Harrang, Long, Gary and Rudnick earn $215K in legal fees for $215K police settlement

No, I’m not talking about the UOPD and the Bowl of Dicks retaliation case. I think HLGR has billed UO ~$500K on that, so far, to top off the $755K settlement and $450K or so to Cleavenger’s excellent lawyers. (For First Amendment cases the losers pay the damages and also the winning attorneys, presumably to encourage lawyers to defend the Bill of Rights.)

This retaliation case is about the EPD. Jack Moran has the story in the RG here:

… Had the city not settled with Reynolds it might have spent an additional $150,000 in attorney fees, city spokeswoman Jan Bohman said. That estimate takes into account the potential cost of fighting both lawsuits at trial and then at the appellate level.

And, of course, there was the possibility that HLGR would lose the case and the jury would award even higher damages. That’s what happened when UO and HLGR rejected James Cleavenger’s offer to settle for $600k, and the jury awarded him $755K. Two weeks ago the judge emphatically rejected the plea from HLGR’s Bill Gary to set aside the jury’s judgement. No word yet on if our GCO will continue to pay Bill Gary $315 an hour to try his luck again.

But back to the EPD case. The City of Eugene paid HLGR $215K to negotiate this $215K settlement with former Police Auditor Dawn Reynolds. Her attorneys, Holly Lloyd and Judy Snyder, charged just a third of that: $71,666. Maybe UO should shop around before hiring HLGR again.

UO loses $755K police whistleblowing case — again

That’s the headline from Betsy Hammond’s report in the Oregonian, here. The first time UO lost this case we paid $315 an hour for HLGR partner Andrea Coit. This time we paid $315 an hour for HLGR partner William F. Gary, for the same result:

… Lawyers for the UO police brass had argued their clients’ conduct was merely procedural and any harm to public safety officer James Cleavenger’s future law enforcement career so speculative that the judge should cancel the jury’s ruling. In legal filings, they asked the judge who presided over McDermed’s September 2015 trial to reset the verdict to $1 or order a new trial.

Instead, U.S. District Judge David O. Carter sided with Cleavenger’s lawyers on every point, citing evidence of severe retaliatory intent, dishonesty and deep economic harm to Cleavenger on the part of McDermed, Lt. Brandon Lebrecht and Sgt. Scott Cameron.

The case is expected to cost UO more than $1.5 million, including paying lawyers from a Eugene firm to represent UO and its employees and paying Cleavenger’s law team, led by Jason Kafoury and Mark McDougal.

Ms Hammond is skeptical regarding interim Chief Pete Deshpande:

Also on Monday, UO leaders announced they have hired former UO Police Capt. Pete Deshpande as interim chief of police. Deshpande also played an active role in reviewing and passing along the Brady materials that destroyed Clevenger’s reputation, evidence during the trial showed.

Deshpande worked for the UO safety department for three years before retiring in 2015. He also served as an officer and commander with the Eugene Police Department for 22 years.

Bill Gary and Sharon Rudnick miss deadline, lose $194K in billable hours

2/18/2016: 

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Ouch. From the Oregon Supreme Court opinion, here:

With regard to the amount of costs and disbursements on review, defendant filed a statement of those costs and disbursements seeking the total sum of $561,816.84, plus $638 per day from July 1, 2010, until the letter of credit procured by defendant is released. Plaintiff filed objections to the cost bill, including an objection that defendant had waived any claim for costs incurred before the Court of Appeals. Plaintiff asserted that defendant did not timely submit a claim for those costs under ORS 20.320 (cost statement must be filed 21 days from the date of the appellate court’s decision) and ORAP 13.05(5)(a) (same; also providing that the filing of a petition for review or reconsideration does not suspend the time for filing a cost statement).

Plaintiff’s objection is well taken, and we disallow defendant’s request for costs that it did not seek within 21 days of the decision of the Court of Appeals. Those disallowed costs include the transcript costs ($10,037.80) and costs related to maintaining the letter of credit prior to the issuance of the Court of Appeals decision. We allow the prevailing party fee ($100), the filing fee ($140), and the cost of filing briefs in the Supreme Court ($255.10). We also allow the cost of maintaining the letter of credit after the Court of Appeals issued its decision ($367,205.82 through June 30, 2010).

The total amount of allowed costs is $367,700.92, plus $638 per day from July 1, 2010, until release of the letter of credit or issuance of the appellate judgment, whichever occurs first.

2/16/2015: Big Tobacco lawyers Sharon Rudnick and William F. Gary save $125M for Phillip Morris

In the Oregon Court of Appeals, here:

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Update: UO pays Bill Gary $315/hour to argue Bowl of Dicks lawyers are overpaid

Update: This post originally said “~$450/hour” for HLGR’s Bill Gary. I’ve now been told by the GC’s office that they negotiated him down to $315. The first time I asked for the billable rates for UO, the Public Records Office redacted them as trade secrets. I’d forgot about this, but they neglected to redact them from one invoice, so I have this info, showing we were paying Gary $290-$305 an hour in Jan 2013:

Lets call it a 5% increase over three years. Not bad considering the down legal market and recent public debacles from HLGR, such as when they represented Eugene’s 4J School District in the RG’s lawsuit to get the Berman public records. Right in the middle of the lawsuit someone at HLGR mistakenly emailed the entire dump of records to the Register Guard. Whoops: http://uomatters.com/2015/05/harrang-long-gary-and-rudnick-too-transparent-with-potentially-incriminating-public-records.html. Word is that 4J quickly found a new law firm.

