Meet Rizklaw: Sam Pope

After 15 months at Rizk Law, I know this work is the best way for me to use my skills to help those who need it most. My path to becoming a law clerk, and soon to be an attorney, was not a typical one, but in everything I have done, I always fought for the helpless and the downtrodden. 

My name is Sam Pope and here is my story…

 

Fighting for the Underdogs

 

 

My first taste of helping others was in high school volunteering at the local animal shelter. I would always take the biggest, craziest, meanest looking dogs out—the ones that nobody wanted to walk. I can’t really say it was fun, many of them weren’t obedient, especially not at first. But it wasn’t about me. Every dog deserves to stretch their legs and run around, even the big mean ones. 

 

Someone to Listen

 

In college, I studied philosophy, chemistry, and biochemistry, and I focused my final year of study on brain disorders. I volunteered with a hospice organization where I would visit a family once or twice a week for a few hours and sit with patients until they died. Sometimes I would stay with the same family for months. Other times they passed much sooner. Of course, it was upsetting, but it was incredibly fulfilling to get to know these people, their family, and their story, and really help them in their final days. I remember all of them, but the loss that hit me hardest was a 52-year-old man that had a brain-tumor. His two daughters were only a few years older than me. 

 

 

Time to Decide

After college, I took some time to work and figure out which path was right for me. I was torn between my strengths (writing and the humanities) and my passion (helping those that needed it most). I knew I wouldn’t be a good nurse or doctor, and as much as I loved chemistry, I didn’t want to spend my life in a lab. For two years I worked at a nonprofit helping people with learning disabilities, which was very fulfilling, but I soon learned that my future career had to involve writing in some way or another.

 

A Choice is Made

 

 

My English professors

By |July 12th, 2018|Meet Rizklaw, Sam Pope|

Your Voice Matters: Mr. Anthony Bell

Accidents Do Happen

BUT things CAN turn around when you have a great team working for you.

 


Mr. Bell Shares His Story 

Mr. Bell was driving a company vehicle during his shift at the Moda Center when a negligent driver crashed into him.  The collision was only moderate in terms of severity, but it was serious enough to cause a herniated disc in Mr. Bell’s low back.  The extruded disc pressed on a nerve root exiting the spine at the point of injury. The result of the nerve injury was a “drop foot” condition that made it impossible for Mr. Bell to lift the front part of his foot.  Lifting the front part of our foot as we walk or run (rather than dragging the toes along the ground) is so natural and automatic that we don’t even think of it unless something like this happens. This is a serious injury.

 

Mr. Bell’s Workers’ Compensation insurance company denied the herniated claim so Mr. Bell’s only hope was to sue the driver at fault directly.  That is where Rizklaw came into the picture. Mr. Bell found Rizklaw on the internet and was impressed by our website ratings posted by former Rizklaw clients.  At that point Mr. Bell contacted Rizklaw.

 

Rizklaw does not get all the credit for the successful outcome of Mr. Bell’s case of course.  Mr. Bell’s orthopedic surgeon succeeded in restoring 75% of Mr. Bell’s foot strength. Throughout it all, Mr. Bell’s employer modified Mr. Bell’s job duties, so he could continue his full-time employment until he was fit enough to return to his regular duties.  

 

It takes a team to overcome a serious injury.  In this case, everyone worked together to help resolve Mr. Bell’s situation. This included Rizklaw, Mr. Bell’s surgeon, and his employer. All of which contributed, providing the support needed for a great recovery from his serious injury.

 

The financial settlement with the bad driver’s insurance company was generous.  Mr. Bell is totally free from debt, is back full-time at a job he loves, and has enough money from his settlement to secure his future.  Rizklaw is pleased to have played a part in the happy ending to Mr. Bell’s case.

