State v. McClelland

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Law
  • Date Filed: 05-04-2016
  • Case #: A157254
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Shorr, J. for the Court; Armstrong, P.J.; & Egan, J.

Under ORS 137.106(1)(a) and 31.710(2)(a), in the criminal context, in order to seek restitution for economic damages, the state must prove that expenses incurred for healthcare services are reasonable. The submission of a hospital bill or doctor’s invoice, without more, is insufficient to establish “reasonableness”; some additional testimony or evidence is required.

Defendant appealed a trail court's order that Defendant pay restitution following his conviction for misdemeanor assault in the fourth degree. On appeal, Defendant argued that the imposition of $27,677.50 in restitution, the amount of the victim's hospital bill resulting from Defendant's underlying assault charge, was improper because there was no testimony or evidence presented at trial that the hospital bill was reasonable. The process by which the State may seek restitution from a criminal defendant is set forth by statute, ORS 137.106(1)(a). When a trial court finds that a defendant's actions caused economic damages to the victim, the court may impose restitution for the "full amount of the victim's economic damages." "Economic damages" is specifically defined by statute, ORS 31.710(2)(a), which, in relevant part, defines economic damages as "objectively verifiable monetary losses including but not limited to reasonable charges necessarily incurred for medical, hospital, nursing and rehabilitative services . . . ." There are three prerequisites in order for the state to seek restitution for economic damages against a defendant: (1) criminal activity, (2) economic damages, and (3) a causal relationship between the two. The submission of a hospital bill, by itself, is insufficient to establish reasonableness. The Court held that the State failed to present evidence of the "reasonableness" of the medical expenses, and therefore the trial court erred in ordering restitution. Remanded for resentencing; otherwise affirmed.

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