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EEOC Settlements Announced In January

February 15, 2013

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced settlements of 15 employment law cases in January 2013.  This post briefly summarizes them.  In addition to the monetary compensation noted below, many settlements included consent decrees, under which the employer must monitor their workplaces, provide training on anti-discrimination law and / or report any violations.

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Bereaved Parents Warn of Danger at Mt. Hood Ski Bowl

December 18, 2012

November 21, 2012 press release follows:

Bereaved Parents Warn of Danger at Mt. Hood Ski Bowl

Witnesses Encouraged to Come Forward

On January 27, 2012, seventeen-year-old Taylur DeWolf died while snowboarding down the Dog Leg trail at Mt. Hood Ski Bowl. Her parents, Harry and Grettel DeWolf want to warn other parents of the dangers of that trail, and they ask anyone with information on what happened to come forward.

Taylur's parents sought information directly from Ski Bowl. Unfortunately, Ski Bowl's attorney said Skibowl would disclose its investigation only if the parents sued Skibowl for wrongful death.  Today, Harry DeWolf filed suit against Kirk Hanna and the corporations that operate Mt. Hood Ski Bowl, alleging that Skibowl contributed to the death of Taylur DeWolf by misrepresenting the degree of difficulty of the Dog Leg Trail.

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Oregon Court Upholds Claim for Fraud Against Insurer

July 26, 2012

Yesterday, Oregon's Court of Appeals ruled that a homeowner may proceed with his fraud lawsuit against his homeowners insurance company for the misrepresentations of the adjuster.

In Larry Murphy v. Allstate Insurance Company, Mr. Murphy suffered flood damage and needed to restore his home. During the inspection, Allstate's adjuster brought with him a contractor Allstate regularly used "on all our jobs." The homeowner had worked in the construction field, and he asked about whether they would need electrical and building permits. Allstate's adjuster said, flatly, "No." Well, guess what? The City of Grants Pass said the restoration work violated city code because it had been performed without the required permits. As a result, the city barred occupancy and fined Mr. Murphy $495 per day.

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Lisa Aasen
Mr.Merrick recently represented me in a discrimination suit against a former employer. I am very fortunate to have had Mr.Merrick represent me. I always knew that Jeff was truly fighting for me. [He] cared about myself and my case. He was always very dependable and quick to respond to any phone calls or emails. I couldn't of asked for a better Attorney to represent me during that hard time. It made a tough time so much easier having Mr.Merrick as my lawyer.

Jason Posner, Attorney at Law
I first met... [while] clerking for a judge who was mediating a very large case. Jeff represented one of the many parties in a contentious mediation.... Jeff was poised, thoughtful, and deliberate, with a thorough understanding of the issues.... Over the years, as I embarked on my own career, I have leaned on Jeff for wisdom. His analysis, grace and calm serve as a model to me.

Malia Gibbons
... I truly appreciate your expertise and dedication... Thank you for everything you did in my behalf.

Alice and Jim Turner
"Thank you" is simply not enough for your tireless endeavors in bringing a close to a very difficult time for both Jim and myself...

Robert Lester
Jeff took on a case involving myself and 4 others. Jeff bent over backwards, and was always available to answer any questions we had. It did not matter what day or time I needed to talk to him, he was there for me and us. Jeff is also an excellent " P.I. " (Private Investigator); the things he found from the Defendant's past was nothing less than remarkable.

I hate to have to see anyone need to go to court. Although if you want an Attorney that you can trust to give you answers, not beat around the bush, and is honest, I would have to say Jeff is your guy.

It has been a while since our settlement, and I still consider Jeff a friend. I look back often at how he never fed us any lines just to make us happy, he shot from the hip, and told us how it is. I like honesty, and I like people that do not sugarcoat things.

I just want to say Thank You again Jeff! We all appreciate the hard work you put in for our Justice.

Heather and Don
Thank you for all your hard work on the case. It was nice to see someone help us out. We will look forward to seeing you at the farm if you get out this way.

Claudia Cullison
I worked with Jeff Merrick in the mid-1990s. I had many opportunities to observe his legal abilities and work ethic. And I was impressed! Mr. Merrick consistently won his cases, and was the highest earner for the law firm that employed us.

Then, in 2004 I was involved in a car accident, and had broken bones and spinal injuries. In 2005, someone else crashed into my car, and the ultimate result was I needed three major surgeries, and about 17 minor surgeries.

When my insurance company refused to honor their obligations for uninsured and underinsured car crashes, I knew that Jeff would be the best attorney for my case.

And he was! He worked many hours to understand my medical records and injuries. He very ably defended me against my insurance company's attacks. And because of his superior legal skills, he was able to craft the lawsuit so that my insurance company had to pay his attorney fees, and I was able to keep the entire jury award.

And the judge told the insurance company attorney that he would have awarded me even more money based on Mr. Merrick's case presentation.

I think Jeffrey Merrick did an excellent job fighting for my rights, and would hire him again in an instant.

Naquaya Palmer
... Thanks a bunch... Thanks for putting up with me and my total lack of experience. Thank you for being a great guide and friend. Keep doing what you do so well!!

