Dennis is one of the original founding partners of the firm. Born in New York and educated in the East, he graduated summa cum laude from Fordham College where he was selected to Phi Beta Kappa in his junior year before obtaining his law degree from Yale Law School’in 1970. Dennis moved to Oregon in the 70′s to launch his private practice. Over the next 35 years he has developed an outstanding reputation standing up for the rights of individuals. He is licensed to practice law in California and Oregon and has been an effective advocate for hundreds of people living in Oregon and Northern California.
Dennis is Fellow ofthe American College of Trial Lawyers^ one of the premier legal associations in America. Fellowship in the College is extended by invitation and only after careful investigation to those experienced trial lawyers who have mastered the art of advocacy and whose professional careers have been marked by the highest standards of ethical conduct, professionalism, civility and collegiality. Lawyers must have minimum of fifteen years trial experience before they can be considered for Fellowship. Membership in the College cannot exceed one percent of the total lawyer population of any state or province. Since 2009 Superlawyer Magazine has named Dennis “Superlawyer” as chosen by attorney peers and independent research. Dennis has the highest possible Peer Review Rating in legal ability and ethical standards awarded by Martindale-Hubbell, publisher of the oldest legal directory in the country. In 2010 Dennis was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Children’s Advocacy Center, Medford, OR, the regional child abuse prevention agency for Southern Oregon.
Memberships: Oregon State Bar, State Bar of California, American College of Trial Lawyers, The Association of Trial Lawyers of America, Oregon Trial Lawyers Association. All Oregon and California State Courts, Federal District Court for the District of Oregon, United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, Northern and Eastern District of California.
My parents both came out of the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl in Oklahoma and Texas. The both knew the meaning of hard times and hard work. I was raised in Wyoming and Southeast Asia. I’ve lived in Oregon since I came back to this country in 1966, and in the Rogue Valley since 1978. I started doing Oregon workers’ compensation claims for injured workers in the early 1980′s. In 1987, my partner Dennis Black and I went into business together on a handshake, and have been together along with my other partners since then. I am very proud of this fact, and I respect and value all of the people I work with.
I worked as a way of putting myself through the University of Oregon, Honors College, and the U of O law school. During college and law school, I bucked logs behind a timber faller, worked in lumber mills, in sheet music stores, grocery stores, in food service as a bus boy and waiter, and an auto mechanic’s helper. I still love cars.
I still also like helping injured Oregon workers. I do not represent employers or insurance oompanies. I know many, if not most, of the lawyers who do this kind of work around the state, and I deal efficiently with them and enjoy most of them. Oregon’s workers’ compensation system is a bureaucracy in which the law and the claims are driven by the medical opinions of doctors. The insurance companies and employers have several medical opinion givers, called Independent Medical Examiners (IME’s). Injured workers sometimes are hard pressed to find medical support for their claims. I do my best to help these folks and guide them through the challenging process of pursuing their claims.
We make money only by either winning claims and/or settling cases; this is the essence of what is known as the contingency fee system.
My job is to clearly define a claimant’s available options and give them realistic advice in regard to those options. I try to leave the ultimate decision on whether to fight or settle a claim up to the injured worker because it is their life, not mine.
I bring over 30 years of experience to and am completely committed to the practice of workers’ compensation. I consider my occupation to be a privilege, and I try every day to honor it
Memberships: Oregon State Bar, Oregon Trial Lawyers Association. All Oregon State Courts, Federal District Court for the District of Oregon.
Born in New York, Bob’s family moved to Oregon after the war. He grew up in Tigard, Oregon and attended Linfield College where he received his undergraduate degree in 1966. Bob then served two years on active duty with the U.S. Army. After leaving the service he earned his Law Degree from Willamette University in 1971. Bob worked as a Deputy District Attorney for Josephine County for three years before entering private practice in Medford. He is one of the original members of the firm and has limited his practice to representing injured workers and social security claimants since that time. Bob moved to the Oregon coast near Port Orford and currently practices out of the Bandon Office.
Bob is married to Suzanne and has three daughters and five grandchildren. He has enjoyed hunting, fishing, rafting and skiing. Bob volunteers at he Curry County District Attorney’s Office prosecuting fish and game cases. In early 2010, he was appointed by the Governor to the Fish & Wildlife Commission.
