James L. Buchal, Complex Civil Litigation Specialist
E-mail (no link to minimize spam):
Address: 3425 S.E. Yamhill, Suite 100, Portland , OR 97214
I graduated from Harvard College
in 1981 with a degree in physics, and from Yale Law School and Yale School of Management in 1985. With extensive integration of technology into my practice, I can
provide large-firm service at much lower rates than large firms charge, while
enjoying the benefits of rural living.
Areas of Experience:
Complex Business Litigation, Including Intellectual Property
Complex Environmental Litigation
Complex Energy Litigation
General Experience, Philosophy and Goals
Complex Business Litigation
I was trained in litigation for 5 years at Cravath,
Swaine & Moore in New York City,
at the height of the late-1980s takeover boom, serving first as grunt labor and
later as team leader in such enormous cases as Republic of the Philippines
v. Westinghouse and Pennzoil v. Texaco. I also developed
considerable expertise in securities law, see Appeal Brief in Backman v. Polaroid Corporation,
and represented IBM in a number of cases involving allegations of copyright,
patent, or trademark infringement and theft of trade secrets.
Since moving to Oregon, I have been trial counsel in several
cases concerning disputes over rights to ownership in corporate entities,
including, Tifft v. Stevens, 162 Or. App. 62 (1999), Miller v. C.C.
Meisel Co., 183 Or. App. 148 (2002), and Thatcher v. Lectro Engineering
Co., No. 01-01009-BR (D. Or. settled). Sample brief: Summary Judgment Brief in Emmert v. Goforth &
I also developed a sub-specialty in insurance
coverage cases, participating in the leading environmental coverage case St.
Paul Fire & Marine Ins. Co. v. McCormick & Baxter Creosoting Co.,
325 Or. 184 (1996) as well as coverage disputes such as Protection
Mutual Ins. Co. v. Mitsubishi Silicon America Corporation, 163 Or. App. 385
More recently, I prosecuted a class action lawsuit
against Internet casinos, which settled.
Complex Environmental Litigation:
I moved to Oregon
in 1991, representing large electrical consumers in many cases arising under
the Endangered Species Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, and other
Federal statutes. Significant achievements included:
- Setting aside a judgment that
suggested that the Federal Columbia Power System hydroelectric dams
jeopardized the continued existence of Snake River
salmon. See Appeal Brief in Idaho Department of Fish and Game v.
National Marine Fisheries Service; see also Summary
Judgment Brief in American Rivers v. NMFS.
- Obtaining a ruling that ocean
salmon harvest proceeded in violation of the National Environmental Policy
Act. See Appeal Brief in Ramsey v. Brown.
- Opposing a preliminary
injunction action by the United
States against the Grants Pass
Irrigation District. The Preliminary Injunction
Brief in that case contains a lengthy chronicle of how Oregon and
Federal officials manipulated the Endangered Species Act to try to force
removal of Savage Rapids Dam, in part by listing a run of coho salmon
government witnesses admitted had no chance of going extinct.
Ultimately, I was moved to write a book about my
experiences, called The Great Salmon Hoax. An
address I gave to Northwest Catholic bishops in connection with their
forthcoming pastoral letter on the Columbia River
on their website.
Complex Energy Litigation:
In the course of assisting large aluminum companies
to obtain low-cost hydropower, I developed considerable expertise in
interpretation of the Northwest Power Act and other statutes governing the
Bonneville Power Administration (BPA). Recent appellate briefs filed on their
behalf in the United States
Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit include a challenge to BPA's Business
Plan Environmental Impact Statement, a challenge to BPA's Integration of
Resources transmission agreements, and a challenge to BPA's power sales
The Northwest Power Planning Council has posted a legal memorandum I co-authored
concerning the Bonneville Power Administration's authority to tax electric
power purchasers through increases in transmission rates.
General Experience, Philosophy and Future Goals:
Much of my very recent experience has been
litigating against federal, state and local government agencies, cases that
frequently turn on arcane doctrines of administrative law. I am by nature a
libertarian and particularly enjoy representing those who struggle against
government bureaucrats abusing their discretion, even though the deck is
stacked against them.
"It's not the size of the dog in the fight
that counts, it's the size of the fight in the dog." Dwight D. Eisenhower
List of full-text legal briefs
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