And the city of Eugene got rid of Harrang, Long, Gary and Rudnick in 2014, apparently saving millions in the process:

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1/11/2015: The Greeks had a word for this kind of shit:

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Bill Gary is the well connected lawyer who in 2012 successfully argued that the state should have to pay himself and the other HLGR attorneys *twice* their normal billable hours – $868K – for their work on the Mark Long lawsuit against John Kroger’s DOJ. This case was an abortive precursor to the Cylvia Hayes scandals that ultimately brought down Governor Kitzhaber.

Randy Geller, at the time UO General Counsel, submitted a brief in favor of HLGR’s double-billing. I filed an ethics complaint against him and Gary with the Oregon Bar, as explained by Nigel Jaquiss in Willamette Week. It turned out that the Bar was not real excited about disciplining lawyers for trying to get money, and after some back and forth they told me to go away. Geller now works for HLGR – go figure.

But before HLGR hired him Geller had hired HLGR’s Andrea Coit, to defend UO against UOPD officer James Cleavenger’s First Amendment retaliation lawsuit. She lost.

The jury awarded Cleavenger $755K in damages, plus legal fees. Coit objected to the jury’s decision and to the fees, and Judge Carter has agreed to come back to Oregon in February and hear her plea. And now UO has added Bill Gary to the case:

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My guess is that Gary is charging UO $450 or so an hour Gary is charging UO $315 to try and convince Carter that Cleavenger’s Kafoury and McDougal attorneys are getting paid too much. I’m not sure how much HLGR has already billed UO on this, but it’s probably close to $500K so far. For losing.

Oh yeah, Gary also argued for the state in the recent lawsuit over Kitzhaber’s PERS cuts. I wonder how much he billed for that? He lost.

Live-blog: The Bowl of Dicks comes back to Eugene – is UO insured?

9/21/2015 live-blog:

Getting into the courthouse is like getting onto an airplane. Long line, and they confiscate my needle-nose pliers. Unlike TSA though, they promise to give them back. Here are the docs that I’ve got so far:

Cleavenger’s complaint, here.

UO’s motion to dismiss, here.

Cleavenger’ response, here.

More response, here.

Sitting in the court-room now. Cleavenger and his lawyers Adam Kiel and Mark McDougal, and ~$600 an hour of HLGR, namely Coit and noted zoning easement lawyer Jeff Matthews. Whoops, seems like Matthews is actually here for a zoning case. So only $300 an hour for UO. Plus Doug Park and some other legal looking types. Court is going through some other stuff, including a defamation case brought by a surgeon because his hospital said “he had been fired for cause” and “was in personal transition”. Don’t see Bill Gary here though. Case boils down to what are the implications of “fired for cause”. I don’t think I’d go to a surgeon about whom that was said – but his attorney says the “cause” was that he was sending patients to get care from cheaper outpatient clinics instead of to the hospital. Judge Carlson gives them 20 days to do discovery.

Attorney on the next case is HLGR partner Jeff Matthews, well known for his work for UO, bargaining against the GTFF, which led to a disastrous 8 day strike, and hundreds of thousands in billable hours for HLGR.

It’s a complaint against the Somerset Hills homeowners association and their duty to enforce the CCRs. Something about allegation that trash cans were not brought in from the street. Matthews comes across as a much nicer person when he’s talking to a judge than when he’s talking to students.  He represents the homeowners association. The owner of the home represents herself. New tenants next door, threw beer bottles on their lawn, etc. Homeowner tried everything, including police. Finally called the Homeowner’s association. Got no help, so she and her husband brought it to court. So far she’s walking all over Matthews. He comes back with some legal technicality about “being served”. Judge will rule later this week.

10:15, now for Cleavenger v. UO. Coit makes the argument to dismiss Matthews stays in court – is he billing us?

Coit gives a review. Cleavenger won in Federal court against several UO employees. Now he’s bringing it to state court, against UO. She assumed that he brought the State case in case he lost the Federal one. She seems to be arguing that since he won, he shouldn’t be able to bring the state case – even though new stuff came to light during the federal case, regarding who was potentially retaliating against him. And even though she’s trying to get the federal ruling vacated. While the state claim is against UO, Coit says it is the same actions as in the Federal case, which he already won economic damages on, (but not pain and suffering damages).

Judge in response to Kiel and McDougal: Are you arguing I should abate this case until UO’s objections to the federal case are resolved? Cleavenger’s lawyers seem to be saying yes. Judge wants to know if Cleavenger will go forward in state court if he gets final judgement from feds. (That said I’m a little confused).

Coit: We’re entitled to dismissal, not just abatement. Worst the federal judge will do in response to our calls for remittur is call for a retrial in federal court. If this goes to state court, it will be a 10 day trial, but moot because he’s already got damages. He won. It’s over. We ask for dismissal. (Whoa there – she’s saying Cleavenger won and it’s over, while at the same time she’s trying to get the jury award reversed?)

Judge Carlson: I’ll get out a ruling, if it goes against Cleavenger I’ll let him replead.

