Doyle v. City of Medford

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Municipal Law
  • Date Filed: 06-03-2015
  • Case #: A147497
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Duncan, P.J. for the Court; Haselton, C.J.; & Schuman, S.J.
  • Full Text Opinion

ORS 243.303(2) does not create a tort-based private right of action, but an adversely-affected retired local government employee may seek remedy through the Declaratory Judgments Act, as well as supplemental relief including economic damages for the cost of obtaining substitute health insurance.

This case came before this Court on remand from the Oregon Supreme Court. Plaintiffs Doyle and Deuel (Plaintiffs) retired from the City of Medford (The City) and were no longer provided with healthcare insurance. Plaintiffs sued, claiming before the trial court that ORS 243.303(2) provides a tort-based private right of action for a local government’s failure to provide healthcare insurance to retired former employees, and, alternatively, argued that the Declaratory Judgments Act should apply to grant relief to the Plaintiffs. The Plaintiffs reached the Supreme Court, and their case was combined with another, similar case, Bova. The Supreme Court remanded the case to this Court, holding that ORS 243.303(2) does not create a tort-based private right of action, but is subject to the Declaratory Judgments Act, allowing Plaintiffs to seek economic relief, including damages incurred when finding new healthcare. This Court determined that the trial court applied the wrong standard and remanded the case for proceedings consistent with the Supreme Court’s decision and interpretation of ORS 243.303(2), which held that unless The City can show that providing health insurance to retirees is unduly burdensome because of cost or other circumstances, Plaintiffs may seek remedy under ORS 243.303(2) through the Declaratory Judgments Act. Reversed and Remanded.

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