 

 

By |July 3rd, 2018|Auto Accidents, Personal Injury, Testimonies, Your Voice Matters|

International School Open House Wed June 27th

 

The South Portland Business Association is proud to feature Portland’s own International School at its June meeting. That is tomorrow, Wed @ 5:30 to 7:30 pm at 075 SW Caruthers St., Portland.  Learn about the school, its programs and take a tour. http://intlschool.org/mission/

 

Also, hear from and former Salem mayor and South Portland veteran Roger Roger Gertenrich who will outline South Portland’s recent history and give tips on navigating municipality politics. Bring a friend. RSVP via email to pam@southportland.com.

Richard Rizk, President South Portland Business Association.

 

 

 

Local Truck Accidents

When you think of commercial vehicles, you likely think of the long-haul truckers you see on the highways, transporting goods across the country to all of our favorite stores. However, there are many commercial trucks that you likely see right in your own neighborhood on a regular basis. These vehicles are such a familiar sight that you probably do not consider the risks of injuries they pose, as any type of large truck can cause serious accidents.

Garbage trucks – Garbage and recycling collection is necessary to keep Portland neighborhoods clean and sanitary. Such services require large vehicles that navigate smaller streets on a daily basis, which puts people at risk of being seriously injured in garbage truck accidents. Last August, a garbage truck in Portland crashed into a cyclist, who then died of her traumatic head injuries. Garbage trucks can also crash into vehicles and pedestrians, and malfunctions can happen with truck equipment that can also cause injuries.

Delivery trucks These days, people in Portland order from Amazon and other online sites on a regular basis. Whether you are ordering gifts or groceries, your packages will likely be delivered by a large box truck. These trucks can be difficult to maneuver and have substantial blind spots, all of which can result in crashes and injuries to those in our neighborhoods.

Tow trucks – When your car is not driveable, calling a tow truck is sometimes your only option to get your vehicle to a mechanic. While calling a tow truck can be expensive, tow trucks can cause financial losses in other ways, as well, if a tow truck causes a collision. Tow truck drivers not only have to worry about the truck itself but also whatever vehicle they are towing. If a driver is not careful, they can crash into pedestrians, bicyclists, or other vehicles.

Emergency vehicles – When you have an emergency, calling 911 can dispatch the help you need. Often, an emergency call will result in ambulances and firetrucks zooming through the streets to provide aid as fast as possible. While such vehicles are equipped with lights and sirens to warn others on the road to move out of the way, emergency drivers should still take the necessary care to prevent accidents. When emergency drivers are not paying close attention or are otherwise negligent, they can cause additional injuries in collisions.

The above are only some examples

By |June 25th, 2018|Truck Crashes|

South Vs Southwest Portland

Attorney Richard Rizk’s Position on the S vs SW Address Change

South Portland Business Association President, Attorney Richard Rizk, has been on top of the Southwest to South address change issue of late. This is an issue that affects many Southwest Portland businesses directly. Richard has been a voice for the people affected in this change. His goal, as always, is to make sure the people of Southwest Portland have their voices heard and opinions considered. This is important to stress before the city makes even larger decisions that affect people and businesses that live in Southwest Portland.

City Hall Meeting on May 31st

At last months’ City Hall hearing, on May 31st, Richard spoke on behalf of the South Portland Business Association (SPBA) as their President and as a business owner in Southwest Portland. His overarching stance on this topic is that Southwest Portland residents and business owners are in need of more details on this issue, as well as more time to consider this change before the city moves forward on its decision. “It’s important that the people of Portland are heard, considering that larger issues and decisions could be set forth in the future that are not as agreeable as this one is,” stated President Richard Rizk.

What are your Thoughts?

As of June 6th, the ordinance has been passed that will create a sixth sextant called South Portland. The project plans to be rolled out by May 2020 according to PBOT. Many people, including Richard, feel like this could be a good update for the city. “Rebranding this area as South Portland may be the best thing that ever happened to us. We could be the hottest up and coming place in Portland. With all of our waterfront land, we could be the ‘new Pearl,” said President Richard Rizk at a recent SPBA meeting.

Come and be a voice in our community. 

