Rodney K. Norton - Hart Wagner LLP

Rodney K. Norton

Listed in Best Lawyers since 2012
Phone: 503-222-4499

Rodney Norton is a seasoned medical malpractice trial attorney and partner at the Hart Wagner law firm.  He has tried more than 125 jury trials in state and federal courts, including jury trials in the majority of trial courts in Oregon, as well as trial courts in Alaska and California. His trials have included numerous “wrongful” death and catastrophic injury cases, as well as large numbers of severe injury cases ranging from complex surgical complications to brain injuries to alleged delayed diagnosis of cancer. He has represented medical, dental, and nursing professionals in arbitrations, mediations, and regulatory matters too numerous to list. He is a frequently invited lecturer to health care organizations and professional groups on malpractice issues and trial practice.

Rod began his legal career in 1977 as an Assistant Attorney General in the Trial Division of the Oregon Department of Justice. His early litigation years were spent defending the State of Oregon in a wide variety of trials involving personal injury, civil rights, and complex litigation throughout the State of Oregon. The range of trial issues included claims against the State involving alleged use of excess force or false arrest by State Troopers, alleged failure to prevent child abuse of children who were wards of the State, car crashes involving cars driven by public employees, car crashes because of missing stop signs or icy roads or highway construction/design, injuries and deaths from accidents at State parks, and more.

Rod became Trial Counsel for Oregon Health & Science University in 1980. He was OHSU’s trial attorney from 1980 through 2002, with exclusive responsibility for trial defense of all medical, nursing, and dental malpractice claims and lawsuits against the University and its faculty and students during those two decades. The Oregon Health & Science University is Oregon’s only academic medical center.

Rod joined Hart Wagner LLP in July 2002. He became a partner shortly thereafter, and quickly developed an active trial practice. He continues to represent the Oregon Health & Science University in medical and dental malpractice lawsuits. He now also represents a host of other hospitals, clinics, physicians and dentists in Oregon, including, as examples, physicians insured by CNA and The Doctors’ Company, clinics such as The Oregon Clinic and The Portland Clinic, as well as hospitals such as Adventist Health, Tuality Hospital, and Kaiser Foundation. He also represents Rite Aid pharmacies in pharmacy litigation and has developed a practice defending food-borne illness cases. He has been retained by the State of Oregon Department of Justice to represent various medical professionals in complex civil rights cases involving medical issues, and is a Special Assistant Attorney General.

When he isn’t practicing law, Rod spends as much time as possible in and around water. He is a whitewater rafter who often is referred to as Big Water by his friends because of his love for huge river rapids. He has rafted most of the rivers in the Pacific Northwest and has led private groups down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon on three different multi-week trips. Although it is a more sedate sport, he recently has developed a passion for stand-up paddling on local lakes and rivers. Rod also loves to sail, and he can be found as much as time permits on Northern Star, his navy blue Sabre 426 sailboat, in Puget Sound, leeward rail buried, sails trimmed and full, grinning from ear to ear.


Trial lawyer with more than 125 jury trials in Oregon, California, and Alaska

Medical and dental malpractice defense

Representation of professionals before professional licensing boards, including OBME, OBD, and OBN


Representative clients include The Doctors' Company, CNA, Portland Adventist Medical Center, Oregon Health & Science University, PeaceHealth, Kaiser, Rite Aid


Oregon State Courts, 1977
US District Court: District of Oregon, 1977
District of Alaska, 1989
District of Wisconsin, 2001

Washington State UniversityWillamette UniversityJ.D. 1977
Willamette University College of LawAmerican Inns of CourtOregon Association of Defense CounselDefense Research InstituteAmerican Board of Trial Advocates

Case History

Brogdon v. Miles Laboratories, OHSU, et al

Successfully defended hemophilia center in five week federal jury trial in which hemophilia patient sought $20 million as a result of contracting AIDS from hemophilia concentrate

Beerbower v. OHSU

Established legal principle that parents are not entitled to recover general damages for loss of society and companionship as a result of injuries to minor children

Krummacher v. Cupp

Defended post-conviction relief case in trial court and before the Oregon Supreme Court that established the definitive yardstick for judicial review of the constitutional standard care required of defense counsel in criminal cases in Oregon

Rex v. Portland Adventist Medical Center

Successfully defended a week long trial in which liability was admitted for mistake in administering iodinated contrast solution to a patient who had informed staff that she was allergic to iodine. Jury returned a defense verdict in favor of PAMC, and awarded no damages despite admitted liability and admitted iodine reaction

Wiles v. OHSU

Successfully defended medical center and physicians in five week jury trial in which plaintiff claimed that overdose of sedative caused acceleration and exacerbation of genetic condition of adrenaleuko-dystrophy

Office Location

1000 Southwest Broadway, 20th And 21st Floor
Portland, OR 97205-3070
United States

Lawyer of the Year Awards

2016 Lawyer of the Year in Legal Malpractice Law - Defendants of the Portland-OR Metro Area2014 Lawyer of the Year in Legal Malpractice Law - Defendants of the Portland-OR Metro Area
Rodney K. Norton has earned a Lawyer of the Year award for 2016!Rodney K. Norton has earned a Lawyer of the Year award for 2014!

Practice Areas

Ethics and Professional Responsibility Law
Legal Malpractice Law - Defendants
Medical Malpractice Law - Defendants
Professional Malpractice Law - Defendants

Other Information

Gender: Male