Civil defense attorney for Oregon churches and religious schools - Kaempf Law Firm

Kaempf Law Firm PC is based in downtown Portland, Oregon, and defends civil litigation in Oregon's state and federal courts, including child abuse claims against individuals.

Kaempf Law Firm PC defends child sex abuse lawsuits against individuals and employers in Oregon and throughout the country.

JKaempf Law Firm PC defends churches, religious schools, and other religious organizations throughout Oregon.

Kaempf Law Firm PC is based in downtown Portland, Oregon, and defends civil litigation against churches and religious schools throughout Oregon.

Oregon Civil Defense Lawyer for child sex abuse lawsuits and claims against churches and religious schools

John Kaempf is a civil defense trial lawyer based in Portland, Oregon who, for 26 years, has specialized in defending child sex abuse lawsuits against religious entities and individuals. He defends these cases in Oregon and nationwide.

He has defended some of the biggest child sex abuse cases in the country, including a recent case against a private school involving over 70 plaintiffs.

He specializes in legal defenses to these lawsuits, including the statute of limitations and the lack of vicarious liability. He has had many of these cases dismissed before trial for these legal reasons.

  • Based on the statute of limitations and the lack of vicarious liability, John got the trial court to dismiss a lawsuit based on alleged child sex abuse by a Catholic priest. He then got the Oregon Court of Appeals to affirm that ruling in Schmidt v. Archdiocese of Portland, 218 Or App 661 (2008).
  • The Oregon Court of Appeals affirmed the summary judgment John obtained for his clients in J.S. v. Franciscan Friars of Oregon, 215 Or App 500 (2007), a case involving alleged child sex abuse by a Catholic priest. The court upheld the trial court's rulings that the defendants were not vicariously liable for the priest's alleged sexual abuse of the plaintiff, and that the statute of limitations barred the case.
  • John obtained the pretrial dismissal of a multi-million dollar child sex abuse action filed in Oregon against a major international church and one of its pastors. The trial court ruled that the statute of limitations barred the lawsuit. The case is JMS v. Roberts, Multnomah County Circuit Court case number 0705-05015 (2007).
  • In 2017, John succeeded in getting the plaintiff to drop his multi-million dollar child sex abuse lawsuit against a church and an order of priests without being paid any money. This occurred after an investigation revealed that the plaintiff’s brothers and fellow Altar Boys said the allegations were false. The lawsuit was dismissed after John’s clients made it clear to the plaintiff and his attorney that no money would be paid. The case is Smith v. Province of The Holy Name, Multnomah County Circuit Court case number 16CV05662.

John also specializes in defending lawsuits against churches and religious schools throughout Oregon. This includes wrongful expulsion claims by students and wrongful termination claims by teachers and other employees.

Through pretrial motions, John won lawsuits filed against Jesuit High School, Mt. Angel Abbey, the Franciscan Friars, Holy Rosary Church, and the Foursquare Church.

Therefore, he is on the short list of civil defense trial attorneys for high exposure “bet the church” cases.

10 years ago, after working at one of Oregon’s largest civil defense firms for 16 years, he opened his boutique firm in downtown Portland. John and his team of paralegals give each case specialized attention. They combine big firm experience with the personalized service provided by a small firm. John does not hand off his cases to less experienced lawyers to handle after he is hired, which often increases legal fees and creates inefficiency. He takes the lead in developing and implementing the strategy for each case his firm decides to take.

He has tried over 20 personal injury cases to verdict in Oregon’s state and federal courts.

John is a Cum Laude 1992 graduate of Lewis and Clark Law School. Before beginning his career as a trial attorney in 1992, he was a judicial extern for The Honorable Otto R. Skopil Jr. of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. He is the author and publisher of Religious Law Update, a newsletter that addresses legal developments that affect churches, religious schools, and other religious organizations. A link to the Religious Law Update Blog is above.

Professional Recognition

  • Named one of the "Best Lawyers in America" in Civil Litigation Defense from 2011-present
  • Kaempf Law firm PC has been selected as one of “the Best Law Firms in Oregon” by U.S. News & World Report since 2014
  • Selected to "Oregon Super Lawyers" from 2006-present, every year the award has been given, which is granted to only the top 5% of attorneys
  • Awarded AV rating, the highest, by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory
  • Given the "Lifetime Achievement Award" by “America's Top 100 Attorneys” in 2018