Commercial General Liability
Catastrophic Injury Experts
See How We Meet Your Guidelines
Innovative Litigators
Expert Problem Solvers
Legal Analytics Driven

From the moment we opened our doors, Smith Freed Eberhard has been fearlessly pushing the edge of what’s possible for our clients. We’ve carefully cultivated and developed specialties in our practices and our people to give you the very best: formidable expertise, strategically creative thinking, and litigation guideline adherence. We are your champion, keenly focused on understanding your situation, solving your challenges, and achieving your goals.

Our commercial liability defense team is highly skilled in defending all types of commercial liability claims. This includes Dram Shop Liability, Assault and Battery / Bodily Injury, Fractures and Broken Bones, Neck and Back Injuries, Spinal Cord Injuries / Maritime Accidents / Municipal Liability / Sexual Abuse / Traumatic Brain Injuries / Wrongful Death / Bad Faith / Premises Liability, Slip, Trip, and Fall Accidents / Product Liability, Marijuana, Cannabis Law, Manufacturing / Trucking Accidents / Job site Injury / Garage Liability / Auto Dealers / Timber Trespass.

Melanie Rose
Partner
  • Oregon

Melanie is a litigator with a diverse civil litigation practice focusing on catastrophic injury, premises liability, automobile liability, dram shop, and commercial litigation. Melanie’s practice takes her all over the state of Oregon and Washington regularly, and occasionally into Idaho as well. She has given a number of presentations on changes in Oregon and Washington law highlighting the Pacific Northwest’s unique legal landscape.

Before joining Smith Freed Eberhard, Melanie handled first-party insurance claims including claims related to PIP, UM/UIM, bad faith, and consumer protection act claims on behalf of insurance carriers. Melanie also has experience handling insurance subrogation matters. This high-volume practice placed a premium on efficiency, diligence, and energy that has carried over into her current practice.

In law school, Melanie won awards for both client advocacy and legal writing. Some of Melanie’s first experiences in the legal community were volunteering for the Washington County Family Law Assistance Program and working at the Low Income Taxpayer Clinic.

Melanie is an Oregon native and grew up in a handful of smaller, Southern Oregon towns. She moved to the big city for law school, fell in love with Portland, and can’t imagine being anywhere else. Away from work, Melanie can usually be found teaching knitting lessons at a local yarn shop, checking out a local brewery, or getting her yearly supply of Vitamin D during the 4 months of the year that it’s dry enough to be outside.

Carleigh McMahon
Associate Attorney
  • Oregon

Carleigh is an associate attorney on Bill Taaffe’s team, and her practice focuses on commercial liability defense and personal lines defense.

Carleigh graduated from Northwestern School of Law at Lewis & Clark in 2020. Prior to that, she attended Albion College where she earned her Bachelor of Science in biology and a minor in psychology. Carleigh is now licensed to practice law in Oregon. During her years in law school, Carleigh was a representative within the Student Bar Association (SBA), participated in Appellate Moot Court, and was a co-founder of Students for Eliminating Environmental Discrimination (SEED). After graduating from law school in 2020, she took a judicial clerkship position with the Honorable Jeffrey S. Jones at Clackamas County Circuit Court. There she learned the intricacies of complex case litigation, civil and criminal procedure, the best strategies to use as a litigator, and developed a deeper understanding regarding the rules of evidence through the tutelage of one of the top evidence experts in Oregon. This position allowed Carleigh to obtain extensive experience in motions practice, Uniform Trial Court Rules (UTCR), and proper procedure for both jury trials and court trials.

Carleigh was born and raised in the Metro-Detroit area of Michigan. She is a first-generation lawyer, with most of her family electing careers in the Arts or STEM fields. Before moving to Portland for law school, Carleigh played the violin for 14 years and was second chair in the Oakland Youth Symphony, was a competitive archer and briefly trained under an Olympic archer, and she volunteered or worked at several local veterinary hospitals in Metro-Detroit. Outside of work, Carleigh can be found kayaking, checking out a local brewery or restaurant, or camping in the high deserts of eastern Oregon.

 

Nathaniel Woodward
Associate Attorney
  • Oregon

Nathaniel is an associate attorney on Cliff Wilson’s team, and his practice focuses on commercial liability defense, negligence, and products liability.

