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O'Neil v. Martin

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 10-09-2013
Case #: A143429
Nakamoto, J. for the Court; Schuman, P.J.; and Wollheim, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/docs/A143429.pdf

Civil Procedure: Personal jurisdiction is established if a person purposefully directs his activities at a given state, the action “arises out of” the activities directed at the state, and the person can reasonably foresee being haled into the courts of that state. Under ORCP 23 A, a plaintiff has an opportunity to amend his complaint once before the trial court can dismiss it with prejudice.

Plaintiff appeals the trial court’s dismissal of his complaint.  Plaintiff was convicted and sentenced in Oregon, but later transferred to an Oklahoma prison. In Oklahoma, the warden and case manager confiscated legal mail from Plaintiff and returned it to Plaintiff’s attorney, affecting Plaintiff’s pending legal proceedings in Oregon. Plaintiff filed a complaint against the Oregon Department of Corrections, the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, and certain employees of each. The trial court dismissed the complaint with prejudice on the grounds that Oregon courts lacked personal jurisdiction over the Oklahoma defendants, and because Plaintiff failed to state a claim against the Oregon defendants.  On appeal, the Court held that Plaintiff established minimum contacts required for personal jurisdiction over the Oklahoma defendants. The Oklahoma defendants purposefully directed their activities at Oregon through their contact with Plaintiff’s Oregon attorney, and by deliberately opening and confiscating materials sent by Plaintiff’s attorney. The Oklahoma defendants could reasonably foresee that their actions had an effect in Oregon, and could reasonably anticipate being haled into Oregon courts. The trial court erred in granting the Oklahoma defendants’ motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. The Court held that under ORCP 23 A, as a matter of right, Plaintiff had a right to file an amended complaint once before the trial dismissed the complaint with prejudice. The trial court erred in dismissing Plaintiff’s complaint with prejudice and refusing him an opportunity to file an amended complaint. Reversed and remanded; otherwise affirmed.