Loucks v. Beaver Valley's Back Yard Garden Products

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Employment Law
  • Date Filed: 11-12-2015
  • Case #: A156750
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Sercombe, P.J. for the Court; Hadlock, J.; & Tookey, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Under ORS 652.150, an employer is not required to pay a penalty for failure to timely pay unpaid wages to the estate of a deceased employee, because ORS 652.150 merely applies employers who fail to timely pay employees who have quit.

Loucks (Plaintiff), as personal representative for the estate of decedent, James Dorsett, appealed the trial court's dismissal of her complaint seeking a penalty for failure to timely pay unpaid wages under ORS 652.150. Decedent died while on the job while employed as a truck driver for Beaver Valley's Back Yard Garden Products (Employer). Employer attempted to pay all unpaid wages to Decedent's estate pursuant ORS 652.190, but had insufficient funds to do so. Plaintiff sought to recover a penalty from Employer for this untimely payment, citing ORS 652.150(1), which imposes a penalty against employers for failing to timely pay unpaid wages to employees who quit. The trial court granted Employer's motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, concluding that ORS 652.150(1) does not apply to employees who die. On appeal, Plaintiff argues that the penalty should apply for employees who stop working, which includes employees who die. The Court refused to interpret ORS 652.150(1) so broadly, and held that the legislature intended the remedies under ORS 652.190 to be different from those available under ORS 652.150, and should remain separate and distinct. Accordingly, the Court held that the trial court did not err. Affirmed.

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