Justia Civil Procedure Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Oregon Supreme Court
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Plaintiffs were landlords that rented property in the City of Portland. Plaintiffs filed a declaratory judgment and injunction action against the city contending, as relevant here, that ORS 91.225 preempted an ordinance passed requiring landlords to pay relocation assistance to displaced tenants in certain circumstances. Plaintiffs argued the ordinance impermissibly created a private cause of action that a tenant could bring against a landlord that violates the ordinance. On review, the Oregon Supreme Court concluded ORS 91.225 did not prevent municipalities from enacting other measures that could affect the amount of rent that a landlord charged or could discourage a landlord from raising its rents. The Court further held that ORS 91.225 did not preempt the city’s ordinance. The Supreme Court also rejected plaintiffs’ contention that the ordinance impermissibly created a private cause of action. View "Owen v. City of Portland" on Justia Law

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Two juvenile dependency cases were consolidated for the Oregon Supreme Court’s review because they presented the same issue on review: whether the juvenile court’s dependency judgments establishing jurisdiction and wardship over each of parents’ two children exceeded the scope of the court’s temporary emergency jurisdiction under ORS 109.751, one of the statutes in the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act as enacted in Oregon. Before issuing its decision in “J.S.II,” the trial court became concerned that these cases might have become moot, because the juvenile court had terminated its jurisdiction and the wardships during the pendency of the appeal. Having considered the parties’ supplemental briefs, the Supreme Court conclude that these cases were not moot. And, for the reasons discussed in J. S. II, the Supreme Court held the juvenile court had authority under ORS 109.751 to issue dependency judgments making the children wards of the court and placing them in foster care, but that it did not have authority to order parents to engage in specified activities to regain custody of the children. View "Dept. of Human Services v. P. D." on Justia Law

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Rami Khalaf (“taxpayer”) was in the business of buying products for customers in the United Arab Emirates, primarily all-terrain vehicles (ATVs). He sought to claim certain business deductions on his 2013 income tax return. As relevant here, those included travel expenses that taxpayer had incurred on trips to the Emirates, and the cost of a dune buggy that taxpayer had purchased for use as a demonstration model. The Department of Revenue rejected those deductions. The Tax Court agreed with the department on those points, holding that the travel expenses were not deductible, because they were not sufficiently documented, and that the dune buggy was not deductible because it counted as inventory. Taxpayer appealed, but finding no reversible error, the Oregon Supreme Court affirmed the Tax Court's judgment. View "Khalaf v. Dept. of Rev." on Justia Law

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Consolidated cases presented a certified question from the United States District Court for the District of Oregon. The Oregon Supreme Court was asked to determine whether Oregon law precluded an insurer from limiting its liability for uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) benefits on the basis that another policy also covered the insured’s losses. Each plaintiff suffered injuries caused by an uninsured or underinsured motorist, and each plaintiff incurred resulting damages that qualify as covered losses under multiple motor vehicle insurance policies issued by defendant State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company (State Farm). Each plaintiff alleged a loss that exceeded the declared liability limits of any single applicable policy and sought to recover the excess under additional applicable policies, up to the combined total of the limits of liability. In each case, however, State Farm refused to cover the excess loss, citing a term in the policies that allowed State Farm to limit its liability to the amount that it agreed to pay under the single policy with the highest applicable limit of liability. The Oregon Supreme Court concluded that that term made State Farm’s uninsured motorist coverage less favorable to its insureds than the model coverage that the legislature has required and, thus, was unenforceable. View "Batten v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Ins. Co." on Justia Law

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Two juvenile dependency cases raised an issue of the scope of a juvenile court’s temporary emergency jurisdiction under ORS 109.751, which was part of Oregon’s enactment of the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA). Parents were residents of Washington who were living temporarily at a motel in Oregon. The juvenile court asserted temporary emergency jurisdiction over their 15-month-old son after police, investigating the death of his infant brother, found him living in squalid and dangerous conditions in the motel room. The court later entered several dependency judgments concerning that child as well as another child later born to Parents in Washington. Parents challenged the juvenile court’s authority under ORS 109.751 or any other provision of the UCCJEA to issue dependency judgments making their two children wards of the court in Oregon. On Parents’ appeals, the Court of Appeals affirmed the juvenile court, holding that the juvenile court had properly exercised temporary emergency jurisdiction as to both children under ORS 109.751 and did not exceed its temporary emergency jurisdiction when it issued dependency judgments as to the children. Only mother filed a petition for review, which the Oregon Supreme Court allowed. After review, the Supreme Court affirmed the juvenile court’s denial of mother’s motions to dismiss the dependency petitions, because the juvenile court had temporary emergency jurisdiction under the UCCJEA to enter dependency judgments as to the children. However, the juvenile court exceeded the scope of its temporary emergency jurisdiction, and therefore we vacate certain parts of the dependency judgments. As a result, the appellate court was affirmed in part and reversed in part. View "Dept. of Human Services v. J. S." on Justia Law