Prior to joining Smith Freed Eberhard, Nathaniel worked as an Attorney at The Gatti Law Firm in Salem. Before that he clerked at Swanson Lathen Prestwich in Salem, and The Law Offices of Randall Wolfe in Lake Oswego. Nathaniel worked as a biologist in healthcare and research, spending nearly 10 years at Rocky Mountain Sleep Diagnostics Inc. before attending law school, and currently he is an Adjunct Faculty member at the University of Western States College of Chiropractic Medicine where he teaches medical ethics and jurisprudence to third year medical students.

At Willamette University College of Law, Nathaniel authored “Designing People: A Bioethical Analyses of the Laws and Regulations Regarding the Genetic Manipulation of Human Fetuses” Willamette Law Review (2021), and he co-authored “Racial Justice Task Force Report to Oregon Supreme Court” (2021). Nathaniel was also 1 of 7 law students from Willamette inducted into the Order of Barristers in 2020, and he received the Col. Rupert J. Park Pro Bono Student of the Year Award, which is given to the one law student who volunteers the most free, legal “pro bono” hours over the course of law school. Nathaniel donated roughly 1,000 hours over 3 years, and most of his time was spent with under-served students from 6-12 grade, DACA “Dreamers,” and teaching the “Youth and Law” course to teenage mothers at Early College High School.

Now Nathaniel speaks to assemblies of AVID students from 6-12 grade about succeeding in school despite trauma and physical limitations, reaching nearly 20,000 students in the Salem-Keizer School district over the past 3 years. As a result of his involvement with AVID assemblies, he was invited to and spoke at “Dory Day”, an all-day event where Early College High School students attend workshops normally focused on preventing violence against women and girls.

Nathaniel is from Price, Utah and grew up the middle of 7 kids. He went to Carbon High School where he was captain of the varsity soccer team and won the state championship for “Best Entrée” as a member of the schools Pro-Start culinary team. Nathaniel and his wife, Debbie, have been married for nearly 12 years now and have 3 very cute and moderately well-behave kids; Bridgette, Jonathan, and Phillip. Outside of work, Nathaniel considers himself an amateur paleontologist, and he like to plan trips to hunt and find fossils to take back home and delicately prepare them for display or donation to a museum. Nathaniel is a member of NARG and has a special license that allows him to collect rare fossils along Oregon’s coast and beaches.

