Civil Enforcement

The Civil Enforcement Division is the Oregon DOJ's plaintiff's civil litigation arm and enforces selected criminal laws.

Phone: (503) 934-4400 | Fax: (503) 373-7067


Claudia Groberg, Chief Counsel
Joanne Southey, Chief Counsel

Civil Enforcement Division

Claudia and Joanne are co-chief counsels of the Civil Enforcement Division, which handles a wide range of issues including consumer protection/financial fraud; charities; civil recovery; medicaid fraud; and child advocacy. Joanne is chief counsel for child advocacy and Claudia is chief counsel for all the other areas of CED’s work.

Joanne has been with DOJ since 2003, starting as an Assistant Attorney General in the Family Law Section. She served as an AAIC and AIC in the Child Advocacy Section, and then served as Deputy Chief Counsel since 2012. Prior to coming to DOJ, Joanne was in private practice at a civil litigation firm in Portland after a clerkship at the Multnomah County Courthouse. Joanne received her undergraduate degree at the University of Oregon and her law degree from Willamette University College of Law.

Claudia joined DOJ in 2006 as an Assistant Attorney General also in the Family Law Section. She served as an AAIC in the Civil Recovery Section, and then served as AIC since 2013. Prior to coming to DOJ, Claudia clerked at the Lane County Circuit Court for the Honorable Lauren Holland and worked as a staff attorney at the Workers’ Compensation Board. Claudia earned her undergraduate degree from Idaho State University and her law degree from the University of Oregon School of Law.

The Civil Enforcement Division is organized as follows:

Charitable Activities Section

The Charitable Activities Section oversees the activities of charitable and other nonprofit organizations. It also enforces laws related to charitable trusts, charitable solicitations and nonprofit gaming. The Section can take civil legal actions against organizations breaking the law. For more information about charitable organizations and fundraising in Oregon, see the Charitable Activities Section ».

Civil Recovery Section

The Civil Recovery Section assists state agencies with litigation. Any state agency may refer cases to this Section. There are Civil Recovery attorneys and staff in Pendleton, Portland, Salem, Eugene and Medford. They handle child support enforcement hearings in all Oregon counties.

The Civil Recovery Section:
  • Performs judicial foreclosure of mortgages, trust deeds and contracts for state agencies
  • Represents state agencies in bankruptcy court
  • Represents the Highway Divisions and Department of Administrative Services in cases involving damage to state property or monetary loss
  • Collects overpayment of benefits to claimants and nonpayment of unemployment taxes by employers
  • Assists the Department of Revenue’s efforts to collect on cases
  • Recovers defaulted investments and development loans for state agencies
  • Recovers environmental cleanup costs for the Department of Environmental Quality
  • Assists the Oregon Child Support Program collect child support, establish paternity and support obligations

Child Advocacy Section

The Child Advocacy Section helps protect abused, neglected and abandoned children throughout Oregon. It provides court representation and legal advice to the Department of Human Services’ (DHS) Child Welfare Program ».

There are Child Advocacy attorneys and staff in Portland, Salem, Eugene and Medford. Attorneys handle juvenile and circuit court hearings and child support enforcement hearings in all Oregon counties.

Child Advocacy attorneys provide a wide range of legal advice to DHS child welfare workers. They often represent DHS in contested juvenile and circuit court hearings and help achieve safe and permanent placement for children.

Financial Fraud/Consumer Protection Section

The Financial Fraud/Consumer Protection Section enforces the Unlawful Trade Practices Act, commonly known as Oregon’s consumer protection law. The Section also educates consumers and businesses.

Direct Assistance to Consumers

Consumer complaints are the best way to identify potential fraud and marketplace abuses. The Section’s consumer hotline gets tens of thousands of calls every year. As complaints are received, enforcement officers investigate and mediate disputes to help protect consumers.

Prevention Efforts

The Section educates consumers through a number of consumer-friendly materials, in-person presentations, the Scam Alert Network » and Twitter account ».

To schedule a presentation or request materials, contact Ellen Klem at 503-507-1061.

Trade Practices Act Enforcement and Civil Prosecution

The Unlawful Trade Practices Act (UTPA) protects Oregon consumers.

This law allows businesses to enter into an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance (AVC) before the Section files a formal complaint. An AVC requires the businesses to stop the unlawful practice and agree to not violate the law in the future.

In cases that may result in financial harm to consumers, the Attorney General may seek $25,000 in penalties for each violation, an injunction, attorneys fees and restitution.

Antitrust Enforcement

The Attorney General enforces federal and state antitrust laws and assigns responsibilities to the Financial Fraud/Consumer Protection Section.

Antitrust complaints are usually allegations of price fixing, unlawful group boycotts and bid rigging. Victims include consumers impacted by higher prices and limited choices, and businesses unable to compete fairly for customers. Antitrust matters often involve other jurisdictions.

More about Consumer Protection »

Medicaid Fraud Unit

The Medicaid Fraud Unit handles fraud by Medicaid providers. It also handles physical or financial abuse/neglect of residents of Medicaid-funded facilities.

The Medicaid Fraud Unit receives referrals from many sources, including federal, state and local agencies. The unit reviews referrals for potential criminal prosecution as well as civil remedies, when appropriate.

More from the DOJ about Medicaid Fraud »

Report Medicaid Fraud Directly to the DHS »