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.

Blachly Appointed to Oregon Commission on Uniform State Laws

Congratulations to SYK attorney Victoria Blachly, who has been appointed by Governor Kate Brown to the Oregon Commission on Uniform State Laws. The Oregon Commission drafts uniform state laws in all states, for various fields of law. The members of the Commission appear before legislators, where they must explain and promote the passage of those laws. Blachly said, “It is an honor to be appointed, and I look forward to working with the bright and diligent Commissioners that works so hard to make the law easier to navigate.” Her term will run until 2020.

The Uniform Law Commission is a non-profit unincorporated association of the United States. The Oregon Commission on Uniform State Laws is the Oregon branch of this national association. There are only three commissioners appointed for the Oregon jurisdiction for each term. Those appointed to the commission are all attorneys, volunteering their time to a public service.

Victoria Blachly is a fiduciary litigator, trial attorney, and community leader. She represents individual and corporate trustees, beneficiaries, and personal representatives. Her cases often involve trust and estate litigation, will contests, trust disputes, undue influence, claims of fiduciary breach, financial elder abuse, and contested guardianship and conservatorships. She has found helping her clients through complex matters and giving them a voice to be the greatest reward of her career.

Banks Receives 2016 Distinguished Service Award from PIABA

Last week at the 2016 Annual Meeting of the Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association in San Diego, attorney Bob Banks was honored with PIABA’s Distinguished Service Award. The award is given “in recognition of outstanding, long-term and sustained service to promote the interests of the public investor in securities and commodities arbitration.” Banks has been a member of PIABA for 18 years. He serves on the Board of Directors, is a past president, and previously was honored with the Director Emeritus designation. In response to receiving the award, Banks said “PIABA is a wonderful organization that has helped countless investors and their lawyers over the years. I’m proud to be a member, and am deeply honored that PIABA has chosen me for this year’s Distinguished Service Award.”

Construction Liens Explained

Today, Van White will be presenting at the Building Materials Dealer’s Association (BMDA) Washington and Oregon Lien Law Seminar. The presentation includes information on preliminary notices, perfecting lien claims, bond claims, post lien requirements, and licensing requirements. This begs the question – what are Construction Liens? Van explains.

Construction Liens (also known as Mechanics Liens) are a charge against or interest in privately owned real property to secure payment of a debt obligation. They are granted by statute to persons who have provided labor, materials, or certain services, which are incorporated into, consumed in, or contributing to the improvement of real property. When correctly placed upon real property, the Construction Lien gives the contractor or materials supplier the right to enforce a charge upon the real property they improved or that their materials were added to. The purpose of Construction Lien laws is to ensure that persons are paid for the value they add to someone’s property.

While Construction Liens are an effective collection device for contractors and material suppliers, there are a number of statutory requirements that must be followed in order to secure the right to file and foreclose a Construction Lien in the event of non-payment. Said requirements include: intent to lien notices to the property owner prior to or soon after commencing construction or providing materials; filing the lien in a timely manner; post-lien filing notification letters; and foreclosure of the lien in a timely manner. The requirements regarding intent to lien notices differ depending upon whether the subject property is residential or commercial, as well as the relationship between the lien claimant and the property owner. Construction Lien laws also differ by state.

If you are a contractor or provide materials to construction projects, you should familiarize yourself with the Construction Lien laws in your state. Please feel welcome to contact me if I may be of any assistance with regard to Construction Liens in Oregon or Washington. For over 20 years, I have been helping contractors and material suppliers with Construction Lien issues.

Van M. White is a partner at Samuels Yoelin Kantor. His practice emphasizes construction, real estate, and business litigation. His legal work regularly includes the drafting, review, and negotiation of construction and real estate contracts; construction liens and collections; the prosecution and defense of claims relating to construction projects; business disputes; bond claims; and general counsel to construction contractors, material suppliers, property owners, landlords, and business owners. Please contact Van directly at

Van White to Present at BMDA Lien Law Seminar

SYK attorney Van White will be this year’s guest speaker for the Building Material Dealer’s Association (BMDA) Washington and Oregon Lien Law Seminar.

