Willamette Law Online

Oregon Supreme Court


( 2 summaries )


State v. Davis

Criminal Law: The right against self-incrimination prohibits police questioning only when a defendant is in custody or otherwise in compelling circumstances, and the right to counsel bars police questions outside the presence of counsel only once criminal proceedings have begun.

(Filing Date: 06-30-2011)

State v. Speedis

Criminal Law: A trial court does not overstep its sentencing authority when it employs nonenumerated factors to enhance a defendant’s sentence because 1) the state legislature authorized courts to impose a greater prison sentence if aggravating factors existed, and 2) trial courts are guided by two criteria: the seriousness of the offense and the character status of the offender, which confine impermissible vagueness issues.

(Filing Date: 06-30-2011)

( 1 summary )


State v. Lopez-Minjarez

Criminal Law: A trial court errs when it instructs a jury that a defendant may be found criminally responsible for all the natural and probable consequences that arise from aiding and abetting a crime if the defendant has conceded guilt of specific charges which support ignorance of other charges.

(Filing Date: 08-25-2011)

( 8 summaries )


Drollinger v. Mallon

Criminal Law: Exoneration is a prerequisite for bringing a legal malpractice claim against a defendant’s trial lawyer, but not for bringing a legal malpractice claim against post-conviction counsel.

(Filing Date: 09-01-2011)

State ex rel Engweiler v. Felton

Parole and Post-Prison Supervision: The parole board exceeded its statutory authority by creating intermediate hearings for those convicted of juvenile aggravated murder and the parole board has a legal duty to grant parole release hearings to the defendants.

(Filing Date: 09-01-2011)

State v. Baker

Criminal Procedure: To establish whether a police officer satisfied the reasonableness requirement of the four-part “emergency aid exception” test to the warrantless search exception of the Oregon Constitution, the court should examine whether the police officer had an objectively reasonable belief, based on articulable facts that a warrantless entry was needed to aid others, prevent harm from occurring to others, or cease harm to others.

(Filing Date: 09-01-2011)

Farmers Ins. Co. v. Mowry

Insurance Law: The court affirmed Collins v. Farmers Ins. Co. as stare decisis that that exclusion clauses within a motor vehicle insurance policy that eliminated coverage of one insured against another insured of the same policy are unenforceable to the extent that they failed to provide the minimum coverage required by law.

(Filing Date: 09-09-2011)

State v. Ryan

Constitutional Law: In order to challenge Oregon’s stalking protective order statute on free speech grounds, a defendant must first successfully challenge the underlying protective order.

(Filing Date: 09-09-2011)

Lasley v. Combined Transport, Inc.

Tort Law: Under comparative negligence, if a defendant wants to establish that a co-defendant is responsible for more of the fault based on facts not pleaded by the plaintiff, the defendant must plead the new facts as an affirmative defense in their answer.

(Filing Date: 09-22-2011)

State v. Cloutier

Criminal Law: Under ORS 138.050, a defendant who entered a no contest plea is unable to appeal the judgment, unless it is “unconstitutionally cruel and unusual” or “exceeds the maximum allowable by law,” with the maximum referring to the maximum amount allowable to sentence.

(Filing Date: 09-22-2011)

State v. Davis

Evidence: A defendant may introduce evidence of prior injury to demonstrate the possibility the harm did not occur at the time in question. However, such evidence may only be admitted if valid under OEC 701.

(Filing Date: 09-22-2011)

( 6 summaries )


Arken v. City of Portland

Employment Law: When the Supreme Court strikes down the two provisions in a law specifying how the Public Employee Retirement Board will collect excess benefits paid in 1999, PERB may, instead, exercise its authority under ORS 238.715 and issue an order to recover the funds.

(Filing Date: 10-06-2011)

Balboa Apartments v. Patrick

Civil Procedure: Provided that requirements under ORCP 23 A and ORS 105.135 are both met, plaintiff's failure to serve a summons and amended complaint within one day of paying filing fees is not grounds for dismissal.

(Filing Date: 10-06-2011)

Goodson v. PERS

Employment Law: PERB does not have the statutory authority to promise “Window Retirees” benefits based on a 20% earning credit for 1999, because there was neither a contractual obligation, nor a law entitling them to interest in such a credit such as to claim an impairment of contract or deprivation of due process when PERB acts to recover excess benefits.

(Filing Date: 10-06-2011)

Rasmussen v. Kroger

Ballot Titles: The Supreme Court may review a certified ballot title description in order to ensure that it complies with the guidelines of ORS 250.035, concerning definiteness and specificity.

