Oregon Supreme Court

2015

January 2 summaries

Pereida Alba v Coursey

Defense counsel’s choice to pursue an “all or nothing” strategy may avoid the risk of being convicted of a lesser offense when defendant would otherwise go free.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Post-Conviction Relief

State v. Sagdal

Article I, sec. 11 of the Oregon Constitution does not mandate a jury of ten persons; rather, it provides for nonunanimous verdicts by ten of twelve jurors.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

February 2 summaries

State v. Hickman

The Oregon Supreme Court's earlier opinion in State v. Hickman is modified to correct a factual error, and the previous decision is affirmed.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Appellate Procedure

In re Ellis/ Rosenbaum

The Bar must prove disciplinary actions by clear and convincing evidence, which means the trust of the facts asserted is highly probable.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Professional Responsibility

March 8 summaries

Schoenheit v. Rosenblum

Under ORS 250.035, a certified ballot title must sufficiently notify voters and petition signers of the title’s potential impact.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Ballot Titles

State v. Mazzola

Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs) are searches for which a warrant generally is required under the Oregon Constitution Article I, section 9; an exception to the warrant requirement is a search conducted with probable cause or under exigent circumstances.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

State v. Nix

Appeals under ORS 138.222(4) are only available in felony cases; writs of mandamus must be specifically requested, or in exceptional circumstances, may be allowed where the required information is available; and Oregon appellate decisions rendered without appellate authority must be vacated.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Appellate Procedure

State v. Dickerson

Wildlife is property of the State because the State’s interest in wildlife is both a legal interest derived from common law, and is codified in Oregon Code 39-201(1930).

Area(s) of Law:
  • Property Law

Eclectic Investment, LLC v. Patterson et al.

the Astoria rule of common-law indemnity is a factor determined in the totality of the circumstances, and common-law indemnity is not consistent with severally distributed liability.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Tort Law

State v. Williams

Evidence is relevant when it is logically related to an issue in a case; if it makes more probable the underlying allegations of misconduct, it is relevant.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Evidence

Powerex Corp. v. Dept. of Revenue

Under ORS 314.665, both natural gas and electricity are considered tangible personal property for income tax purposes as they can be perceived with the senses and may be physically located within the state.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Tax Law

Towe v. Sacagawea

When multiple factual conclusions could be reached from the record, comparing negligence among multiple actors is a jury question, and summary judgement should be denied.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Tort Law

April 4 summaries

Sather v. SAIF

Under ORS 656.218, a worker’s estate may receive an award of benefits if the worker died prior to a final determination of benefits and in the absence of persons otherwise eligible to receive them, but if the estate is not satisfied, it cannot pursue a claim.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Workers Compensation

Willamette Estates II, LLC v. Dept. of Revenue

Under OAR 150-306.115, an assessor may petition DOR to correct a discrepancy in the tax rolls. Further, while taxpayer was allowed to challenge the value of component parts of property separately, that does not limit DOR’s authority to correct errors in the tax rolls.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Tax Law

State v. Lykins

Under ORS 162.285, the victim of the crime of tampering with a witness is the state in its official capacity as administrator of justice. Under OAR 213-008-0002, a convicted defendant is subject to aggravated sentencing when the direct victim of the substantive crime is “particularly vulnerable.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Sentencing

Moro v. State of Oregon

The legislature cannot enact laws that would retroactively disable a defined benefit of government employee pension plans (PERS), and to do so would be in violation of the Oregon Constitution. The legislature can, however, prospectively change those benefits.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Employment Law

May 3 summaries

In re Herman

Disbarment is an appropriate sanction for violation of RPC 8.4(a)(3) when the offending acts are intentionally dishonest and fraudulent and there are few mitigating factors.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Professional Responsibility

In re Jagger

Attorney’s violation of RPC 1.1 and RPC 1.2(c), by knowingly facilitating a client in violating a restraining order, resulted in 90-day suspension from the practice of law.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Professional Responsibility

State v. Medina

For the purpose of ORS 165.800 (Oregon's identity theft statute), signing a document with a false name does not amount to "utter[ing]" or “convert[ing] to [his] own use” another person’s personal identification.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Law

June 4 summaries

Green v. Franke

In post-conviction proceedings where petitioner argues inadequate representation at trial which resulted in prejudice to the case, the proper standards to apply are (1) whether trial counsel’s acts or omissions constituted inadequate assistance of counsel when viewed in light of counsel’s trial strategy; and (2) whether trial counsel’s acts or omissions, with consideration of trial strategy, “could have tended to affect” the outcome of the case.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Post-Conviction Relief

Eclectic Investment, LLC v. Patterson

The Supreme Court may allow reconsideration of a decision where it based its conclusion on an analysis not identified by the parties to the suit, but where that analysis produces the same result it will adhere to its opinion.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Tort Law

Montara Owners Assn. v. La Noeu Development, LLC

If a construction contract is only partially overbroad under ORS 30.140, then only those overbroad portions are voidable, rather than the entire contract. If no evidence supports a jury instruction on diminution of value, a jury instruction on damages under the economic waste doctrine is harmless.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Contract Law

