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Morgan v. Amex Insurance Company

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 09-14-2012
Case #: S059655
Kistler, J. for the Court; Balmer, C.J.; Durham, J.; De Muniz, J.; Walters, J.; and Linder, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/Publications/S059655.pdf

Attorney Fees: ORS 742.001 does not limit the scope of ORS 742.061 to only those insurance policies delivered or issued for delivery in Oregon.

Carla Morgan (Morgan) appealed the Oregon Court of Appeals decision barring attorney fees for out of state insurance policies. While driving south on the Glenn Jackson Bridge, from Vancouver, Washington, Morgan's vehicle was struck by another vehicle. The driver of the other vehicle did not have insurance. Amex Insurance Company (Amex) initially denied Morgan’s uninsured motorist coverage claim; however, after Amex’s motion for summary judgement was denied, the two parties agreed to settle the claim. Morgan then sued for attorney’s fees, citing ORS 742.061, which allowed attorney fees to be awarded to the winner in an insurance action. The trial court and Court of Appeals held for Amex, stating that ORS 742.001 limits the scope of ORS 742.061 to only those insurance policies “delivered or issued for delivery” in Oregon. Therefore, since the insurance policy was issued and delivered in Washington, ORS 742.061 did not apply. The Oregon Supreme Court reversed, holding that the context, language, and legislative history of the Oregon statutes showed that the legislature did not intend to limit the scope of ORS 742.061 to only in-state insurance policies. Reversed and remanded.