Raymond F. Thomas
RAYMOND F. THOMAS, was born in Minneapolis in 1951. He was admitted to the bar in 1979 and is a member of the Oregon state and federal courts. He obtained his J.D. from Lewis and Clark Law School in 1979.
Before going to law school, Ray worked as a private investigator and in a variety of manual trades including equipment operator, welder's apprentice, janitor and crew supervisor. Ray has focused his practice on jury trials including personal injury and product liability. He has presented educational seminars on insurance and personal injury topics, and has organized and presented seminars for Oregon and national gatherings of attorneys. He writes a regular column on bicycle law and safety for Oregon Cycling magazine.
His past positions include two years on the board of the Oregon Trial Lawyers Association (OTLA), two years on the board of the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA), membership on the BTA Legislative Committee, and seven years as chair of the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) Litigation Committee. He started a series of free legal clinics for bicycle riders in 1994, and gives regular bike law and safety presentations. His book Pedal Power, A Legal Guide for Oregon Bicyclists, is now in its seventh edition.
In 2008 he produced "Oregon Pedestrian Rights: A Legal Guide for Persons on Foot", a collection of articles, laws and resource materials relating to pedestrian law and safety. He has given frequent presentations about pedestrian rights and advocacy with the Willamette Pedestrian Coalition to community groups, neighborhood activists and lawyers in order to support the rights of non-motorized roadway users.
His work with the Oregon legislature has resulted in numerous revisions and innovations in Oregon's traffic laws, including passage of new laws providing roadway workers with a right of way on the road, reform of passing and bicycle lane laws, creation of the Vulnerable User statute to provide enhanced penalties for careless drivers, and work with victims of dangerous drivers to make the road safer for bicyclists and pedestrians.
He has been proud to be associated with a number of Oregon's cases which include the first punitive damage verdict against an ATV manufacturer (Oberg v. Honda, $5M), the largest third party verdict in a work injury case (Woodbury v. CH2MHill, $11.5M), and the largest award on behalf of an individual to be sustained on appeal against a tobacco manufacturer (Williams v. Philip Morris, $150M).
Since 1994 Ray and his law partner Jim Coon have led the Monday/Thursday noontime "Lawyer Bike Ride", usually from near the back of the peloton. Ray has four children and is active in Oregon's bicycle, traffic, and work safety communities as an activist, commentator, and speaker.