Services & Industries
J.D., summa cum laude, Lewis & Clark Law School
M.S., Ohio State University
B.A., cum laude, Tufts University
Bar & Court Admissions
Oregon State Bar
Washington State Bar Association
U.S. Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit
U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon
Paul has a wide-ranging trial practice, representing both individuals and businesses in contract and investment disputes, government investigations, and environmental matters. Paul serves on Tonkon Torp’s Managing Board and recently completed a term as co-chair of the firm’s Litigation Department.
Before joining Tonkon Torp, Paul was a judicial clerk for the Honorable Susan P. Graber at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the Honorable R. William Riggs at the Oregon Supreme Court and Oregon Court of Appeals.
Representing a member of the Board of Directors of Enron Corporation in litigation across the United States.
Lumber Mill Redevelopment
Counseled clients in the decommissioning of old lumber mills in Oregon, Idaho and Montana and preparing them for different land use.
Shareholder Agreement Dispute
Protected the majority owners of a manufacturing company from a minority shareholder who refused to redeem minority shares under a shareholder agreement, resulting in an award to our clients of specific performance, a new share valuation, and significant attorney fees.
Columbia Helicopters v. Boeing
Represented Columbia Helicopters in a dispute over Boeing’s refusal to sell Boeing helicopter parts to Oregon-based Columbia Helicopters, to allow Columbia to fulfill its contracts to repair Boeing-manufactured military CH-47 Chinook helicopters. To resolve threatened antitrust litigation, Boeing ultimately agreed to recognize Columbia Helicopters as an independent service organization provide Columbia with Boeing parts to perform CH-47 repair services.
Prevailing in a federal court trial against an out-of state bank over ownership of $9 million of agricultural products.
Billion Dollar Development Fees
Successfully obtained writ of review challenging the City of Portland’s adoption of billion dollar development fees.
City of Lake Oswego
Successfully representing the City of Lake Oswego, Oregon in state and federal lawsuits concerning the city's regulation of Oswego Lake.
Winning a multi-million dollar federal court jury trial arising out of the termination of a distribution agreement.
Winning summary judgment on behalf of a large electric utility in a $500 million class action arising out of the closure of a nuclear power plant.
Illegal Homeless Camping
Successfully representing a coalition of businesses and community groups challenging the city of Portland's illegal homeless camping policy.
Prevailing in a jury trial in Boston, Massachusetts concerning ownership of a privately held investment company.
Obtaining a multi-million dollar jury verdict in a state court trial arising out of the client's losses in an investment fund.
Non-Competition & Confidentiality Restrictions
Prevailing in a trial on behalf of a national financial services company enforcing non-competition and confidentiality restrictions against a departing executive.
Representing a nutritional retailer and manufacturer of nutritional supplements in lawsuit brought by State of Oregon.
Breach of Fiduciary Duty Claims
Successfully defended and resolved claims of breach of ficuciary duty against founder of family business.
City of Albany v. SVC Manufacturing Inc.
Defended SVC, a subsidiary of PepsiCo Americas Beverages, in a $105,000,000 breach of contract action filed by the City of Albany after SVC terminated a development agreement pursuant to which SVC was to build a Gatorade plant in Albany.
Thomas Michael Anderson, as Trustee of the Timothy P. Moyer Trust, et v. Sturgeon et. al.
(Multnomah County Circuit Court) – Defended president of property management company against claims for breach of contract and breaches of fiduciary duty. Obtained summary judgment dismissing complaint in its entirety.
Tinn v. EMM Labs, Inc.
Won a multi-million dollar federal court jury trial on behalf of our client EMM Labs, a Canadian manufacturer of high-end audio equipment. Defeated the plaintiff's claims under a distribution agreement and prevailed on our client's counterclaim.
McLean v. Saltchuk, King County Superior Court
Represents three brothers who sold their family trucking business in several proceedings in both court and arbitration. The claims involve indemnity and other issues under a Stock Purchase Agreement, real estate matters, professional malpractice and taxation.
Stimson Lumber Co. v. International Paper Co.
In Montana, assisted Stimson in the negotiation and implementation of an administrative order for the $6 million cleanup and removal of a PCB-contaminated cooling pond formerly owned by Stimson. Successfully asserted claims against prior owners of the cooling pond under CERCLA, recovering past and future cleanup costs.
Defended attacks by the American Trucking Associations against Oregon's heavy truck tax system. The Oregon Supreme Court held that the tax did not violate the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution. (Oregon Court of Appeals, Oregon Supreme Court, U.S. Supreme Court)
Kramer v. City of Lake Oswego
Tonkon Torp represents the City of Lake Oswego, Oregon in a lawsuit concerning ownership of and access to Oswego Lake. After Tonkon's lawyers were successful in moving to have the case dismissed in federal court, the lawsuit is now pending in Oregon state court.
Port of Arlington v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Tonkon Torp represents the Port of Arlington, Oregon in ongoing federal court litigation arising out of the Corps' revocation of the Port's permit to build a dock facility in the Columbia River.
Representing the City of Lake Oswego, Tonkon Torp trial lawyers Paul Conable and Steve Olson successfully obtained dismissal of a federal district court lawsuit challenging a City ordinance prohibiting access to Oswego Lake from city property. Oswego Lake has been maintained for decades by a nonprofit corporation of homeowners.
