Eric S. DeFreest
Eric believes that “success is achieved when preparation meets opportunity.” He recognizes that the law not only needs to be understood, but decision-makers must be educated in how the law applies to the facts of each case in order to find a reasoned decision.
Publications & Presentations
- Oregon State Bar, CLE Torts (2005) - Chapter 8, Negligence: The Basic Elements
- Oregon State Bar, CLE Health Law Manual (2012) - Chapter 10, Reporting Requirements
- Oregon State Bar, Statutory Time Limitations (2010) - Medical and Dental Malpractice
- Validation Proceedings, Government Law Annual Meeting, February 26, 2016
Eric DeFreest has developed a practice as a trial attorney focused on representing public bodies, municipal utility law, insurance defense, and defense of civil litigation with an emphasis on medical malpractice defense of health care practitioners, clinics and hospitals. He provides counsel in defense of health care entities and personnel in resolution of claims, employment issues, privileges, credentialing and health care regulatory compliance.
Eric is also general legal counsel for the Eugene Water & Electric Board where he advises the municipal utility on risk management, claims investigation, development of policies and procedures, public contracting, intergovernmental agreements, regulatory compliance, public meeting and public records law, property management, environmental issues, water rights, retirement benefits, customer financial services, energy management and utility operations.
With a background in environmental sciences which began with degrees in marine science, geology and oceanography, Eric has translated this empirical attention to detail into his trial work. Lawsuits require research, development of the facts, and refinement of a theory in order to educate the jury. As Eric says, “The key to success in trial is effective communication with the judge and the ability to find a way to make an intuitive person into a deliberative decision-maker.”
As an avid outdoorsman Eric enjoys camping, hiking and hunting. He is also a triathlete participating in local events, including completion of the Ironman Coeur D’Alene in 2009. His triathlon training also translates into his success in court, “You do not accomplish your goals without endurance, both in preparation before an event and in maintaining your focus though trial.”
Eric and his wife Melissa, an emergency room physician, have been married for over thirty years and have two sons who keep their home life focused. Ever wary of what defines him — trial attorney, scientist, father, triathlete — Eric looks to find and enjoy balance in his life.
Eric is a member of the Oregon State Bar and Washington State Bar Association. He is certified in the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon and the U.S. Supreme Court. Appointed by the Oregon Judicial Department as Judge pro tempore. Eric is Chair of the Executive Committee for the Oregon State Bar Government Law Section, is a member of the Oregon Association of Defense Counsel, and a past Chair of the OADC's Government Liability Practice Group and Trial Practice Group.
University of Miami (BS, Marine Science and Geology)
Texas A&M University (MS, Geological Oceanography)
University of Oregon (JD with Ocean and Coastal Law certificate)
- Boy Scouts of America, Cubmaster Pack 20 (2015-Present)
- Citizen Review Board, Oregon Judicial Department (2015-Present)
- Peacehealth Ethics Committee (2003-Present)
- Oregon Lawyer Assistance Foundation, Board of Directors (2016-Present)
- St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, Vestry and Sunday School
- Lane Regional Air Pollution Authority, Budget Committee (1998-2010)
- Lane County Local Professional Responsibility Committee (2006-2007)