Chapter 65 – Absolute Immunity

Absolute immunity is a form of legal immunity for government officials that confers total immunity from criminal prosecution and lawsuits so long as they are acting within the scope of their duties.


Under Oregon Revised Statutes their is civil immunity to witnesses, bar officials and employees. While we can all appreciate the fact that as witnesses we do not want to be sued, it is quite another to realize that the Bar can do no wrong. In this context, the BAR may completely refuse to perform its public duties of ensuring that unethical attorneys are no longer practicing in Oregon should their behavior be egregious enough to justify that, and will not be held responsible in a civil lawsuit.

Frankly I wanted to test that thought. Mark Johnson Roberts told me in polite but in no uncertain terms the very thing I have conveyed above, but I refused to believe it. If government fails on many matters it may be sued. State, City and Counties are sued all the time. But not the BAR. The BAR knows it. The Professional Liability Fund knows it. And they abuse it to their great discredit and at a tremendous cost to Oregonians.

And so I sued the BAR. Believe when I say the attorneys come running to the BAR’s defense. And in spite of concealing the criminal acts of its members, of all but abandoning its duties to the public (for which it receives immunity) it flourishes. The PLF has never been bigger. The BAR never stronger. And the level of fraud and abuse by attorneys never so broad and prolific.

The BAR should enjoy some immunity, but not absolute immunity. If it fails to respond to complaints about attorneys and the public is hurt by that disregard, the BAR should be held liable for negligence if not aiding and abetting. There is a reason we are in a crisis mode with attorneys. There are no imposed borders. And a profession that does not fear censorship, if not disbarment, is not a profession at all.

The PLF appears to raise approximately $30,000,000 a year from professional liability insurance fees assessed on its members. It acknowledges receiving about $26,000,000. The spread if it exists is presumably used to advance their political goals. Out of the $26,000,000 remaining, some is set aside for claims arising from conduct this year and that is accurate in terms of theory and accounting. Roughly $6,000,000 will be saved for these future claims. $11,000,000 will be spent defending claims. $6,000,000 will be spent on the administration of the PLF, most going to salaries. The leaves about $3,000,000 paid out in claims in any given year. Out of the 1700 claims a year, about 300 result in a small payout. Every once in a while an attorney absconds with clients money and the BAR covers that, which is why they are such sticklers about client trust funds. But in the truest sense, in spite of there being wide spread and serious malpractice, there are very few claims paid. The PLF is a financial force. While I am happy to see more attorneys offering malpractice services, few still do it on a contingency basis.

I lost my case against the BAR. I wanted a Judge in Clackamas County to tell me that the BAR does in fact enjoy absolute immunity. I did not expect that Judge to also be a partner in a law firm providing services to the PLF. It’s a racket.

Until next time.


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