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Kohring v. Ballard

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 04-24-2014
Case #: S060533
Landau, J. for the Court; En Banc.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/docs/S060533.pdf

Civil Procedure: Under ORS 14.080(2), wherever a corporation or partnership conducts “regular, sustained business activity” is where its normal and ordinary business activities are sustained, which requires evaluation of the quantitative nature of the corporation or partnership’s activity and the frequency of that activity.

Richard and Kerstin Kohring (Kohrings) sued James Ballard, M.D., for medical malpractice in Multnomah County. Ballard moved to change venue to Clackamas County, arguing that, among other reasons, he did not conduct “regular, sustained business activity” in Multnomah County. The Kohrings argued that Ballard did, as was evident by Ballard soliciting patients in Portland and advertising as in the “Portland area.” The trial court denied Ballard’s motion, stating that by soliciting patients in Multnomah County, he “purposely availed” himself of the court’s jurisdiction. Ballard petitioned for a writ of mandamus to grant his motion to change venue. The Court held, first, that while the federal test for jurisdiction an venue are the same, they are not in Oregon and should be treated as distinct inquiries. Second, the phrase “regular, sustained business activity” refers to normal, ordinary business activities, which are determined by evaluating the quantum and frequency of business activities in an area. Finally, the Court applied this understanding to the facts of the case and determined that Ballard did not conduct “regular, sustained business activity” in Multnomah County; because any advertising by Ballard and his attendance at educational seminars were not sustained, and because advertising as within the “Portland area” could refer to multiple counties (Multnomah, Washington, and Clackamas), the Court issued a preemptory writ of mandamus ordering the trial court to grant Ballard’s motion to change venue.