Russ Walker

SALEM, Ore. (Legal Newsline)-Two proposed ballot initiatives aimed at providing tort reform in Oregon fell short of the signatures required to qualify for the ballot, officials said.

Sought for the Nov. 4 ballot was Initiative No. 51 that would have limited lawyers' contingency fees to 25 percent of the first $25,000 recovered in civil suits, and 10 percent of any amount greater than $25,000.

A second proposal, Initiative No. 53, would have allowed attorneys to be punished for filing frivolous lawsuits or court motions.

The proposals were sponsored by Russ Walker of Keizer, Ore., vice chairman of the Oregon Republican Party and the state leader of FreedomWorks, a conservative, limited government group.

The Secretary of State's Elections Division had previously certified more than 80 percent of the 82,769 submitted signatures as valid.

Those signatures, however, were submitted to officials before a stricter signature-gathering law took effect Jan. 1.

More than 19,000 additional signatures were submitted for each measure by the July 3 deadline, but some of the signature sheets were disqualified under the new rules.

A valid 82,769 signatures were needed for each proposal for them to qualify for the ballot.

Walker has filed a federal lawsuit challenging the 2007 law that requires paid signature-gatherers to register with the state, obtain photo identification, submit a signature sample and undergo training by the Elections Division.

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo at

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