Kelly S. Riggs

Of Counsel || Portland (OR)

Kelly S. Riggs is admitted to practice in Oregon and Washington and provides employment law litigation and counseling services to public and private employers of all sizes, with a special focus on working with healthcare employers.


Kelly has extensive experience representing and advising employers in the healthcare industry, including large and small health networks, hospitals, medical clinics, mental health practices, dental practices, public health districts, assisted living facilities, home care agencies, and other health-related entities. Prior to joining Ogletree in 2013, Kelly spent several years representing healthcare providers in employment, medical malpractice, licensing board, and health law matters, during which she gained a deep understanding of the healthcare environment and legal issues unique to the healthcare setting.

Kelly now applies that experience to regularly advise healthcare employers in areas such as:

  • HIPAA, health information privacy, and other data privacy laws
  • Retaliation and whistleblower claims related to patient health and safety
  • Responding to subpoenas or requests for protected health information
  • Legal issues arising when employees are also patients
  • Employee performance and discipline issues related to clinical practice
  • Licensing board disciplinary matters

Employment Litigation

Kelly represents employers in state and federal courts and administrative agencies in single- and multi-plaintiff litigation involving claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and other federal and parallel state employment laws, including:

  • Discrimination
  • Harassment
  • Wrongful termination
  • Retaliation and whistleblower
  • Disability discrimination/reasonable accommodation
  • Civil claims for sexual abuse or other substantial psychological or physical harm
  • Enforcement litigation related to I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification practices
  • Wage and hour claims
  • Claims related to employee theft/embezzlement

Employment Advice/Counseling

Kelly also regularly provides advice and counseling to employers on all aspects of employment law under state and federal laws to help minimize the risk of litigation in the first place, including:

  • Health information and data privacy
  • Employee Handbooks and other personnel policies
  • Employee discipline and termination
  • Reasonable accommodations/interactive process (employment and public accommodations)
  • State and federal family and medical leave and paid sick time laws
  • Internal investigations of employee misconduct or complaints
  • HR/supervisor training
  • Joint Employer Issues
  • I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification and E-Verify Compliance and federal agency investigations

Representative Industries

Kelly has successfully represented and provided counseling advice to local, regional, and national employers across a wide spectrum of industries, including:

  • Healthcare
  • Food Processing
  • Farming
  • Commercial Trucking
  • Construction
  • Insurance
  • Technology
  • Retail
  • Hospitality
  • Cannabis
  • Service Industries
Learn more about Kelly S. Riggs

Kelly’s broad experience successfully defending employers in employment-related claims includes:

  • Numerous findings of no discrimination by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries, Washington Human Rights Commission, and Washington Department of Labor and Industries on behalf of employers in the healthcare and other industries.
  • Obtained summary judgment fully dismissing individually-named Owner/Managing Director of a local business from an employment lawsuit asserting claims of retaliation for reporting sexual harassment and workplace safety issues.
  • Obtained full dismissal of a national disability and leave management company from a lawsuit asserting claims under the FMLA and for tortious interference with economic relationship related to leave management services it provided to the employee’s employer related to employee’s medical leave.
  • Obtained judgment against a former employee of a property management company for recovery of over $10,000 fraudulently misappropriated from the company.
  • Instrumental in obtaining full dismissal of civil malicious prosecution claims against a hospitality employer and several individually-named defendants brought by former employee terminated and criminally prosecuted for suspected theft from employer.
  • Instrumental in achieving full dismissal of a disability discrimination case against a university, which included claims under the ADA, Rehabilitation Act, and Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress.
  • Obtained multiple dismissals of state healthcare licensing board disciplinary proceedings against nurses and other healthcare providers.
  • Instrumental in obtaining summary judgment in local hospital’s favor in a breach of contract claim against physician for repayment of significant recruitment incentive loans.
  • Multiple other favorable decisions on motions to dismiss and summary judgment motions in state and federal court, successfully obtaining full or partial dismissal of employment and other civil claims.
  • Second chair in 2015 bench trial before the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration, in case alleging discrimination and retaliation.
  • Second chair in January 2012 preliminary injunction evidentiary hearing, successfully defeating preliminary injunction as to majority of trade secret and noncompetition claims on behalf of small technology services business.
  • Instrumental in obtaining two favorable appellate decisions in employment discrimination cases while still in law school.
  • Multiple favorable decisions from state and federal courts on complex procedural and discovery matters, including those involving attorney-client privilege and work product issues, disputes regarding discovery of Electronically-Stored Information, and disputes regarding discovery of medical records.
  • Successfully quashed a subpoena to a local mental health provider to produce a minor patient’s treatment records and for testimony at the criminal sexual abuse trial of the minor patient’s alleged abuser.
  • Successfully managed and coordinated a large-scale document collection project in a class action wage and hour lawsuit collecting hundreds of thousands of documents from numerous sites of a large healthcare client.
  • Successfully negotiated favorable resolutions with the Immigrant and Employee Rights Section of the federal Department of Justice in investigations and enforcement litigation alleging discrimination in I-9 Employment Eligibility and Verification and E-Verify procedures, for significantly reduced monetary penalties and non-monetary compliance requirements.
  • Successfully negotiated favorable resolutions of multiple former employees’ claims of religious discrimination claim related to a food processing plant’s dress code.
  • Achieved favorable resolutions of numerous other employment claims.


  • J.D., cum laude, Lewis and Clark Law School, 2009
  • B.A., cum laude, California State University, Chico, 2004

Admittance to Practice

  • Oregon
  • Washington
  • U.S. District Court, District of Oregon
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern and Western Districts of Washington

Professional Activities

  • American Healthcare Lawyers Association
  • Oregon State Bar Association – Health Law Section
  • Multnomah Bar Association
  • Washington County Bar Association


  • Oregon Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel - "Real World Ethical Dilemmas for In-House Counsel" - Portland - November 2017
  • Private Presentation to a Mid-Sized Portland Medical Clinic - "Protecting Your Clinic From Liability" - Portland - November 2017

Insights by Kelly S. Riggs