When a registered investment advisor leaves an investment firm, the two parties often negotiate who retains the advisor’s clients and management of the associated investment assets. While such horse trading is a common industry practice, it clouds the issue of fiduciary duty owed to the investor. Who is responsible for acting in the client’s best interests? What information must the investment firm share with the investor?
Enron’s $63 billion bankruptcy in 2001 sent shockwaves through the financial community, triggering the collapse of one of the world’s largest accounting firms and setting in motion corporate governance changes that would alter the face of corporate America.
Oregon is one of the few states that uses a weight-mile tax rather than a diesel fuel tax on heavy trucking to help support and maintain its 86,000 miles of paved road. When trucking interests tried to shift the tax burden to everyday drivers, AAA Oregon/Idaho turned to Tonkon Torp to help in the fight.
Tonkon Torp represented 45 Northwest farmers in a dispute with an East Coast commercial bank over who should receive the proceeds from the sale of the farmers’ radish seed crop. Find details and more featured cases here.
Balancing Free Speech and Presidential Security – Wilker Argues at the U.S. Supreme Court on First Amendment Issue
On March 26, 2014, Tonkon Torp litigator Steven Wilker argued at the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of the ACLU of Oregon in Wood v. Moss, a political viewpoint discrimination case. Find details and more featured cases here.
A prolonged, high-profile dispute about public access to Oswego Lake was resolved recently when Clackamas County Circuit Court Judge Henry Breithaupt issued an opinion upholding the City of Lake Oswego’s right to control access to the lake from the City’s public park.
Tonkon Torp litigators won a remarkable victory at the Oregon Court of Appeals in the ongoing high-profile dispute regarding public access to Oswego Lake. Here are the details.
Tonkon Torp recently achieved a complete appellate win on behalf of its client, Leif Hansen, in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. In 2018, Tonkon Torp attorneys Steve Olson, Paul Conable, and Meg Houlihan represented Hansen individually and in a proposed class action against his auto insurer, GEICO, for refusing to pay for digital scans of his truck as part of the truck’s repair following a collision. Hansen sued for breach of contract under his insurance policy and breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. The federal district court dismissed the complaint for failure to state a claim. That dismissal prompted an appeal to the Ninth Circuit, which was led by Bob Koch and Meg Houlihan.
Community Involvement & Activities
Pioneer Courthouse Historical Society
Former Member, Board of Directors
Classroom Law Project
Former Member, Board of Directors
Oregon State Bar
Volunteer Attorney, Military Assistance Panel
Legal Aid Domestic Violence Project
Multnomah Bar Association
Oregon Association of Defense Counsel
Past Chair, Commercial section
U.S. District Court
2009–2012, Judicial Selection Committee
Oregon State Bar
Past Chair, Business Litigation Section
The Best Lawyers in America
2011-2022, Commercial Litigation
2011-2022, Litigation – Environmental
2011-2022, Litigation – Securities
Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers
2016–2022, Litigation: General Commercial Law
2014-2022, Oregon Super Lawyer – Business Litigation
Fifty-three Tonkon Torp lawyers representing 37 practice areas have been selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2023. Nearly all the attorneys have been previously named to the peer-review list, and most have been listed for more than 10 years.
Thirty-one Tonkon Torp attorneys in 11 practice areas have been included in the 2022 Oregon Super Lawyers or Rising Stars
Chambers USA has recognized 28 Tonkon Torp attorneys in eight practice areas in its Chambers USA 2022 Guide.
Tonkon Torp has launched a new practice group, Shareholder Disputes & Governance.
Fifty-three Tonkon Torp lawyers representing 39 practice areas have been selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2022
By Paul Conable and Danny Newman – The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is ramping up its investigation and potential enforcement activities against sellers of nonfungible tokens (NFTs) and marketplaces that connect buyers and sellers.
By Paul Conable and Danny Newman – A recent class certification decision (Williams v. KuCoin et al.) from a magistrate judge in the Southern District of New York provides insight on how courts view those who enable trading in cryptocurrencies and potentially other cryoptoassets like non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
By a vote of 26-2, the Oregon Senate passed the “Brownfields Land Bank Bill” today. HB 2734 had previously passed the House with a vote of 43-15. The bill now heads to the Governor’s office for signature. With the enactment of the Brownfields Land Bank Bill, local governments will have a significant new tool to assist them in redeveloping brownfields.
Publications & Presentations
“Can Some NFTs be Considered Securities? The SEC Is Watching,” Tonkon Torp Legal Alert, March 2022
“Recent Court Decision Sheds Light on Cryptocurrency Treatment Under Securities Law” Tonkon Torp Legal Alert, January 2022
“The Dramatic Expansion of Oregon’s Absolute Litigation Privilege,” OSB Litigation Journal, Spring 2018
“Effective Strategies for Expert Depositions,” Multnomah Bar Association, April 2016
“Real Life Ethics Issues in Business Deals and Litigation,” OSB Business Litigation Section, November 2013
“Registered Investment Advisors Update,” 33rd Annual Northwest Securities Institute, Portland, OR, May 2013
“California Cap and Trade Program Likely to Face Legal Challenges,” Daily Journal of Commerce, January 2012
“Surviving Winter: The Ninth Circuit Reaffirms the ‘Serious Questions’ Test for Injunctive Relief,” Litigation Journal 2011
“Federal Civil Litigation in Oregon,” Injunctions and Other Forms of Relief, Oregon State Bar 2009