Posted 12/19: Arguments begin 9:00 AM, Monday, December 21, in Lane County Circuit Court, 125 E. 8th Ave.

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(Get your framed print from Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum, here.)

I don’t know the court rules, but I’ll try to live-blog it. My understanding is that the state case will start Monday with arguments by UO’s HLGR lawyer Andrea Coit, arguing for dismissal. She lost the federal case in Portland back in October, badly. Assuming Coit also loses her plea to dismiss, James Cleavenger’s Khafoury and Macdougal attorneys will presumably get a chance to depose former Interim UO General Counsel Doug Park. They believe Park participated in UO’s retaliation against Cleavenger, over Cleavenger’s use of his First Amendment right to free speech.

During the 2 week jury trial Federal Judge David O. Carter saw that UO had redacted some of Doug Park’s emails. Carter didn’t like that, and started asking questions about Park. Like, “Who is Mr. Park? Where is Mr. Park? Is he alive?”:

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Given that Park was Interim UO GC during much of this case, it seems possible that Park was supervising Coit’s defense, and authorizing the expenditure of public funds to HLGR, despite his alleged involvement in the retaliation. Amazing, if true.

This case is a long, long story already. The RG’s Diane Dietz has a good intro, here, and here’s Duck PR flack Tobin Klinger embarrassing response on the RG letters page. (Why does Klinger still have a job?) My wrap-up on the federal trial conclusion is here, with a link to the trial docs and transcripts, and the Oregonian’s report by Betsy Hammond, etc.

A summary so far:

First the UOPD fired Officer James Cleavenger, for offenses that the arbitrator ruled merited only a 3-day suspension. UO lost the arbitration complaint, and had to pay Cleavenger back pay and reinstate him, although Cleavenger already had obtained work clerking for a Federal Judge. Then UOPD Chief Carloyn McDermed and other UO employees retaliated against Cleavenger by blacklisting him from other police jobs. The case went to federal court in Portland. UO’s HLGR lawyers got the claim against UO as an institution dismissed, arguing that part was a state, not federal matter. After a two week jury trial against UOPD Chief Carloyn McDermed and other UO employees, the jury awarded Cleavenger $755K plus legal fees – more than he’d asked for. Let’s call it $1.6M, including what UO has to pay its outside attorneys at Harrang, Long, Gary and Rudnick. Then HLGR filed an appeal in federal court to reduce the jury award and fees. That will gets settled in February in Portland. Meanwhile Cleavenger’s lawyers filed a claim against UO in state court. Now HLGR’s Andrea Coit wants State Judge Judge Carlson to dismiss that claim. But since the only reason Cleavenger filed a state case is that Coit persuaded the federal judge to split the state part off from the federal case, this seems a little unlikely, not that I’m a lawyer. First she argued it was appropriate for state court, now she’s going to argue it’s not?

And yes, HLGR charges UO by the hour. How did you guess?

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But some UO PR flack will be saying don’t worry, UO’s insurance will cover all the costs of this bizarre JH debacle, as they told student reporter Noah McGraw in the Daily Emerald back in October, after HLGR lost the federal case:

UO has an insurance policy that will pay all $1.6 million. The Public Universities Risk Management and Insurance Trust, PURMIT, covers the seven public universities in Oregon.

“The University of Oregon has comprehensive insurance for situations involving University employees, officers and volunteers as well as the buildings, vehicles and other assets,” Julie Brown, the Campus Relations Director of Enterprise Risk Management, said. “The insurance program covers everything from earthquake damage to art collections.”

In the Cleavenger vs. UOPD trial, the insurance policy will cover 100 percent of the damages, with a $0 deductible for the university.

I do not think Ms Brown told Mr. McGraw the truth. The PURMIT website, here, is not exactly a model of transparency regarding the expenditure of millions in state funds, but what I can figure out PURMIT is a risk-sharing pool for Oregon’s seven public universities, with outside reinsurance for losses beyond some threshold. Which means that it is very likely that the costs of this case, and the Jane Doe lawsuit, and the James Fox settlement, etc., etc., are not being “paid by the insurance company” but instead are being spread out among UO, OSU, PSU, WOU, SOU, EOU, and OIT. Assuming the sharing is in proportion to budgets, this means UO is paying about 1/3 and the Beavers are covering about 1/3, up to the reinsurance threshold. And, of course, if the allocation of insurance premiums is in proportion to historical claims, UO will get hit for more.

So after the Emerald story came out, I asked UO’s PURMIT representative, Deb Donning, this:

So would it be accurate to say “For a given liability claim the department pays the first $5K and the PURMIT risk pool pays the next $1M. That $1M is shared among the 7 universities in rough proportion to prior claims. Amounts above $1M are paid by the PURMIT insurer United Educators”

She wouldn’t answer. So I made a public records request to UO for the PURMIT meetings material that would show what’s going on:

Date: November 18, 2015 at 9:05:02 AM PST
To: Lisa Thornton <pubrec@uoregon.edu>, Deb Donning <donning@uoregon.edu>
Cc: Kevin Reed <ksreed@uoregon.edu>, Kyle Henley <khenley@uoregon.edu>
Subject: Re: PURMIT

Dear Ms Thornton –

This is a public records request for the meeting materials distributed for PURMIT meetings from 7/1/2014 to the present, and for an email address and other contact information for Ryan Britz.

