- Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
- Area(s) of Law: Tort Law
- Date Filed: 09-15-2021
- Case #: A169692
- Judge(s)/Court Below: Powers, P.J., for the Court; Egan, C.J.; & James, J.
- Full Text Opinion
Callais was injured in an auto accident by Henricksen and Ivan (Tortfeasors). Tortfeasors submitted a joint offer of $10,000, which Callais accepted. Callais then sought attorney’s fees under ORS 20.080(1) which permits an award of reasonable attorney’s fees to a plaintiff in an action for damages less than $10,000. The trial judge found that Tortfeasors’ joint offer exceeded the $10,000 threshold and therefore denied Callais her attorney’s fees. On appeal, Callais argued that Tortfeasors’ offer could not be aggregated for purposes of ORS 20.080(1). Tortfeasors argued that their offers could be aggregated and that, because their $10,000 joint offer exceeded the statutory threshold, Callais could not recover attorney’s fees. To recover attorney’s fees under ORS 20.080(1), a plaintiff must satisfy four requirements: (i) the plaintiff must file an action pleading damages of $10,000 or less; (ii) the plaintiff must prevail in that action; (iii) the plaintiff must issue written demand on the defendant for payment of their claim at least thirty days prior to commencing the action; and (iv) the judgment obtained by the plaintiff must be greater than any pre-filing settlement offer made by the defendant. Johnson v. Swaim, 343 Or 423, 172 P3d 645 (2007). The Court held that Callais satisfied all four requirements. Reversed and remanded.