Oregon Supreme Court decides not to reintroduce judge to Oswego Lake case
The Oregon Supreme Court denied a petition put forth by plaintiffs Mark Kramer and Todd Prager to reinstall Clackamas County Circuit Court Judge Ann Lininger in the case regarding Oswego Lake access.
Lininger presided over the first phase of the trial and her ruling saying the lake — which has been considered private for many decades — was navigable at the time of statehood seemingly paved the way for the body of water to be considered public. However, she was later removed after correspondence was revealed between Lininger and the plaintiffs when the judge was a legislator in 2014.
After Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Tom Ryan determined that Lininger violated the Oregon Judicial Code of Conduct — specifically the rule stating that a judge presiding over a case can't have "participated personally as a public official concerning the matter" — the plaintiffs filed a writ of mandamus to ask the Supreme Court to reverse the decision.
Now that this issue has been resolved, the circuit court may decide during a Dec. 19 hearing whether the initial ruling will be thrown out and the first phase of the trial redone. The second phase of the trial will determine whether the city of Lake Oswego's policies barring access to the lake from its parks and other facilities are reasonable.
Prager and Kramer initially filed the lawsuit challenging the lake's designation as private in 2012 and the case had previously been heard at the Oregon Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court before being remanded back to circuit court.
The Supreme Court did not provide an explanation for its denial of the plaintiffs' petition.
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