WATCH: Derek explains JJL&M's mission


Derek Johnson

Attorney Derek Johnson has served as the President of the Oregon Trial Lawyers Association (2007), is honored in Best Lawyers in America (2009 -2014), has chaired the Oregon Government Ethics Commission (1989-93), has served on the Board of Governors for the Oregon State Bar (2011), and was appointed by the Oregon Supreme Court Chief Justice to serve on the state’s Civil Law Advisory Committee (2007). Derek brings decades of experience and skill as one of the region’s most well respected personal injury attorneys.

Licensed to practice in Oregon, Washington, and California, Derek is known as a tough, well-prepared litigator and a smart negotiator. Clients find him to be protective, empathetic, and strategic in the development of their case. Derek has been a shareholder at Johnson Johnson Lucas & Middleton since 1994.

Medical negligence cases can be particularly complex, but Derek’s view is that success lies in the details of the case. He thoroughly analyzes medical charts, reports, research, and conducts in-depth interviews. In one notable case, Derek represented a veteran who went to the VA Hospital complaining of severe leg and back pain. X Rays were taken, but physicians failed to notice a cancerous lesion on the left femur. Over the next several months, the patient returned to the hospital three more times in severe pain. Finally, he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. Sadly, it was too late; Derek’s client passed away during settlement negotiations. Derek petitioned the court successfully to have his client’s widow appointed as her deceased husband’s personal representative and negotiated a significant settlement on behalf of the man’s widow and 2 sons due to a “failure to diagnose” cancer.

Derek has handled many “failure to diagnose” cases at Johnson Johnson Lucas & Middleton, including failure to diagnose breast cancer, colon cancer, and fatal heart conditions. Recently, one of Derek’s cases involved failure to properly treat post-surgical deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. After an uneventful surgery, the patient developed serious clotting in his calf and an embolism in his lungs. Both the Portland and Roseburg VA Hospitals missed the diagnosis, and the man died. Derek put together a strong case for significant damages, and the case was successfully resolved on behalf of the surviving family.

Defective product cases are almost always complex. In one case, Derek represented an experienced bow hunter, injured when a Gold Tip arrow exploded upon release. Hundreds of graphite shards pierced the man’s hand, cutting muscle tissue and shattering nerves. The arrow was advertised to eliminate splintering, but after extensive discovery, it was determined that none of the arrows sold by the company had the anti-splintering construction represented in advertisements. Derek successfully negotiated a confidential settlement for the injured bow hunter.

In every complex case he handles, Derek works with a team of lawyers and legal assistants. He also has a long list of expert consultants, doctors and nurses, engineers and safety experts who he works with to prepare his clients cases in the most thorough fashion. Having the experience and resources to consult with a wide range of experts sets Johnson Johnson Lucas & Middleton apart.

Derek is an honors graduate of Williams College (1981). He has a BA in French from the Universite de Poitiers, the University of Oregon in 1982, and a JD from the University of California at Los Angeles School of Law (1985). He also has an advanced law degree (LLM) from the University of Washington School of Law, Marine Affairs, (1987). Derek was born and raised in Eugene, Oregon and has practiced at Johnson Johnson Lucas & Middleton since 1988.

Throughout his decades of practice, Derek has successfully resolved or litigated hundreds of cases involving defective products, truck accidents, medical negligence, nursing home abuse, maritime injury, and cases involving wrongful death.

In the last three years, Derek has worked with the Eugene Civic Alliance to build a community sports and recreation facility in Eugene.

Derek is an avid outdoorsman, and enjoys skiing and fly fishing for trout and steelhead throughout the Northwest.

AV is a registered certification mark of Reed Elsevier Properties Inc., used in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies.


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  • Co-Chair, Oregon State Trial Lawyers Association Legislative Committee 2012 to present
  • President, Oregon State Trial Lawyers Association 2007 to present
  • Best Lawyers in America 2009 to present


  • SuperLawyers
  • LexisNexis

Published articles

  • Editor, Oregon State Bar TORTS CLE, 2-Volume Manual (2012, 2006)
  • Co-author, “Toxic Torts,” 2 TORTS, Oregon CLE, 1996 and 1992