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Love v. Prime, Inc.

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 10-16-2013
Case #: A146178
Armstrong, P.J. for the Court; Haselton, C.J.; and Duncan, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/docs/A146178.pdf

Administrative Law: Plaintiff need not exhaust all administrative remedies when a party is not challenging an agency process or its outcome, nor does the primary jurisdiction doctrine apply when there is no basis for resolution of an administrative issue under the administrative construct, intended only to be applicable to an different stage of contest.

Love appealed a judgment for Prime, Inc. (Prime) on Love's disability-discrimination claim.  Love assigned error to orders granting summary judgment to Prime, Inc. and denying a stay. Love's contended that the trial court improperly granted summary judgment on the basis that Love had failed to exhaust his administrative remedies.  Prime maintained that Love needed to contest his application through the administrative processes in place with the Department of Transportation (DOT) for a determination regarding his physical qualifications in order to operate a commercial motor vehicle, prior to filing a disability-discrimination claim in court.  The Court of Appeals held that although the parties and the trial court identified the dispositive issue as one of exhaustion, that principle does not apply when a party is not challenging an agency process or its outcome. Instead, Love's disability-discrimination claim is of the type that, under certain circumstances, may be subject to the primary-jurisdiction doctrine, which requires merely that an aspect of the case or claim be decided under administrative processes, with the ultimate claim decided by the court. However, because Love did not seek injunctive relief to require Prime to hire him, and because DOT procedure at issue was not available to resolve whether Love was qualified to operate a commercial vehicle, the primary-jurisdiction doctrine did not apply. Therefore, the trial court improperly granted summary judgment in favor of Prime. Reversed and remanded.