Cheryl Pellegrini, Chief Trial Counsel
Sheila Potter, Deputy Chief Trial Counsel
Carolyn Kendrick, Division Management Assistant
The cases assigned to the Trial Division cover a wide variety of subjects, including:
- Negligence and other tort claims for money damages
- Breach of contract and commercial actions
- Suits for declaratory and injunctive relief
- Employment-related claims
- Taking of private lands for governmental purposes (condemnation)
- Natural resources and environmental law cases
- Constitutional challenges to laws and government programs
- Inmate civil rights and collateral challenges to criminal convictions (habeas corpus and post-conviction relief)
Civil Litigation Section (CLS)
The Civil Litigation Section handles a wide variety of cases that may be tried to a jury in state and federal court. These cases range from complex and high-stakes disputes involving millions of dollars or legal arguments with far-reaching implications for the State, to the business of settling the more routine disputes that arise in the course of the State’s business. CLS cases fall into five general categories: torts, employment, commercial disputes, prisoner civil rights lawsuits, and real estate condemnation. In addition, CLS lawyers defend county District Attorneys in lawsuits challenging the denial of a public records request.
Special Litigation Unit (SLU)
The lawyers in SLU defend state statutes and policies against constitutional challenges in state and federal courts. They also handle complex class-action lawsuits, elections litigation, and other high-profile or sensitive matters in which the State, its agencies, and its employees may be plaintiffs or defendants.
The variety of cases that SLU handles continues to grow and its lawyers often work on cases that cross Division lines within DOJ. General Counsel: tax, tobacco, election and environmental. Civil Enforcement: consumer protection, civil rights enforcement. Criminal: environmental enforcement cases.
Defense of Agency Orders (DAO)
Most state agencies issue written decisions that directly affect the rights of Oregon’s citizens and companies. The Trial Division has a section dedicated to defending those agency orders when they are challenged in court under the Administrative Procedures Act. These include: environmental disputes, agency contract terminations, education and child safety, DPSST hearings, and hearings before the State Hospital Review Panel
Criminal and Collateral Remedies Litigation Section (CCR) – Including Defense of Criminal Convictions
The Criminal and Collateral Remedies Section (CCR) manages an extremely high volume caseload, and typically has over 2000 cases pending at any point in time. Cases in CCR involve extensive contact with District Attorneys, criminal defense counsel who represented the inmate at trial, and crime victims. CCR cases comprise: State Post-Conviction Relief, Federal Habeas Corpus, State Habeas Corpus, and Psychiatric Security Review Board Cases. CCR lawyers also handle requests for assistance by OSP and DA’s in responding to subpoena for agency records and in-prison appearance.