Moro v. State of Oregon

  • Court: Oregon Supreme Court
  • Area(s) of Law: Attorney Fees
  • Date Filed: 12-10-2015
  • Case #: S061452
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Balmer, C.J. for the Court; Kistler, J.; Walters, J.; Linder, J.; Brewer, J.; Baldwin, J.; & Haselton, J. pro tempore.
  • Full Text Opinion

In complex cases with multiple parties with different requests for attorney’s fees and costs, it is appropriate for the Court to appoint a special master to make findings of fact and recommendations for the reasonable allocation of attorney’s fees and costs for each party.

Moro and various other petitioners (collectively, "Petitioners") petitioned for attorney fees and costs incurred while litigating Moro v. State of Oregon, 357 Or 167 (2015). In that case, the Petitioners prevailed in proving that the modifications to the cost of living adjustments (COLA) which affected active members of the the Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) violated the Oregon Constitution’s Contract Clause of Article I, section 2. This Court held that the COLA amendments impaired the members’ contract rights insofar as the amendments applied retrospectively before the effective dates of the amendments. Petitioners and their attorneys argued that their efforts saved PERS members an aggregate of $4 billion and, in so doing, incurred approximately $2.3 million in fees and $66,000 in costs. The parties dispute the total amount and proper allocation of fees and costs. Consequently, because of the number of parties involved and differing amount of fees requested by each party involved, the Court referred the petitions to a special master to preside over the findings of fact and make recommendations for an award of reasonable attorney fees and costs.

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