Biography

Jeff serves as the managing partner of Smith Freed Eberhard. His practice focuses on civil litigation throughout Oregon and Washington, with an emphasis on the defense of complex liability claims including dram shop/liquor liability. From 2006 to 2016, Jeff has been named on the Super Lawyers Oregon list. In 2013 and 2015, Jeff was added to the Super Lawyers Top 50 list. In addition, from 2011 to 2017, Jeff has been named on the Best Lawyers in America list.

Jeff has over 25 years experience working on civil litigation cases. He has represented a wide range of clients in complex and high-profile matters.

Jeff serves as the editor of the firm’s Claims Executive Reporter - a weekly periodical that provides claims professionals with updates and reviews of new and significant case law that affect claims in Oregon and Washington. Jeff has also prepared and delivered a number of presentations on civil litigation and professional liability defense matters for various insurance companies, trade organizations and fellow attorneys.

Representative Cases

  • In Shields v. Enterprise Leasing Company (2007), Jeff established new law in that a self-insured rental car company does have to provide liability insurance to a renter. In Shields, the renter had rejected all insurance products and was later involved in an accident. The renter subsequently brought claims against Enterprise to determine insurance coverage and also sought Bad Faith and Consumer Protection Act claims. The court ultimately held in Shields that the Financial Responsibility Act did not require a self-insured rental car company to provide minimum third-party liability coverage. Because there was a reasonable basis to deny insurance coverage to the renter, the trial court also properly dismissed the Bad Faith and CPA claims.
  • Defended a tavern accused of over-serving a patron who was involved in a high speed automobile accident shortly after leaving the tavern. Through aggressive motion practice, Jeff was able to establish that the plaintiff must prove by clear and convincing evidence that the patron was visibly intoxicated when served by the tavern. As a result, the case was resolved on favorable terms for the defense.
  • Successfully defended an undercover security company against a claim for false imprisonment. Significant damages were sought at trial. The defense of the case focused on showing that the stop was proper. The jury returned a 12-0 defense verdict finding no liability.

Professional Certification & Accolades

  • Member, Oregon State Bar Association
  • Member, Washington State Bar Association
  • Oregon Super Lawyer - 2006 - 2016
  • Top 50 Oregon Super Lawyer - 2013, 2015
  • Best Lawyers in America - 2011 - 2016
  • NITA Master Advocate
  • Past Board Member, Oregon Association of Defense Counsel
  • Member, Council on Litigation Management
  • Admitted, United States District Court for the District of Oregon
  • Admitted, United States District Court for the District of Western Washington
  • Black Belt Trial Advocacy Training Program

Bar Admissions

  • Oregon
  • Washington

Education

  • George Washington University, Master Degree, Law Firm Management, 2010
  • Willamette University College of Law, Certificate in Dispute Resolution, J.D., 1987
  • University of Oregon, B.S., Finance and Political Science, 1984
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