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Classen v. Arete NW, LLC

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 12-19-2012
Case #: A147893
Brewer, J., for the Court; Armstrong, P.J.; and Duncan, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/docs/A147893.pdf

Civil Procedure: A trial court's denial of leave to amend is reviewed for the improper exercise of discretion, which considers: 1) the nature of the proposed amendments and their relationship to the existing pleadings; 2) the prejudice, if any, to the opposing party; 3) the timing of the proposed amendments and related docketing concerns; and 4) the colorable merit of the proposed amendments.

Classen appealed the dismissal of her complaint. Classen partook in a sleep study with Arete NW. In the course of the study, Classen awoke to find her bra unhooked and breasts exposed with Arete NW's employee staring at her. Classen made numerous requests for the video of the sleep study. Two years later, Arete NW sent a letter explaining that the video had not been retained. Classen sued Arete NW for intentional or negligent spoliation of evidence. The trial court dismissed the claim for failure to state facts sufficient to constitute a claim. The court also denied Classen's motion to amend the complaint, seeking to add negligent infliction of emotional distress, because it determined that causation was lacking due to the underlying claims being time barred. The Court of Appeals affirmed the original dismissal, agreeing that sufficient facts had not been stated to constitute a claim. The Court reviewed the case to determine whether the trial court abused its discretion by denying leave to amend the complaint. The factors considered were: 1)the nature of the proposed amendments and their relationship to the existing pleadings; 2) the prejudice, if any, to the opposing party; 3) the timing of the proposed amendments and related docketing concerns; and 4) the colorable merit of the proposed amendments. The Court held that none of the factors precluded amending the complaint. Dismissal of original complaint affirmed; reversed and remanded for filing of amended complaint for negligent infliction of emotional distress.