Doyle v. City of Medford

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Supreme Court
  • Area(s) of Law: Tort Law
  • Date Filed: 10-02-2014
  • Case #: S061463
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Brewer, J. for the Court; En Banc.
  • Full Text Opinion

ORS 243.303(2) creates a duty that local governments make the health insurance available to current employees also available to retired employees. A declaratory judgement, rather than a private right of action, should enforce this duty.

Plaintiffs, retired employees of the City of Medford (Medford), sued Medford to determine if ORS 243.303(2) creates a private right of action, and if not, whether the court should provide a common law right of action. ORS 243.303(2) requires that local governments make health insurance available to current employees also available to retired employees, and Medford had declined to make health insurance plans available to plaintiffs. The trial court denied Medford’s motion for partial summary judgment on the grounds that Medford did not have a statutory duty under ORS 243.303(2). Plaintiffs and Medford appealed. The Court of Appeals held that ORS 243.303(2) does not provide a private right of action, reasoning that the legislature would have explicitly drafted a right of action into the statute. Plaintiff petitioned for review of the decision. The Court held that ORS 243.303(2) does create a statutory duty on Medford, and that a declaratory judgment is adequate to enforce this statutory duty. The Court also held that plaintiffs did not present a cognizable claim for a private right of action, and declined to create a common law tort claim. The decision of the Court of Appeals is reversed. The case is remanded to that court for further proceedings.

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