Rains v. Stayton Builders Mart, Inc.

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Supreme Court
  • Area(s) of Law: Disability Law
  • Date Filed: 05-26-2016
  • Case #: S062959
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Brewer, J., for the Court; Balmer, C.J.; Kistler, J.; Walters, J.; Landau, J.; Baldwin, J.; & Nakamoto, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Article I, Section 17 of the Oregon Constitution does not restrict the legislature’s ability to impose a statutory damage cap on specific claims.

Petitioner was a construction worker who was injured after a wooden board holding him up broke, leading to a suit where he alleged negligence and strict products liability. Petitioner reached an agreement with one of the Respondent’s (Stayton) on a partial settlement agreement. Stayton then sued Respondent (Weyerhaeuser), the corporation where they bought the wooden boards, on an indemnity claim and obtained a judgment against Weyerhaeuser. After the Court of Appeals largely affirmed the trial court’s determination of Stayton’s defense costs, the Court granted the petitions of Petitioners and Weyerhauser. The Court held ORS 20.220(3) required the judgement against Weyerhaeuser for defense costs to be reversed, and the limited judgment for indemnity against Weyerhaeuser to be reversed also. The Court affirmed the Court of Appeals in refusing to dismiss Stayton as a defendant for lack of adversity, refusing to admit the settlement agreement at trial, and failing to allow fault to the general contractor. The Court also deducted some of the expenses in Weyerhaeuser’s challenge of the defense costs awarded to Stayton. The limited judgment in favor of Respondent (Stayton) against fellow Respondent (Weyerhaeuser) was reversed, and the general judgment in favor of Stayton for costs on Stayton’s indemnity claim against Weyerhaeuser was reversed.

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