A Deschutes County Circuit Court judge is facing ethics complaints alleging she was a friend of someone involved with a lawsuit heard in her courtroom in 2014.
Beth Bagley is accused of failing to disclose a personal relationship and recuse herself in two separate filings last month — one a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Eugene and the other a complaint before the Oregon Commission on Judicial Fitness and Disability.
“Bagley should be censured, sanctioned and removed from office,” reads the judicial fitness complaint filed by an attorney for Sisters resident Niklas Goertzen.
Bagley is represented in the matter by a lawyer with the Oregon Department of Justice — Justin Kidd — who declined to speak to The Bulletin.
Goertzen appeared before Bagley in 2014 when he sued several parents he accused of getting him fired as girls soccer coach at Sisters High School, a position he held from 2007 to 2012.
In February 2012, he was terminated by the school principal. According to court filings, Goertzen believes a clique of parents was upset their kids weren’t getting playing time on the varsity squad so they began a “verbal and written campaign” to have him fired.
Goertzen sued the district in 2012 for breach of contract and other claims. That suit was dismissed that year.
In 2014, he brought more claims against the district in another suit naming several parents he alleged wrongfully interfered with his coaching contract. They included Merry Ann Moore and Rob Corrigan, who are no longer married.
In July 2014, Bagley dismissed Goertzen’s claims against Moore and Corrigan. She further ordered Goertzen’s attorney, Marlin Ard of Sisters, to pay the couple $10,000 in attorneys fees, citing a law against frivolous lawsuits.
Ard still represents Goertzen, who claims he has new information showing Moore and Bagley are friends.
“Bagley and Moore exchanged email addresses and had also communicated with each other through social media,” Ard wrote in the federal lawsuit.
Attached to both the lawsuit and judicial complaint are screenshots purporting to be of Bagley’s LinkedIn page. Circled in the corner is Moore’s profile picture.
In an email, Moore declined to comment, citing conditions of the agreement concluding Goertzen’s lawsuits against her and other parents of students in the Sisters School District.
Bagley was elected to the bench in late 2012 at age 39, and she assumed her position in early 2013, taking over for retired Judge Michael Sullivan.
According to Bulletin archives, after law school Bagley worked for a year as a public defender before becoming a prosecutor in the Coos Bay District Attorney’s Office in 1999. She moved to the Deschutes County District Attorney’s Office in 2002.
Bagley also served on the Bend-La Pine Schools Board from 2009 until her election to the bench.
— Reporter: 541-383-0325, email@example.com