Another subtopic of this change is to remove the leading Zero before addresses. The city claims that emergency personnel has had many delays attempting to provide service to people at addresses having a leading zero. The emergency personal GPS systems have a very difficult time computing that leading Zero. Therefore, it has proved difficult in finding actual emergency locations at times. 

Earlier last week Richard met with Deputy Chief Russ, Officer Jones,

When Mistakes by Oregon’s Department of Human Services Hurt People

The Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS) exists to provide care and assistance for Oregonians who cannot care for themselves. This includes providing social services and setting up foster care arrangements for children and individuals with disabilities, as well as long-term or in-home care for senior citizens. However, in recent months – or years – tragic flaws have been uncovered in the foster care system run by DHS. Mistakes by DHS workers have been linked to serious injuries on numerous occasions. Victims of these injuries have important legal rights but need the right legal representation to hold DHS fully accountable for any negligent or wrongful actions.

Mistakes Related to Foster Homes

DHS is currently facing allegations of knowingly leaving three children in harm’s way and covering up the situation. Three children were placed in a home that was allegedly unfit for foster care. According to the complaint, the foster parents had no childcare experience and their home was small, unheated, had rotting walls, mold, dust, dangerous furniture, and strong odors of cat urine. The foster parents were also allegedly emotionally unstable. Despite the knowledge and observations of dangerous conditions by caseworkers, three children were placed and left in the home at ages five, two, and ten months.

All three children began to show signs of physical abuse causing a variety of injuries. The foster mother told DHS that the two older children were hurting themselves. In 2013, the foster father admitted to physically assaulting the youngest child, causing seven fractured bones. While the man was convicted and sentenced to three years of probation, DHS allowed the children to remain in the home. In 2017, the man confessed to sexually molesting the oldest daughter for years. He has been sentenced to 30 years in prison and a $100 million lawsuit has been filed against DHS for its mistakes, as well as actively covering up the mistakes.

A recent audit of the Oregon DHS foster system was titled, “Foster Care in Oregon: Chronic management failures and high caseloads jeopardize the safety of some of the state’s most vulnerable children.” The audit acknowledged extreme flaws in the management system of DHS, which puts foster children and disabled adults at the serious risk of harm. While the people of Oregon should be able to trust DHS, the agency has instead caused serious physical and mental injuries in recent years.

Children and adults injured

By |June 14th, 2018|Child Injury Accidents|

Sneak Peak from the Multnomah Bar Association Top Golf Event

 

 

Rizklaw sponsored and enjoyed an evening of Top Golf with the Multnomah Bar Association last Thursday evening. There was a lot of laughter, some good food and great conversations on the “green”! What describes a social event like this better than a few photos! For more events with the Multnomah Bar Association check here!

 

 

 

By |June 14th, 2018|Community Events, Lifestyle Rizklaw, Rizklaw Behind the Scenes|

After My First Year in Law School

Mall vs Horton

Sukhdev Mall’s claim against Andrew Horton was one of the first I worked on when I came onto Rizk Law shortly after completing my first year of law school. It was the second trial that I acted as Rich’s assistant. It was a fairly severe car accident that occurred in October of 2013 – a few inches back, and it’s quite likely Mr. Mall would have died.

 

We brought the case to arbitration in June 2015

The arbitrator awarded Mr. Mall around $44,000 and change. The opposing council appealed. The case went to jury trial in August 2015. It came before a judge who, by his own admission multiple times on the record, had no experience with civil lawsuits and was unsure on many of the evidentiary rulings that make or break a trial. After several rulings we considered to be suspect, the jury returned an award of $2,500, in stark contradiction to the arbitrator’s award. We appealed.