I ask for a fee waiver on the basis of public interest, as demonstrated by the public funds involved and by statements by UO communications regarding insurance coverage for liability that have been quoted in the press.

The DOJ says PR requests should normally be satisfied in two weeks. It took UO a month to respond, and that was just a pro-forma denial of my fee waiver request:

From: “Thornton, Lisa” <pubrec@uoregon.edu>
Date: December 17, 2015 at 4:48:47 PM PST
To: wtharbaugh@gmail.com
Subject: Public Records Request 2016-PRR-135

12/17/2015

Dear Mr. Harbaugh:

The University of Oregon has received your public records request for “…the meeting materials distributed for PURMIT meetings from 7/1/2014 to the present, and for an email address and other contact information for Ryan Britz.” on 11/18/2015, attached. The office has at least some documents responsive to your request. With this email, the office is providing you with an estimate to respond to your request.

The office estimates the actual cost of responding to your request to be $267.06. Upon receipt of a check made payable to the University of Oregon for that amount, the office will proceed to locate, copy, and provide the records you have requested that are not exempt from disclosure. Your check may be sent to the attention of Office of Public Records, 6207 University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403-6207.

You requested a waiver based on an assertion that release of these documents is in the public interest. The office has performed the three-part analysis of your request, has determined that your request does not meet the public interest test, and has exercised its discretion to deny your request for a fee waiver. Upon receipt of payment outlined above, the office will begin to prepare your requested documents.

$267.07 for some pdfs that are sitting in a folder in Deb Donning’s email, and are needed because UO’s press office won’t give a straight answer on who is paying millions for UO’s plethora of lawsuits? Come on, this is not transparency, and it’s not building trust.

UO hires Barran Liebman to defend against Morlock retaliation claim

12/8/2015:  Don’t cry for our old friends at Harrang, Long, Gary and Rudnick. They’re still getting their share of billable hours from the long list of law firms making bank off UO’s legal troubles. This is just October:

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But HLGR was unable to stop the OPBE from proposing a $5K fine for UO Counseling Director Shelly Kerr over her decision to give Doug Park and Sam Hill the Jane Doe counseling records.

And it looks like JH is taking the retaliation claims brought by Jennifer Morlok and Karen Stokes seriously enough to call in some experienced legal representation for the federal case:

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Mr. Harnden is the managing partner of Barran Liebman, and has quite the resume:

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11/10/2015: Morlok and Stokes claim retaliation, file lawsuit against Robin Holmes, Shelly Kerr, etc.

Diane Dietz has a detailed story in the RG here. A snippet:

Two former University of Oregon counseling center employees filed suit against the university saying they faced retaliation after they blew the whistle on the university for accessing a student’s therapy files.

This is the third lawsuit to stem from a March 2014 rape allegation, which has become a blight that the university can’t seem to shake.

Jennifer Morlok and Karen Stokes filed their suit Monday at the U.S. District Court in Eugene naming four administrators, two unnamed defendants listed as John Roe and Jane Roe and the university.

Stokes claims that in December 2014 she was ordered to make a complete copy of a student’s medical file without indicating — by stamping or documenting — that the file had been copied, according to the lawsuit.

Stokes notified Morlok, the student’s therapist, about the order.

Speaking of blights that the university can’t seem to shake:

University spokesman Tobin Klinger said the university is preparing a statement in response to the lawsuit. …

Here’s the email, apparently sent at the direction of former Interim General Counsel Doug Park and his associate GC Sam Hill, that has so far cost UO $800K for the Jane Doe settlement, untold legal fees, and incalculable embarrassment:

And here’s what I wrote last week, when Jennifer Morlok resigned. Her amazing letter to President Schill is here.

11/2/2015: Ms Morlok was Jane Doe’s counselor at UO. Her decision to fight General Counsel Doug Park’s efforts to get her client’s counseling records has led or will lead to improvements in state and federal law and UO policy. UO needs more people like her. She’s a hero.

But the UO administration has treated her like a pariah. She took it for a year, at great personal cost. Now she has resigned, after a year of retaliation from UO. It’s heartbreaking. We can’t afford to lose people like this.

As for people we can afford to lose – Doug Park, Sam Hill, Shelley Kerr, Robin Holmes – the people who made the decision to get Jane Doe’s records, and who led UO into more than a year of expensive national embarrassment? (Legal costs and Jane Doe settlement alone ~$1.6M). They are still here, still making decisions, still collecting their paychecks, still due for their next raises.

Recapthelaw has the docket here, and the complaint from Stokes and Morlock’s attorneys Beth Creighton and Michael Rose of Portland’s Creighton and Rose is here. Some extracts:

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Judge Aiken issues order in Duck / Chip Kelly bonus insurance dispute

11/16/2015: Full docket here, full opinion here. I have no idea what it means, except that UO’s lawyers at Harrang, Long, Gary and Rudnick are going to get many more billable hours out of us before this ends:

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2/17/2015: UO sues over Chip Kelly’s bonus insurance policy

The bonuses Rob Mullens and Dana Altman got after letting the accused basketball rapists play in the NCAA tournament are still the big scandal, but it turns out there’s another one. No, not the $20K in NCAA fines that Chip skipped town on:

Mike Tokito has the new story in the Oregonian, here. The docket is here, courtesy of RecaptheLaw.