Richard and Tammy Kolln
Jeff - We appreciate your services that were required that were required, due to our tragedy. We will financially do ok now...

We respect you and the way you have your own rules of engagement. Not the stereotypical lawyer. You are a real person. Thank you...

Erving Jones
I was... represented by Jeffrey S. Merrick... I was extremely impressed with the amount of research and preparation that Mr.Merrick had done on the case as well as his court presentation... Mr.Merrick is an intelligent, hardworking, conscientious and enthusiastic attorney....

Bradley Martinson, Attorney at Law
... his grasp of legal problems and his ability to pinpoint research regarding legal problems is exceptional, and his written and verbal communication skills are excellent...

Chris Lillegard, Attorney at Law
Thanks for the check and the letter. Steve Lawrence said we were in good hands when the case was assigned to Jeff Merrick. He certainly did do a superb job....

Thank you so much! This [resolution] couldn't come at a better time, and I really appreciated your focus and effectiveness on this case. Your dedication, constant updates, and communicability helped me through this anxiety-ridden and hurtful period, and I

Douglas Pearson, Investigator Oregon Dept. of Just
... During five of those years, I worked directly with [Jeff]... The diverse caseload that we experienced while employed together afforded me the opportunity to observe the scope of knowledge and passion that Jeff brings to every client that he represents... He has always actively embraced the challenge of a new case and the development of new law. Some of Jeff's cases have resulted in revised statutory legislation and changes to existing public policy. Jeff's representation of his clients always seems to have a larger purpose beyond just "the case." This approach to the practice of law is often discussed by lawyers, but rarely practiced in real life.

Deanna Bettencourt
I am very appreciative of everything Jeff has done for me. I highly recommend him to anyone looking for a lawyer that will go above and beyond. I was always very impressed with his efforts to prosecute my case. Thank you Jeff for everything!

Frieda O'Neil
Jeff - You did such a good job for me on the lawsuit. I can't begin to tell you how much I appreciate all of the effort that you made on my behalf. I'm still telling my friends what an excellent job you did. Now, I consider you to be a new friend. If I can ever do anything, just call me.

Ralph Spooner, Attorney at Law
... I have known Mr.Merrick professionally for approximately ten years. He possesses the highest ethical standards. I have been involved in both very large cases and small cases in which Mr.Merrick represented opposing parties. Mr. Merrick is a very talented lawyer. He possesses excellent research and writing skills. He has been a dedicated and vigorous advocate on behalf of his clients...

Ana [Confidential]
Jeff - Thank you for your professionalism and encouragement today. You did a great job with the deposition and I'm feeling good about the case and where it's heading. I appreciate your hard work!...

Robin & John Huston
We were glad to have an attorney who we felt was truly on our side at all times rather than the side of the mighty dollar. Your professionalism, along with your humanity and concern for my son, reassured us we were doing the right thing by retaining your services.

We hope you have a continued success in representing those in a time of true need.

Lyle and Pat Simmons
Thank you for believing in us and doing an outstanding job.

Marilyn Bart
You have been a terrific help to me with all your diligent efforts. I have been very fortunate to have been referred to your. I know you have spent a lot of time on this issue and I certainly do appreciate that. Thank you so much.

Linda Cunningham
Linda Cunningham went out on New Year's Eve to celebrate. While Linda was waiting in line to call for a ride home, the bouncer at the restaurant forced her to leave. On the way home, three men raped her. We sued the restaurant, but the trial judge threw out her case. We fought up to theOregon Court of Appeals, which reversed.
Back in the trial court, after we empanelled the jury, the restaurant finally settled. Linda gave me the best thank you I have ever received, in the form of the following poem:


Haunting memories from the past
Would come to me each day
And joy a rare evasive thing
Would seldom come to stay

My heart cried out for justice
It all seemed so unfair
The future seemed to hold for me
Just sadness and despair

But then you came into my life
Took steps to make me whole
And by the time you were done
You'd given back my soul

I can put the past behind me now
And start my life anew
And if I had to choose someone
My hero would be you!


Leslie O'Leary, Attorney at Law
... Jeff has enormous passion for his clients and making sure that all individuals receive fair treatment and high quality representation in court. He is a bright and effective trial lawyer.

Thomas K. Elden, Attorney at Law
... Jeff is extremely bright and is a 100% can-do person. No task is too difficult or too small... He is an excellent legal writer and is cool under fire....

Susan Arnsberg
So this is, I guess, goodbye - and MANY thanks again for all the time, attention, effort and good intelligence you put into our case.


A: If you received a personal injury, then you probably should hire a lawyer and file the lawsuit yourself. Don't let the workers' compensation carrier sue in your name. I explain why in my article entitled, Oregon Workers' Right to Sue Despite Workers' Compensation.

Oregon law requires every motor vehicle insurance policy to have personal injury protection. PIP is no-fault insurance coverage to pay for losses to drivers and passengers up to the policy limit (typically, $15,000). It covers (a) reasonable and necessary medical bills, (b) lost earnings beginning on the 14th day of your inability to work because of the car accident, (c) essential services that you would normally do yourself, and (d) funeral expenses.
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