- Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
- Area(s) of Law: Remedies
- Date Filed: 01-13-2021
- Case #: A166857
- Judge(s)/Court Below: Lagesen, P.J. for the Court; DeVore, J.; & Powers, J.
- Full Text Opinion
Stewart brought a class action case, alleging that Albertson’s inflated meat prices during “buy-one-get-one-free” promotions in violation of consumer protection laws. ORS 646.608(1)(j). Albertson’s conceded the violations, but filed a motion to dismiss under ORCP 32 (I) promising to pay actual damages in coupons. Albertson’s calculated actual damages as the difference of non-promotion prices and promotion prices. The trial court granted Albertson’s motion on the condition that damages be in money, not coupons; to which Albertson’s consented. Stewart appealed, assigning error to the dismissal. Stewart argued that the motion was untimely, required the court to make impermissible fact-determinations, and excluded statutory damages. Albertson’s argued that the court had discretion over whether to award statutory damages. In class action suits, statutory damages are available to plaintiffs if defendants’ violations were “knowing and reckless.” ORS 646.638(8)(a). “However, we now interpret ORS 646.638 to provide that a violation by the defendant entitles the plaintiff to recover compensatory damages or $200, whichever is greater; the jury can also award punitive damages if it finds deterrence is called for and the defendant's conduct is particularly aggravated.” Crooks v. Payless Drug Stores, 285 Or 481, 490 (1979). First, the Court found that Albertson’s cure was not untimely because ORCP 32 (I) plainly proscribes no time limit; the 30 day time limit of ORCP 32 (H) relates to pre-litigation notice to parties, not cures. Second, the Court did not discuss Albertson’s method of calculation for damages, but found that statutory damages are not intended to be discretionary for “knowing and reckless" consumer protection violations. Therefore, the Court held that the trial court erred in excluding statutory damages because Albertson’s conceded the violations. Reversed and remanded.