Masood v. Safeco Ins. Co. of Oregon

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Contract Law
  • Date Filed: 12-09-2015
  • Case #: A149925
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Nakamoto, J. for the Court; Armstrong, P.J.; Egan, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

under Oregon law, “courts determine whether a contract is illegal by determining whether it violates public policy as expressed in relevant constitutional and statutory provisions and in case law, and by considering whether it is unconscionable.” An adjustment is not the only way for a new contact to be formed, but instead, when the parties agree to make a new contract, then a breach of that new agreement by either party could give rise to new legal rights. Evidence of “other crimes, wrongs or acts,” is not admissible to prove the character of a person in order to show that the person acted in conformity therewith.

This was a complex civil case that arose after a fire destroyed Plaintiff’s multi-million dollar home. The trial court determined that Safeco had breached its agreement with plaintiff with damages of $2,452,500, but found in favor of Safeco on the misrepresentation claim concluding that plaintiff “shall take no damages.” On appeal, plaintiff asserted 12 assignments of error, and Safeco asserted three cross-assignments of error and a cross-appeal. The Court in favor of plaintiff on the second and third assignments of error because there was no evidence that Safeco reasonably relied on the misrepresentations. Based on that disposition, the Court did not address plaintiff’s fourth through ninth assignments of error, nor Safeco’s third cross-assignment of error. That disposition also rendered Safeco’s cross-appeal moot. For plaintiff’s first assignment of error, challenging the decision that plaintiff “shall take no damages,” the Court concluded that (1) the trial court erred in concluding that the settlement contract was void as against public policy and (2) of Safeco’s counterclaim disposing of Safeco’s other arguments. On Safeco’s related first and second cross-assignments of error, The Court concluded that the trial court did not err in denying Safeco’s motions for directed verdict on plaintiff’s fire-loss claim. Judgment on Safeco’s counterclaim for breach of contract against plaintiff reversed; judgment on plaintiff’s claim for breach of contract for his fire loss against Safeco vacated and remanded with instructions to enter judgment for plaintiff in the amount of the jury’s award to plaintiff, and otherwise affirmed; cross-appeal dismissed as moot.

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