West Hills Dev. Co. v. Chartis Claims, Inc.

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Attorney Fees
  • Date Filed: 03-01-2017
  • Case #: A154695
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: DeVore, J. for the Court; Armstrong, P.J.; & Egan, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Under ORS 742.061(1), insureds, but not self-insurers, are entitled to attorney's fees.

Oregon Auto appealed a supplemental judgment granting West Hill attorney fees of $74,867.75. Oregon Auto argued that it should not owe attorney fees for an insured’s claim on the policy, a claim that allowed attorney fees under ORS 742.061(1). On appeal, Oregon Auto argued this action should be recharacterized as a suit for equitable contribution as among co-insurers, such that ORS 742.061 would not apply. Essentially, Oregon Auto contended that West Hills was a “self-insurer” (due to a “self-insured retention” deductible in an insurance policy West Hills had with a third party) and therefore this cases was a dispute between co-insurers, not one between an insurance company and an “insured”, entitled to recover attorney fees under ORS 742.061(1). The Court defined “self-insurer” from ORS 806.130, and rejected Oregon Auto’s argument, finding that Oregon Auto had a duty to defend West Hills from the first dollar of expense. Reviewing the trial court’s decision apportion fees of $74,867.75 for abuse of discretion, the Court found none. Affirmed.   

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