Who is Michael Woosley?

Michael Woosley was a long-time server at Robert’s Pub and the Lodge. In 2022, a few employees came forward to report that they had been sexually harassed by Woosley, including inappropriate touching and comments. Woosley was terminated in July 2022 after an internal investigation into these reports. The Black Butte Police Department investigated the claims and provided evidence to the Deschutes County District Attorney’s Office. In 2023, Woosley was convicted of harassment and sexual abuse in Deschutes County Circuit Court and was sentenced to 30 days in jail.

Has a lawsuit been filed against the Ranch?

Yes. Last week, nine former employees of Black Butte Ranch filed a lawsuit against Woosley, Black Butte Ranch Corporation, Black Butte Ranch Association, and other associated individuals alleging a hostile work environment, sexual assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and negligence. The suit alleges that Black Butte Ranch is responsible for Woosley’s actions as an employee of the Ranch, and should have prevented harm to victims. The plaintiffs have demanded a total of $13.5 million in damages for these claims. The Black Butte Police Department has opened another investigation into the new reports of potential criminal actions. None of the plaintiffs work for Black Butte Ranch at this time.

How are we responding to the lawsuit?

The Black Butte Ranch Association board of directors and the Black Butte Ranch leadership team are working closely with our attorneys and our insurance company. It will take time to fully understand the lawsuit and prepare a response. As these events unfold, we will continue to work to ensure a safe and welcoming environment at the Ranch. Directors and managers are being prepared to support employees through these challenges. Any employees who have experienced or learned of sexual harassment are being encouraged to reach out directly to the People and Culture Department at the Ranch or to use the other reporting channels identified in Ranch policies. Retaliation of any kind against employees who make such reports (or who support those who do) will not be tolerated.

Will insurance cover the lawsuit?

The Ranch has various insurance policies, including an Employment Practices Liability Insurance policy. We are still working with our insurance carrier to determine overall policy applicability, terms, and benefits.

Are homeowners going to have to pay more dues in response to the lawsuit?

A complaint has been filed against the Ranch, but this is not the same as a judgment being imposed against the Ranch. We are a long way from determining what the financial effects of this lawsuit may be.

What will happen next?

We cannot predict at this early stage how the lawsuit will progress. The matter is likely to continue to appear in the news. During this time, we ask that you refer any inquiries from the media to the Ranch’s Chief Marketing Officer Kim Kohn at kkohn@bbranch.org. The Ranch and the BBRA Board of Directors will continue to provide updates to homeowners as these issues unfold.