Success Story Negligence Personal Lines Tenant Landlord Court Strikes Opposing Party’s Counterclaims Due to Failure to Comply With Discovery Orders Wednesday October 13, 2021 By: Narmina Sharifova
Success Story Property Loss Tenant Landlord 4th and 10… An Improbable Comeback Win at the Washington Court of Appeals Tuesday December 1, 2020 By: Firm Authorship
Success Story Commercial Liability Defense Securing Victory Under Securities Laws Friday December 20, 2019 By: Firm Authorship
Success Story Commercial Liability Defense Allegations of Misappropriation of Trade Secrets and Employment Law Violations? Denied. Friday December 20, 2019 By: Firm Authorship
Success Story Commercial Liability Defense General Contractors Jobsite Injury An $18,000,000 Dismissal Friday December 20, 2019 By: Firm Authorship
Moreau v. Samalin Success Story Commercial Liability Defense Tenant Landlord A Swift and Speedy Settlement Friday December 20, 2019 By: Firm Authorship
Success Story Commercial Liability Defense Due Diligence and Maintaining Position Leaves Ashley with a Happy Client Thursday December 19, 2019 By: Firm Authorship
Picture frame Michaels Success Story Commercial Liability Defense Can You Picture a Better Outcome? Thursday March 21, 2019 By: Firm Authorship
avoiding the septic storm Success Story Commercial Liability Defense Construction & Development Premises Liability Avoiding the Septic Storm Friday February 8, 2019 By: Paul Sheely
Success Story Commercial Liability Defense Negligence Diligent Preparation and Spotting Fatal Flaws in the Other Side’s Case Leads to Favorable Outcome Thursday March 22, 2018 By: Ryan McLellan
Success Story Commercial Liability Defense Persistence and Staying Focused on the Facts Leads to Unanimous Defense Verdict Wednesday January 10, 2018 By: Cliff Wilson
Success Story Commercial Liability Defense Litigation Success: Due Diligence and Maintaining Position Leaves Ashley with a Happy Client Thursday December 28, 2017 By: Firm Authorship
Success Story Commercial Liability Defense Personal Lines PIP Occam’s Razor at Work Wednesday February 17, 2016 By: Firm Authorship
Success Story Commercial Liability Defense First & Third Party / SIU Personal Lines Whose Fault is it Anyway? Friday December 11, 2015 By: Cliff Wilson
Success Story Commercial Liability Defense Personal Lines No Tolerance For Tardiness Monday October 19, 2015 By: Firm Authorship
Success Story Commercial Liability Defense Personal Lines Using the Right Rulebook Monday October 19, 2015 By: Firm Authorship
Success Story Commercial Liability Defense First & Third Party / SIU Personal Lines Turning Over a New Leaf Thursday July 2, 2015 By: Ryan McLellan
Success Story Commercial Liability Defense Construction & Development General Contractors Jobsite Injury Jobsite Injury Claims Dismissed Friday June 26, 2015 By: Firm Authorship
Success Story Commercial Liability Defense Construction & Development Personal Lines Breaking Bad Advice Thursday June 18, 2015 By: Firm Authorship
Success Story Commercial Liability Defense Bringing Down the House (By Proving Plaintiff Brought Down the Door) Thursday June 18, 2015 By: Cliff Wilson
Success Story Commercial Liability Defense Personal Lines All in the Details: Using Inconsistencies to Win at Summary Judgment Thursday June 18, 2015 By: Gordon Klug
Success Story Commercial Liability Defense Snowpocalypse: Negligence and Bad Faith Thursday June 18, 2015 By: Kyle Riley
Success Story Commercial Liability Defense Trial Venue: Conservative Controversy Thursday June 18, 2015 By: Ryan McLellan
Success Story Commercial Liability Defense Premises Liability “Excusable Neglect” – Excused Thursday June 18, 2015 By: Ryan McLellan
on-demand
Cliff Wilson
Webinar Bad Faith Commercial Liability Defense Moody v. Oregon Community Credit Union: An In-Depth Discussion Tuesday April 5, 2022 By: Cliff Wilson
on-demand
Kyle Riley
Webinar Commercial Liability Defense Negligence Premises Liability Tenant Landlord Wrongful Death Commercial Lines in Washington – 2021 Year in Review Thursday March 10, 2022 By: Kyle Riley
on-demand
Webinar Commercial Liability Defense Negligence Premises Liability Timber Trespass Trucking & Transportation Commercial Lines in Oregon – 2021 Year in Review Thursday February 24, 2022 By: Jeff Eberhard
on-demand
Cliff Wilson
Webinar Automotive Defense Commercial Liability Defense Dog Bite ORS 20.080 Attorney Fee Personal Lines PIP Premises Liability Tenant Landlord UM/UIM Personal Lines in Oregon and Washington – 2021 Year in Review Wednesday January 26, 2022 By: Josh Hayward
on-demand
Webinar Commercial Liability Defense Products Liability Oregon Product Liability Law Thursday January 20, 2022 By: Josh Hayward
on-demand
Webinar Commercial Liability Defense Premises Liability Oregon Premises Liability Law Friday November 12, 2021 By: Ryan McLellan
on-demand
Webinar Bad Faith Commercial Liability Defense Jobsite Injury Negligence Premises Liability COVID-19 in Review: How Emerging Lawsuits Will Impact Future Litigation Friday July 2, 2021 By: Jeff Eberhard
on-demand
