Willamette Law Online

Oregon Supreme Court


( 3 summaries )


State v. Hemenway

Evidence: The Supreme Court disavowed the minimum factual nexus test in "State v. Hall" because of the test's uneven interpretation throughout the state and established a new test. Once the defendant established there was an illegal stop and challenged his consent to search, the state shall demonstrate: 1) the consent was voluntary and; 2) that the consent was not due to the illegal stop.

(Filing Date: 01-10-2013)

Assn of Oregon Corrections Employees v. State

Labor Law: When an employer asserts an affirmative defense to a charge that it changed the status quo unilaterally, the Employment Labor Relations Board (ERB) may consider the contract terms to evaluate whether the union waived the right to bargain about such changes. This means the ERB is not required to first consider the terms of the contract under the status quo rubric before determining if a waiver exists.

(Filing Date: 01-17-2013)

Morgan v. Sisters School District #6

Civil Procedure: To properly have standing, three considerations must be met: (1) there must be "some injury or other impact upon a legally recognized interest beyond an abstract interest in the correct application or the validity of a law;" (2) the injury must be real or probable, not hypothetical or speculative; and (3) the court's decision must have a practical effect on the rights that the plaintiff is seeking to vindicate.

(Filing Date: 01-17-2013)

( 3 summaries )


In re Barnack

Professional Responsibility: Following the misconduct of a judge, the Commission of Judicial Fitness and Disability and the accused may submit stipulated facts and an appropriate sanction to the Supreme Court under ORS 1.420 to ORS 1.430, and the Court can approve such stipulation pursuant to ORS 1.430(2).

(Filing Date: 02-07-2013)

Strawn v. Farmer's Insurance Company of Oregon

Attorney Fees: When determining the amount of a reasonable attorney fee award in a case that involves both a statutory fee-shifting award and a common-fund award, a court may consider utilizing both the lodestar and overall percentage method.

(Filing Date: 02-22-2013)

State v. Harrell/Wilson

Constitutional Law: When determining jury waiver provisions in Article I, section 11, of the Oregon Constitution, the jury waiver provision is a substantive right and granting the waiver request is precedent upon analyzing judicial economy, defendant's rights, and speed against a waiver request. The prosecution's position may play a role in the decision as long as it relates to one of the three aforementioned factors; it may not be the sole factor.

(Filing Date: 02-28-2013)

( 6 summaries )


CenturyTel, Inc. v. Dept. of Revenue

Tax Law: The Court will uphold an administrative rule defining a statutory term where the definition is consistent with the term as defined by the statute.

(Filing Date: 03-07-2013)

Cocchiara v. Lithia Motors, Inc.

Contract Law: An employee may be able to prove that he reasonably relied on an offer of employment for a job that is terminable at-will under the theories of promissory estopple and fraudulent misrepresentation.

(Filing Date: 03-07-2013)

Crystal Communications, Inc. v. Dept. of Revenue

Tax Law: The gain attributed to a public utilities' sale of assets in a liquidation may reasonably be determined by the Department of Revenue as apportionable "business income" consistent with the term's statutory definition found in ORS 314.610(1).

(Filing Date: 03-07-2013)

Doe v. Lake Oswego School District

Tort Law: For a tort claim to accrue, a plaintiff must have discovered "not only the conduct of the defendant, but also the tortious nature of that conduct." Whether the nature of the defendant's act is generally known is a question of fact. The circumstances to consider include: plaintiff's status as a minor, the relationship between the parties, and the nature of the harm suffered.

(Filing Date: 03-07-2013)

Lindell v. Kalugin

Civil Procedure: Under ORCP 44A, the burden to establish good cause supporting a limitation or condition imposed on discovery is on the party requesting the limitation or condition. In a mandamus proceeding, the Court is limited to reviewing the trial court's decision for clear error.

(Filing Date: 03-07-2013)

Howell v. Boyle

Remedies: Under the "remedy clause," Article 1 Section 10 of the Oregon Constitution, the legislature can limit the amount a plaintiff can recover in tort. Only a limitation that leaves plaintiff "wholly without" a remedy, or one that is not "substantial" is prohibited by the clause.

