Marandas Family Trust v. Pauley

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Attorney Fees
  • Date Filed: 06-28-2017
  • Case #: A153850
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Armstrong, P.J; for the Court; Egan, J.; & Schuman, S.J.
  • Full Text Opinion

ORS 20.080 does not require a plaintiff to serve any insurer that “might” have an obligation to the claim, but only insurers known to have an obligation.

Defendant appealed a circuit court judgment affirming an arbitrator’s denial of attorney fees to the prevailing homeowner in an arbitration over faulty roofing work done by the defendant builder. The grounds for the arbitrator’s denial of attorney fees was that the plaintiff had failed to deliver a pre-litigation written demand letter to Brookwood Insurance “Insurer B”, as required under ORS 20.080. However, in review the facts on record, the homeowner issued the demand letter to the defendant’s insurance company at the time of the roofing work in 2006, “Insurer A”, and at the time the damage was discovered in 2011, “Insurer C”, but not Brookwood, the defendant’s insurer from 2008 to 2010. The plaintiff argued that because they did not believe that Brookwood’s policy covered the damage, Brookwood was not an “insurer known to the plaintiff” for purposes of ORS 20.080. Defendant argued that Brookwood was “the defendant’s insurer” at the time the damage was occurring (from 2008-2010), and therefore was required to receive a pre-trial demand letter to trigger attorneys fees under ORS 20.080. The Court of Appeals held the plain reading of ORS 20.080 does not require a plaintiff to serve any insurer that “might” have an obligation to the claim, but only insurers known to have an obligation. Reversed and remanded. 

 

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