Kyle Riley
Webinar Bad Faith Commercial Liability Defense Negligence Premises Liability Products Liability Sexual Misconduct Tenant Landlord Wrongful Death Washington Commercial Lines – 2020 Year in Review Friday April 2, 2021 By: Kyle Riley
on-demand
Webinar Automotive Defense Bad Faith Motorist Minor Impact Personal Lines PIP UM/UIM Wrongful Death Washington Personal Lines – 2020 Year in Review Friday January 29, 2021 By: Josh Hayward
Liquor Liability
on-demand
Webinar Commercial Liability Defense Dram Shop & Tavern Keeper ORS 20.080 Attorney Fee Timber Trespass Oregon Commercial Lines – 2020 Year in Review Thursday November 19, 2020 By: Jeff Eberhard
on-demand
Webinar Commercial Liability Defense Tenant Landlord Oregon Landlord Tenant Law for Commercial General Liability Insurers and Claims Representatives Thursday May 16, 2019 By: Ryan McLellan
on-demand
Cliff Wilson
Webinar Minor Settlement Personal Lines Wrongful Death The When, Where, Why, and How of Settlements Involving Minors, Estates, and Liens Thursday April 4, 2019 By: Cliff Wilson
on-demand
Webinar Commercial Liability Defense Personal Lines Slip and Fall Liability Waivers – Should We Wave Goodbye? Thursday January 31, 2019 By: Jeff Eberhard
on-demand
Webinar Commercial Liability Defense Dram Shop & Tavern Keeper Jobsite Injury Negligence Premises Liability Products Liability Slip and Fall Tenant Landlord Timber Trespass Trucking & Transportation Wrongful Death 2018 – Year In Review – Commercial Lines in Oregon Thursday November 8, 2018 By: William Taaffe
mandatory non-binding arbitration
on-demand
Webinar Automotive Defense Commercial Liability Defense Personal Lines How To Brave the High Seas of Mandatory Non-Binding Arbitration and Live to Tell the Tall Tale Thursday July 5, 2018 By: Firm Authorship
on-demand
Webinar Commercial Liability Defense General Litigation Handling Sexual Abuse Claims in Oregon and Washington Tuesday February 13, 2018 By: William Taaffe
on-demand
Webinar Commercial Liability Defense Construction & Development First & Third Party / SIU General Litigation Professional Lines (EPL,D&O,E&O) Recent Landmark Decisions on the Noneconomic Damages Cap in Oregon Thursday January 11, 2018 By: Jeff Eberhard
on-demand
Webinar Commercial Liability Defense General Litigation Personal Lines Tough Calls: Ethical Claims Handling in Oregon and Washington Monday November 27, 2017 By: Josh Hayward
on-demand
Webinar Commercial Liability Defense First & Third Party / SIU General Litigation Personal Lines Professional Lines (EPL,D&O,E&O) Utilizing Probability Analysis in Claims Evaluation: A Systematic Approach Thursday May 4, 2017 By: Josh Hayward
on-demand
Cliff Wilson
Webinar Commercial Liability Defense Minor Settlement Personal Lines Wrongful Death Minor Settlements and Wrongful Death in Oregon & Washington Friday April 7, 2017 By: Cliff Wilson
on-demand
Kyle Riley
Webinar Commercial Liability Defense 2016 – A Year In Review, Oregon and Washington Commercial Lines Wednesday February 15, 2017 By: Jeff Eberhard
on-demand
Webinar Construction & Development Design Professionals Developers General Contractors Slip and Fall Subcontractors Wrap Policies Surety Oregon & Washington Construction Law Master Class Thursday February 9, 2017 By: Paul Sheely
on-demand
Webinar Commercial Liability Defense Construction & Development Laying the Foundation: The Basics of Oregon and Washington Construction Law Tuesday January 3, 2017 By: Michael Staskiews
on-demand
Webinar Commercial Liability Defense Jobsite Injury Negligence Premises Liability Products Liability Slip and Fall Wrongful Death Retail Store Liability Tuesday December 20, 2016 By: William Taaffe
Our Process


1.
Early & Accurate
Evaluation


2.
On-Time Reporting
Throughout the Case

3.
Legal Analytics
Proven Results
We Play
to Win

SFE has represented clients in numerous industries for decades. Our experience in representing a variety of businesses within various markets — including bars, restaurants, QSR, grocery, big box retail, manufacturers, distributors, sporting venues, and more — helps us to understand each industry and its unique challenges.

Often the desired course of action to resolve conflict, particularly in complex, time sensitive, expensive catastrophic injury cases, is the best course of action. With that in mind, our CGL defense team is committed to resolving even the most hotly contested disputes outside of court and with less delay and expense than in the traditional litigation process. The firm’s lawyers are involved in the arbitration and mediation of injury disputes of all kinds, which can result in significant cost and time savings for our clients.

CGL defense matters cannot be solved with a one size fits all approach. Our goal is to analyze and mitigate risk, whether our attorneys are negotiating a deal or helping to resolve a dispute. Early evaluation and discovery is critical. Our team seeks to identify legal defenses theories at the earliest point possible.

Let’s talk

Tell us about your legal challenge.
We’ll tell you how we can help.