(Filing Date: 03-14-2013)

( 1 summary )


Matar and Harake

: Under ORS 107.104 and ORS 107.135(15), a non-modification agreement in regards to child support, made in a stipulated divorce judgement, does not violate the law or contravene public policy.

(Filing Date: 04-18-2013)

( 4 summaries )


Con-Way Inc. & Affiliates v. Dept. of Rev.

Tax Law: Under ORS 317.090(2) a taxpayer may satisfy its tax liability by claiming its "Business Energy Tax Credit."

(Filing Date: 05-31-2013)

Elk Creek Management Co. v. Gilbert

Landlord Tenant: ORS 90.385 requires the tenant to prove that the landlord would not have taken the prohibited action but for the tenant’s protected activity, but does not require that the landlord intend to injure the tenant in response to the tenant injuring the landlord.

(Filing Date: 05-31-2013)

State v. Fair

Criminal Procedure: Temporary detention of an individual is constitutional if: (1) there is a reasonable belief that an offense involving danger of forcible injury to a person recently has been committed nearby; (2) there is a reasonable belief that the person has knowledge that may aid the investigation of the suspected crime; and (3) the detention is reasonably necessary to obtain or verify the identity of the person, or to obtain an account of the crime.

(Filing Date: 05-31-2013)

State v. Newman

Criminal Law: ORS 161.095(1) requires proof that the driving element of DUII is a voluntary act for criminal liability to attach.

(Filing Date: 05-31-2013)

( 4 summaries )


Brandrup v. ReconTrust Co.

Consumer Credit: Under the Oregon Trust Deed Act, (1) MERS cannot act as the “beneficiary” under the OTDA unless it is a lender’s successor in interest; (2) a “beneficiary” under OTDA is lender owed the obligation secured by the trust deed; (3) OTDA does not require that assignments resulting from the transfer of a promissory note be recorded before a non-judicial foreclosure; and (4) MERS cannot hold or transfer legal title to a trust deed because it holds neither a beneficial interest nor the legal interest of the trustee.

(Filing Date: 06-06-2013)

Niday v. GMAC Mortgage, LLC

Consumer Credit: For the purposes of the Oregon Deed Trust Act (ODTA), a beneficiary on a trust deed is the party that is entitled to repayment of the note. A party named as beneficiary, but lacking that entitlement, has no right to appoint a successor trustee after sale of the promissory note.

(Filing Date: 06-06-2013)

Haugen v. Kitzhaber

Constitutional Law: A reprieve is effective regardless of whether the reprieve is accepted or rejected by the grantee.

(Filing Date: 06-20-2013)

Gable v. State

Post-Conviction Relief: A post-conviction claim for relief based on inadequate assistance of counsel must be proven by a preponderance of the evidence.

(Filing Date: 06-27-2013)

( 4 summaries )


State v. Watson

Criminal Procedure: When officers detain a person for violating a traffic law, it is reasonable to determine whether the person is licensed to continue on his or her way after the encounter ends unless the detention becomes unreasonably lengthy.

(Filing Date: 07-05-2013)

PGE v. Ebasco Services, Inc.

Civil Procedure: A default judgment awarding monetary relief where the underlying complaint did not state the specific amount of money or damages sought violates ORCP 67 C. Such a defect does not render the default judgment void and subject to collateral attack, but instead renders the judgment voidable and not subject to collateral attack.

(Filing Date: 07-25-2013)

State v. Copeland

Evidence: Family Abuse Prevention Act certificate of service of a restraining order is an official record and is not testimonial evidence.

(Filing Date: 07-25-2013)

State v. MacBale

Evidence: In OEC 412(4) hearings to determine the admissibility of evidence of a sex crime victim's past sexual behavior, excluding the public is permissible under both the Oregon and United States Constitutions.

(Filing Date: 07-25-2013)

( 3 summaries )


In Re Peter Carini

Professional Responsibility: Violation of RPC 8.4(a)(4) occurs if the Bar proves the attorney's conduct did or could have had a prejudicial effect on the administration of justice. Prejudice to administration of justice may arise from several acts that cause some harm or a single act that causes substantial harm to the administration of justice.

