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Denucci v. Henningsen

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 02-08-2012
Case #: A142059
Duncan, J., for the Court; Haselton, P.J.; & Armstrong, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://courts.oregon.gov/Publications/A142059.pdf

Tort Law: The 180-day time limit for filing a claim under the Oregon Tort Claims Act begins when the plaintiff knows, or with reasonable care should know that an injury has occurred and that it is possible for a jury to agree with the plaintiff's argument under the circumstances of the case.

Denucci brought a civil action against Washington County Deputy Sheriff Henningsen and Washington County, asserting that Henningsen had arrested her without probable cause and that Henningsen himself had violated her Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable seizures. Washington County argued that Denucci did not provide the proper notice within 180 day limit; as measured from her time of arrest rather than, as Denucci argued, from the date that the charges against her were dropped. The Court of Appeals held that the 180 days begins when the plaintiff knew, or with reasonable care should have known, that an injury has occurred and that it was possible for a jury to agree with the plaintiff's argument under the circumstances of her case. In this case, it was unclear when Denucci knew or should have known facts establishing that her arrest may have been unlawful, so the trial court's denial of the defendants' motions for dismissal was not in error. Sheriff Henningsen also argued that the he had probable cause to arrest plaintiff under ORS 162.257, due to "the volume and aggressive tone of her voice and the positioning of her body." The Court of Appeals concluded that the noise of a person's voice does not rise to the requirement of physical conduct capable of violating the statute. Judgment on claim for false arrest reversed and remanded; otherwise affirmed.