Memberships: Oregon State Bar, All Oregon State Courts. US District Court for the District of Oregon, US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
Born in Idaho, Art attended school in France before receiving his undergraduate degree from Whitman College in 1978. Following a stint as a teaching assistant at USC, he received his law degree from The Northwestern School of Law at Lewis and Clark College in 1984. Art started his legal career as a Special Assistant Attorney General for the State of Oregon’s Insurance Fund (SAIF). This experience led Art to change hats and go into private practice representing injured and disabled people who have an uphill fight against the well funded insurance industry. Art has represented hundreds of Oregonians whose claims have been denied or improperly processed. He also has a prolific Social Security Disability practice involving extensive agency and Federal Court work.
Art and his wife Lindsey enjoy spending time together with their children, traveling, cooking, dining, reading, playing tennis, and cabaret theatre.
Art has the highest possible Peer Review Rating in legal ability and ethical standards awarded by Martindale-Hubbell, publisher of the oldest legal directory in the country, and has enjoyed this status for over 15 years. In 2010, Art was honored by the Oregon Trial Lawyers Association with the Doug Swanson Award of Excellence. Art enjoys teaching classes to his lawyer peers in the continuing legal education seminars that are required in Oregon.
Art’s legal/medical experience over the years has led him to handle many kinds of cases. Here are a few examples of the kinds of cases he deals with: head and brain trauma, toxic exposures, orthopedic injuries(such as spine, knee, hip, shoulder, ankle,tib/fib fractures and post traumatic arthritis), paralysis, psychological injuries including PTSD, chemical exposures, psychological disorders, neurological and neuromuscular diseases, fire and chemical burns, occupational diseases and injuries, idiopathic falls, complex regional pain syndromes, compartment syndromes, reflex sympathetic dystrophy, stress disorders, heart attacks and cardiac disease, neoplastic diseases and cancers, genetic diseases, and childhood disabilities and diseases. Art is passionate about resolving legal/medical disputes for his clients.
Partner, Tom Petersen, was born in Sanger, California in 1951. Growing up and working on family farms, Tom was nurtured by hard work and a sense of right and wrong. He is dedicated to finding truth and justice in his casework. Tom is also active in the lives of his family, assisting his wife, Kathleen, with her senior care home, helping his daughters with their academic endeavors, volunteer work, and taking care of his cat and dogs, friends forever.
Tom is well suited for his work as a trial lawyer. He graduated from U.C. Berkeley in 1976 with a B.A. in Dramatic Art and worked as an actor before attending and graduating from law school in 1981 at Southwestern University where he was an honor student and received awards in Forensic Science and Federal Courts. Tom has been practicing law since 1982 and is admitted to practice law in California, Oregon and Washington.
Tom began his legal career as a law clerk for a federal judge. Following that he worked for several years as a district attorney, public defender and civil litigator. He has handled cases in state and federal courts. He has tried hundreds of cases in the civil and criminal arenas. He has also argued appellate cases in the California and Oregon Supreme Courts and Courts of Appeal, as well as in the United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
As part of the personal injury team at Black, Chapman, Webber & Stevens, Tom primarily handles sexual abuse and civil rights cases. He also handles serious personal injury, nursing home negligence, product defect, and premises liability cases. He is devoted to providing straight advice to his clients and to obtaining the best possible result on each case.
Areas of Practice
100% of Practice Devoted to Litigation
Practice Categories: Sex Abuse, Civil Rights, Police Misconduct, Prisoners’ Rights, Occupational Safety & Health Act (OSHA) — Employee, Nursing Home, Social Security — Disability, Errors & Omissions Insurance, Motor Vehicle, Personal Injury — Plaintiff, Animal Bites — Plaintiff, Assault & Battery — Plaintiff, Defamation & Privacy — Plaintiff, Motor Vehicle Accidents — Plaintiff, Premises Liability — Plaintiff, Railroad Accidents — Plaintiff, Slip and Fall — Plaintiff, Wrongful Death — Plaintiff, Products Liability Law, Alcoholic Beverages, Machinery & Tools, Motor Vehicle Defects, Recreational Products, Legal Malpractice, Other Professionals Malpractice, Trucking
Memberships: Oregon State Bar, Washington State Bar, California State Bar, Consumer Attorneys of California, Washington State Trial Lawyers Association.