White’s presentation will include: preliminary notices, perfecting lien claims, bond claims, post lien requirements, and licensing requirements.

The presentation will take place October 20th at 8:00am, and will included a complementary breakfast and lunch.

Attendance is free for full members. To inquire, see the BMDA’s website.

Van White’s practice has a strong emphasis on construction, real estate and business litigation. All of the topics he covers in his presentation are matters he often encounters in his own litigation practice. Among his clients are contractors, material suppliers, property and business owners, developers and public and commerical construction works. White is also the BMDA Board of Directors President.

Chambers Recognizes Kantor and Blachly as “Notable Practitioners”

Chambers High Net Worth (HNW) Guide by Chambers and Partners has been released for 2016. This year’s publication recognizes not only Samuels Yoelin Kantor LLP as a firm, but also includes two of our attorneys. Stephen Kantor and Victoria Blachly were listed among the publications “Notable Practitioners”.

The firm as a whole was included in the listing for Oregon Private Wealth – Leading Firms.

Victoria was included as a leading individual. She was described as “very thorough” by a peer, and recognized for handing “a wide range of cases, regularly advising and representing clients involved in disputes concerning wills, trust and breaches of fiduciary duty”. Steve was listed as a Band 1 Leading Individual. Another attorney was quoted, saying “he is very smart and has a reputation for doing very, very good work”.

Victory – Vindicated By The California Court of Appeals

“The victory benefits investors everywhere by making clear that basic rules of due process do apply in FINRA arbitration”

In August, 2014, I represented Sandra Liebhaber in a FINRA hearing requested by Royal Alliance Associates and its one time financial advisor, Kathleen Tarr. This was an expungement hearing in which Royal Alliance and Tarr asked FINRA to erase any trace of the claim that my client had filed and settled with Royal Alliance. To grant that extraordinary remedy, the FINRA three-person panel had to find essentially that Ms. Liebhaber had filed a false claim. Ms. Liebhaber did not and would not file a false claim, and when I found out about the request, Darlene Pasieczny and I agreed to represent her without charge at the hearing to oppose the expungement. At the hearing, the arbitrators allowed Ms. Tarr to testify that she was a minister’s daughter and had done nothing wrong. When I asked to cross examine Ms. Tarr, the FINRA panel refused to allow me to ask her any questions. I then asked permission to call Ms. Liebhaber as a witness, to testify about what Ms. Tarr really had done. The panel refused to allow her to testify, as well. And, along the way, they told me that they had heard enough from me, despite the fact that I retained my cool and acted with respect through the entire Gulag-like ordeal. When the decision came down, and not surprisingly, the panel granted the expungement.

Yesterday, we were vindicated by the California Court of Appeals. The court found that the panel had acted improperly. It vacated the FINRA panel’s decision granting expungement. Ms. Liebhaber’s claim will remain on Ms. Tarr’s Broker-Check report, as it should.

The victory benefits investors everywhere by making clear that basic rules of due process do apply in FINRA arbitration. It was the product of many hands. I owe a debt of gratitude to my friend and colleague in Beverly Hills, Lenny Steiner, who ably represented Ms. Liebhaber before the California Court of Appeals. I thank FINRA itself for recognizing that the panel had done wrong, and joined us in the request that the court toss the arbitration ruling. I also thank Susan Antilla, whose reporting on this case originally in The New York Times, and again yesterday in, brought much-needed national attention to the case. And, last but clearly not least, I thank Sandra Liebhaber, who cared enough for future victims of investment abuse to fight the good fight.

A copy of the California Court of Appeals decision, which is scheduled for publication, can be found on the California Courts website.


Investor Defenders is a practice group of Samules Yoelin Kantor LLP focused on representing investors in situations where professional misconduct resulted in a financial loss. Lead securities attorney Bob Banks has earned a national reputation for his success fighting on behalf of investors in FINRA arbitration and in court for over 30 years. Consultations are complimentary and most cases are done on contingency fee, meaning that our clients do not pay any attorney fees unless we recover losses.