Willamette Law Online

Oregon Supreme Court


Rice v. Rabb

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 01-30-2014
Case #: S060790
Baldwin, J. for the Court; Balmer, C.J.; Kistler, J.; Walters, J.; Linder, J.; and Landau, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/docs/S060790.pdf

Tort Law: Claims for conversion and replevin "accrue" under ORS 12.080(4) when plaintiff knows or reasonably should know the elements of such claims.

Rice appealed a decision by the Court of Appeals, which held that the statute of limitations for conversion does not incorporate a discovery rule.  Rice’s mother-in-law’s rodeo queen outfit was delivered to the hall of fame to be put on display. In 2000, Rabb gained possession of the outfit.  Rice, who is legally blind, did not know the outfit had been transferred from the hall of fame to Rabb until 2007.  In 2009, Rice brought an action for conversion and replevin under ORS 12.080(4), which has a statute of limitations of six years. Rice argued that the action did not “accrue” under ORS 12.080(4) until she had actual or construction knowledge that the outfit had been removed from the hall of fame, which was in 2007.  Thus, Rice asserted that her claim was not barred by the statute of limitations.  Rabb argued that because ORS 12.080(4) does not explicitly mention a discovery rule, there is no discovery rule.  The Court agreed with Rice.  The Court conducted a statutory analysis and reviewed a variety of case law to determine that ORS 12.080(4) incorporates a discovery rule.  The Court held that claims for conversion and replevin “accrue” when the plaintiff knows or reasonably should know the elements of the claims.  Reversed and remanded.