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
  • 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.

Lauren Barnes
Associate Attorney
  • Oregon

Lauren Barnes is an associate attorney on Team Eberhard and Team McLellan focusing on general civil litigation, motor vehicle accidents, personal injury, negligence, and slip and falls.

Lauren graduated from Willamette University College of Law in 2017 where she clerked for the Marion County District Attorney’s Office on the domestic violence team from 2015 until 2017, prosecuting her own full misdemeanor caseload while being supervised by a Deputy District Attorney. Prior to that she attended Colorado State University where she graduated with a degree in Political Science and International Studies in 2013.

Before Smith Freed Eberhard, Lauren worked as an associate attorney at the Law Offices of Goldberg & Loren, P.A., a national plaintiffs’ personal injury firm, from 2020 through 2021, and prior to that worked at Tiffany Davidson, Attorney at Law, P.C. as an associate attorney, specializing in high-conflict family law and child representation from 2018 through 2020.

Lauren is from Colorado and grew up with a love for the outdoors, however, she was not a fan of the regular snowfall and freezing temperatures from October through April. Because of that she began looking at the Pacific Northwest when applying to law schools. Once she visited Oregon, she instantly fell in love with the state and never wanted to leave. Specifically, she loves the energy and inclusive and laidback nature of Portland. Away from work, you can find Lauren baking sweets treats and other baked goods (quarantine reinvigorated this hobby) and exploring the hiking trails of the PNW with her boyfriend and their Siberian Husky, Kimchi.

Success Story 4th and 10… An Improbable Comeback Win at the Washington Court of Appeals Tuesday December 1, 2020 By: Firm Authorship
Success Story Securing Victory Under Securities Laws Friday December 20, 2019 By: Firm Authorship
Success Story Allegations of Misappropriation of Trade Secrets and Employment Law Violations? Denied. Friday December 20, 2019 By: Firm Authorship
Success Story An $18,000,000 Dismissal Friday December 20, 2019 By: Firm Authorship
Moreau v. Samalin Success Story A Swift and Speedy Settlement Friday December 20, 2019 By: Firm Authorship
Success Story Due Diligence and Maintaining Position Leaves Ashley with a Happy Client Thursday December 19, 2019 By: Firm Authorship
Picture frame Michaels Success Story Can You Picture a Better Outcome? Thursday March 21, 2019 By: Firm Authorship
avoiding the septic storm Success Story Avoiding the Septic Storm Friday February 8, 2019 By: Paul Sheely
Success Story 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 Persistence and Staying Focused on the Facts Leads to Unanimous Defense Verdict Wednesday January 10, 2018 By: Cliff Wilson
Success Story Litigation Success: Due Diligence and Maintaining Position Leaves Ashley with a Happy Client Thursday December 28, 2017 By: Firm Authorship
Success Story Occam’s Razor at Work Wednesday February 17, 2016 By: Firm Authorship
Success Story Whose Fault is it Anyway? Friday December 11, 2015 By: Cliff Wilson
Success Story No Tolerance For Tardiness Monday October 19, 2015 By: Firm Authorship
Success Story Using the Right Rulebook Monday October 19, 2015 By: Firm Authorship
Success Story Turning Over a New Leaf Thursday July 2, 2015 By: Ryan McLellan
Success Story Jobsite Injury Claims Dismissed Friday June 26, 2015 By: Firm Authorship
Success Story Breaking Bad Advice Thursday June 18, 2015 By: Firm Authorship
Success Story Bringing Down the House (By Proving Plaintiff Brought Down the Door) Thursday June 18, 2015 By: Cliff Wilson
Success Story All in the Details: Using Inconsistencies to Win at Summary Judgment Thursday June 18, 2015 By: Gordon Klug
Success Story Snowpocalypse: Negligence and Bad Faith Thursday June 18, 2015 By: Kyle Riley
Success Story Trial Venue: Conservative Controversy Thursday June 18, 2015 By: Ryan McLellan
Success Story “Excusable Neglect” – Excused Thursday June 18, 2015 By: Ryan McLellan
Success Story Lack of Evidence for an Erroneous Equestrian Thursday June 18, 2015 By: Kyle Riley
Webinar Oregon Landlord Tenant Law for CGL Insurers and Claims Reps Thursday May 16, 2019 By: Ryan McLellan
Webinar Liability Waivers – Should We Wave Goodbye? Thursday January 31, 2019 By: Jeff Eberhard
Webinar Handling Sexual Abuse Claims in Oregon and Washington Tuesday February 13, 2018 By: William Taaffe
Webinar 2016 – A Year In Review, Oregon and Washington Commercial Lines Wednesday February 15, 2017 By: Jeff Eberhard
Our Process

Early & Accurate

On-Time Reporting
Throughout the Case

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.

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