Contract & Commercial Disputes
Good businesses are built on good contracts. Protecting and enforcing those contracts is critical to success. Tonkon Torp’s trial lawyers know how to protect your contractual rights, and how to avoid impractical and wasteful disputes that can cripple your business.

At Tonkon Torp, we take a businesslike approach to business litigation. We understand that litigation is one tool that can be used to address a broken promise and remedy harm done to a client’s business. When you need to aggressively pursue or defend a lawsuit, we play to win. But we also understand that successful litigation is about achieving your goals without losing focus on business objectives or breaking your budget.


Will  Gent

Will Gent




Elizabeth  Goodman

Elizabeth Goodman

Litigation Paralegal

David  Namdar

David Namdar

Litigation Paralegal

Larissa  Stec

Larissa Stec

Litigation Paralegal

Amanda  Ulrich

Amanda Ulrich

Litigation Paralegal

Tonkon Torp Wins Arbitration Victory for Technology Company and Patent Law Firm

Tonkon Torp achieved a significant arbitration win involving two clients, a California-based technology company and its patent litigation law firm. Tonkon Torp was originally retained to represent the tech company in obtaining declaratory and injunctive relief against a litigation finance company that had been engaged to fund the client’s patent enforcement litigation.

Tonkon Torp Wins Appellate Victory in Auto Insurer Case

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.

Tonkon Torp Harvests Victory for Oregon Radish Seed Farmers

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.

Tonkon Torp Wins Complicated Civil Trial for Con-way

In arguably one of the biggest and most complicated civil trials in Portland, Tonkon Torp secured a complete jury trial victory for Con-way, a $5.5 billion American multinational freight transportation company. Find details and more featured cases here.

Allianz Global Risks US Insurance Co. v. ACE Property & Casualty Insurance Co. et. al

Following a seven-week jury trial, secured a complete victory for Con-way, a $5.5 billion American multinational freight transportation company. At issue was the question of responsibility for some portion of defense and indemnity costs associated with three Superfund sites, including the Portland Harbor, and over 1500 asbestos lawsuits. Tonkon Torp successfully argued that certain of Con-way's historic insurance policies did not apply to claims against the current property owner.

Burlington Northern & Santa Fe RR v. Gunderson, Inc.

Prevailed on summary judgment against a nearly $15 million claim filed in Texas arising out of a train derailment in Nebraska.

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.

City of Portland v. Severn Trent Systems

Successfully asserted claims of nearly $50 million on behalf of the City of Portland arising out of defects in the new utilities software billing system.

Claims from Sale of Business

Prepared arbitration claim and strategy on behalf of clients who sold second-generation family business. Clients did not receive the payments they were entitled to under the sale agreement because the buyer disputed the accuracy of the company's financial statements and asserted rights to offset for indemnity claims. Assisted clients in negotiating a favorable payment structure, which resolved the accounting and indemnity disputes.


(Multnomah County Circuit Court) – Successfully represented local investment management firm in dispute with a Los Angeles based finance company concerning a structured finance transaction. The opponent sought more than $20 million in compensatory damages plus additional punitive damages, alleging fraud and breach of contract. Successfully prosecuted Client's damages claims for more than $1.8 million for breach of contract and non-payment of note obligations.

Defended Utility from Construction Lien Claim

Obtained favorable ruling dismissing $3.5 million claim brought under construction lien and unjust enrichment legal theories following bench trial.

Greenbrier Leasing v. Albany & Eastern RR

Successfully asserting claims for breach of contract and promissory estoppel seeking damages of $1.5 million arising from failure to honor lease obligations.

Indemnity Defense

Defended manufacturing client against multi-million-dollar contractual indemnity and tort claims. Obtained complete defense victory after arbitration hearing.

McCormick & Schmick Restaurant Corp., v. Professional Facilities Management, Inc.

(U.S.D.C. Case No. 3:10-cv-362-pk) -  Represented PFMI in defense of breach of contract and business tort claims filed by McCormick and Schmick relating to a repair and maintenance contract for a chain of 93 restaurants. Also filed counterclaims on behalf of PFMI for breach of contract and business torts. The case was settled on a confidential basis.

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.

Products Liability

Successfully defended a large manufacturing company against products liability and breach of warranty claims filed in the U.S. District Court, District of Nebraska by establishing that plaintiff's alleged losses were caused by a component part manufacturer and by plaintiff's own negligence.

Representation of Second-Generation Business Owner

Defended and successfully resolved claims for breach of agreements that were made in connection with the transition of a family business from one generation to the next.

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.