The University of Oregon is suing a risk management company to recoup $688,000 it paid in bonuses to football coach Chip Kelly and his staff for the 2012-13 season.

University officials believed the bonuses would be covered by an insurance policy the school purchased, but they were not.

The suit names the Illinois-based Arthur J. Gallagher Risk Management Service and its agent, Monica Drummer, as defendants.

According to the suit, Oregon purchased a Lloyds of London insurance policy through Arthur Gallagher in September 2012. The policy, for which the school paid a $489,940 premium, was supposed to cover bonuses, written into the contracts of Kelly and his staff, that were based on how the Ducks fared during the 2012-13 season. …

Extract from UO’s claim, full doc here:

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This seems like an extremely expensive policy – even if it had covered what Roedl thought it covered. But hey, why not take it to court and pay HLGR some more money. Out of the academic budget, I’m guessing:

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Stump is well known for his asbestos work:

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UO hires Sharon Rudnick & Jeff Matthews to negotiate new GTF contract

Just kidding. I have no reason to think that noted big-tobacco lawyer Sharon Rudnick or her HLGR partner and zoning variance expert Jeff Matthews will ever again work for UO. And, in my opinion, the rumors that FAR Tim Gleason will be on the admin team are clearly anti-university.

But negotiations between the administration and the GTFF really do start Thursday Nov. 12 in the EMU ballroom, 1-5PM, according to the GTFF website. That’s less than 11 months since the strike. Why so soon? Because Scott Coltrane and Jeff Matthews dragged the last negotiations out way past the expiration of the two year contract.

Here’s hoping things go a little smoother this time:

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PERS updates your predicted death date

After HLGR’s Sharon Rudnick and William F. Gary lost the Oregon Supreme Court case case defending Kitzhaber’s PERS reforms – just *how* much did they bill? – this was one of the few remaining cost-savings measures possible. FORTRAN programmer Mr. Fearless does the math for potential retirees on his excellent Persinfo blog, here:

In the example used for Money Match members, the setback appears to be approximately 5 months.  That means that the benefit you receive on December 1, 2015 (if you are eligible to retire), won’t be the same again unless you continue working until May 1, 2016.  This is one of the longest setbacks in recent history. Many people will wonder what to do.  My answer is that if you were not planning to retire in the next six months, it probably makes no difference.

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Beavers to pay 1/3 of Duck’s Bowl of Dicks bills and damages

Reporter Noah McGraw has the scoop in the Daily Emerald here on the cost so far. Excellent reporting, read it all there, here’s a snippet:

… UO also has its own attorney fees. UO was represented by Eugene firm Harrang, Long, Gary and Rudnick. The total of all their approved fees is $394,925.70, according to the Office of the General Counsel. The university’s insurance policy has so far paid $281,867 to Harrang, Long, Gary and Rudnick.

UO has an insurance policy that will pay all $1.6 million. The Public Universities Risk Management and Insurance Trust, PURMIT, covers the seven public universities in Oregon.

“The University of Oregon has comprehensive insurance for situations involving University employees, officers and volunteers as well as the buildings, vehicles and other assets,” Julie Brown, the Campus Relations Director of Enterprise Risk Management, said. “The insurance program covers everything from earthquake damage to art collections.”

The PURMIT website, here, is not exactly a model of transparency regarding the expenditure of millions in public funds. Some minutes are posted, but apparently not all. No meeting materials are available. Budgets? Audits? Spending? Nope. They do have a list of who is responsible though:

Chair Eric Yahnke (WOU); Patrick Hughes (OSU); George Marlton (OIT); Brian Roy (PSU); Vice Chair Lara Moore (EOU); Craig Morris (SOU); Jamie Moffitt (UO)

From what I can figure out PURMIT is a risk-sharing pool for Oregon’s seven public universities, with outside reinsurance for losses beyond some threshold.

Which means that it is very likely that the costs of this case, and the Jane Doe lawsuit, and the James Fox settlement, etc., etc., are not being “paid by the insurance company” but instead are being spread out among UO, OSU, PSU, WOU, SOU, EOU, and OIT. Assuming the sharing is in proportion to budgets, this means UO is paying about 1/3 and the Beavers are covering about 1/3.

And this one’s not over yet. HLGR lawyer Andrea Coit has just filed a request with the Honorable Judge David O. Carter, asking him to set aside the jury’s decision:

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I’m no lawyer, but I’m thinking this is so not going to happen.

The US DOJ spent who knows how much money to bring in an out-of-state judge and run this trial. Not to mention the valuable time of 8 Jurors, for almost 2 weeks. From what I can tell Judge Carter was on top of things every step of the way. Coit agreed to the jury instructions. But she hears the jury’s verdict and *then* wants a do-over? That’s got to be a high bar.

I guess it’s worth a shot when you bill by the hour though. Her full request is here, attachments here, and more on the jury instructions etc. in the (free but incomplete) docket here.

Suck it up, Beavers.

Is Doug Park alive? Who is Randy Geller? Jamie Moffitt? Did McDermed go rogue?

10/9/2015: Just some of the questions raised by the Bowl of Dicks trial transcripts.