State v. Delong

A defendant's voluntary consent to a search may be sufficient to demonstrate that an officer's failure to give a Miranda warning did not affect, or only had a tenuous connection, to evidence discovered during the search.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

July 4 summaries

State v. Jimenez

A routine weapons inquiry is unrelated to a traffic stop and violates Article I, section 9, of the Oregon Constitution where the officer has no reasonable, circumstance-specific suspicion of a safety concern.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

Couey v. Atkins

ORS 14.175 allows for moot cases to be deemed justiciable if the plaintiff meets all three necessary elements as defined within the statute. The statute was within the power of the legislature to pass because it did not go beyond the constitutional limitations placed on them in determining the justiciability of cases.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

Rogue Valley Sewer Services v. City of Phoenix

A franchise fee imposed upon a local government entity by ordinance of a municipality is permissible under the "home-rule" if the ordinance does not violate the state constitution, if it does not violate the criminal laws of the state, and if it is authorized by the municipality's charter; so long as the ordinance does not impose a duty on or impair the power of the local government entity.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Municipal Law

State v. Beauvais

Medical evidence of child sexual abuse is admissible in a criminal case if an expert is available to testify as to the probative value and meaning of the evidence.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Evidence

August 0 summaries

September 5 summaries

AT&T Corp. v. Dept. of Revenue

Pursuant to ORS 314.665(4), Oregon's codification of the Uniform Division of Income for Tax Purposes Act (UDITPA), “income-producing activity” is determined by “individual exchange[s] between a buyer and a seller..., whether the transmissions are sold individually or are sold in bulk.” Once the income-producing activity is identified, the location of the income-producing activity needs to be ascertained to determine whether it is performed completely within Oregon or “the greater proportion of the income-producing activity is performed in [Oregon], based on costs of performance.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Tax Law

City of Seattle v. Dept. of Rev.

An exclusive right of use, and control of, a definable part of a taxable power facility located in Oregon is sufficient to establish a possessory interest in the facility under Oregon tax law. Under Article IV, section 18 of the Oregon Constitution, a measure that possesses the essential features of levying a tax is subject to the requirements of the Origination Clause.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Tax Law

Greenwood Products v. Greenwood Forest Products

Under ORCP 64(B)(4), a trial court may authorize a new trial based on newly discovered evidence only if the proffered evidence is (1) newly discovered; (2) material for the moving party; and (3) unable to have been discovered and produced at trial given the exercise of reasonable diligence of the moving party. In this context, “reasonable diligence” includes the party’s capacity to request a continuance in civil proceedings while pertinent evidence is developed in a concurrent criminal case, and questioning a witness until that witness invokes a privilege to not testify.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

State v. Ashkins

Under Article I, section 11, a defendant may ask for a jury concurrence instruction where an indictment charges a single violation of a crime but the evidence permits the jury to find multiple, separate occurrences of that crime; alternative to an instruction, the state may limit the jury’s consideration to a single occurrence. The rule may not apply where evidence is nonspecific and undifferentiated to one of multiple occurrences.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

State v. Clemente-Perez

Under ORS 160.250(1)(b), a person is within a vehicle if the person, or any part of the person’s body, is inside the vehicle while he possesses a concealed, readily accessible handgun. Under ORS 160.250(2)(b), a person’s residence encompasses only the building in which he lives, and does not extend to structures in the house’s curtilage.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Law

October 7 summaries

A&T Siding, Inc. v. Capitol Specialty Insurance Corp.

Under the equitable doctrine of reformation, mistakes of law regarding the effect of the terms of the written agreement cannot be corrected by reformation of the contract.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Contract Law

Brownstone Homes Condo. Assn. v. Brownstone Forest Hts.

Because an addendum to a settlement agreement does not retroactively eliminate an original release of claims, the issue of whether a party may initiate an action despite the settlement agreement is a live issue, and therefore a motion to dismiss for mootness should be denied.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Law

Oregon State Hospital v. Butts

Under ORS 161.370, trial courts have the authority to commit a defendant to a hospital for treatment to help the defendant regain fitness to stand trial. ORS 161.370 impliedly grants trial courts authority to issue Sell orders, whether or not a doctor agrees that treatment is necessary.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

State v. Hickman

Under Article I, sections 2 and 3, of the Oregon Constitution, the State is not required to prove that a defendant acted with a knowing mental state rather than a lower mental state required by statute where a defendant claims his criminal acts were motivated by free exercise of religion principles. (Overturns Meltebeke v. BOLI).

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

State v. Hickman

Under Article I, sections 2 and 3, of the Oregon Constitution, the State is not required to prove that a defendant acted with knowledge rather than a lesser culpable mental state required by statute where a defendant claims his criminal acts were motivated by free exercise of religion principles. (Overturns Meltebeke v. BOLI).

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

Pearson v. Philip Morris, Inc.