Rick became an attorney in 1996 and has practiced in the Rogue Valley since 1997. Born and raised in Eureka, California, Rick attended Stanford University on a baseball scholarship and graduated in 1985 with a degree in Economics. He earned the Pacific-10 Conference Most Valuable Player award and received All-American honors in 1985. He thereafter pursued a professional baseball career after being drafted in the sixth round by the Philadelphia Phillies. Rick played minor league baseball from 1985-1990 for the Phillies, New York Mets and Baltimore Orioles organizations, reaching the highest level of the minors (Triple-A) before retiring.
Rick attended Willamette University School of Law and received his J.D. in 1996. After working briefly as an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Oregon, Rick went to work for the the Frohnmeyer, Deatherage, Pratt, Jamieson, Clarke & Moore firm in 1997. His work primarily involved representing insurance companies and their insureds in the defense of personal injury claims. In July 2001, Rick switched sides and began working as an associate attorney at Black Chapman, helping injured and disabled clients. Rick became a partner in the firm in 2005. Rick primarily focuses on personal injury cases, including auto and trucking accidents, premises liability, product defects and insurance disputes. He enjoys working with his clients trying to obtain the best possible results for them. He also enjoys the opportunity to take cases to trial when necessary. Rick is licensed in both Oregon and California and has successfully tried cases to verdict in the counties of Jackson, Josephine, Curry, Coos and Klamath here in Oregon.
Rick has also practices sports law. He has advised and worked closely with Dave Stewart, the former Oakland A’s standout pitcher who now serves as an agent to several Major League Baseball players, including Matt Kemp and Chad Billingsley of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Rick worked diligently as lead counsel for Mr. Stewart during the process leading toward salary arbitration, including preparing the legal briefs on behalf of Kemp and Billingsley, both of whom became eligible for salary arbitration after the 2009 season.
Rick currently serves on the Oregon State Bar Uniform Civil Jury Instructions Committee and is serving a term on the Board of Governors for the Oregon Trial Lawyers Association. He has previously served on the board of directors for the Southern Oregon Child Study & Treatment Center.
Rick’s wife, Carla, works as a licensed professional counselor. Together, they enjoy donating their time and service to various groups, including baseball camps conducted in Medford and Sacramento, as well as contributing to an organization promoting the greater awareness of autism. They enjoy spending quality time with their two sons, Gaige and Derrick. Rick also enjoys snowboarding and wakeboarding, as well as the rare good round of golf. In September of 2010 Rick was inducted into Stanford Athletics Hall of Fame.
Memberships: Oregon State Bar, Oregon Trial Lawyers Association, State Bar of California. All Oregon State Courts, Federal District Court for the District of Oregon, Federal Court for the Northern and Eastern Districts of California.
Marlene Yesquen has joined the Law Office of Black, Chapman, Webber & Stevens as an associate. She received a J.D. from Lewis & Clark Law School in 2004 and a master’s degree in Public Administration from New Mexico State University in 2001. She also obtained a bachelor’s degree in Politics from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College. Marlene was born in Arlington, Virginia and raised by Peruvian parents. She is a native Spanish speaker. She brings experience as an attorney with the Center for NonProfit Legal Services Inc., and the firm of Frohnmayer Deatherage, Jamieson, Moore, Armosino & McGovern where she obtained experience in personal injury representing insurance companies and their insureds. She will now assist individuals in social security disability, personal injury claims, and workers’ compensation matters.
Marlene maintains an active role in the community. She has been appointed by Governor John Kitzhaber to the Early Learning Council for the state of Oregon to work on education reform. She is elected and serves as a board of director for the Medford School District. She sits on the board of the Community Health Center and was appointed to sit on the City of Medford’s Budget Committee. Marlene was selected to participate as a fellow of the American Leadership Forum of Oregon. She has been invited to speak at the City of Medford’s Neighborhood Leadership Academy, Rogue Community College’s Education Conference, “Un Mundo de Oportunidades,” and Southern Oregon Education Service District’ s Hispanic Academic Outreach program. Marlene has a wonderful husband and the two of them enjoy being active in Oregon’s great outdoors.
Memberships: Oregon State Bar, Federal District Court for the District of Oregon, Jackson County Bar Association, Oregon Trial Lawyers Association, Oregon Women Lawyers (OWLS), National Organization of Social Security Claimant’s Representatives (NOSSCR), National Hispanic Bar Association, and Oregon Hispanic Bar Association.