I’ve never looked at trial transcripts before, but if reading the good work of the Honorable Judge David O. Carter presiding doesn’t restore a little faith in the American judicial system and give you a few laughs along the way then you are a worse cynic than I am.

How did Johnson Hall let the incompetence, harassment, retaliation, and backstabbing revealed in these transcripts go on for years? These people call themselves leaders? How many careers have been ruined on their watch?

Here are the trial transcripts. The docket, here, lists who is testifying on which day.

FINAL-MINI-9-9-15-Carter-CV-1-Trial

FINAL-MINI-9-10-15-Carter-CV-Trial Day 3

FINAL-MINI-9-11-15-Carter-CV-Trial Day 4

FINAL-MINI-9-14-15-Carter-CV-Trial Day 5

FINAL-MINI-9-15-15-Carter-CV-Trial Day 6

FINAL-MINI-9-16-15-Carter-CV-Trial Day 7

FINAL-MINI-9-21-15-Carter-CV-Trial Day 8

FINAL-MINI-9-22-15-Carter-CV-Trial Day 9

FINAL-MINI-9-23-15-Carter-CV-Trial Day 10

FINAL-MINI-9-24-15-Carter-CV-Day 11-1

FINAL-MINI-9-25-15-Carter-CV-Trial Day 12-Verdict

And some excerpts:

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UO General Counsel Randy Geller was fired resigned to spend more time with his family during the midst of the basketball rape allegation cover-up. He now works at HLGR with Andrea Coit. Not hard to imagine why she wouldn’t want the jury to know that.

And was UOPD Chief Carolyn McDermed’s retaliation against former officer James Cleavenger done against the advice and without the knowledge of former UO GC Randy Geller and former interim UO GC Doug Park? Or did the retaliation occur on their advice? With their knowledge? Did they give the full facts to Lane County DA Alex Gardner when he was considering Brady Listing James Cleavenger?

The court wants to know, but as it happens Andrea Coit, the HLGR lawyer, has redacted a key document. Funny how often that happens here at UO, but Judge Carter is not amused:

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Alive but conveniently not in court, lest Judge Carter haul his ass onto the witness stand and swear him in.

So did Randy Geller and Doug Park know what Chief McDermed was up to with the retaliatory Brady listing? I’ll be damned if I can figure that out from these transcripts. Comments welcome.

9/29/2015: Kafoury and McDougal accuse Doug Park and HLGR of participating in UOPD retaliation against Cleavenger

I don’t know if this would be a violation of the Bar’s ethics rules. From the website of the Kafoury and McDougal law firm that won the Cleavenger case:

Today, a federal jury in Portland awarded $755,000 to James Cleavenger, a former public safety officer at the University of Oregon who claimed retaliation and loss of his law enforcement career at the hands of the University of Oregon Chief of Police and two commanders. The jury found that defendants Chief Carolyn McDermed, Lt. Brandon Lebrecht, and former Sgt. Scott Cameron violated Mr. Cleavenger’s First Amendment free speech rights for speaking out on police policy and matters of public concern, of which his superiors disapproved.

As a University of Oregon law student in 2008, Cleavenger spoke out against arming the University of Oregon officers with tasers without proper training and a use of force policy with input from the campus community. Evidence at the trial showed that defendants resented his comments at the time, were baffled that he was later hired by the department, and the jury found that because of his taser speech this lead to papering his file and terminating him. The jury also found Cleavenger was secretly placed on the Lane County District Attorney’s “Brady List,” a process which blacklists officers found to be “dishonest,” effectively ending an officer’s law enforcement career.

Attorneys including Doug Park, University of Oregon’s Acting General Counsel, participated in the decision to “Brady List” Mr. Cleavenger. The University of Oregon was represented by Andrea Coit of Harrang Long Gary Rudnick P.C. in Eugene, who participated in the efforts to have Cleavenger “Brady Listed.” The decision to “Brady List” Cleavenger came immediately upon the heels of the decision by a neutral arbitrator that Cleavenger’s firing was improper and that he was entitled to reinstatement. The arbitrator further rejected all of the department’s accusations of dishonesty by Cleavenger. Despite the Arbitrator’s decision, UOPD tried to renew these claims of dishonesty by Cleavenger without providing the DA the Arbitrator’s actual decision, in a deliberate attempt to try to block Cleavenger’s reinstatement and in retaliation for Cleavenger filing his lawsuit.

9/25/2015: It’s not about the Bowl of Dicks: Jury awards Cleavenger $650K+$105K punitive damages

It’s about the UOPD’s retaliation against him for exercising his 1st Amendment rights. He’d only asked for $400K.

Testimony showed UO’s Interim GC Doug Park was also involved in Cleavenger’s firing and knew about the UOPD’s retaliation efforts though he was not a defendant. Cleavenger has another case against UO pending in state court. The Oregonian’s Betsy Hammond elaborates on the involvement of Park and others, in the comments on her story on the verdict:

There was extensive testimony and documentary evidence about the role that Linda King, Brian Smith, Doug Park and others played in giving the officer written notice spelling out why he was going to be fired, in holding meetings and hearing on his discipline, in putting written materials into his file, etc. Chief McDermed testified she ran the Brady listing plans past Doug Park.

No info yet on how much Andrea Coit and Jonathan Hood will earn from losing this case, but HLGR typically charges ~$300 an hour. That’s a lot for lawyers who manage to lose a case so badly the jury awards more than the plaintiff asked for.