(Filing Date: 08-15-2013)

State v. Christian

Constitutional Law: Ordinance prohibiting possession of a loaded firearm in public is not an unconstitutional denial of the right to bear arms in self-defense. Additionally, the Court will not consider overbreadth challenges in Article I, Section 27 cases.

(Filing Date: 08-15-2013)

State v. Stark

Criminal Procedure: For the purposes of ORS 166.207(3)(a), the felon-in-possession statute, a defendant whose previous felony conviction has been reduced to a misdemeanor is excluded, but only if that reduction was in effect before a defendant was charged as a felon in possession.

(Filing Date: 08-15-2013)

( 5 summaries )


Hagler v. Coastal Farm Holdings, Inc.

Tort Law: Under the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur, when a plaintiff does not supply evidence showing the injury was more likely than not caused by negligence on the part of the defendant, summary judgment in favor of the defendant is appropriate.

(Filing Date: 09-12-2013)

State v. Reinke

Sentencing: A defendant may be subject to an enhanced sentence absent a grand jury’s consideration of the enhancement factors.

(Filing Date: 09-12-2013)

State v. Savastano

Constitutional Law: A prosecutor’s decision will comply with Article 1, section 20 of the Oregon Constitution as long as there is a rational explanation for the differential treatment that is reasonably related to his or her official task or to the person’s individual situation.

(Filing Date: 09-12-2013)

Towers v. Rosenblum

Labor Law: When creating a ballot title that has the effect, if adopted by the voters, of creating "free riders" the ballot title caption must identify the actual major effect.

(Filing Date: 09-12-2013)

Klutschkowski v. PeaceHealth

Constitutional Law: A statutory cap on a jury's award of noneconomic damages is unconstitutional if the plaintiff's cause of action was recognized by the common law in place when Oregon's Constitution was adopted.

(Filing Date: 09-26-2013)

( 12 summaries )


Buehler v. Rosenblum

Ballot Titles: A ballot title must comply with ORS 250.035(2)(a) and reasonably identify the subject matter, which means that it would give effect to the actual major effect(s) if the measure was put into law. Additionally, a summary of the ballot title, under ORS 250.035(2)(d,) must be a concise and impartial statement of not more than 125 words that summarizes the state measure and its major effect.

(Filing Date: 10-03-2013)

Homestyle Direct, LLC v. DHS

Administrative Law: The validity of an administrative rule is irrelevant if the agency seeks to enforce the obligation as a contract term.

(Filing Date: 10-03-2013)

In re Phinney

Professional Responsibility: Disbarment is an appropriate sanction when a lawyer engages in serious criminal conduct and when a lawyer engages in any other intentional conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation that seriously adversely reflects on the lawyer's fitness to practice.

(Filing Date: 10-03-2013)

State v. Algeo

Constitutional Law: A crime victim's ability to petition the Oregon Supreme Court for alleged constitutional violations does not extend to alleged statutory violations. Additionally, Article I, section 42(1)(d), does not confer upon a victim the right to receive “restitution” in the full amount of economic damages as that term is defined by ORS 137.106.

(Filing Date: 10-03-2013)

State v. Benoit

Criminal Procedure: The Oregon Constitution does not support the state transforming what begins as a criminal proceeding into a noncriminal proceeding without the defendant's consent.

(Filing Date: 10-03-2013)

State v. Fuller

Criminal Law: Violations do not preclude a defendant from asserting a right to a jury trial pursuant to Oregon Constitution Article 1, section 11.

(Filing Date: 10-03-2013)

State v. N.R.L.

Juvenile Law: ORS 419C.450, the juvenile restitution statute, is not considered civil in nature and does not entitle a defendant to a jury trial under Article 1, Section 17 of the Oregon Constitution.

(Filing Date: 10-03-2013)

Trees v. Ordonez

Tort Law: A non-physician may be able to establish the standard of care needed in a medical malpractice case involving a physician to overcome a motion for directed verdict so long as that person is an expert in the area.

