Oregon Fires case receives #1 ranking on CVN most impressive plaintiff verdicts of 2023

March 14, 2024
CVN Oregon Fires Ranking

We are elated to share the news that the significant verdict reached by a Portland jury in the 2020 Oregon fires case was selected by the Courtroom View Network as the first in its Top 10 list of most impressive plaintiff verdicts for 2023. 

The Keller Rohrback team of Dan Mensher, Yoona Park, Matt Preusch, and Natida Sribhibhadh was recognized for its role in that litigation, along with co-counsel Stoll Berne, Edelson PC, Johnson Johnson Lucas & Middleton PC, and Nick Kahl LLC. CVN notes that “this is not just a ranking of the top 10 largest verdicts CVN captured in 2023 by dollar amount. Many of these plaintiff wins do feature massive awards, but we also considered the facts (and challenges) of the case, the parties and attorneys involved, and a verdict’s potential broader impact to choose the top 10 most impressive plaintiff verdicts CVN covered last year.”

Utility company PacifiCorp’s liability for the fires that devastated Oregon over Labor Day 2020 was determined by a jury in the 2023 class action verdict. Following that case, in which damages of $92 million were awarded to 17 plaintiffs, two subsequent trials involving different sets of fire victims delivered additional compensation for economic, non-economic, and punitive damages, bringing the total to date from the three verdicts to $220 million for 36 plaintiffs. For the continuing cases, Keller Rohrback’s outstanding legal team expanded to include attorneys Ben Gould and Sarah Osborn, and paralegals Lara Mishler, Sarah Stevens, and Jason Kolcun (among other contributors). The damages trials for thousands of remaining class members will continue moving forward. 

Each of the trials featured vivid and emotional testimony from survivors, including a representative from the Upward Bound Camp for Persons with Special Needs in Gates, Oregon, and numerous others with harrowing accounts of total loss. “These Multnomah County juries have heard survivors’ stories and provided them with an opportunity to rebuild their lives, and they have held PacifiCorp accountable. And there are many more survivors of these fires who are still seeking accountability from PacifiCorp for the fires it started,” said Matt Preusch, a partner at Keller Rohrback.

The original class action case, James, et al. v. PacifiCorp, Case No. 20-cv-33885 in Multnomah County Circuit Court, saw a jury siding with property owners against a utility company in a case involving wildfire for what is believed to be the first time, and it set the stage for the many mini-bellwether damages trial certain to follow. We congratulate the Keller Rohrback team for its exceptional and determined participation in the case, resulting in this distinguished No. 1 recognition from CVN!