News & Links

Sears v. Sheelar and Marion County

A federal jury in Eugene, Oregon, returned a unanimous verdict against a Marion County reserve sheriff in this civil rights case. The jury found that the sheriff had arrested plaintiff without probable cause at the St. Paul Rodeo in 2011. Plaintiff is one of the top barrel racers in the world. In 2011 she was the National Champion. Plaintiff was illegally detained by the sheriff and released from custody only after the sheriff learned that the plaintiff had been defaulted from competition. The jury held the sheriff accountable for the plaintiff’s lost income, including prospective endorsement contracts, as well as for the mental and emotional distress that she suffered. Mark Griffin and Bill Brandt, an attorney from Salem, Oregon, represented the plaintiff in the three-day trial.

Del Monte Fresh Wage & Hour Cases

Del Monte 1. The Oregon Law Center, a legal aid program that provides free civil legal services to low income people, sued Del Monte Fresh for failing to pay its minimum wage workers for the time spent putting on and removing required work clothing, called "donning and doffing", a practice clearly illegal under Oregon wage and hour law. Del Monte entered into a settlement agreement, paid several hundred thousand dollars to workers and agreed to ensure that violations would not occur in the future. This case is referred to as "Del Monte I", and covered workers at the North Portland plant from January 1, 2003 to December 31, 2005. The Settlement Agreement can be viewed below.

Del Monte 2. In the aftermath of the federal immigration raid on the Del Monte Fresh North Portland plant in June, 2007, it came to our law firm's attention that the same illegal practice was occurring. Del Monte denied wrongdoing; and asserted that even if there was an illegal practice, it was the fault of its labor contractor. This case went to trial in September, 2009, and resulted in a jury verdict that the same illegal donning and doffing off the clock that was the subject of the Del Monte 1 class action was Del Monte's standard practice between January 1, 2006 and June 12, 2007 (the date of the raid). The jury further found that Del Monte had violated its promise in Del Monte 1 to insure that these illegal practices would cease. The Oregonian's news story on the jury's verdict can be viewed below. Del Monte appealed this jury verdict and the resulting judgments totaling over two million dollars to the Oregon Court of Appeals. On January 2, 2014, the Court of Appeals ruled across the board in favor of the workers. The Opinion can be viewed below.

Del Monte 3. A few months prior to the jury trial in Del Monte 2, it became necessary to file yet a third class action against Del Monte Fresh for the same violations. This class period begins on July 13, 2007 and runs through March, 2009. The 3rd Amended Complaint can be viewed below.

Del Monte 3 was certified as a class action and notices in English and Spanish were sent out on October 24, 2013 and was settled in July 2014, with 511 workers receiving payments of $1050.

Click here to view the Settlement Agreement in Simon-Zarate (Del Monte 1)

Click here to view the Oregon Live News Article about the Jury's Verdict in Liborio (Del Monte 2)

Click here to view the 3rd Amended Complaint in Perez (Del Monte 3)

Click here to view the Liborio/Delgado opinion from the Court of Appeals

Scherzinger v. McWilliams

These civil service school custodians proved through their perseverance that citizens can fight city hall. Unlawfully fired by the Portland School District from their civil service positions, plaintiffs fought a four year legal battle, eventually prevailing in their claims for job reinstatement and back wages.

Click here to view or download the Court of Appeals decision in Scherzinger v McWilliams.

Vasquez-Lopez v. Beneficial Finance

Vasquez-Lopez v. Beneficial Finance affirmed a central value of our jury system. Justice flourishes when grievances are resolved through our the court system, and particularly because of our right to trial by jury. Beneficial Finance took advantage of this immigrant family, defrauding them into a predatory loan. The jury returned a verdict for compensatory damages as well as punitive damages in the amount of $500,000.

Click here to view or download the Court of Appeals decision in Vasquez-Lopez.

Oregon Trial Lawyers Association Article

Sidebar article in the Oregon Trial Lawyers Association newsletter titled, "Mark Griffin Effects Institutional Change, Restores Respect To Clients." (Article is on page 2 of the pdf)

Click here to view or download the OTLA newsletter

JOIN (Homeless Organization)

This organization is dedicated to getting families and individuals off the streets into affordable housing. As the attached letter makes clear, JOIN is extremely efficient and open in its operations. JOIN recognizes that it's one thing to move into an apartment, and another to make the transition successfully. A visit to their bustling plywood offices at the conjunction of I-5 and I-205 (cheap rent) shows the organization in action as a social center, focal point for the delivery of needed transition services and a place where you can always get a decent sandwich.

Click here to go to the JOIN website.

Click here to view or download the JOIN pdf.