Miller v. City of Portland

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Supreme Court
  • Area(s) of Law: Municipal Law
  • Date Filed: 10-30-2014
  • Case #: S061421
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Brewer, J. for the Court; En Banc; Balmer, C.J. & Landau, J. dissenting.
  • Full Text Opinion

Whether the duties of fire fighters' new job assignments were the "required duties" for the job classifications that the fire fighters' previously held is a question of material fact.

The Portland city charter requires that the city provide disability benefits to fire fighters who suffer injuries while performing their employment duties which make them “unable to perform [their] required duties.” Plaintiff fire fighters were injured in such a way and were paid disability benefits. Later, the city created new positions with the same job classifications that the Plaintiffs had been able to perform while injured, leading the city to conclude Plaintiffs were no longer disabled. This required Plaintiffs to return to work and no longer receive disability benefits. Plaintiffs filed suit against the city for breach of contract. Summary judgment was granted to the city. The Court of Appeals affirmed in part and reversed in part. The Court held that “required duties” referred to those necessary and essential to perform the job. The Court held the trial court erred in granting summary judgment to the city because there was a genuine issue of material fact as to “whether the duties of the plaintiffs’ new job assignments were the ‘required duties’ for the job classifications that the plaintiffs previously held.” The decision of the Court of Appeals is affirmed in part and reversed in part. The judgment of the circuit court is reversed, and the case is remanded to the circuit court for further proceedings.

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