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A & E Security and Electronic Solutions, Inc. v. Fortalesa, Inc.

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 11-07-2012
Case #: A146047
Hadlock, J. for the Court; Ortega, P.J.; and Sercombe, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/docs/A146047.pdf

Attorney Fees: Under ORS 20.083, attorney fees may be awarded under provisions in a rescinded contract. ORS 20.083 was enacted to restore full reciprocity for awarding attorney fees and it is not limited by the examples in the explanatory clause.

A & E Security appealed the trial court’s judgment that awarded attorney fees to the defendant, Fortalesa. The two corporations entered into a contract for the installation of a security system. Fortalesa failed to pay, so A & E Security brought action for breach of contract. Fortalesa counter-claimed seeking rescission of the contract and alleged the security system was defective. An arbitrator granted rescission of the contract. After, Fortalesa sought attorney fees, which the trial court granted under ORS 20.083. A & E Security assigned error to the trail court for awarding the attorney fees based on provisions in the contract. Fortalesa responded that ORS 20.083 was meant to restore “universal reciprocity.” The Court of Appeals looked to the text of ORS 20.083 in context and legislative history. The Court explained in King that the operative clause was a broad entitlement to attorney fees when ORS 20.083 is applied. The explanatory clause in ORS 20.083 does not limit the circumstances in which it can be applied, but rather identifies examples. The legislature adopted ORS 20.083 with the intent to restore full reciprocity of attorney fees; specifically overturning prior cases which did not allow for attorney fees involving rescinded contracts. Affirmed.