Benavente v. Thayer

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Civil Procedure
  • Date Filed: 04-26-2017
  • Case #: A157716
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Flynn, J. for the Court; Duncan, P.J.; & Duncan, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Under ORCP 54 E, once a claiming party files an accepted offer of judgment there is “nothing for the court to do but to enter what the parties have agreed upon,” see State ex rel State Scholarship Com’n v. Magar, 288 Or 635, 642, 607 P2d 167 (1980).

Plaintiff appealed a corrected general judgment, and a supplemental judgment which awarded Defendant attorney fees pursuant to ORCP 54 E after Plaintiff had already accepted Defendant's offer of judgment. Plaintiff assigned error to the trial court's grant of interpleader under ORCP 31. On appeal, Plaintiff argued that after the offer of judgment was accepted and filed, the court "lacked authority to do anything other than enter a judgment based on the terms of the offer the plaintiff accepted." In response, Defendant argued that he faced potential third-party claims resulting from this matter, and that the trial court was authorized to ensure these liabilities did not adversely impact him. "When a plaintiff has accepted a defendant's offer of judgment, the trial court's role is purely ministerial in that 'the only judgment that can properly be entered is one which is in accordance with the terms of the offer, as accepted.'" Miller v. American Family Mutual Ins. Co., 262 OR APP 730, 737 (2014). Under ORCP 54 E, once a claiming party files an accepted offer of judgment there is “nothing for the court to do but to enter what the parties have agreed upon,” see State ex rel State Scholarship Com’n v. Magar, 288 Or 635, 642, 607 P2d 167 (1980). That charge also includes the authority to resolve disputes regarding what the parties have agreed upon. The Court of Appeals clarified, “if a motion relates to a dispute about the terms of the offer or to an issue that the offer expressly provided would remain in dispute, such as the offer in Miller [v. American Family Mutual Ins. Co., 262 OR APP 730, 737 (2014)], then the acceptance of an ORCP 54 E offer does not cut off the court’s authority to address the motion.” However, in this case, the court’s order permitting interpleader “added an obligation for plaintiff to pay attorney fees that were not in accordance with the terms of the accepted offer to allow judgment.” Supplemental judgment reversed; otherwise affirmed.Under ORCP 54 E, once a claiming party files an accepted offer of judgment there is “nothing for the court to do but to enter what the parties have agreed upon,” see State ex rel State Scholarship Com’n v. Magar, 288 Or 635, 642, 607 P2d 167 (1980). 

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