Crime Victims

Victims of Assault Can Fight Back With Civil Lawsuits

It seems like every couple of weeks a new wealthy celebrity is caught assaulting someone. Last month NFL Running back Mark Walton was arrested for getting into a scuffle with a woman in Miami Florida. In January 2019 NFL Linebacker Trevor Bates punched a cop in the face and refused to pay for a $32.00 cab fare. In November 2018, NFL Running back Reuben Foster was arrested for pushing and slapping a woman in Tampa Florida. In July 2018 NFL Defensive Tackle Vernon Butler was cited for pushing a woman and throwing a drink in her face in Dallas Texas. That same month, NFL Tight End Ricky Seals Jones was arrested for pushing a hotel staffer so he could use the bathroom. These assaults and arrest are so prevalent there is actually a website dedicated to tracking NFL arrests.

NFL players are not alone. San Francisco Giants’ CEO Larry Baer recently brazenly assaulted his wife in public while on video. Comedian Katt Williams recently punched a Portland chauffeur for refusing to allow William’s dog to ride in the front seat. These assaults seem to be getting more and more prevalent in our society. Most victims of assault rely solely on the criminal justice system to punish the offenders. However, assault victims can fight back with a Civil Lawsuit.




Civil Lawsuits allow the victim to take the power back and be compensated for the hell the assailant put them through. Civil lawsuits also punish the assailant by forcing the assailant to pay punitive damages. The civil justice system is a very powerful tool to use against wealthy powerful people, such as professional athletes, celebrities, and wealthy individuals. This is due to the fact that most of these assailants have the financial resources to hire people to keep them out of jail and keep their jobs. In a sense they are “above the law” because they do not suffer real consequences for their actions. A small court fine and misdemeanor probation with no jail time is a common sentence for these individuals even if they have a history or pattern of assaults. That is not likely to change their abusive behavior.

On the other hand, if the assailant is forced to pay the victim a substantial amount of money then they will likely learn from their mistake. The assailant will also have to explain why they assaulted the defendant. In Oregon, in most cases defendants in a civil lawsuit can be deposed and can be forced to explain their actions. This can help the victim’s healing process and provide closure.

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Here at Ross Law we strongly believe in holding assailants accountable. We have used the legal process to force assailants to pay victims of assault, sexual assault, and domestic violence significant amounts of money. We have also helped victims receive closure by using the civil justice systems to get answers from the assailants regarding why they did what they did.

If you or someone you know is a victim of assault, domestic violence, or sexual assault call Ross Law PDX for your free case evaluation. Call Portland Personal Injury Attorney Jeremiah Ross at 503.224.1658 to discuss your case and your options. Please note that every case is different and results may vary. Ross Law PDX cannot represent victims in every case, and there are various factors that may play into whether or not a civil lawsuit can be used to hold a perpetrator accountable. Click (HERE) for more information regarding the differences between a civil court and criminal court.

Ross Law Has Been Busy Fighting on Behalf of Eastern Oregonians

We are often asked if we represent clients that live outside of the Portland Metro Region. The answer is yes! In the last year Ross Law PDX represented Eastern Oregonians in the following cases:

  1. Jeremiah Ross represented a man that was brutally assaulted while in the custody of law enforcement officer in Milton-Freewater Oregon. Ross Law filed a lawsuit in Federal Court alleging 28 USC 1983 claims for the violations of the victim’s civil rights and state law claims, including negligence. The case resolved after filing the lawsuit.

  2. Jeremiah Ross represented a client from an Eastern Oregon town in a patient safety case. The client went to a medical provider who negligently performed a procedure. The provider’s negligence fractured the client’s ribs. Ross Law attempted to settle the malpractice claim with the provider’s insurer. The chiropractor’s insurer failed to make a reasonable offer. Ross Law filed a medical malpractice lawsuit on behalf of the man against the medical provider. The insurance company then promptly settled the lawsuit for virtually every penny that was asked for, plus costs and attorney fees.

  3. Jeremiah Ross has represented multiple people who have been ripped off by car dealers in Pendleton, Hermiston, and Ontario, Oregon.

  4. Jeremiah Ross and another law firm represented a truck driver who was severely injured at a loading dock near Nyssa, Oregon . The truck driver was walking through the loading area when a fork-lift violently struck him and dragged him for several feet. The crash caused serious injuries to the man’s chest, low back, and knees, pelvis, feet and shoulders. We alleged the forklift driver wasn’t properly trained, supervised, and was not following the law. The matter was initially set for trial, but the parties chose to proceed in private arbitration after the Court re-scheduled the initial trial date. The arbitrator awarded our client a significant amount of money.

