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Dunn v. City of Milwaukie

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 05-08-2014
Case #: S059316
Linder, J. for the Court; En Banc.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/docs/S059316.pdf

Property Law: To show a government taking of property under the Oregon Constitution, Art. 1, Sec. 18, a plaintiff must show that an inevitable result of the government’s actions was the invasion of the plaintiff's property.

The city appeals the Court of Appeals’ decision to affirm the trial court’s award of $58,333 to Ms. Dunn.  The city used pressurized water to clean sewer lines by Ms. Dunn’s house, which caused a sewage overflow in her house and ultimately resulted in thousands of dollars of damage.  Ms. Dunn’s tort claim was barred by the statute of limitations, but the Court of Appeals’ affirmed the jury’s award of $58,333 based on the theory of a government taking of property.  The Supreme Court held, under the natural and ordinary consequences test used to determine intent, that a plaintiff must show the natural consequences of the government’s actions were inevitable and the actions themselves were intentional.  The Court held that Ms. Dunn had not satisfied this test, and held that the Court of Appeals was to consider Ms. Dunn’s assignment of error as to dismissal of her tort claim.  Reversed and Remanded.