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This case arose out of the explosion of a hydrogen generator at the campus of HP, Inc., which severely injured plaintiff William Cox. After Cox and his wife filed suit against HP in an Oregon court, HP brought a third-party claim against relator, TÜV Rheinland of North America, Inc (TÜV). HP alleged TÜV—a Delaware company that tests and certified products manufactured by others as conforming to established industry safety standards—had negligently certified the design of the generator at issue in this case. TÜV sought to dismiss HP’s claim against TÜV for lack of personal jurisdiction. The trial court denied the motion to dismiss, and TÜV sought an alternative writ of mandamus, which the Oregon Supreme Court allowed. There was no suggestion that TÜV had the kind of “continuous operations” within Oregon that were “so substantial and of such a nature” as to give rise to general personal jurisdiction. But there also was no dispute that TÜV had some contacts with Oregon that could support the exercise of specific personal jurisdiction over TÜV in some case. That posture focused the dispute in this case on the limits of what has been called the “relatedness” requirement of specific personal jurisdiction. The U.S. Supreme Court explored the requirement in Ford Motor Co. v. Montana Eighth Judicial Dist. Court, 141 S Ct 1017 (2021), ultimately concluding that Ford’s extensive activities in the forum states created a “relationship among the defendant, the forums, and the litigation” that was “close enough to support specific jurisdiction.” "The Oregon Court surmised the question in this case was whether there was a connection between TÜV’s Oregon activities and HP’s claim against TÜV that was sufficient to permit Oregon to exercise specific personal jurisdiction over TÜV. Under the specific facts of this case, the Oregon Court concluded Oregon lacked personal jurisdiction to resolve HP’s claim against TÜV. Accordingly, it issued a peremptory writ of mandamus directing the trial court to dismiss the claim against TÜV. View "Cox v. HP Inc." on Justia Law

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In a workers’ compensation case, the issue presented for the Oregon Supreme Court's review centered on the scope of an employer’s obligation under ORS 656.262(7)(c) to reopen a closed claim for processing if a “condition is found compensable after claim closure.” The closed claim at issue here was claimant Randy Simi's accepted right rotator cuff tear, and the conditions giving rise to the dispute were supraspinatus and infraspinatus tendon tears, which claimant asked employer to accept as “new or omitted” conditions. Employer issued a denial specifying that the conditions were not compensable, but, without withdrawing the denial, employer later took the position that the tendon tears were “encompassed” within the originally accepted rotator cuff tear. That change of position caused an administrative law judge (ALJ) to determine that the tendon conditions were compensable and to set aside employer’s denial. According to claimant, that ALJ order triggered employer’s obligation under ORS 656.262(7)(c) to reopen the claim. Employer contended, however, that the legislature did not require reopening if the compensable condition at issue was “encompassed within” the already-accepted conditions, even if the employer also had denied that the condition was compensable. A majority of the Workers’ Compensation Board and a majority of the Court of Appeals panel agreed with employer, and the Supreme Court allowed review to consider this disputed question of statutory interpretation. Based on its examination of the statutory text and context, the Supreme Court concluded the legislature intended employers to reopen compensable claims for processing when a compensability denial was set aside after claim closure, including under the circumstances of this case. Accordingly, the Court of Appeals' decision was reversed. View "Simi v. LTI Inc. - Lynden Inc." on Justia Law

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Taxpayer Level 3 Communications, LLC (Level 3) challenged the Oregon Tax Court’s determination of the real market value of its tangible and intangible property for the 2014-15, 2015-16, and 2016-17 tax years. Level 3 argued that the Tax Court held that the central assessment statutory scheme permitted taxation of the entire enterprise value of the company, contrary to the wording of applicable statutes that permit taxation only of a centrally assessed corporation’s property. According to Level 3, the Tax Court applied that erroneous holding to incorrectly accept the Department of Revenue’s (the department’s) valuations of Level 3’s property for the relevant tax years. The Oregon Supreme Court concluded Level 3 misconstrued the Tax Court’s decision, and the Tax Court did not err by accepting the department’s valuations. Accordingly, the Tax Court’s judgment was affirmed. View "Level 3 Communications, LLC v. Dept. of Rev." on Justia Law

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In a shareholder derivative action, two issues were presented for the Oregon Supreme Court's review: (1) whether the breach of fiduciary duty claims brought by shareholders-plaintiffs Joseph LaChapelle and James Field on behalf of Deep Photonics Corporation (DPC) against DPC directors Dong Kwan Kim, Roy Knoth, and Bruce Juhola (defendants) were properly tried to a jury, rather than to the court; and (2) whether the trial court erred in denying defendants’ motion, made during trial, to amend their answer to assert an affirmative defense against one of the claims in the complaint based on an “exculpation” provision in DPC’s certificate of incorporation. The Oregon Supreme Court concluded the case was properly tried to the jury and that the trial court did not err in denying defendants’ motion to assert the exculpation defense. Therefore the Court of Appeals and the limited judgment of the trial court were affirmed. View "Deep Photonics Corp. v. LaChapelle" on Justia Law

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Various parties petitioned the Oregon Supreme Court for reconsideration of its decision in Allianz Global Risks v. ACE Property & Casualty Ins. Co., 483 P3d 1124 (2021). Petitioner on review Allianz Global Risks US Insurance Company and Allianz Underwriters Insurance Company (“Allianz”), together with respondent on review Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s, London and Certain London Market Insurance Companies (“London”), petitioned on two grounds: (1) that the court in one place in the opinion incorrectly characterized its earlier cases regarding the duties of an insurer to defend or indemnify its insured; and (2) that the court in several places incorrectly identified a particular entity as the “indemnitor” in several agreements discussed in the opinion. Respondent on review Con-Way filed a petition for reconsideration asserting that the court erred in holding that certain “side” agreements between Con-Way and three of its insurers were to be considered separately from the insurance policies that those companies issued to Con-Way’s subsidiary, Freightliner. The Supreme Court considered the arguments in Con-Way’s petition, and denied it: "The purpose of a rehearing is not to raise new questions or rehash old arguments, but to allow the court to correct mistakes and consider misapprehensions." As to the Allianz/London petition: the Court allowed that petition to make changes as noted. View "Allianz Global Risks v. ACE Property & Casualty Ins. Co." on Justia Law