While UO claimed that insurance would pay for the lawyers and damages, that does not appear to be true – we’re in the PURMIT risk pool with the other state universities.

The report from Betsy Hammond is in the Oregonian here. A snippet:

“This is a victory for every honest police officer,” said Jason Kafoury, Cleavenger’s lead lawyer. “The jury today honored and enforced an officer’s right to speak freely on matters of public concern, regardless of whether their superiors approve.”

University of Oregon spokesman Tobin Klinger said Friday morning he needed additional time to provide the university’s perspective on the legal defeat.

Actually, Duck Advocate Tobin Klinger’s perspective on this First Amendment case is already on the record, in a letter to the editor he sent to the RG shortly after getting hired by UO for $115K to manage relations with the press and reading Diane Dietz’s July 11th 2014 story on the Bowl:

Story aimed for shock value

I’m a recent transplant to Eugene, having spent a majority of my adult and professional life working with media in northwest Ohio.

Like many, I idealized life in the Pacific Northwest. Eugene and its people have lived up to my vision. Eugene is access to independent film, unique foods, outdoor activities, cultural happenings and community pride.

I don’t know that this shines through on the pages of The Register-Guard, particularly with the sophomoric “reporting” of Diane Dietz.

I admit to having a bias. Dietz covers my employer, the University of Oregon. In my role as head of UO public affairs communications, it is my job to defend the integrity and the reputation of the university. I advocate for faculty, staff, students, administration and athletics. I advocate for the Ducks.

Earning positive attention is a challenge with a reporter who is more interested in pandering to the lowest common denominator than demonstrating the value of higher education. Where else would you see the phrase “bowl of —–” five times in a single news article (Register-Guard, July 11)? This obvious play for shock value diverted attention away from the fact that the reporter waited 26 paragraphs before sharing important details from the university.

Moreover, this same newspaper in February dedicated significant space to a major Sunday story that used a blatant stereotype of Chinese students as its primary theme.

Even though I’m new here, I’m certain this community deserves better.

Tobin Klinger, Senior director Public Affairs Communications, University of Oregon, Eugene

So it’s not exactly a mystery why UO’s relationship with the press has gone from bad to worse under Klinger. The First Amendment is our lowest common denominator? Continuing with Hammond’s report:

The jurors found McDermed violated Cleavenger’s First Amendment rights when she fired him in 2012, then again in 2014 when she and Lebrecht created a huge, potentially career-ending dossier designed to prove Cleavenger was too untruthful to testify in court.

Jurors ironically decided that it was McDermed who most likely lied under oath when she testified that she ordered creation of that dossier because she was worried Clevenger was a danger to himself and other officers, not because he complained to her superiors and filed a lawsuit that made her and her department a national laughingstock.

And then:

The UO’s top lawyers and human resources officials were intimately involved in the decision to fire Cleavenger, and McDermed testified Douglas Park, then UO’s No. 2 in-house lawyer, knew she was going to try to get Cleavenger on the Brady list. Since then, Park was promoted on an interim basis to UO’s top interim lawyer, but he is slated to return to the No. 2 job when a permanent successor takes over in about a week.

Kafoury said, “It’s a disgrace that the attorneys for the university were in on the decision to Brady list and ruin Clevenger’s career” while defending UO against a lawsuit alleging retribution for whistleblowing.

And then:

Cleavenger also brought to light the department’s petty, vindictive management style and the lack of professional training and record-keeping. Although he had been UO’s most productive safety officer, McDermed eventually ordered Cleavenger, via an intermediary, not to report any crimes except felonies – an order that appears to violate a high-profile federal campus safety law.

The verdict is in:

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9/24/2015: Harrang lawyers claim Bowl of Dicks not “a matter of public concern”, judge disagrees

The Honorable David O. Carter must have an art history degree. He rejected HLGR’s last minute plea, apparently without snickering, and the jury is now deliberating. Docket here.

9/23/2015: HLGR lawyers claim Bowl of Dicks not “a matter of public concern”

That’s what they want the judge to tell the jurors when they get the case in the next day or two. The complaint from UO’s HLGR lawyers about the judge’s proposed jury instructions is below.

Given the large public response to the press coverage of this case – Tobin Klinger chimed in too – this argument ignores the foundation of modern economics, Paul Samuelson’s Weak Axiom of Revealed Preference. It also contradicts the “De gustibus non est disputandum” work of two other Nobel Prize winners, George Stigler and Gary Becker.

So maybe HLGR’s lawyers majored in literature, not economics? It’s news to me, but wikipedia says that the modern meaning of the phrase comes from Fyodor Dostoyevsky. OK, so not every lit major makes it through The Brothers Karamazov.

Or maybe they were Art History majors? Apparently not. One of the most celebrated works of famed Renaissance artist Francisco Urbini is, yes, a Bowl of Dicks. The BBC – how’s that for classy – has the report here.

Sorry, but the public is plenty interested in the bowl, dicks, and the First Amendment and retaliation issues the combination has raised, as Diane Dietz explains very well in the RG, here.

The BBC:

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Yes, I bet it was. Probably a lawyer. The great thing about great art is its timeless relevance to our daily lives.

