Six Attorneys Recognized by Best Lawyers in America 2018

Congratulations to the Samuels Yoelin Kantor LLP attorneys recognized by Best Lawyers in America 2018 – including one “Lawyer of the Year.”

Robert S. Banks, Jr.

Arbitration, Portland, OR 
Litigation – Securities, Portland, OR 

Banks leads the securities litigation group at SYK. He frequently presents to lawyers, financial services industry professionals and investors on investment loss recovery issues and FINRA arbitration. He was first recognized by Best Lawyers in 2015. This is his fourth year being recognized for Securities – Litigation, and his first for Arbitration.

Victoria Blachly

Litigation – Trusts and Estates, Portland, OR 

Blachly, an Oregon Uniform Law Commissioner and Oregon Commissioner for Senior Services, was also recognized in the 2016 Chambers High Net Worth annual publication for her experience in fiduciary litigation.

Christine R. Costantino

Family Law, Portland, OR   

Costantino, who serves on the Oregon Board of Governors, leads the family law group at SYK.


Stephen E. Kantor

Closely Held Companies and Family Businesses Law, Portland, OR  
Tax Law, Portland, OR  
Trusts and Estates, Portland, OR  

Kantor was first recognized by Best Lawyers in 2013, and has been every year since. He was also included in the 2016 Chambers High Net Worth annual publications as a Band 1 Leading Individual for Private Wealth practitioners.

Kantor also received recognition this year as “Lawyer of the Year” for Closely Head Companies and Family Businesses Law in Portland, Oregon. This is his third year being recognized as “Lawyer of the Year.”

Van M. White III

Litigation – Construction, Portland, OR 

White is well known for his work in Construction litigation. He currently serves as president of the Building Material Dealers Association (BMDA).


Eric J. Wieland

Trusts and Estates, Portland, OR  

Wieland is a member of the Estate Planning and Administration Section Executive Committee of the Oregon State Bar, where he serves as its CLE Chair.

New Handheld Device Law: What Washington Drivers Need to Know

A new law in Washington makes use of handheld electronic devices illegal – in any capacity – even at the red light.

Washington State Governor Jay Inslee recently accelerated the enforcement of the Driving Under the Influence of Electronics (DUIE) Act. The Act now forbids virtually all use of handheld gadgets such as phones, tablets, laptop computers and gaming devices while driving.

In its statewide observational survey of distracted drivers, the Washington Traffic Safety Commission found cell phone use is the most common type of distraction, with 71% of distracted drivers engaged with their phones while operating their vehicles. The survey also found 1 out of 10 drivers in Washington State are distracted while driving, and fatalities from distracted driving increased 32% from 2014 to 2015.

Although texting or holding a cellphone to your ear while driving was already illegal in the state of Washington, motorists often skirted the rules by holding their phones between their legs or below their necks. The new law now makes handheld use in any capacity illegal – and drivers cannot use handheld devices while at stop signs or red-light signals. Drivers are still allowed to use a mounted hands-free phone, and may also use minimal touch features in order to operate apps such as a smartphone’s navigation app. Handheld devices may also be used if the driver has pulled off the roadway or traffic lanes, where the vehicle “can safely remain stationary.”

A DUIE is a primary offense, and a ticket for distracted-driving might raise one’s insurance rates, as it will be reported on a motorist’s record. According to the Washington State Department of Transportation, a standard fine of $126 will apply for first time offenders, and rise to $235 for a second offense. Miscellaneous distractions will be a secondary offense, with the penalty being an extra $30.

Bottom line: Keep your eyes on the road and your electronic devices safely tucked away.

June 15 – World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

One in ten Americans aged 60 or above have experienced some form of elder abuse.

June 15th is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, a day designated to bring visibility to the prevalence of global elder abuse. According to the National Council on Aging, one in ten Americans aged 60 or above have experienced some form of elder abuse. It is expected that with the number of older persons growing, abuse of the elderly will also grow. Though elder abuse is a serious and common problem that could lead to poverty, hunger, homelessness, compromised health and well-being, and even premature mortality, it often is one of the least investigated or reported types of abuse.

Recent research findings have highlighted financial exploitation as a frequent form of elder abuse. It has been estimated on a global scale that 5 to 10 per cent of older people may experience some kind of financial exploitation. Financial exploitation often goes unreported either due to the victim’s embarrassment or because of an impairment resulting in an inability to report the abuse.

An older person may be vulnerable to financial exploitation due to social isolation and cognitive impairments. Other factors that place the elderly at risk include: emotional or physical dependence on the perpetrator, financial dependence of the abuser on the older person, certain living arrangements, poverty, widowhood and lack of support networks. Societal prejudices such as ageism and discriminatory systems may also contribute toward the elderly being at risk of financial exploitation.

One way to prevent elder abuse is to plan for the future. A power of attorney or a living will can address health care and financial decisions and better avoid confusion and problems later on. Having a will and reviewing the will periodically may also help prevent abuse. An estate planning attorney can provide assistance in planning for the future.

