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Koller v. Schmaing

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 12-19-2012
Case #: A136633
Haselton, C.J. for the Court; Armstrong, P.J.; and Duncan, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/docs/A136633.pdf

Appellate Procedure: Upon filing a notice of appeal, the Court of Appeals has jurisdiction over a case and the trial court retains only limited jurisdiction, which does not include entering corrected judgments under ORCP 71C.

Schmaing was a receptionist for Dr. Koller (Koller) and Companion Pet Clinic of NE Portland (Pet Clinic). Koller fired Schmaing when he learned that she was prepared to report him for professional misconduct. The trial court held in favor of Schmaing for her wrongful discharge claim against Koller and Pet Clinic, but only named Pet Clinic as the general judgment debtor. While an appeal was pending, the trial court corrected the judgment to include Koller as a debtor because it mistakenly omitted him. Upon filing a notice of appeal, the Court of Appeals has jurisdiction over a case and the trial court retains only limited jurisdiction, which does not include entering corrected judgments. Therefore, the Court held that the trial court lacked jurisdiction to enter a corrected general judgment while an appeal was pending, but also held that the court erred in failing to name Koller as a debtor in the original judgment. The Court found that the trial court did not err in denying Koller’s motion for a directed verdict because Schmaing was performing an important public duty when she reported Koller’s professional misconduct in good faith to the Oregon State Veterinary Medical Examining Board. Finally, the Court held that the trial court’s preclusion of Koller representing himself was not reversible error because Koller failed to show prejudice. Correction of general judgment vacated, appeal affirmed, and cross-appeal remanded with instructions to include Koller as an additional judgment debtor.