a favorable verdict on behalf of an elder who suffered injuries in a Portland area residential care facility. This high profile case was reported in The Oregonian on May 12, 2008. To read the article click here. For further information, please contact Jamie Telegin at 503-445-2103.
Presenting on Rules and Procedures for Federal Court Success
Attorney Richard Vangelisti will be speaking on May 15, 2008, on the topic of rules and procedures for federal court. Further information on the seminar is available upon request. Please contact Jamie Telegin at 503-445-2103.
Presenting on Professionalism
Attorney Richard Vangelisti will be leading a group presenting on the topic of professionalism on April 8, 2008, at the Judge Owen M. Panner Inn of Court in Portland. A panel will include local federal judges and leaders of the Portland legal community. Further information on the event is available upon request. Please contact Jamie Telegin at 503-445-2103.
Representing Elder Abuse Victims
Attorney Richard Vangelisti will be speaking on April 18, 2008, as a panelist to train attorneys on litigating a physical abuse/neglect case against a long-term care facility. Further information on the seminar is available upon request. Please contact Jamie Telegin at 503-445-2103.
Proving and Refuting Damage Claims in Personal Injury Cases
Attorney Richard Vangelisti will be speaking on January 31, 2008, as a panelist to train attorneys on litigating the damages portion of a personal injury case. Further information on the seminar is available upon request. Please contact Jamie Telegin at 503-445-2103.
Pro Bono Honor Roll - Congratulations!
Richard J. Vangelisti and Scott F. Kocher are pleased to have been named on the 2007 Pro Bono Honor Roll of the Multnomah Bar Association. The Honor Roll recognizes lawyers' participation in legal aid programs. Read more about our attorneys' work with the Domestic Violence Project.
Negotiation Ethics: Winning Without Selling Your Soul
One of our attorneys, Richard Vangelisti, recently spoke as a panelist at an Oregon State Bar event to train attorneys on effective negotiation and negotiation ethics. Further information on the seminar, Negotiation Ethics: Winning Without Selling Your Soul, is available upon request. Please contact Jamie Telegin at 503-445-2103.
Fact Investigation in Personal Injury Cases
Richard Vangelisti and Scott Kocher present "Fact Investigation in Personal Injury Cases" a CLE seminar for members of the Oregon Trial Lawyers Association on Wednesday, November 28, 2007. For details or to request a copy of the program materials please contact Jamie at 503-445-2103.
Injury Prevention - Check Your Bicycle Lights
After helmets, lights are the single most important safety tool for cyclists. Lights are legally required in low light or dark in Oregon and most other jurisdictions. With the days getting shorter, now is time for bicyclists, and parents of children who ride bicycles, to make sure that bicycle lights are adequate, legal and properly adjusted...
Attorneys Defending Justice in Pakistan
This week, news reports from Pakistan have shown hundreds of lawyers protesting the abolition of their country's constitution and Supreme Court. We are seeing images of outraged but peaceful attorneys, in suits and ties, being dragged off by the police. Their courage to defend the legal structures that protect fairness in society is a credit to attorneys around the world. It reminds us that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are thankful for their resolve, and for the efforts of attorneys closer to home who work to protect our own courts and right to trial by jury from less overt but increasingly serious attacks. To learn more, visit the Oregon Jury Project.
2007 District of Oregon Conference
Attorneys who practice on the Federal Courts of Oregon are encouraged and warmly invited to attend the 2007 District of Oregon Conference. View invitation.
Injury Prevention - Fall is Furnace Check Season
As temperatures start to fall, now is the time to have a professional inspection done of all fuel-burning heating systems, including furnaces, boilers, fireplaces, water heaters, space heaters, chimneys, flues, and vents. The US Consumer Products Safety Commission recommends an annual furnace inspection in particular to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning and deaths. Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless gas that can be produced by burning fuels such as natural gas, propane, oil, kerosene, coal, or wood. Initial symptoms of CO poisoning are similar to the flu and include headache, fatigue, shortness of breath, nausea and dizziness. Exposure to high levels of CO can be deadly. The CPSC recommends that each home be equipped with a carbon monoxide alarm in the hallway near each bedroom. If you need to purchase one, check that all of your smoke detectors are working, too, and save an extra trip to the hardware store!