(Filing Date: 10-03-2013)

Zimmerman v. Allstate Property and Casualty Ins.

Insurance Law: Determining if notice of “proof-of-loss” of a UIM claim is sufficient is a pragmatic and functional inquiry that must be satisfied by the record. Additionally, a letter accepting coverage and offering arbitration is sufficient to trigger the "safe harbor" of ORS 742.061(3).

(Filing Date: 10-03-2013)

Rasmussen v. Rosenblum

Ballot Titles: Pursuant to ORS 250.035(2), a statement describing the result of a "yes" vote in a ballot caption must be simple, understandable, and not more than 25 words.

(Filing Date: 10-17-2013)

State v. Campbell

Criminal Procedure: When a defendant drives unlawfully while simultaneously possessing illegal contraband, there is only one “criminal episode” and joinder of the charges is permitted.

(Filing Date: 10-17-2013)

State v. Mills

Criminal Procedure: Article I Section 11 of the Oregon Constitution does not require the State to prove venue as a material element of a crime.

(Filing Date: 10-17-2013)

( 3 summaries )


State v. Anderson

Criminal Procedure: By itself, a request for identification made by an officer in the course of a lawful encounter with a citizen is not a seizure. A seizure occurs if an officer physically restrains a citizen’s liberty in a significant way, or engages in a “show of authority” that reasonably conveys a significant restriction on a person’s freedom to terminate the encounter.

(Filing Date: 11-21-2013)

State v. Backstrand

Criminal Procedure: A mere request for identification made by an officer in the course of an otherwise lawful encounter does not, in and of itself, result in a seizure.

(Filing Date: 11-21-2013)

State v. Highley

Criminal Procedure: An officer's mere request for and verification of identification is not a seizure. The encounter may become a seizure only when the manner and content of police questions, cause a reasonable person to conclude that the police are exercising their authority to coercively detain the citizen.

(Filing Date: 11-21-2013)

( 8 summaries )


Engweiler v. Persson

Habeas Corpus: ORS 421.121 permits reduction of terms of incarceration by earned-time credits; ORS 144.125 requires prerelease functions prior to entitlement to habeas corpus relief.

(Filing Date: 12-12-2013)

State v. Moore

Criminal Procedure: A police officer does not coerce a defendant into submitting to the statutorily required tests when the officer gives the defendant accurate information about the lawful adverse consequences that might result from a refusal

(Filing Date: 12-12-2013)

State v. Pipkin

Criminal Procedure: When determining whether a jury concurrence is required, a court must first determine the legislature's intent in enacting the criminal statute. If the legislature intended two ways of proving a single element, jury concurrence is not required, so long as Article I, section 11 of the constitution is not violated.

(Filing Date: 12-12-2013)

Tektronix, Inc. v. Dept. of Rev.

Tax Law: Under ORS 314.665(6)(a), the term intangible assets does not mean only “liquid assets,” and instead carries its ordinary legal meaning. The receipts from the sale of intangible assets that are not derived from a taxpayer’s primary business activity must be excluded from the sales factor under ORS 314.665(6)(a).

(Filing Date: 12-12-2013)

Robinson v. Harley-Davidson Motor Co.

Civil Procedure: In regards to personal jurisdiction, the appropriate standard for determining if the "arising out of or relating to" requirement supports the exercise of specific jurisdiction is the but-for and foreseeability of litigation test.

(Filing Date: 12-19-2013)

Schleiss v. SAIF

Workers Compensation: Accelerated aging and a mild degenerative condition are not legally cognizable preexisting conditions, and do not trigger apportionment of claimant's impairment in a true combined condition claim.

(Filing Date: 12-27-2013)

State v. Phillips

Criminal Procedure: At least 10 jurors must agree on each legislatively-defined element of a crime.

(Filing Date: 12-27-2013)

State v. Vanornum

Civil Procedure: ORCP 59 H, which provides that "a party may not obtain review on appeal" of an asserted error in giving or failing to give an instruction unless the party objected in a specified manner, does not control preservation of instructional error for purposes of appellate court review.

(Filing Date: 12-27-2013)