Article based on an interview I had with a local attorney, assignment from law magazine.
By, Jacqueline Adams
“With greater opportunity comes greater responsibility.” – Kevin Kiely
As I enter the firm of Cable Huston Benedict Haagensen & Lloyd LLP, I am greeted by a soothing, modern, professional office with a warm and inviting reception area, and a fantastic view of the city from the glass-encased conference room. Colorful artwork praising Portland decorates the walls, and the staff is friendly and obliging. I am escorted to Mr. Kevin Kiely’s corner office, and am immediately excited to be there. Natural light pours into a room representing a global view. Statues, photographs and artwork from Mr. Kiely’s excursions overseas are arranged lovingly, and Kevin Kiely rises from his desk to greet me. Sitting across from him, I am immediately captivated by the large Giovanni Pannini Print circa 1691-1795, and the warm smile of the successful litigator before me.
In balance with his extremely successful career in litigation, Kevin Kiely is a man of peace and humility. Salem-born, and based here in Portland at Cable Huston, Kevin is blessed with the full and loving support of his wife and three children, as well as colleagues-turned-friends in his professional arena. A man of the world, Mr. Kiely has traveled extensively with his family, and for 15 years supported and promoted the “Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums”, a foundation devoted to the restoration and protection of all works within the Vatican Museums, by becoming the President and Co-Founder of the Oregon Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums chapter. He is also a past Member of the Board of Directors for the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art (University of Oregon), and of the Mt. Angel Abbey library board. “Art is a noble and beautiful expression of the better nature of humanity,” says Kiely, a sentiment that perhaps soothes the “Irish temper” that Kiely is known for.
Undoubtedly, that temper, along with a passion for law and a love of arguing, has contributed to the overwhelming success of this devoted Perry Mason fan. Kevin Kiely was the Lead trial counsel on behalf of AmeriTitle against Gilliam County for unconstitutionally imposing local hiring policy on developers as element of tax abatement program. (Federal jury verdict for AmeriTitle finding violation of commerce clause and equal protection clause as well as damages.) Also, Lead counsel for professional sports team in confidential arbitration including a multi-million dollar contract dispute. (Team prevailed, awarded requested relief and attorney fees.) Additionally, Lead defense counsel on $90 million in claims by a group of labor unions against their trustee fiduciary insurer. (Plaintiffs alleged covered losses resulting from securities fraud, white-collar crime. Defense verdict.) Mr. Kiely was Lead trial counsel defending Oregon public utility on environmental claims arising out of the construction of a hydroelectric facility. (Prevailed at trial.) Plaintiff’s lead trial counsel representing global waste management concern in franchise-fee dispute with local government. (Prevailed at trial. Trial costs awarded. Upheld at U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.) And, Lead trial counsel for Portland Trail Blazers NBA team in adversary litigation in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Oregon against a consortium of lenders who sought to acquire control of Rose Garden Arena from debtor, Oregon Arena Corporation. Trail Blazers sought bankruptcy court ruling that lenders be required to make c. $120 million in improvements and upgrades as a pre-condition to taking ownership of Arena where Trail Blazers play. (Team prevailed at trial.) Kiely was Lead plaintiffs’ counsel representing a Washington public utility on claims of c. $140 million against a consortium of U.S. and foreign insurers. (Claims resulted from a collapsed dam owned by the utility. Prevailed at trial. Decision upheld at U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit. Utility received c. $140 million from insurers, plus attorney fees.) Defended Texas corporation in multi-year tax dispute with State of Oregon. (Prevailed at trial in Marion County Circuit Court. Appeal by State of Oregon pending.)
A believer in the law, but also a believer in humanity, Kiely states that, “as a society, we are too litigious”, and while he knows it is not always possible, a wish for patience and alternative solutions is ever-present. A graduate from the University of Oregon School of Law, Kiely is the head of Cable Huston’s litigation and trial practice group, and Chair of the firm's Management Committee.
However, law was not his first love. Mr. Kiely was originally in school to become a History professor, but luckily for us, his incredible aptitude for precision and relationship-building in the legal sphere became the more prosperous choice for his blooming family. A “Faithful child of God”, Kevin Kiely accepts the impermanence of life, and is grateful for his beautiful family and professional success, promoting honesty and integrity within all relationships. A true seeker of knowledge and improvement, Mr. Kiely is currently taking classes in his almost non-existent spare time, and humbly hopes to give back to the community as a teacher in a part-time capacity, in the future.