Ross Law is also currently litigating a wrongful death case in Umatilla County. If you are an Eastern Oregonian who needs legal representation in a personal injury case, wrongful death case, civil rights case, or a auto fraud or lemon law case, call Jeremiah Ross at 503.224.1659. Please call Ross Law PDX for your free case evaluation. If we are unable to assist you with your legal matter we are happy to attempt to find someone that is able to. Please remember this blog post could be considered ATTORNEY ADVERTISING.

5 Things Oregon Crime Victims and Survivors Should Know About Their Remedies

Yesterday, a Kentucky Jury awarded U.S. Senator Rand Paul $580,000.00 in damages that were a result of injuries and mental anguish he suffered when a neighbor tackled the senator. The neighbor was angry at Rand Paul and attacked him. The neighbor’s attack broke six of Rand Paul’s ribs and bruised his lungs lungs. Prior to Rand Paul’s Civil Suit, the attacking neighbor was prosecuted in Criminal Court and entered a plea of guilty. After the attacker had entered a plea of guilty Senator Paul pursued his civil remedies against the attacker, and the Jury sided with Paul in awarding him damages for medical expenses, mental anguish, pain, suffering, and damages to punish the defendant. This case is unusual due to the fact that the victim was a U.S. Senator, but the facts are not unusual. Here in Oregon, Ross Law PDX has represented survivors and victims in Civil Cases involving sexual abuse, domestic violence, violent attacks that occurred at school, assaults by neighbors, assaults by police officers, and assaults at bars. In most of these cases the survivors of abuse were unaware of the power of the civil justice system and what they could achieve. Oregon Crime Victims and Survivors should know the following:

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1) The District Attorney is Not Solely The Victim’s Lawyer: The district attorney prosecutes the suspect criminally. Essentially, it is the district attorney’s job to ensure the suspect is held accountable in criminal court and is punished by either being sent to prison, jail, or put on probation. The district attorney represents all Oregonians, and not just the victim. As a result, the focus of the district attorney may not always be in line with the victim’s wishes.   

2) The Victim Can Have an Attorney Represent them in the Criminal Case and Civil Case: An attorney acting on the victim’s behalf is only representing the victim. In the Criminal Case the victim’s attorney can ensure that the victim’s rights are honored, even if that means disagreeing with the District Attorney’s position. In the civil case the victim’s attorney can pursue claims for monetary damages and other remedies. The main difference is that a civil attorney can file a lawsuit against not only the criminal suspect but other corporations or organizations that may be responsible for the suspect. For example, if a security guard rapes a person while on duty. The district attorney would prosecute the security guard and would have a difficult time prosecuting the security guard’s employer. However, a civil attorney may hold the security guard and the guard’s employer accountable. Additionally, civil attorneys seek compensation for the victim and are unable to send a person to jail or prison for what they have done.

3) Victim’s Can Typically Only Recover Out of Pocket Losses Through the Criminal Case: In Oregon, criminal restitution is typically limited to only economic losses that the defendant caused as a result of his criminal conduct. What this means is that in most cases the Criminal Court cannot order a criminal defendant to pay for damages for mental anguish, fear, anxiety, frustration, sleeplessness, embarrassment, pain, suffering, or other non-economic losses. In order to collect those damages the Victim or Survivor must file a Civil Case. The Rand Paul case is illustrative of why this is such a powerful remedy. In the Paul case, the Jury awarded $7,834.82 in economic losses and $200,000 for pain and suffering. If Paul did not exercise his right to pursue the case in Civil Court he may have been limited to only collecting $7,834.82 from the criminal defendant.

4) In a Civil Case Crime Victims and Survivors Can be Awarded Punitive Damages: Oregon Law permits persons that are victims of certain crimes to be awarded punitive damages in Civil Cases. In many cases, Oregon Law allows person to collect money from people that recklessly endanger and injure a person. ORS 31.730   These damages are awarded to the injured person to punish the offender, and can make a significant difference in the amount of money the crime victim or survivor receives. For instance, the Jury awarded Senator Rand Paul $375,000 in punitive damages. These damages were to punish the attacking neighbor for assaulting Rand Paul. There is not a fixed amount for punitive damages, and the additional amount will vary depending on the injuries, the reckless conduct, and the “record as a whole.” ORS 31.730   

5) A Crime Victim or Survivor Can Use a Pseudonym to Protect Their Identity in Civil Court: Most crime victims and survivors do not want their identity revealed in court filings. Most Courts will permit the victim or survivor to take steps to protect their identity by proceeding under a pseudonym. In these cases the court may permit the survivor to use a pseudonym of initials such as J.D.

