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Rivera-Martinez v. Vu

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 09-08-2011
Case #: A144371
Sercombe, J. for the Court; Ortega, P.J.; & Riggs, S.J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/A144371.pdf

Attorney Fees: To make a claim for attorney fees resulting from a minimum wage claim, the prevailing party must show that the claim clearly stems from clearly designed exceptions under ORS 653.055.

Rivera-Martinez sought and was denied attorney fees by the court-appointed arbiter and trial court for services rendered on a minimum wage claim and a legal malpractice claim against Rivera-Martinez’s former attorneys. Rivera-Martinez agued that under Oregon law attorney fees are awarded for claims stemming from overtime wage claims. In this case, his malpractice claim arose from the negligent former attorneys, but the claim stemmed from overtime wage claims. The Court of Appeals examined Rivera-Martinez’s argument on two issues; damages he suffered and preserved in the record, and the extent to which he had a legal claim to attorney fees. On the issue of damages, the Court held that Rivera-Martinez had ample time to preserve damages resulting from his malpractice claim in the record. As to Rivera-Martinez’s legal claim to attorney fees, the Court held that his claim was for negligence against his former attorneys, in contrast to the statutory requirement that the claim be against a former employer. Affirmed.