Barnes H. Ellis “The role of a lawyer is to be a good citizen”

“Every case was a challenge”

Through the decades Barnes worked on a range of business cases. He handled several major antitrust cases including: United States v. Champion International, et al. involving timber bidding in the North Santiam; Selectron v. AT&T involving telephone terminal equipment; Healthco v. A-dec Corp. involving dental equipment; Stihl American, Inc. v. Omark Industries involving saw chain imports; Community Press v. Gannett Corp. involving a claim of newspaper monopolization in Salem; and Portland Retail Druggists Assn. v. Abbot Labs, et al. involving drug pricing (a case ultimately decided by the U.S. Supreme Court).  Another genre of cases Barnes handled involved corporate governance in closely-held companies, including several Portland-area family-owned companies: Delaney v. Georgia-Pacific; Zidell v. Zidell, Inc. et al; Naito v. Naito; Chiles v. Fred Meyer, Inc.; Tifft v. Stevens involving a plastic injection molding manufacturer; and Teledesic, a Seattle-based satellite communications company majority-owned by Craig McCaw and Bill Gates. Publicly-held company securities litigation was another major area of Barnes’ practice, including cases involving: Cryofreeze Products, Inc., TiLine, Inc., Data Pacific Corporation,  Floating Point Systems, Inc., Melridge, Inc., Sequent Computer, Inc., Digimarc Corporation, Protocol Systems, Inc., Mentor Graphics, Inc., Hollywood Video, Inc., Assisted Living Concepts, Inc.,  Tektronix, Inc., Eagle Hardware Co., and Flir Systems, Inc. He also did work in hostile tender offers (including Pactrust, Security Bank, and Telephone Utilities, Inc.) and several flip-side “going private” cases (Carolina-Pacific, Pacific Telecom, Inc.).

Barnes also handled several major construction and product design cases including PGE et. al. v. Bechtel Corporation (relating to the Trojan Nuclear Plant Control Building shear wall design); Burgess Construction v. Riedel, Inc. (involving two joint venture projects in Alaska); Fred Meyer, Inc. v. A.T. Kearney (involving conversion of a central mainframe to a distributed  computer system); Cook v. Salishan Properties, Inc. (involving homeowner claims from coastal erosion); Bohemia Lumber Co. v. Goodyear Aerospace (involving aerodynamic logging balloons). There were cases involving consumers (Farmers Insurance under the Fair Credit Reporting Act), employer groups (Frohnmayer vs. SAIF), wage and hour class actions (Farmers Insurance), the 1989 savings and loan legislation (FDIC v. Far West), and shopping center ownership disputes (Lloyd Center and Wilsonville Shopping Center).

Unlike many trial lawyers, Barnes briefed and argued many of his own appeals, including approximately 20 oral arguments before the Oregon Supreme Court and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. “As I reflect on it, trial practice was a good fit for me for several reasons.  I liked the variety—I came to know virtually every major industry and company and their managements in the region, and I was able to handle cases in a wide range of legal areas…. Every case was a challenge requiring full focus and attention—no coasting.”