(Filing Date: 10-06-2011)

State v. Kurokawa-Lasciak

Criminal Procedure: The automobile exception to the warrant requirement defined in State v. Brown does not extend to parked, immobile, and unoccupied vehicles, absent exigent circumstances.

(Filing Date: 10-06-2011)

Friends of Yamhill County v. Board of Commissioners

Land Use: To determine the expense ratio in a Measure 49 vested rights pathway exemption, the court considers the following questions: What is the expected cost of the project? What is the expense ratio? Is the expense ratio substantial? As to the last question, ‘substantial’ is relative to the cost of the project, where a small ratio may equal millions of dollars.

(Filing Date: 10-20-2011)

( 6 summaries )


Kaseberg v. Davis Wright Tremaine, LLP

Tort Law: A jury could find that when a lawyer informs their client that a breach of contract occurred, an objectively reasonable person would not suspect their attorney committed legal malpractice, thus causing their client's damages.

(Filing Date: 11-10-2011)

State v. Glushko/Little

Criminal Procedure: When a defendant’s failure to appear for a hearing results in the delay of prosecution without the defendant’s consent, the delay may be considered reasonable. The state is not obliged to dismiss the charges against the defendant, despite failing to use every available means to locate them.

(Filing Date: 11-10-2011)

State v. Swanson

Criminal Procedure: A jury's authority to find a defendant guilty of a crime, the commission of which is necessarily included in that with which the defendant is charged, extends only to an offense for which a prison sentence is authorized.

(Filing Date: 11-10-2011)

ZRZ Realty v. Beneficial Fire and Casualty Ins.

Attorney Fees: The 2005 amendment to ORS 742.001 that created an exemption for surplus lines insurance policies to the rule that in certain instances plaintiffs may collect attorney fees from an insurance company, does not apply to claims filed before the effective date of the amendment.

(Filing Date: 11-10-2011)

State v. Haugen

Appellate Procedure: The Court is permitted to issue a writ of mandamus when a judge of a lower court has not followed the statutorily required procedures. Once the judge sufficiently complies with the writ, the Court may dismiss the writ.

(Filing Date: 11-21-2011)

Rasmussen v. Kroger

Ballot Titles: Ballot initiatives that substantively change existing law must directly address in the ballot title the substantive change the initiative proposes to address. Additionally, the measure must address the substantive effect of a "yes" or "no" vote.

(Filing Date: 11-23-2011)

( 7 summaries )


Williams v. RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company

Tort Law: The State of Oregon need not be a party to a claim, or hold an interest in a claim, because its right to a 60% share of punitive damages results from the operation of law, and not from any claim it is involved with. Thus, because the state's right to 60% of punitive damages does not constitute a claim, it is not a "released claim" subject to the Master Settlement Agreement.

(Filing Date: 12-02-2011)

Girod v. Kroger

Ballot Titles: A ballot title’s caption must be specific enough for voters to identify the major effects of the proposed measure.

(Filing Date: 12-08-2011)

A.G. v. Guitron

Civil Procedure: Civil Procedure: ORCP 44C requires plaintiffs to produce all written reports of any examinations relating to the injuries of the claim upon request by defendant, regardless of whether their treating physician, or an expert retained solely for litigation performs the examination.

(Filing Date: 12-30-2011)

Petock v. Asante

Workers Compensation: For the purposes of determining reinstatement and reemployment rights of an employee recovering from a workers' compensation injury, the proper questions to ask are 1) did the claimant suffer a compensable injury, and 2) did the injury occur within the three-year statute of limitations period.

(Filing Date: 12-30-2011)

Robinson v. Public Employees Retirement Board

Employment Law: Concerning the PERS statutory contract - when a court invalidates a statutory mechanism, the Legislative Assembly remains free to provide a remedy for those who have lost payments they would have received pursuant to the mechanism.

(Filing Date: 12-30-2011)

State v. Rainoldi

Criminal Law: The crime "felon in possession of a firearm" does not require a culpable mental state; if it did, it would encourage ignorance of whether a person is a felon or not, and frustrate the purpose of the statute, which is to keep firearms away from criminals.

(Filing Date: 12-30-2011)

White v. Public Employees Retirement Board

Trusts and Estates: When a trustee has a fiduciary duty, his or her actions will be reviewed based on the reasonableness of his or her decision-making, rather than purely weighing the costs versus the benefits.

(Filing Date: 12-30-2011)