In order to certify a class action lawsuit under the Oregon Unlawful Trade Practices Act for intentional misrepresentation causing economic losses, plaintiffs must prove that common issues, such as common reliance on defendant’s alleged misrepresentation, predominate over individualized issues.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

State ex rel Walraven v. Dept. of Corrections

ORS 138.160 does not effect a stay on the Department of Corrections’ obligation to prepare and submit a proposed release plan where the Department of Corrections appeals a preliminary order of conditional release under ORS 420A.203.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Sentencing

November 8 summaries

Chapman v. Mayfield

For negligence claims, courts must consider each case on its own facts, especially in cases involving third party criminal conduct. However, alleging over-service on the part of a bar is not alone sufficient to establish foreseeability of the type of harm that actually resulted.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Tort Law

Hillenga v. Dept. of Revenue

Under ORS 305.265, a “deficiency” is a notice and assessment of any owed and unpaid taxes. The three-year statute of limitations under ORS 314.410(1) applies only to notices of deficiency for a particular tax year and does not bar a challenge when a claimed net operating loss is carried over to a subsequent tax year filing.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Tax Law

State v. Cuevas

OAR 213-012-0020(2) and OAR 213-004-0006(2) do not require a jury determination of whether multiple convictions sentenced in a single judicial proceeding arose out of separate criminal episodes, because each rule serves as an exception to reduce a total criminal sentence, thereby not triggering the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Apprendi.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Sentencing

Brownstone Homes Condo. Assn. v. Brownstone Forest Hts.

Stubblefield v. St. Paul Fire & Marine was wrongly decided when it held a covenant not to execute in exchange for an assignment of rights, by itself, constitutes a release that extinguishes further liability of the insured, and therefore also extinguishes the rights of the insurer.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Insurance Law

Blosser/Romain v. Rosenblum (IP 45)

Under ORS 250.085(5), a petitioner may seek review of a certified ballot title to determine whether it substantially complies with ORS 250.035(2).

Area(s) of Law:
  • Ballot Titles

Blosser/Romain v. Rosenblum (IP 46)

Under ORS 250.085(5), a petitioner may seek review of a certified ballot title to determine whether it substantially complies with ORS 250.035(2).

Area(s) of Law:
  • Ballot Titles

Kendoll v. Rosenblum

Under ORS 250.085(5), a petitioner may seek review of a certified ballot title to determine whether it substantially complies with ORS 250.035(2).

Area(s) of Law:
  • Ballot Titles

State v. Guzek

Under Article I, section 11, of the Oregon Constitution and the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, a defendant may not be entitled to a full evidentiary hearing with live testimony to determine use of appropriate restraints during a penalty-phase trial, where the record reflects no disputed facts and the trial court properly considered, on the record, the risk of danger, disruption or escape and the relative prejudice of types of restraints.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Sentencing

December 8 summaries

State v. Agee

Under the framework the Supreme Court articulated in Hall v. Florida, the consensus in the psychological community under DSM-5 is that an individual’s ability and success in adapting and adjusting to daily life is central to the framework of determining intellectual disability, not strict adherence to standardized intellectual tests. In order to satisfy the Eighth Amendment requirements of ORS 163.150(1)(b), a defendant is allowed to present to a sentencing jury any relevant evidence of mitigating factors of the crime, including mental capacity.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Sentencing

Alfieri v. Solomon

Under ORS 36.110(7)(a), whether a communication is a confidential “mediation communication” under ORS 36.220 turns on three factors: (1) whether it is a “communication,” (2) its connection to a “mediation,” and (3) the identity of the recipient. Private discussions between a mediating party and his attorney that occur outside mediation proceedings, before or after a settlement agreement has been signed, are not “mediation communications,” even if they do relate to what transpires in the mediation.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution

Broadway Cab LLC v. Employment Dept.

A person can be considered an employee even when wages are paid directly from a third party receiving a service and not from the putative employer.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Employment Law

Moro v. State of Oregon

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.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Attorney Fees

Roberts v. TriQuint Semiconductor, Inc.

Under the test articulated in The Bremen v. Zapata Off-Shore Co., forum selection bylaws are presumptively valid absent a showing that enforcing the bylaw would be unreasonable, that the bylaw was passed as a result of fraud, undue influence, or overweening bargaining power, or that enforcement of the bylaw would contravene public policy in jurisdiction in which the suit was brought. Under Oregon law and the standard announced in Reeves v. Chem. Industrial Co., forum selection bylaws are presumptively valid unless enforcement would be unfair or unreasonable.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Corporations

State v. Gonzalez-Valenzuela

Under ORS 163.575(1)(b), a criminal defendant may be charged with child endangerment if that defendant knowingly puts a minor in a place where the principal and substantial use of that place is to facilitate unlawful drug activity, including possession of drugs.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Law

ODOT v. Alderwoods

When governmental action interferes with an abutting landowner's right of access for the purpose of ensuring the safe use of a public road, and the abutting landowner retains reasonable access to its property, no compensable taking of the property owner's right of access occurs.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

State v. Bonilla

A consent search is justified only if someone who had actual authority gave consent. Fourth Amendment principles of apparent authority are inapplicable because the Fourth Amendment is based on different principles than the underlying principles of Article I, section 9, of the Oregon Constitution.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law