Oregon Supreme Court

2021

January 2 summaries

State v. Skillicorn

Evidence is barred by OEC 404(3) if “the chain of logical relevance” connecting the evidence to the fact it is proffered to prove relies on “an inference relating to a person’s character or propensities.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Evidence

State v. Pittman

In the context of Article I, section 12, of the Oregon Constitution, an act is not “testimonial” whenever its performance requires an individual to use his or her mental faculties. Rather, “[t]he information that an act communicates, and not the uncommunicated use of the mind, is what makes an act testimonial.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

February 2 summaries

Bank of New York Mellon Trust Co. v. Sulejmanagic

Under ORS 100.450(7)(c), a foreclosure action that has been filed and dismissed is treated as if it had never been filed.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Property Law

State v. Banks

A prosecutor may not make statements to a jury which imply that “additional evidence exists but cannot be presented” due to “our laws and rules of the court.” State v. Newburn, 178 Or 238, 241-42, 166 P2d 470 (1946). A trial court “accentuate[s] the error” if it overrules a defendant’s objection; reversal is required if the trial court fails to instruct the jury to disregard the prosecutor’s statement. Id.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

March 5 summaries

State v. Aguirre-Rodriguez

"Under Oregon law, restitution is to be awarded when a defendant has been convicted of a crime that results in economic damages to the victim and the state has presented evidence of those damages." ORS 137.106(1)(a).

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

State v. Link

The prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment has been interpreted to require a sentence “be graduated and proportioned to both the offender and the offense.” Miller v. Alabama, 567 US 460, 479, 132 S Ct 2455, 183 L Ed 2d 407 (2012). “[I]mposition of a state’s most severe penalties on juvenile offenders cannot proceed as though they were not children.” Id. at 474.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

State v. Phillips

The text of OEC 609(3)(a) suggests that the legislature intended the exception to function as a two-part inquiry... The first step is to determine ‘the date of the conviction' and the date of 'release of the witness from the confinement imposed for that conviction.’ The second step is to ask whether ‘[a] period of more than 15 years has elapsed since’ the later of those two dates. OEC 609(3)(a). If the answer to that second question is ‘no,’ then the conviction falls within the statutory window of admissibility.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Evidence

State v. Ramoz

ORCP 64 B(1) states that a new trial is warranted when a substantial right of the moving party is affected by an “[i]regularity in the proceedings of the court, jury or adverse party, or any order of the court, or abuse of discretion, by which such party was prevented from having a fair trial.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

Allianz Global Risks v. ACE Property & Casualty Ins. Co.

“[I]nterpretation of insurance policies is a question of law to be decided by the court… The court is to consider the plain meaning of the relevant policy terms; if a term is ambiguous, the court considers the context in which the term appears and then the context of the policy as a whole; if ambiguity remains, the term is construed against the drafter.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Law

April 4 summaries

Otnes v. PCC Structurals, Inc.

UTCR 21.080(5) authorizes a trial court to relate the filing date of a rejected document back to the original date the document was tendered for filing, if the filing party cures the deficiency identified by the trial court within three days.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

State ex rel. Kotek v. Fagan

"A writ of mandamus may be issued to any inferior court, corporation, board, officer or person, to compel the performance of an act which the law specially enjoins, as a duty resulting from an office, trust or station[.]” ORS 34.110.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

Walker v. Oregon Travel Information Council

A claim of wrongful discharge requires a plaintiff to identify an important public policy that would be foiled if the plaintiff were discharged; “it is necessary to ‘find’ a public duty, not create one.” Babick v. Oregon Arena Corp., 333 Or 401, 409, 40 P3d 1059 (2002). “The reasonableness of an employee’s belief” about an employer’s violation of law, like the reasonableness determination in civil negligence claims, is a question of fact. Fazzolari v. Portland School Dist. No. 1J, 303 Or 1, 12, 734 P2d 1326 (1987).

