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Doughton v. Morrow

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 02-27-2013
Case #: A148460
Schuman, P.J. for the Court; Wollheim, J.; and Nakamoto, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/docs/A148460.pdf

Civil Procedure: Under ORS 12.110, the statute of limitations does not begin to run at the time of discovery of facts that serve only as a trigger a duty to inquire about whether an injury has occurred. For a claim to relate back to the date of the original complaint, the original complaint must put the reasonable defendant on notice of such an additional basis of liability.

Doughton appealed the trial court's summary judgment order in favor of Morrow, the developer of the land. A cul-de-sac was constructed in a location different from the easement recorded with the county. In 2005, Doughton built a well in what he thought was the NW corner of his property. On July 20th, 2005 Doughton's neighbors informed him that the well was located on their property. A surveyor confirmed on October 28th, 2005 that the well was not on Doughton's property. On August 10th, 2007, Doughton filed a negligence claim against Morrow, due to the fact that the easement did not indicate the true location of the cul-de-sac. The complaint was amended on August 18, 2010, with Doughton adding an additional negligence claim based on the quality of the road, and a breach of contract claim. The trial court granted Morrow's motion for summary judgment, holding that both negligence claims were time barred under ORS 12.110; additionally the court held that the breach of contract claim was barred by the six year statute of limitation period under ORS 12.080. The Court of Appeals reversed the summary judgment with regards to the the original negligence claim, holding that under ORS 12.110 the period of limitations does not begin to run at the time of discovery of facts that serve only to trigger a duty to inquire about whether an injury has occurred, and therefore a general issue of material fact existed as to whether the notice given by the neighbor was sufficient to begin the limitations period. The Court affirmed the trial court's holding with respect to the second negligence claim, finding that Doughton had first hand observations regarding the condition of the road in 2004. Finally, the Court affirmed with respect to the breach of contract claim, holding that the claim could not relate back to the orignal negligence claim. Reversed in part; affirmed in part.