Willamette Law Online

Oregon Court of Appeals


Johnson v. Sunriver Resort Limited Partnership

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 09-12-2012
Case #: A147729
Hadlock, J. for the Court; Ortega, P.J.; and Sercombe, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/Publications/A147729.pdf

Civil Procedure: A party's neglect to file a timely response to a complaint may be excusable when reasonable steps were taken to ensure that a response would be filed.

Johnson appealed an order setting aside a default judgment in her favor. The trial court stated that Sunriver Resort Limited Partnership (Sunriver) defaulted because of excusable neglect. Sunriver's negligence led to Johnson's injury. Sunriver's insurer failed to meet the deadline to respond to Johnson's complaint that was filed with the court. Sunriver's agent had forwarded the complaint to the insurer and the claims supervisor, and subordinate employees took initial steps to ensure an appropriate response would be filed. After these initial steps were taken, another employee neglected his duty to refer the complaint to defense counsel. The Court of Appeals held that this neglect was deemed excusable because Sunriver, Sunriver’s agent, and Sunriver’s insurer all took reasonable steps and the neglect was caused by the insurer’s employee. Affirmed.