Big River Construction, Inc. v. City of Tillamook

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Contract Law
  • Date Filed: 10-26-2016
  • Case #: A152131
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Sercombe, J. for the Court; Armstrong, P.J.; & Egan, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

An expert’s estimate can be of sufficient competence and certainty to base damages on if, from the proximate estimate, a satisfactory conclusion can be reached.

The City appealed the trial court’s denial of its motions for directed verdict that were directed against particular kinds of damages that Big River claimed. Specifically, the City argued that Big River failed to prove its damages with reasonable certainty. Further, the City argued that Big River’s evidence of costs and delay required speculation by the jury and therefore the evidence was insufficient to submit the delay duration and certain categories of damages to the jury. The Court found that an expert’s estimate can be of sufficient competence and certainty to furnish a basis for handing a specific amount of damages and that it is not a sufficient reason for disallowing damages claimed that could not be exactly calculated. It is sufficient if, from proximate estimates of witnesses, a satisfactory conclusion can be reached. Cont. Plants v. Measured Mkt., 274 Or 621, 627 (1976). Here, the witness did not explain the basis for the percentage or otherwise testify about the percentage figure that was used. As such, the Court held that the witness’s estimate was not sufficiently competent or certain. General judgment reversed and remanded for retrial of damages.

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