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"Ater Wynne is filled with TALENTED PEOPLE who want to make a difference in the lives of our clients and their businesses.  We have the depth of practice area experience it takes to be true advisors to our clients."

– Ernie Bootsma, Partner

Michael (Sam) J. Sandmire

Partner

Sam Sandmire, Chair of Ater Wynne's Litigation Department, has been litigating complex and difficult cases for more than 20 years.  His practice is focused on complex business, product liability, personal injury, and employment litigation and counseling.  Sam also represents clients facing government investigations and related civil litigation.

Sam defends and prosecutes claims in a wide range of business disputes and defends insured and self-insured manufacturers in product liability, class action, consumer fraud, personal injury and mass tort litigation. He has litigated toxic exposure, catastrophic injury, and multi-state consumer fraud claims on behalf of manufacturers of medical, industrial, computer, construction and consumer products, pharmaceuticals, implantable medical devices, metals, and construction materials. He has served as both lead and local counsel in the cost-effective and efficient defense of mass tort claims and other complex litigation.

Sam also defends insured and self-insured employers in state and federal courts and administrative agencies, with particular expertise in the defense of state and federal class actions. The claims include race, sex, age and disability discrimination, workplace safety, wrongful discharge, civil rights, federal contractor, wage and hour, and employment contract claims. He is experienced in drafting employment policies and manuals, and counseling companies on employment law matters.

Sam has experience representing tribal entities and has significant experience resolving disputes through mediation and arbitration when litigation is neither desired nor warranted.  He is listed in Best Lawyers in America for his expertise in product liability litigation, mass tort litigation and class action defense, and has received the highest AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell. Sam was also listed in The American Lawyer and Corporate Counsel as 2012 Top Rated Lawyers, Guide to Labor & Employment Law, named in Benchmark Litigation: The Guide to America's Leading Litigation Firms and Attorneys as a "Litigation Star," and selected as an Oregon Super Lawyer.

Professional Experience

Education

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Admitted to Practice

  • Oregon
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon
  • Washington

Professional Activities

  • Defense Research Institute (DRI), State Representative for Oregon, 2014 to present
  • Oregon Association of Defense Counsel, Member, Board of Directors, 2008 to present; President, 2013 
  • Oregon State Bar, Litigation, Products Liability and Labor Regulations Sections
  • Multnomah County Bar Association

Community Activities

  • Raleigh Hills School, Site Council and Parent Volunteer
  • Raleigh Hills Youth Leagues Coach

Recent Presentations

  • Arbitration Agreements After Conception and D.R. Horton Update, Top Ten HR Issues From 2012, Ater Wynne Employment Law Seminar (December 2012)
  • When the Agency Comes Knockin', Workplace Investigations and Audits, Ater Wynne Employment Law Seminar (March 2011)
  • The Rising Tide of Class Action Employment Lawsuits, The Gathering Storm: Preparing Employers for the Winds of Change, Ater Wynne Employment Law Seminar (December 2009)

Representative Matters

  • Defeated class certifications and secured dismissals in wage and hour class actions
  • Defended manufacturer of computer hard drives in consumer class action
  • Defended national class action on behalf of manufacturers of fire sprinkler pipe
  • Defended Fortune 500 information technology services company in employment class action suit
  • Defended nickel manufacturer in class action and individual personal injury, nuisance, and trespass lawsuits brought by nearby residents; defeated class certification
  • Defended pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers in numerous wrongful death, mass tort and other product liability lawsuits
  • Represented manufacturers, in court and before Oregon OSHA, in catastrophic workplace accidents, investigations and lawsuits
  • Defended aluminum manufacturer in personal injury trial brought by contractor who suffered serious electrical burns and head trauma
  • Represents pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers in large multi-state consumer fraud investigations
  • Defeated "common law wrongful death" claims in civil court stemming from workplace exposure to chemicals, including successful Ninth Circuit appeal upholding trial court dismissal
  • Represented large Japanese corporation in contested dissolution proceeding and shareholder disputes
  • Represented window manufacturer in construction defect case
  • Defended businesses in state and federal employment discrimination claims and enforcement actions

Representative Publications and/or Presentations

  • Requests for Production; Inspection; Physical and Mental Examinations. Co-author. Oregon Civil Litigation Manual. Vol. 1, Ch. 18. 2004 and 2008 Revisions.
  • The Learned Intermediary Doctrine is Not a Defense to a Strict Product Liability Claim. Oregon Association of Defense Counsel (Winter 2004)
  • Punitives Redux: Yet More Guidance via Waddill v. Anchor Hocking, Inc. Oregon Association of Defense Counsel (Winter 2004)
  • The Ninth Circuit Weighs in on Differential Diagnosis Under Daubert. Oregon Association of Defense Counsel (Winter 2004)
  • The “Economic Loss Rule” in Products Liability and Construction Litigation.Oregon Association of Defense Counsel (Spring 2004)