Here’s HLGR’s plea to the judge for a change in the jury instructions:

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DESAADFA Eric Roedl’s Bowl of Ducks case to go to jury Feb 2016

What’s it about this time? Duck bowl games.

In a nutshell, Duck Executive Senior Associate Athletic Director for Finance and Administration Eric Roedl – let’s just call him the DESAADFA – got hit up by some insurance salesman for a policy that would pay the Duck football coaches in the event their unpaid student-athletes won enough bowl games to trigger the lucrative bonus clauses in the coaches’ contracts:

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These bonuses topped out at about $1M. Eric Roedl paid Lloyd’s of London $489,940 for the policy:

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Unfortunately it seems that our DESAADFA had not read the fine print on the contract. Hey, it’s not like he was spending his own money, as Milton Friedman would have put it.

It turns out Lloyd’s was only obligated to pay the coaches if the Ducks won the BCS. If they topped out at some intermediate lesser rank, then the bonuses were UO’s problem – not a dollar from those pommie bastards at Lloyd’s.

Which, of course, is what happened:

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So now UO is out the $687,965.74 in bonuses, *and* the $489,940 for the useless insurance.

So the UO General Counsel’s Office promptly sued the Athletic Department’s Eric Roedl, for not reading the contract.

Just kidding. Roedl works for the Ducks. How bad would that look? Instead we sued the insurance brokers. HLGR is now collecting its usual ~$300 an hour. As for Duck Executive Senior Associate Athletic Director for Finance and Administration Eric Roedl?

He got a raise:

2014:

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2012:

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And, from the looks of the lengthy PACER docket available free from RECAP here, I’m guessing HLGR ain’t doing too badly on this deal either, when it comes to billable hours.

From what I can tell this is Harrang et al’s last unfinished business for UO, unless they get the contract to defend UO and former interim GC Doug Park in state court over the Bowl of Dicks case they lost in federal court. Which would seem unlikely.

Harrang has already had to change lawyers on this once, after Joshua Stump and a bunch of other attorneys left HLGR for Buckley:

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(4J update) Sharon Rudnick, Bill Gary, and Randy Geller’s HLGR law firm losing money, contracts, and lawyers

9/30/2015: Eugene’s 4J school system let HLGR keep the $19K they had billed before they mistakenly sent the RG the school board’s “confidential” emails about the Berman firing. But if I interpret this correctly, 4J now has replaced HLGR with local law firm Luvaas Cobb:

The District paid $18,532 in legal costs and fees to Harrang Long for services rendered in connection with the Register Guard litigation. The District paid $23,730 in legal costs and fees to Luvaas Cobb following Harrang Long’s inadvertent disclosure of documents; however, such fees and costs were not limited to litigation services in the Register Guard case.

Sincerely,
Charis

Charis McGaughy, Ph.D.
Chief of Staff
Eugene School District 4J

And here’s the report on how the City of Eugene has been saving legal costs by getting rid of HLGR (thanks to a loyal reader for the link):

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9/22/2015: Sharon Rudnick, Bill Gary, and Randy Geller’s HLGR law firm losing money, contracts, and lawyers

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Not to mention its client’s public records.

Rumor down at the bar tonight is that Harrang Long Gary and Rudnick has lost some large contracts for legal work recently, and not just from UO. Its partners and associates are moving on too. Below are recent departures from the firm including some deserting a year or two after coming aboard. One after just six months.

Here are recent departures from HLGR:

Sam V. Rayburn, now at Buckley.

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John Witherspoon, now at Buckley.

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Elijah Van Camp, now at DeWitt Ross and Stevens

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Vaden Franscisco, now at SynergAir

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Marjorie Elken, now at Zupancic Rathbone

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Randall Duncan, now at Buckley

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Craig Capon, now at Alacrity Services

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Rebecca Cambreling, now at YHC Law.

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and

Joshua P. Stump, now at Portland’s Buckley Law
Katherine Watkinson Wright, now at Watkinson Laird Rubenstein Baldwin & Burgess PC
Amber Zupancic-Albin, hired in 2014, now at OHSU
Richard Larson, hired in 2013,  now at Hutchinson Cox Coons Orr & Sherlock PC
Daniel Harris, hired in 2013, now at www.harrismediator.com
John R. Roberts, hired in 2013, now at Arnold Gallagher PC
Jason Yarashes, hired in 2012, now at the Virginia Supreme Court

My apologies if I’ve missed anyone, send me the details and I’ll add you to the list.

The hat comes back

9/25/2015: Rumor down at the faculty club is that Richard Lariviere is back in town for a few days. After today’s events, it must seem like nothing’s changed. Maybe he’ll give Mike Schill some advice about how to deal with the UO General Counsel’s office.

9/18/2015: Governor Brown releases Kitzhaber emails on Lariviere firing

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JH drops $1.3M on legal and consulting payments in May and June

7/1/2015: Johnson Hall drops $1.3M on legal and consulting payments in May and June:

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5/1/2015: UO drops $736K on legal and consulting payments in March and April

The usual suspects: HLGR, Miller Nash, Huron, etc. (The Givens and Berkman payments are for ASUO student legal services, not JH). PDF here. They’ve been leaving off the usual accounting codes so people can’t tell what the money is buying. This is in addition to the Gallatin PR stuff Clevenger runs through the Foundation.

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