Area(s) of Law:
  • Tort Law

Bert Brundige, LLC v. Department of Revenue

ORS 307.827 provides, “logging equipment” refers to equipment used in logging and reforestation; equipment specially designed for activities related to water quality and wildlife habitat protection; and “excavators used in logging road construction, maintenance, reconstruction or improvements.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Tax Law

May 3 summaries

State v. Wolfe

After the enactment of Senate Bill 1013, the homicide of a child under 14 can only qualify as aggravated murder if it was premeditated. Or Laws 2019, ch 635, § 4; ORS 163.095(2)(b).

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Law

Evans v. Nooth

“Appellate courts should not decide new issues upon which the trial court had no opportunity to rule.” Vancil v. Poulson, 236 Or 314, 388 P2d 444 (1964).

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

State v. Naudain

Under OEC 401, evidence of a third-party’s racial bias is relevant where it bears a “logical relationship” to, and tends to show a witness’s own views.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Evidence

June 2 summaries

Allianz Global Risks v. ACE Property & Casualty Ins. Co.

"The existence of side agreements, indemnification promises, or an insured's waiver of policy terms is simply irrelevant to the contribution rights set out in the OECAA. Under that statute, as under our coverage cases, see Ledford v. Gutoski, 319 Ore. 397, 399-400, 877 P2d 80 (1994), whether an insurance company has a 'duty to defend or indemnify' its insured depends on two documents: the insurance policy and the complaint."

Area(s) of Law:
  • Business Law

Strasser v. State of Oregon

Under ORS 138.500(1) and ORS 138.500(2)(b), a written request by a criminal defendant for appellate counsel regarding a judgment that they wish to appeal shall be appointed counsel, and the Court of Appeals has concurrent authority once a notice of appeal is filed. ORS 138.550(2) provides that “petitioner for post-conviction relief may assert ground for relief that could reasonably have been asserted in a direct appeal if petitioner was unrepresented on appeal due to lack of funds to retain counsel and failure of the court to appoint counsel.” 

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

July 7 summaries

Level 3 Communications, LLC v. Dept. of Rev.

ORS 308.505(14) defines property so broadly as to include all property of the company that may be discovered.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Tax Law

Simi v. LTI Inc. - Lynden Inc.

Under ORS 656.262(7)(c), “If a condition is found compensable after claim closure, the insurer or self-insured employer shall reopen the claim for processing regarding that condition.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Workers Compensation

In re Conry

Information that embarrasses the client falls within the scope of RPC 1.6(a), and is considered "revealed" even if there is a third party who possessed that information. Further, in order for disclosure to be protected under RPC 1.6(b)(4), the attorney must have "reasonably believe[d] [it] necessary."

Area(s) of Law:
  • Professional Responsibility

State v. Hightower

To interpret the appellate court’s decision to remand a case, the trial court should focus not only on the explicit and implicit instructions provided in the appellate court’s opinion, but also on the entirety of the record as it relates to the identified error.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Appellate Procedure

Estate of Evans v. Dept. of Rev.

“If the resident's interest in the intangible property is sufficiently substantial, such that it is a source of actual or potential wealth to and cannot be dissociated from the resident, then his or her enjoyment of the benefits and protections offered by the state—including simply the benefit of living in an 'orderly, civilized society' for which the state is responsible, J.C. Penney Co., 311 U.S. at 444—is a sufficient justification for the state to impose its tax on that property.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Tax Law

Sherman v. Dept. of Human Services

The Oregon Tort Claims Act provides express statutory permission for child abuse suits to proceed without state immunity regardless of the time limitations imposed by ORS 12.115 because ORS 12.117 provides an exception for claims of this nature.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Tort Law

Sherman v. State

OTCA makes a public body liable for its tortious acts or omissions, subject only to the limitations set out in that act. ORS 30.265(1). By its terms, ORS 12.117 applies, in lieu of ORS 12.115, without exception or limitation, to actions “based on conduct that constitutes child abuse,” and we cannot read an exception for public entities or a limitation on the statute’s application into that statute. See Gaines, 346 Or at 173.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Tort Law

August 0 summaries

September 4 summaries

Batten v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Ins. Co.