Family members and others concerned about preventing or stopping ongoing elder abuse also have options. Education on abuse and being able to identify the common forms it takes can be critical to prevention. For education resources go to

Reporting abuse or suspected abuse is also vital. For immediate, life-threatening danger, the police should be contacted. If an older person is being mistreated the local Adult Protective Services office should be contacted. If the older person is in a facility, such as a nursing home, the Long-Term Care Ombudsman should be contacted. In Oregon the Elder Abuse Hotline number is 1-855-503-7233.

While physical abuse and some financial abuse issues can be appropriately responded to by the police, other financial abuse issues may require an experienced elder abuse attorney.

An experienced elder abuse attorney may be able to determine whether financial elder abuse has occurred through undue influence, lack of capacity, or a breach of fiduciary duty. If financial abuse has occurred an experienced elder abuse attorney may be able to litigate abuse claims on behalf of the victim or the victim’s family.

Special thanks to Daniela Holgate for her work on this article. Daniela is a law clerk at SYK, and a J.D. candidate at Lewis & Clark School of law.

Victoria Blachly - Parter

Not only is Victoria Blachly a partner at SYK, and an experienced fiduciary litigator that works with many elderly clients, cases or causes, she is also a proud Board Member for the Oregon Alzheimer’s Association Chapter.

The Longest Day

The Longest Day: A Global Movement to Help End Alzheimer’s Disease

The Longest Day is June 21, 2017.

“The Longest Day is all about love. Love for all those affected by Alzheimer’s disease. On the summer solstice, team up with the Alzheimer’s Association and select any activity you love — or an activity loved by those affected — to help end Alzheimer’s. Together, we will raise funds and awareness for care and support while advancing research toward the first survivor of Alzheimer’s.”

The first survivor of Alzheimer’s…can you imagine? That will be a truly great day, and maybe your help will be just what is needed for that day to arrive.

This 1-minute video explains how you can get involved.

Not only is Victoria Blachly a partner at SYK, and an experienced fiduciary litigator that works with many elderly clients, cases or causes, she is also a proud Board Member for the Oregon Alzheimer’s Association Chapter.

No Questions Asked: Oregon’s Equal Pay Act

Oregon’s Equal Pay Act Prohibits Questions About Salary

On May 22, 2017, the House unanimously re-passed House Bill 2005. The legislation, which is more commonly known as the Equal Pay Act of 2017, was amended by the Senate last week, and is now headed to Governor Brown for her signature.

While the majority of the media attention has been on the provisions in the bill that will prohibit discrimination against women in the payment of wages, there are other provisions affecting employment practices that employers should be aware of.

Under the new legislation, it will be a prohibited practice for an employer to screen a job applicant based on the applicant’s current or past compensation. Other than for internal hires, it will also be a prohibited practice to determine compensation for a position based on current or past compensation of a prospective employee. Additionally, a prospective employer may not seek an applicant’s salary history information from the applicant or from the applicant’s current or former employer, unless the prospective employer has made an offer of employment, with an amount of compensation included, to the prospective employee.

If an employer were to screen a job applicant, determine compensation, or seek out salary information in violation of the Act, they could face a lawsuit to recover up to two years of back pay, court costs, attorney fees, and other damages.

If Governor Brown signs the bill into law, as she is expected to do, the screening and compensation provisions will become effective January 1, 2019. The prohibition on seeking information on an applicant’s salary history will become effective 91 days after the Legislature adjourns.

Blachly Testifies in Favor of New Legislation

The Statesman Journal quoted SYK partner, and appointed member of both the Oregon Uniform State Law Commission and the Governor’s Commission on Senior Services, Victoria Blachly on her thoughts regarding Oregon Senate Bill 95.

The new legislation would allow investment advisers to freeze assets and report to authorities if they suspect someone is misappropriating, misusing or transferring without authorization the money of a vulnerable elderly person.

“Elder abuse thrives in secrecy, silence and shame,” said Blachly, who testified in favor of the bill. “The more of us that keep an eye out for abuse, the better.”

The bill passed the senate and has been referred to the house.

The Oregon Elder Abuse Hotline number is 1-855-503-7233.

Victoria Blachly is a fiduciary litigator. She is a trial attorney who represents individual trustees, corporate trustees, beneficiaries, and personal representatives in often difficult and challenging cases including trust and estate litigation, will contests, trust disputes, undue influence, capacity cases, claims of fiduciary breach, financial elder abuse cases, and contested guardianship and conservatorship cases.

Check out this Video: New Multnomah County Courthouse

Construction is booming in downtown Portland, and the judiciary is no exception.

Work has begun on the new 17 story, 44 courtroom Multnomah County Courthouse. The current 100+ year-old courthouse is unsafe, and fails to meet the functional needs of a growing county. The new building will not only meet the needs of its citizens, but will also be powered by solar panels and radiant heat that is so efficient, it will generate surplus power to raise and lower the Hawthorne Bridge. This video gives you a tour of the greatly anticipated four year project in just over one minute.

