Oregon removed the distinction between economic and non-economic damages
ort reform has been a long-debated subject, and one the Oregon
legislature seems to avoid. Tort law is based on the principle of fault or
negligence requiring the party at fault to pay compensation. Tort
reform is legislation that limits the amount a plaintiff can recover in
compensation in a personal injury lawsuit.
Legislation attempted to cap
non-economic damages in 1987 leading to the Supreme Court ruling
making it unconstitutional in 1999 and again in 2013.
that non-economic damages as a question of fact that must be decided
by a jury and the legislature may not interfere with a jury’s assessment.
However, in 2016, the Oregon Supreme Court reversed its previous
ruling finding that, in most instances, legislation can constitutionally
impose caps, eliminating a blanket ban. However, there are exceptions.
It stipulated that if the cap is a “paltry sum” in comparison to the award
decided upon by the jury, the cap no longer applies. Oregon has capped
non-economic damages in wrongful death cases at $500,000, and that
also applies to medical malpractice.
Under ORS 30.273, the Office of the State Court Administrator (OSCA)
calculates and posts the annual adjustment to the liability limitations
under the Oregon Tort Claims Act. Effective July 1, 2022 OSCA adopted
the new “paltry sum” for state and local public bodies for personal
injury, death, and property damage or destruction.
Tort claims table of
liability limits shows an increase of 74.4 percent over the past ten
Public Body Claimant(s) 2012 Limit - 2022 Limit
- state single injury or death $ 1,800,000 - $ 2,418,100
- state multiple injury or death $ 3,600,000 - $ 4,836,200
- local single injury or death $ 600,000 - $ 806,100
- local multiple injury or death $ 1,200,000 - $ 1,612,000
- state or local single property damage $ 104,300 - $ 132,200
- state or local multiple property damage $ 521,400 - $ 661,000
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
ow these awards got so large is in the passing of SB 311
in 2009 when
they removed the distinction between economic and non-economic
It made major increases to the Oregon Tort Claims Act
(OTCA) from $200,000 to $1.5 million for state entities: Oregon Health
Science University (OHSU), the State Accident Insurance Fund (SAIF)
and the Oregon Utility Notification Center. It increased the per claim
damage limit to $500,000 for all other public entities; increased the per
occurrence damage limits under the Oregon Tort Claims Act from
$500,000 to $3 million for the state entities and to $1 million for all
other public entities; increased that per claim limit by $100,000 per
year and the per occurrence limits by $200,000 per year until 2015;
increased the per claim limits for all other government entities by
$33,333 per year until 2015, and the per occurrence limits by $66,666
per year; increases all property damage limits from $50,000 per claim
to $100,000 per claim and $500,000 per occurrence; and provided the
amounts to adjust based on the Portland-Salem OR-WA Consumer Price
Index for All Urban Consumers up to three percent each year.
SB 311 also created a Tort Claims Task Force to revisit the issue of tort
liability of public bodies to convene in 2014. It would appear that has
never happened. Perhaps the Office of the State Court Administrator
(OSCA) created in 1971 is filling that function. OSCA oversees Oregon's
statewide, state-funded court system. The Chief Justice of the Supreme
Court is the administrative head of the Oregon Judicial Department
(OJD), and appoints the State Court Administrator who serves as OJD's chief administrative officer. Nancy Cozine was appointed in 2018 after
making an impactful presentation before the legislature on Oregon’s
public defense system.
In 2022, SB 1584
passed with bipartisan support to exempt
compensation for wrongful convictions from the Oregon Tort Claims
Act and award a yearly amount of $65,000, and while on parole or post-
prison supervision or required to register as a sex offender awarded
$25,000 yearly. Oregon was one of only 13 states that were not
compensating for wrongful conviction.
|Post Date: 2022-06-03 07:52:36||Last Update: 2022-06-03 08:21:56|