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In the three months plaintiff Ashley Schutz worked for Defendant O’Brien Constructors and project manager Keely O’Brien, she had declined multiple invitations by Keely O’Brien to join him and other coworkers for drinks after work. Plaintiff nevertheless felt pressured to accept an invitation so that she would advance in the firm. Plaintiff sued her employer and its agent, alleging that she had been seriously injured in an auto accident after she was pressured to attend a work-related event where she had become intoxicated. The trial court granted summary judgment for the defendants, concluding that they were entitled to statutory immunity under ORS 471.565(1) and that that grant of immunity did not violate the remedy clause of Article I, section 10, of the Oregon Constitution. The Court of Appeals disagreed with the trial court’s remedy clause analysis and reversed. On review, the Oregon Supreme Court concluded defendants were not entitled to statutory immunity under ORS 471.565(1). The Court of Appeals’ judgment was vacated, the trial court reversed, and the matter remanded for further proceedings. View "Schutz v. La Costita III, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Oregon Supreme Court allowed review of two cases this case, and Gutale v. Oregon, 395 P3d 942 (2017), requiring it to interpret the meaning and scope of the "escape clause" found in ORS 138.510(3). In both cases, petitioners alleged that their trial counsels were constitutionally ineffective and inadequate under the state and federal constitutions, based on the failure of those attorneys to provide petitioners with information regarding the immigration consequences of their guilty pleas. And petitioners in both cases alleged that their claims fell within the escape clause because they learned of their counsel’s inadequacy only when they were put in deportation proceedings after the statute of limitations had run. Both petitioners argued that they should not have been presumed to know the law any sooner than that. In this case (but not in Gutale), petitioner Ricardo Perez-Rodriquez was told at the time of his plea that there might be immigration consequences to his conviction, even though he was not told that there certainly would be immigration consequences. Furthermore, in this case (but not in Gutale), petitioner alleged that his mental illness and intellectual disability prevented him from knowing that he had a claim for post-conviction relief within the two-year limitations period. The state moved to dismiss, arguing that the laws underlying petitioner’s claim were reasonably available to him. The post-conviction court dismissed the petition as time-barred under ORS 138.510(3). The Court of Appeals affirmed without opinion. Finding no error in this case, the Supreme Court affirmed the Court of Appeals and the post-conviction court. View "Perez-Rodriguez v. Oregon" on Justia Law

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Petitioner Abdulla Gutale was an immigrant who pleaded guilty to the crime of sex abuse in the third degree. He alleged in a petition for post-conviction relief that his trial counsel had failed to inform him of the immigration consequences of his guilty plea to a class A misdemeanor and, through that omission, led petitioner to believe that there would be no immigration consequences. Based on that alleged failure, petitioner asserted that his trial counsel was constitutionally inadequate and ineffective under the state and federal constitutions. His petition was filed outside the two-year limitations period, but petitioner alleged that his petition fell within an escape clause because he could not reasonably have known of his grounds for post-conviction relief within the limitations period because neither trial counsel nor the sentencing court gave him any indication that his plea could carry immigration consequences, even when petitioner stated, on the record, that he was pleading guilty in part because he wished to travel and become a United States citizen. Petitioner alleged that he learned of counsel’s inadequacy only when he was placed in deportation proceedings, after the statute of limitations had run. The post-conviction court dismissed the petition as time-barred under ORS 138.510(3). The Court of Appeals affirmed, based on the principle that “persons are assumed to know laws that are publicly available and relevant to them,” including relevant immigration law. The Oregon Supreme Court reversed the decisions of the post-conviction court and the Court of Appeals: "Our conclusion that the subject of the reasonable- ness inquiry in ORS 138.510(3) is an unrepresented petitioner, rather than counsel, is significant. Although counsel may be responsible for knowing that there may be immigration consequences to a criminal conviction, we do not presume that to be the case for an individual petitioner, unless there is a factual basis for concluding that the petitioner knew that there may be immigration consequences to his or her conviction." View "Gutale v. Oregon" on Justia Law

Posted in: Immigration Law

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Defendant Dawn McColly failed to appear for a scheduled trial call, but, before that date, she had not been released following arrest, detention, or confinement. Instead, as part of a voluntary arraignment appearance, the trial court had ordered that she be conditionally released and also officially fingerprinted and photographed pursuant to a “book-and-release” process; defendant also had signed a release agreement stating that she had “been released” and agreed to personally appear at future court appearances. In response to a motion for judgment of acquittal at defendant’s trial on the failure-to-appear charge, the court concluded that the previously ordered book-and-release process satisfied the statutory “custody” requirement. A jury convicted defendant, and the Court of Appeals affirmed. The Oregon Supreme Court concluded the statutes required the state to prove that, prior to defendant’s failure to appear: (1) a peace officer had imposed actual or constructive restraint, pursuant to an arrest or court order, amounting to “custody”; and, then, (2) the trial court had released her from that custody, under a release agreement and upon an appearance condition. The state’s evidence did not satisfy those requirements, and the Court therefore reversed defendant’s judgment of conviction. View "Oregon v. McColly" on Justia Law