Any added term that causes the UM/UIM coverage under a policy to be less favorable to the insured than the model policy is “unenforceable.” Erickson v. Farmers Ins. Co., 331 Or 681, 685, 21 P3d 90 (2001).

Area(s) of Law:
  • Insurance Law

Dept. of Human Services v. J. S.

ORS 109.751(b) allows the dependency court to make child custody determinations that are effective until a home state court issues its own order.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Juvenile Law

Khalaf v. Department of Revenue

Under Rev. Rul. 75-538, 1975-2 C.B. 34 (1975), “[a] taxpayer engaged in the trade or business of selling motor vehicles is presumed to hold all such vehicles primarily for sale to customers in the ordinary course of the taxpayer’s trade or business.” Under Estate of Reynolds v. Commissioner, 55 TC 172 (1970), “Transactions within a family group are * * * presume[ed] * * * gift[s].”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Tax Law

State v. Kragt

“[A] trial court must impose a [post-prison supervision] term for each violation of the statutes listed in ORS 144.103(1).”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Parole and Post-Prison Supervision

October 2 summaries

State v. Bartol

Under Article I, section 16, two special proportionality requirements apply to the death penalty. (1) Death must be limited to those who commit “a narrow category of the most serious crimes,” and are “the most deserving of execution. Atkins v. Virginia, 536 US 304, 319, 122 S Ct 2242 (2002). (2) There must be “a fundamental, moral distinction” between death-penalty and non-death-penalty crimes. Kennedy v. Louisiana, 554 US 407, 438, 128 S Ct 2641 (2008).

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Law

Dept. of Human Services v. P. D.

When a parent appeals from a jurisdictional judgment and the underlying dependency petition is subsequently dismissed, “termination of such a wardship does not necessarily render the appeal moot; whether dismissal is appropriate will depend on the particular circumstances presented.” Dept. of Human Services v. A.B., 362 Or 412, 414, 412 P3d 1169 (2018).

Area(s) of Law:
  • Family Law

November 4 summaries

Owen v. City of Portland

“A party that challenges a home-rule city’s authority as preempted by state law is required to show that the legislature ‘unambiguously’ expressed its intent—a high bar to overcome.” Rogue Valley Sewer Services v. City of Phoenix, 357 Or 437, 454, 353 P3d 581 (2015).

Area(s) of Law:
  • Preemption

State v. DeJong

Under Johnson, if the defendant establishes a factual nexus between the challenged evidence and the unlawful seizure the burden shifts to the state to establish that the challenged evidence was not tainted by the unlawful police conduct.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

State v. Rogers

Senate Bill 1013 (2019) retains the death penalty but narrowed the definition for aggravated murder.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Law

Sheehan/Calderwood v. Oregon Legislative Assembly

The Court has long recognized that the legislature has broad discretion with respect to reapportionment. The Court will not substitute it’s own judgment for the wisdom of the plan.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Election Law

December 3 summaries

State v. Reyes-Herrera

Article I, section 9, of the Oregon constitution protects the people’s right to move freely in the world, with assurance that their liberty will not be significantly restrained without reasonable suspicion that they engaged in criminal activity.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

State v. McCarthy

"[W]e overrule Brown's per se exigency rule and hold that, in order to justify a warrantless seizure or search of a vehicle based on exigent circumstances, the state must prove that exigent circumstances actually existed at the time of the seizure or search." 

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

Whitehead v. Fagan

Article IV, section 1(2)(b) of the Oregon Constitution provides that only signatures of "qualified voters" count towards the number required to propose an initiative law; those qualified voters must "[b]e registered" and be an active voter.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

Back to Top