Sodaro v. Boyd

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Tort Law
  • Date Filed: 04-26-2023
  • Case #: A174005
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Mooney, J. for the Court; Shorr, P.J.; & Pagán, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

"A substantial-factor instruction is not required in all multiple causation cases." Haas v. Estate of Mark Steven Carter, 370 Or 742, 525 P3d 451 (2023).

Plaintiff appealed from a judgment entered in his favor after a jury awarded him money damages for injuries sustained in an automobile accident. Plaintiff assigned error to the trial court’s failure to instruct the jury that “conduct" is an an element of causation when it is a “substantial factor” in producing an injury, even if it was not the only cause. On appeal, Plaintiff argued that in a case where evidence would support a finding that multiple factors contributed to the injuries, the proper test for the causal link would be the substantial-factor instruction. Defendant responded that based on Plaintiff’s theory of the causation, neither the sudden stop nor the pre-existing condition would have caused Plaintiff’s injuries without Defendant’s conduct. The Court relied on the Supreme Court’s decision in Haas v. Estate of Mark Steven Carter, 370 Or 742, 525 P3d 451 (2023), which concluded that the substantial-factor test was “developed primarily for the situation in which the concurrent conduct of two or more causes combine to create an injury, and either one of those causes, operating alone, would have been sufficient to produce the same result.” The Court found that after the jury followed the court’s instructions, the jury affirmatively answered the specific question of whether Defendant’s negligence caused Plaintiff’s injuries. Therefore, the trial court did not err in giving the substantial factor instruction. AFFIRMED.

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