NEW! Trial Attorney Resources
Our new Trial Attorney Resources page provides an easy-to-use collection of the rules, statutes and practice aids most commonly used by trial attorneys in Oregon state and federal courts. Also included is a selection of articles focused on Oregon civil practice, starting with "Welcome to Oregon: What Every Lawyer Should Know About Practice In Oregon Courts."
Preventing Burns to Children
Our firm's attorneys continue to receive many inquires concerning children who have suffered burns. Hot water and fire seem to be the leading causes of burns. Hot water is especially dangerous because many people don't realize that it can cause serious burns: permanent scarring and skin tone irregularities. Please take moment to consider ways to prevent a life-changing injury to a child. We have more information on our Burn Injuries page.
Washington Moves Closer to Insurance Reform
On Election Day, Washington voters will have an opportunity to adopt insurance reform. Referendum 67 will help to ensure that the insurance industry honors its obligation to treat policyholders honestly and fairly by making it against the law to unreasonably delay or deny legitimate claims. Referendum 67 covers claims related to homeowner’s insurance, auto insurance, long-term care insurance, property insurance and small business insurance. By approving the reform, Washington voters will bolster efforts in other states that are facing similar insurance problems. For more information see www.approve67.org.
September 24, 2007
On September 23, 2007 the New York Times presented an investigative report on the effects of corporate ownership on nursing home care, and the difficulties injured residents and their families may face collecting a judgment even after a verdict is entered against a facility. The complete article is online here (free nytimes.com login required).
Traps for the Unwary: Claim Deadlines
Injured people and their families often ask attorneys to help them identify the applicable deadline for making a claim should they need to do so. Often, they believe the deadline for injury claims in Oregon is two years. ORS 12.110 does provide a two-year statute of limitations that applies to many bodily injury and related tort claims. A number of complications, however, mean that the actual deadline is often shorter than it appears.
Motion to Seek Punitive Damages Granted in Products Case
On August 21, 2007 Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Janice R. Wilson granted plaintiffs' motion to seek punitive damages from defendant Sportsstuff, Inc. in a defective products case. The motion was filed by Vangelisti Kocher LLP and David E. Bernsen, P.C. To win the ruling, plaintiffs were required to present specific facts supported by admissible evidence that Sportsstuff, Inc. "acted with malice or has shown a reckless and outrageous indifference to a highly unreasonable risk of harm and has acted with a conscious indifference to the health, safety and welfare of others." The court's order has permitted the injured plaintiffs to file an amended complaint including punitive damages of $4.4 million.
Preventing window falls
With the warming temperatures in Oregon and Washington residents begin opening their windows for fresh air. These open windows, however, coincide with the higher incidence of children falling from windows and suffering brain injuries or other serious injuries.
In it to Win it
Congratulations to Scott Kocher for his first place overall finish in the 2007 Newport Sprint Triathlon. Mr. Kocher set a course record, completing the swim, bike and run event in 57 minutes 55 seconds.
State Court vs. Federal Court
What is the difference between state court and federal court? The differences can have a significant effect on the cost, and even the outcome of a civil case. Read Richard Vangelisti's article on what these differences mean to plaintiffs, defendants and the Oregon lawyers who sometimes must decide which court is a better forum for their case.
Portland Mayor Tom Potter has released his draft budget, which includes funding for a number of much-needed pedestrian and bicycle transportation safety improvements. One important item is missing: the Bicycle Master Plan Update. Read Scott Kocher's letter to Mayor Potter on this significant injury prevention issue.
Domestic Violence Project
Attorneys: the domestic violence project needs your help! By representing domestic violence victims in Family Abuse Prevention Act hearings, you can contribute to the community and keep your courtroom skills sharp.
Helmet Test Time
It's springtime. We're seeing a lot of children and adults on bicycles. There's no better way to get exercise, fresh air and get around town. Take our quick test and find out whether your helmet is doing its job.
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