If you or someone you know have been injured by a criminal defendant please contact Jeremiah Ross at 503.224.1658 to discuss your options and remedies. Ross Law PDX has successfully fought for Crime Victims throughout the State of Oregon. Ross Law PDX is also happy to provide a free case consultation to anyone that was intentionally injured by another. Please note that results vary and many settlements in Crime Victims cases, and not all cases can be pursued. Please do not solely rely on this post and contact a crime victim attorney to discuss your rights and options.

It should be noted Senator Paul’s case is unusual due to the fact that Senator Rand Paul supports “tort reform” to limit a person’s access to civil justice and put caps on amounts awarded by a jury. Hopefully, he will learn from this experience and reject any future attempts to limit the amount of damages that can be awarded by a Jury in a civil case.

Domestic Violence Survivors Can Fight Back By Suing the Abuser

Most people think that involving the police and the district attorney’s office are the only way to deal with domestic violence incidents. That is typically the case, but in some instances the civil justice system can assist the domestic violence survivor in obtaining compensation for the physical and emotional abuse caused by the defendant, while also punishing the defendant by obtaining punitive damages. Punitive damages are damages to punish the defendant.

The civil justice process can be an important tool to truly punish an abuser who receives a lenient sentence in criminal court. Unlike a criminal trial, the Jury in a civil trial decides if they are going to punish the offender by awarding the domestic violence survivor punitive damages. The Jury gets to speak for the community in deciding the reprehensibility of the defendant’s conduct and punishing the defendant by awarding the survivor punitive damages. This may result in the Jury punishing the defendant by awarding hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars. The civil justice system may also hold others accountable for the abuse if they enabled it or permitted it to happen. (Click Here to Read New York Times Article Regarding Wealthy Lake Oswego Abuser and Morgan Stanely’s knowledge of it)

These are very nuanced cases with many obstacles. However, at times they are appropriate and should be brought. If you are a domestic violence survivor and you would like to bring a civil case against your abuser call Ross Law PDX at 503.224.1658. We are happy to provide crime victims and survivors a free case evaluation to discuss their options and the viability of bringing a civil lawsuit to seek compensation and punish the defendant.

PLEASE CALL THE POLICE IF YOU ARE IN DANGER! Please note as a civil law firm Ross Law cannot prosecute domestic violence abusers in criminal court. If you want to “press charges” or “send the abuser to jail” you need to call law enforcement or the District Attorney’s office. If you have questions regarding difference between a civil case and a criminal case, please read here. Please note that results may vary and this post may be considered attorney advertising.

Portland Uber Driver Assaults Female Passenger

As previously noted, I have grave concerns about ride-share drivers not being properly vetted by Uber or Lyft. Over the past few years numerous people throughout the United States have been assaulted or sexually assaulted by a ride-share driver. It was not a matter of if this was going to occur in Portland, but it was a matter of when. Unfortunately, it did happen last week. Last week an Uber driver climbed in the back seat of his vehicle and then began to kiss and thrust his body against the lone female passenger. Thankfully the passenger was able to fight off the driver and push him off of her. This terrifying encounter should not have happened.

This type of encounter can be prevented with proper background investigations, training, and supervision of drivers. However, the ride-share industry pushes back on these requirements. They claim to perform back-ground checks, but the nature and extent of them is not entirely known. As a result, litigation often will arise out of these incidents in an effort to hold the ride-share companies accountable in hopes that they will be forced to use a more robust system to protect riders.

If you or someone you know has been assaulted, sexually assaulted, or raped by a ride-share driver (Uber or Lyft) please call Ross Law PDX at 503.224.1658 for your free case evaluation. Jeremiah Ross proudly represents crime victims and fights to hold all persons and entities accountable, and providing compensation to the victim.

Uber Fined for Allowing Felons and Disqualified Drivers to Drive Passengers

Uber has proven it is a convenient and reliable source of transportation.  However, safety has always been a concern.  Many Uber drivers are involved in traffic crashes because they are distracted by the passengers or their mobile device they rely on to drive for Uber.  Uber has also hired many drivers that have criminal histories that are a cause for concern. [Click here for the previous article] Last week Colorado fined Uber $8,900,000.00 for violating driver qualification laws.[Click here to read article].

The fines are a result of Uber hiring 57 drivers with criminal convictions that should have disqualified them from working.  Some of the questionable drivers had felony convictions that should have disqualified them.  Hiring drivers with felony convictions or other disqualifying theft related or assault convictions puts passengers at risk.  It also violated Colorado's laws, resulting in the fines.   

Mr. Clown says, "Trust me!  I passed the background check."

Mr. Clown says, "Trust me!  I passed the background check."