 

I was with Rich in trial, and I took a lead role in articulating our appeal (with the fantastic help of Don and Rich). The briefs are available if you are curious, but in essence, we had three primary assignments of error that, we argued, led the jury to an absurdly low jury verdict:

 

1.) Expert Qualifications:

We proffered Dr. Jonathan McClaren, a local chiropractor with recently completed certifications in accident reconstruction and biomechanical engineering, as an expert in chiropractic, accident reconstruction, and biomechanical engineering. Opposing counsel argued, and the judge accepted, that he could not qualify to testify on the latter two areas because he had only recently completed his education on those issues. We argued that Oregon’s qualifications of an expert only require skill, knowledge, experience, education, or training – any deficiency beyond a minimal showing goes to the weight of the evidence and is proper grounds for cross-examination, not refusal to allow the testimony.

 

2.) Rebuttal Evidence:

The Oregon Rules of Civil Procedure provide that, after the defense has finished its case-in-chief, the plaintiff is allowed to bring up a witness for cross-examination. The judge on that day decided to not allow it, based on 50-year-old case-law raised by the defense that did not, in fact, stand for the proposition he offered it for. We argue and believe that not allowing us to bring on our expert to rebut the testimony

By |June 7th, 2018|Alex Pletch, Auto Accidents, Rizklaw Behind the Scenes|

Ski Accidents Can Lead to Traumatic Brain Injuries

TBI Lawyers Portland

Skiing is a favorite pastime of many people in and around the Portland area. Whether you take your family up for a week-long ski vacation or try to make it to the mountains as much as possible throughout the season, skiing is a rewarding activity. Unfortunately, skiing can also be risky and result in accidents and injuries.

Ski accidents result in a wide variety of injuries, including fractures, soft tissue tears, lacerations, and more. One common – yet worrisome – ski injury is a traumatic brain injury (TBI). TBIs can range from concussions (which are considered mild brain injuries but may nonetheless have serious consequences) to severe TBIs, which can cause coma, permanent impairment, and even death.

Some skiers think that wearing a helmet prevents brain injuries. This is not necessarily the case, however. Helmets do provide substantial protection, but sometimes a forceful collision can cause the brain to shift and impact the inside the skull, causing damage to brain tissue, despite wearing a helmet. Helmets can also fail or fly off in some situations, leaving skiers vulnerable to head trauma and brain injuries.

Effects of a TBI

The effects of a brain injury will depend on where the injury occurred in the brain and the extent of tissue damage suffered. While each person will experience a different type and degree of symptoms, signs of a brain injury can include:

  • Disorientation
  • Fatigue
  • Sleepiness
  • Headaches
  • Memory loss
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Syncope

Moderate to severe TBIs can cause coma, meaning loss of consciousness for an extended period of time. In addition, doctors sometimes induce a coma to perform surgery and relieve pressure and swelling from a TBI. Recovering from any degree of brain injury can take time. Symptoms that may persist include:

  • Cognitive difficulties with communication and information processing.
  • Physical impairments with balance, speech, and coordination.
  • Behavioral challenges involving changes in personality, mood, and difficulty showing appropriate emotion.

Overall, brain injuries can require costly medical care, disrupt your ability to work or go to school, and may cause long-term or permanent impairment.

Your Rights After a Ski Accident

Most people realize there are some risks inherent in skiing. However, you should not expect that the others will be negligent and create hazards that cause accidents and injuries. Types of negligence that cause ski accidents include:

  • Careless skiers or snowboarders who collide with you.
  • Fences, signs, and other obstacles placed in
By |May 29th, 2018|Brain Injury|

Richard Rizk: General Counsel, Cascade Ski Club

Last Saturday at the clubs’ annual meeting, Cascade Ski Club President Jon Waldum announced Richard Rizk’s appointment as the club’s General Counsel. According to President Waldrum:

General Counsel is responsible for providing advise to the Board on legal compliance***  It (the general counsel  position) requires someone with great integrity. Counsel is often asked for judgement on people. *** Rich Rizk has fought for the club, he has significant business and life experience to bring to bear on the variety of issues confronting the lodge.

For more information on Mr. Rizk’s history with Cascade Ski Club see: https://www.osbar.org/publications/bulletin/11jan/profiles.html

By |May 22nd, 2018|Uncategorized|