Karen O'Kasey

Karen O’Kasey is a 30-year trial attorney who defends employers and medical professionals in state and federal courts in Oregon and Washington.  She has successfully defended employers in all types of employment claims in federal and state court.  She has also tried to defense verdict numerous medical negligence claims in Oregon and Washington.

Ms. O’Kasey has extensive experience defending municipalities against all types of tort claims, including 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claims, First Amendment claims, and Americans with Disabilities Act claims.

Ms. O’Kasey is a Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers, and a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates.  For the past eight years, she has been named one of the “Top 25″ Women Lawyers in Oregon by Oregon Super Lawyers magazine. In 2015 and 2017, she was singled out as Lawyer of the Year for Legal Malpractice Law in The Best Lawyers in America, and has been named a Local Litigation Star by Benchmark Litigation.

Representative Trials:

Weaving v. The City of Hillsboro, 763 F.3d 1106 (9th Cir. 2014)

Employment discrimination claim by former police sergeant alleging disability discrimination based on attention deficit disorder and hyperactivity disorder.  After jury trial, the Ninth Circuit held for the employer.

Sandau v. Wood and The City of Portland, 497 Fed. Appx. 727 (9th Cir. 2012)

42 U.S.C. §1983 action brought against a Portland Police Bureau Officer, John A. Wood and the City of Portland for Fourth Amendment violations.  Defense verdict affirmed on appeal. The case was significant in that it addressed a relatively unique Fourth Amendment claim regarding whether an arrestee should have been provided additional clothing.  It also addressed questions about the scope of a trial court’s discretion in allowing expert testimony.

Sanders v. The City of Newport, 657 F.3d 772 (9th Cir. 2011)

Alleged violation of federal and state Family and Medical Leave Acts.  Defense verdict for employer, overturned in part by the Ninth Circuit.

Jews for Jesus, Inc. v. The Port of Portland, 172 Fed. Appx. 706 (9th Cir. 2006)

Case involving a challenge to the Port of Portland’s First Amendment free speech permit policies. The case was significant in that it addressed First Amendment law in the context of a “non-public forum” i.e. an airport.  It was one of the first Ninth Circuit cases addressing this issue subsequent to a United States Supreme Court decision holding that an airport is a non-public forum for purposes of First Amendment analysis.

Alford v. City of Cannon Beach, 2000 WL 33200554 (2000)

Americans with Disabilities Act claim brought against the City of Cannon Beach and other businesses regarding compliance with accessibility regulations.

Kuhn et al. v. Bill S. Schnall M.D. and Richmond Pediatrics Clinic, Inc., 2008 WL 4725775 (Washington Superior Court 2008)

Claims by a number of male patients against a pediatric clinic and individual physician for alleged sexual misconduct and boundary violations.  After a seven-week trial, the jury found for the defendant Richmond Pediatrics Clinic, later reversed on appeal due to juror misconduct.



Santa Clara University School of Law
J.D., 1986

San Francisco State University
B.A., magna cum laude, 1983


Hart Wagner LLP
Partner, 2002-present

Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt
Partner, 1993-2002
Associate, 1987-1993

Admitted To Practice

Oregon State Court

Washington State Court

U.S. District Court: District of Oregon; Eastern and Western Districts of Washington

United States Court of Appeals: Ninth Circuit; Federal Circuit; District of Columbia Circuit; United States Supreme Court

Awards and Recognitions

Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers

Member, American Board of Trial Advocates

Martindale Hubbell AV Preeminent Rating

Best Lawyers in America
Medical Malpractice Law – Defendants, 2012 – 2019
Professional Malpractice Law – Defendants, 2014 – 2019
Ethics and Professional Responsibility Law, 2014 – 2019
Legal Malpractice Law – Defendants, 2014 – 2019
Lawyer of the Year, Legal Malpractice Law – Defendants, 2015, 2017, 2019

Oregon Super Lawyers
Employment Litigation: Defense, 2006 – 2018
Top 25 Women Lawyers, 2011 – 2018
Top 50 Lawyers, 2017

Benchmark Litigation

Local Litigation Star – Labor and Employment, 2015-2018

Professional Activities and Associations

Oregon State Bar, Labor and Employment Law Section, Federal Practice and Procedure Committee, 2008 – 2010

Oregon Association of Defense Counsel, Past Chair, Employment Law Subcommittee

American Bar Association, Past Chair, Torts and Insurance Practice Section, Employers’ Liability Subcommittee, National Institute Faculty, 1992, 1994

Multnomah Bar Association

Professional Publications

“Ending Probationary Periods,” Quote, Human Resource Executive Online, 2015

“Ten Ways to Avoid an Employment Lawsuit,” Portland Business Journal, 2014


“Employment Law-Veterans’ Rights – USERRA and the Implications of Staub v. Proctor Hospital on Cat’s Paw Liability,” Oregon State Bar Labor & Employment Section Annual Meeting, 2011

“Trial Skills,” Oregon State Bar CLE Program, 18th Annual Litigation Institute, 2011

“Oregon Pleadings and Parties: Tips and Traps for the Unwary,” Oregon State Bar CLE Program, 2010

“OEC 104 In The Wake of Marcum v. Adventist Health,” Oregon Association of Defense Counsel Annual Convention, 2009

“Trial Advocacy in Action,” Oregon State Bar CLE Program, 16th Annual Litigation Institute, 2009

“Trial Evidence in Employment and Civil Rights Cases,” Oregon State Bar CLE Program, 2007

“Discovery and Punitive Damages Motions,” Oregon State Bar CLE Program, 2007

“Practical Considerations in Using Expert Witnesses,” Oregon State Bar CLE Program, 12th Annual Litigation Institute, 2005

“Powerful Motion Practice-Discovery Motions,” Oregon State Bar CLE Program, 2004

“Risk Management,” Dentist Benefits Insurance Company Training, 1994-2002

“An In-Depth Look at Title I of the ADA,” Oregon State Bar Americans with Disabilities Act CLE Program, 1996-1997

Community Activities

St. Andrew Nativity School, Finance Committee, 2014-present

Oregon Ballet Theatre, Board of Directors, 1989-1996