Although the State of Oregon has yet to audit Uber.  Uber drivers have done some terrifying things here  here in Oregon.  There are instances of Uber drivers being involved in road rage, stalking, and assault in Oregon.  Allowing a convicted felon to act as an Uber driver may increase the likelihood that driver will be involved in illegal activity.  If a driver is involved in unlawful activity Uber should be held accountable for all of the victim's losses.

If you, or someone you know, are involved in an incident with an Uber or other rideshare driver please call Portland Oregon Attorney, Jeremiah Ross for your free case evaluation.  Call Ross Law PDX at 503.224.1658 to discuss how the Uber driver and Uber can be held accountable.  Please remember this post is for advertising purposes.   Also, this post does not create an attorney client relationship.

Oregon Court Decision Helps Crime Victims Recover Losses

Many crime victims do not realize they have a right to recover restitution for their out of pocket losses.   Oregon Law allows crime victims to recover "economic damages" that were a result of the criminal's activity.  ORS 137.106(1).  This typically means that crime victims and survivors can recover out of pocket losses that were a result of the criminal's behavior.  Economic damages are typically hospital bills, surgery bills, mental health bills, property damage bills, and past lost wages.  Economic damages are not things like embarrassment,  pain, suffering, and humiliation.

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There are different avenues for victims and survivors to recover damages for pain, suffering, humiliation, embarrassment, etc.  However these types of damages are not part of criminal restitution, and most victims and survivors will have to use the civil court to obtain full compensation for their harms and losses.  

However, the term "economic damages" is often disputed by defendants that do not want to pay victims for all of the harms and losses they cause.   Recently Oregon's Supreme Court clarified victim restitution issues with their ruling of State v. Ramos.  The Court noted that a defendant is responsible for all economic damages that are a result of the criminal activity.    The court addressed whether or not 1) that damages are limited to harms that result from reasonably foreseeable risks and 2) whether or not attorney fees and litigation costs are generally not recoverable as restitution unless authorized by statute or contract.  

The Ramos Court concluded,   "reasonable foreseeability is a limiting concept that applies to an award of economic damages under ORS 137.106."  What this means in layman's terms is that the economic damages must "result from" a defendant's criminal activity in the "but for" sense and must be a reasonably foreseeable result of the defendant's criminal activities.  The court also determined that in some cases that a victim or survivor's attorney fees and litigation costs may be recovered as part of criminal restitution.   This case is a good tool for prosecutors to assist victims and survivors obtaining restitution. 

If you or someone you know have are a crime victim and have medical bills, mental health bills, property bills, or have suffered harms, losses, embarrassment, humiliation, pain, or suffering as a result of another's conduct, please call Jeremiah Ross at 503.224.1658.  Please remember the law is constantly changing.  Call a lawyer or ROSS LAW instead of relying solely on this post or the law cited in this post.

 

Ross Law Has Been Busy Getting Results For Clients....

Over the past couple of weeks, we have been very busy.   Two weeks ago we were in a Jury Trial on a motor vehicle crash case.  My client suffered soft tissue injuries. The insurance company made a low offer.  The Jury sided with my client.  The Jury's verdict was more than the defendant's insurance company's best offer by roughly 1/3.  This was a very good result. 

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Later that week we resolved a consumer case involving a newer luxury automobile.  My client had taken his vehicle to an authorized dealership for an inspection because it wasn't running right.  The dealer missed a diagnosis and did not notice the oil needed to be changed.  The engine oil sludged up and the engine seized a couple of days after the vehicle was released from the dealer.  We later learned the vehicle's motor had a design issue and the manufacturer had changed the type of oil to put in the vehicle.    We began the process of arbitration.  Then the major local car dealership and a luxury auto manufacturer asked us to engage in mediation.  The dealer agreed to pay to have our dispute mediated.   Prior to mediation the dealership and manufacturer refused to make any offer.  However, the case settled even though we were prepared to arbitrate the case.  My client received money for the engine replacement plus an amount for costs and attorney fees. 

Last week, I was preparing for a trial at the end of the month for an animal bite case.   This case involved a cat bite.  Yes, that is correct, a domestic cat bit my client's hand.  The bite became infected and my client was hospitalized.  Prior to filing the case and preparing for trial, the insurance company refused to make an offer despite tens of thousands of dollars of medical bills.  However, after I worked the case up we were able to settle the case for a substantial sum of money.   My client was thrilled with the result. 

If you or someone you know have any legal issues, call Ross Law LLC at 503.224.1658.  We are happy to discuss your personal injury case, consumer case, or crime victim case.  Please remember that results may vary. Also please note, this is attorney advertisement material.