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Topaz v. Board of Examiners for Engineering

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 02-06-2013
Case #: A148844
Nakamoto, J., for the Court; Schuman, P.J.; and Wollheim, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/docs/A148844.pdf

Civil Law: Signing a complaint as "P.E." for professional engineer, when one lacks an active license, in a complaint regarding a public body's sewer rehabilitation plans is enough to constitute a violation of Oregon's professional engineering statute, because there is no mens rea requirement in ORS 672.045.

Topaz sought review of an order imposing a civil fine for engaging in the practice of engineering without a license. Topaz had filed a complaint with the Oregon Board of Examiners for Engineering and Land Surveying (Board) against the City of St. Helens because their sewer rehabilitation project was flooding his property. Topaz, an actively licensed professional engineer in Maryland until 1986, submitted a detailed analysis of the problem, and signed the complaint with "P.E.", for professional engineer. The Board concluded that the "P.E.", combined with the analysis, meant that Topaz was purporting to be licensed to practice engineering in Oregon. The Court of Appeals affirmed, finding that there was no mens rea requirement in ORS 672.045, so it didn't matter if the P.E. was used due to habit, that the use and practice didn't fall into any statutory exception, and that Topaz's 1st Amendment constitutional claim was not preserved. Affirmed.