john-hoffman

Jonathan Hoffman

For over 40 years Jonathan Hoffman has practiced and specialized in complex civil litigation.  Beginning his career as a trial lawyer in the Honor Law Graduate program at the United States Department of Justice, he participated in the trials of seminal aviation cases, such as those arising from the air disasters involving Roberto Clemente and the Wichita State football team. Later, as an Assistant United State Attorney, he was on the team that successfully defended the first lawsuit in the Nation challenging the validity of President Carter’s Wage and Price Control Guidelines.  Since entering private practice in 1981, he has specialized in the defense of product liability, aviation, and other tort claims in trial courts, as well as numerous appeals.  Jonathan has appeared on the Oregon Super Lawyers® list multiple times. He has handled appeals in numerous courts throughout the country, and has served as amicus curiae counsel in submitting appellate briefs to the United States Supreme Court, numerous United States Courts of Appeals and state appellate courts. He was recently included in the 23rd Edition of The Best Lawyers in America© in the practice area of Product Liability Litigation. Jonathan was also recognized by Best Lawyers© as the 2017 Product Liability Litigation “Lawyer of the Year” in Portland.

Education

Mr. Hoffman received his undergraduate A.B. degree from Harvard University in history, magna cum laude, and earned his Juris Doctorate from the University of Oregon School of Law.

Court Admissions

Mr. Hoffman is admitted to practice in the state and federal courts in Oregon and Alaska.   He is also admitted to practice in the Sixth, Ninth, and Tenth and Eleventh Circuits of the U. S. Court of Appeals, the United States Claims Court and the United States Supreme Court.

Professional Recognition and Affiliations

Mr. Hoffman is a 40-year member of the Oregon State Bar and a 25-year member of the Alaska Bar Association.  He is also a member of the Tort and Insurance Practice Section of the American Bar Association in which he has served as chair of the Automobile Law Committee.  He has served as president of many other professional organizations, including the Oregon Association of Defense Counsel, the Oregon Chapter of the Federal Bar Association, the Northwest Aviation Insurance Association, and the Aviation Section of the Oregon State Bar.  He is a member of the Defense Research Institute.  He serves on the Case Selection Committee of the Product Liability Advisory Council, in which he is a sustaining member, and previously served as co-chair of PLAC’s Restatement Action Committee.  In 2007, the Product Liability Advisory Council presented him with its Distinguished Service Award. He is a frequent speaker at many continuing legal education programs, including the SMU Air Law Symposium, the Product Liability Advisory Council, the NTSB Bar Association, and the ABA Automotive Product Liability National Institute.  He has served as a volunteer cooperating attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union on free speech cases.  Jonathan Hoffman was selected by his peers to be included in The Best Lawyers in America, in the practice area of Product Liability Litigation – Defendants. For nearly a decade he has been listed in The International Who's Who of Product Liability Defense Lawyers and has been selected as one of Oregon’s Super Lawyers.®

Publications

Mr. Hoffman is a prolific writer, having published articles and book chapters on a wide range of important legal issues ranging from constitutional law, aviation and product liability law, evidence law and personal jurisdiction:

  • Where Can I Be Sued? The Battle Continues, Corporate Livewire (November 2013)
  • Contributing Author, Oregon Constitutional Law, Chapter 5: “Remedies Clause and Speedy Trial,” (co-author) (2013)
  • “Personal Jurisdiction After Nicastro and Goodyear: Where Do We Stand Now?”, 40 Product Safety & Liability Reporter 418 (4/9/2012)
  • “George Leloudas: Risk and Liability in Air Law,” 75 J. Air L. & Com. 621 (2010) (book review)
  • “If the Glove Don't Fit, Try Newer Gloves:  The Unplanned Obsolescence of the Substantial Similarity Standard for Experimental Evidence,” 86 Neb. L. Rev. 633 (2008)
  • Analysis & Perspective: “Recent Post-Kumho Tire Product Liability Decisions,” 5 BNA Expert Law Report 167 (April 4, 2005)
  • “Punitive Damages Affecting Product Liability Litigation in the Wake of State Farm v. Campbell,” 33 BNA Product Safety & Liability Reporter 318 (March 21, 2005)
  • “Federalism in American Product Liability Law: Do Similar Problems Lie Ahead for the European Union?” Published in Liability for Products in a Global Economy, (Dennis Campbell ed.) Comparative Law Yearbook of International Business, Vol. 26a, (2004)
  • "Questions Before Answers: The Ongoing Search to Understand the Origins of the Open Courts Clause," 32 Rutgers L. J., 1005 (2001)
  • “Old Tires and New Limits: The Effect of Kumho Tire on Expert Testimony,” BNA Product Safety & Liability Reporter, (April, 1999) (co-author)
  • “Daubert’s Application to Testimony from Non-Scientific Experts,” BNA Product Safety & Liability Reporter, (July, 1998)
  • Contributing Author, “Expert Evidence: A Practitioner’s Guide to Law, Science, and the FJC Manual,” West Group (1997)
  • “By the Course of the Law: The Origins of the Open Courts Clause of State Constitutions,” 74 Or. L. Rev. 1279 (1995)
  • “Res Ipsa Loquitur and Indeterminate Product Defects: If They Speak for Themselves, What are They Saying”  36 S. Texas L. Rev. 353 (1995), 44 Defense L. J. 673 (1995)
  • "A Briefcase and an Opinion: Post-’Daubert’ Expert Testimony - A Major Shift,” 22 BNA Product Safety & Liability Reporter 379 (1994)
  • “Recent Developments in Aviation Case Law,” 54 J. Air L. & Comm. 1(1988) (co-author); 58 J. Air L. & Comm. 1(1992) (co-author)
  • “Soldiers of Misfortune,” The Brief, Summer, 1991
  • Contributing author, Matthew Bender Treatises, Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Defense Tactics - Products Liability Practice Guide
  • “Automobile Law:  Recent Developments,” XXVII Tort & Ins. L.J., 139 (1992) (co-author); XXV Tort & Ins. L.J. 193 (1990); XXIV Tort & Ins. L.J. 181 (1989)
  • “A Look at Court's Use of First Amendment as a Defense in Common Law Negligence Claims,” N.Y.L.J., (May 30, 1986)
  • “From Random House to Mickey Mouse:  Liability for Negligent Publishing and Broadcasting,” XXI, Tort & Ins. L.J. 65 (1985)

Representative Cases

  • Successfully defended a motorcycle tire manufacturer in a product liability case in which the operator was thrown off his motorcycle and left in a permanent vegetative state.
  • Successfully defended a helicopter manufacturer in a product liability wrongful death case.
  • Successfully obtained a decision from the United States Supreme Court vacating and remanding a state court decision imposing personal jurisdiction over a foreign product manufacturer.
  • Successfully defended an automobile manufacturer in a wrongful death case in which the plaintiff claimed the seat belt geometry permitted the car’s occupant to submarine.
  • Served as local counsel for a breast implant manufacturer and helped persuade the court to exclude all expert testimony by plaintiff’s experts.
  • Successfully defended the manufacturer of a wheelchair lift that was poorly maintained and misused by the operator, causing serious injuries to a disabled passenger.