Union Pacific RR v. Greenbrier Rail Services

Representing a railcar manufacturer in a series of related lawsuits arising from train derailments in Kansas, Nebraska and Wyoming. Plaintiff alleges that products manufactured by Greenbrier failed, causing damages in excess of $10 million.

Venue Dispute

Sustained venue (after a full day evidentiary hearing) in federal action for a regionally-based client suing a company headquartered in the eastern United States, leading to a favorable resolution for the client.

Walker v. Metro One

(Multnomah County Circuit Court/Oregon Court of Appeals) – Obtained damages for an investor at trial for breach of convertible promissory note where company had refused to issue shares; successfully defended appeal.

WHI Hotel, LLC, et al. v. Wilsonville Holiday Partners LLC, et al.

Defended Wilsonville Holiday Partners (WHP) against claims for breach of warranty and misrepresentation in a hotel property sold by WHP to buyers in 2008. The buyers claimed that alleged defects in the hotel allowed water intrusion from the roof and windows. The case was tried to a jury in Washington County Circuit Court. Plaintiffs sought damages of $5 million and punitive damages of $15 million. After the jury had deliberated to impasse, the case was settled on terms favorable to the client, for a small fraction of the amount sought by plaintiff, and the settlement consisted mainly of forgiveness of a note from buyers to seller for seller financing of a portion of the purchase price.

Cleaning Up Your Contracts – Property Owners Could Be Liable for Janitors’ Unpaid Wages

Due to recent changes in Oregon law, if a janitorial service provider fails to pay its employees, the owner or manager of the property being cleaned could be liable for the unpaid wages (and additional penalties) unless the property owner or manager…
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Coronavirus Changed the World: Have You Adapted Your Negotiation Tactics?

As COVID-19 washes over the United States, the way law is practiced has, at least temporarily, changed—and negotiation strategies must adapt as well. For potential and pending litigation, now is a good time for parties to analyze their own interests…
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Is COVID-19 Force Majeure in a Commercial Contract?

We have spent the better part of the past week poring over force majeure clauses in commercial contracts. “Force Majeure,” literally translated, means “superior force.” In contracts, force majeure clauses are meant to excuse, or allow a delay in, the…
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Best Lawyers in America® Names 13 Tonkon Torp Attorneys to 2022 Ones to Watch List

Thirteen Tonkon Torp lawyers representing 13 practice groups have been selected to appear in Best Lawyers' 2022 Ones to Watch directory.
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Best Lawyers in America® Includes 53 Tonkon Torp Attorneys on 2022 List

Fifty-three Tonkon Torp lawyers representing 39 practice areas have been selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2022
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Lauren Bernton Leads Session on Article 9 Sales During COVID-19

Tonkon Torp attorney Lauren Bernton spoke at the Oregon Association of Defense Counsel (OADC) Annual Convention on June 19. Her talk focused on Article 9 sales and the commercially reasonable standard in the time of COVID-19.
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26 Tonkon Torp Attorneys Honored on 2021 Super Lawyers Lists

Twenty-six Tonkon Torp attorneys in nine practice areas have been included in the 2021 Oregon Super Lawyers or Rising Stars lists.
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Griffith and Walker Guide Business Litigators through Taxing Questions

Tonkon Torp attorneys Gwen Griffith and Kalia Walker recently hosted a presentation, “Taxing Thoughts for Business Litigators,” for the OSB Business Litigation Section. The program was designed to help business litigators navigate common tax…
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Chambers USA 2021 Ranks 23 Tonkon Torp Attorneys

Chambers USA has recognized 23 Tonkon Torp attorneys in seven practice areas in its Chambers USA 2021 guide.
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Danny Newman Explores Clerkships with Northwestern Law School Students

On March 16, Tonkon Torp attorney Danny Newman was a featured panelist at an event hosted by the Federal Bar Association student chapter at Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law.
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Anna Sortun Joins Oregon Humanities Board of Directors

Tonkon Torp litigation partner Anna Sortun has been elected to the Board of Directors of Oregon Humanities. Oregon Humanities was established in 1971 and works to connect Oregonians to ideas that change lives and transform communities through…
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Anna Sortun Demystifies Depositions for MBA Young Lawyers Section

Tonkon Torp Partner Anna Sortun was a featured panelist at the February 11 Introduction to Depositions CLE offered by the Multnomah Bar Association Young Lawyers Section.
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Tonkon Torp Litigators Share Expertise in Oregon Civil Pleading and Litigation Publication

Tonkon Torp litigators have contributed their expertise to a new treatise on civil litigation practice, Oregon Civil Pleading and Litigation.
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Anna  Sortun
Practice Area Co-Chair

Anna Sortun


Steven  Wilker
Practice Area Co-Chair

Steven Wilker