Costantino to Lead MBA Litigation CLE

On April 13th, SYK Family Law attorney Chris Costantino will join a group a notable legal minds to lead a litigation CLE seminar on the trips and traps of opposing parties who represent themselves without the benefit of legal counsel.

The Multnomah County Bar Association Judicial Brown Bag CLE will be headed by Judge Stacie Beckerman (US District Court), Judge Maureen McKnight (Multnomah County Circuit Court), our own Chris Costantino, and Katharine von Ter Stegge (Multnomah County Attorney’s Office). The CLE will be covering litigation against pro se litigants, and will take place at the downtown Multnomah County courthouse, in Courtroom 602. The learning begins at noon, so please bring your lunch, questions, and appetite for knowledge.

This CLE is free of charge. RSVPs should be sent to Pamela Hubbs, of the Multnomah County Bar office.

Blachly & Costantino Speaking at Women Living a Richer Life Summit

Join SYK’s Victoria Blachly and Chris Costantino on March 23rd for an empowering day of coaching, connections, and conversation at Brighton Jones Women Living a Richer Life Summit.

The duo have been selected to speak at the event. Blachly and Costantino will be among the 10 exceptionally amazing women chosen to take part in the summit.

The event will begin with Michelle Williams sharing her inspiration and vision for the Women Living a Richer Life Summit. Following the kick-off, be ready to engage in an interactive Q&A and to spend the day listening and learning. Attendees are encouraged to stay after, to celebrate the day together and share a toast at the cocktail hour. It’s a great opportunity to talk with speakers, and learn more about one another.

  • Registration opens at 8 a.m.
  • Complimentary parking is provided at the Multnomah Athletic Club
  • Breakfast buffet and lunch are provided.

Click the photo below for more information and register for this exciting event.

WLRL 2017 COIInvite

Portland “Relocation Assistance” Ordinance Requires Landlords Pay

Portland City Council Passes Ordinance Requiring Landlords to Pay Tenant’s Moving Costs

On the evening of February 2, 2017, the Portland City Council passed an ordinance that will require landlords to pay for relocation assistance to their tenants. The ordinance will enable tenants to be paid for moving costs when their landlord has either raised the rent by 10% or more or has served a “no cause” termination notice on the tenant.

The Ordinance is in response to the housing state of emergency that was declared by the city in October of 2015 and is intended to assist renters during the continued housing crisis in Portland.

The relocation assistance ordinance is considered to be the strongest renter protection Portland has ever seen with costs to landlords ranging from $2,900 to $4,500, depending on the type of dwelling unit rented.

While tenant advocates claim that the Ordinance is a necessary step in protecting renters, landlord advocates claim the Ordinance may bankrupt landlords who already face property maintenance costs and increasing property taxes.

The new Ordinance amends the “Portland Renter Additional Protections” section of city ordinance 30.01.085, which lists a landlord’s obligation when terminating a tenancy or raising the rent. In addition to requiring a landlord to deliver a written notice of termination to the tenant not less than 90 days before the termination date, the new Ordinance states that a landlord must pay the mandated relocation assistance to the tenant not less than 75 days prior to the termination date.

If a landlord chooses to raise the rent by 10% or more, in addition to providing a 90 day notice prior to the increase taking effect, the landlord must now also be ready to pay the relocation fee. The new Ordinance provides that if within 14 days after receiving the written notice the tenant provides written notice of termination to the landlord, the landlord must then pay the tenant the relocation amount within 14 days.

A landlord’s failure to comply with any of the Ordinance’s requirements could result in liability to the tenant for three months rent, actual damages, the relocation assistance amount, reasonable attorney fees, and costs.

After hearing from dozens of mom and pop landlords, the Portland City Council included at least one late amendment which will exempt landlords only managing one rental unit. Other listed exemptions to the ordinance include: week-to-week tenancies, landlords who temporarily rent out their principal residence during an absence of less than 1 year, or to tenants that occupy the same dwelling unit as the landlord. The final version of the new Ordinance has not yet been released.

Prior to the Portland City Council’s decision, attorneys representing landlords in the Portland area said they would sue if the city passed the Ordinance. During the city council hearing landlords’ complained of not being consulted in the drafting of the Ordinance as well as issues involving the vagueness of the Ordinance.

One issue that may arise is with landlords who intended to only rent a property for a fixed term tenancy and expressed as much in the rental agreement. The new Ordinance means that a landlord will have to pay a relocation fee if they choose to not renew the tenant’s lease on substantially the same terms.

The Ordinance, which was immediately enacted, will remain valid potentially as long as the city’s housing emergency continues. Currently the emergency is scheduled to lapse in October, however in the past it has been extended.

The Oregon Residential Landlord Tenant Act (“ORLTA”) and the Portland City Code (“Code”) is highly technical and landlords are well advised to consult with a real estate attorney knowledgeable about ORLTA and the Code before issuing any termination or rent increase notices.

Read the Ordinance and other relevant documents on the city of Portland’s website.