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In 2015, defendant Kelly Edmonds was charged with having raped a five-year-old girl in 1994 or 1995. At the time that the crime occurred, defendant’s wife operated a daycare service out of her and defendant’s home. The victim was regularly left at that day-care. At defendant’s trial, the victim, then twenty-five, testified that, on one occasion, while she was at the daycare, defendant had taken her into another room and raped her. The victim testified that she had reported the rape to her mother on the day that it had happened and to her father, grandmother, therapist, and school counselor in 2002. Defendant’s theory of the case was that the victim had formed a false memory of the rape. In support of that theory, defendant offered testimony from an expert witness that memories can become distorted over time and that false memories are possible. Defendant also presented testimony from the victim’s mother and grandmother that they had only learned of the rape in the past year and had not previously been told about it by the victim. Defendant also called the therapist and the counselor as witnesses, each testifying they had no recollection of the victim telling them about being raped by defendant and that, as mandatory reporters of child abuse, they would have made a report to the Department of Human Services if they had been told. From that evidence, defendant attempted to make the case that the victim’s memories of the rape had formed only recently and were therefore false. The question that this case presented for review was whether a transcript of a police interview, which was unquestionably hearsay evidence, could be introduced under the business records exception, OEC 803(6). That question was complicated by the existence of the official records exception, OEC 803(8)(b), an overlapping hearsay exception that specifically excludes from its scope “matters observed by police officers and other law enforcement personnel” in criminal cases. The Oregon Supreme Court held that the limitations that the legislature placed on the use of law enforcement records in OEC 803(8)(b) could not be avoided by introducing those records under the business records exception. The Court therefore held that the trial court’s decision to admit part of the transcript into evidence was error, and accordingly, reversed defendant’s conviction. View "Oregon v. Edmonds" on Justia Law

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Intervenor-respondent Riverbend Landfill Co. sought to expand its solid waste landfill in Yamhill County, Oregon on land zoned for exclusive farm use (EFU). Respondent Yamhill County determined for a second time that, with conditions of approval, the landfill expansion would not create a significant change in accepted farm practices or significantly increase the cost of those practices on surrounding agricultural lands, thereby meeting the "farm impacts test." But petitioners Stop the Dump Coalition, Willamette Valley Wineries Association, and Ramsey McPhillips and petitioner-intervenor Friends of Yamhill County (collectively, petitioners) contended Riverbend’s applications failed the farm impacts test. Broadly, the parties disputed what the farm impacts test measured and whether some of the conditions that the county imposed for approval are proper under ORS 215.296(2). On review of the Oregon Supreme Court, petitioners took issue with both the latest order of the Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA) in Stop the Dump Coalition v. Yamhill County, 74 Or LUBA 1 (2016) (SDC II), and the decision of the Court of Appeals upholding that order in Stop the Dump Coalition v. Yamhill County, 391 P3d 932 (2017) (SDC III). Petitioners challenged some of the county’s conditions of approval, which LUBA and the Court of Appeals approved, and the Court of Appeals’ articulation of how the county must evaluate impacts of the landfill expansion on farm practices and their costs. Ultimately, the Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the decision of the Court of Appeals and affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded the final opinion and order of the Land Use Board of Appeals. View "Stop the Dump Coalition v. Yamhill County" on Justia Law

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Shriners Hospitals for Children brought this action against defendant Michael Cox to collect on a note and obtained a default judgment against him. Shriners’ argument that defendant was judicially estopped from moving to set aside the default judgment was based on Shriners’ claim that defendant used the default judgment to his advantage in two other judicial proceedings: a dissolution action between defendant and his wife and a malpractice action that defendant brought against one of his lawyers in the dissolution proceeding. The primary question before the Oregon Supreme Court in this case was whether defendant was judicially estopped from setting aside the default judgment that, he contends, resulted from improper service. The trial court found that, even if service were improper, defendant knew about the default judgment shortly after it was entered and used it to his benefit in two judicial proceedings. The trial court ruled that, in those circumstances, defendant waited too long to set it aside. The Court of Appeals reached a different conclusion, reasoning the default judgment was void; as a result, neither the passage of time nor other circumstances barred defendant from seeking to set the judgment aside. The Supreme Court concluded that, in the circumstances of this case, defendant was judicially estopped from setting the default judgment aside, and reversed the Court of Appeals decision. View "Shriners Hospitals for Children v. Cox" on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure

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Defendant Rodney Banks was arrested for driving under the influence of intoxicants (DUII) and, when asked, refused to take a breath test, which would have revealed the percentage of alcohol in his blood. The Oregon Supreme Court concluded Article I, section 9, of the Oregon Constitution prohibited the state from using defendant’s refusal as evidence when it prosecuted him for that crime. Therefore, the Court reversed the contrary decision of the Court of Appeals, and that of the circuit court. View "Oregon v. Banks" on Justia Law

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A jury sentenced defendant David Taylor to death after he was convicted of aggravated murder, kidnapping, and other crimes against Celestino Gutierrez, as well as multiple offenses arising out of two bank robberies. In this automatic and direct review of his convictions and sentence, defendant primarily made two arguments contrary to controlling precedent without offering persuasive reasons to depart from that precedent, or arguments that otherwise lack merit. However, some of defendant’s assignments of error raised significant issues that the Oregon Supreme Court had yet to expressly address, including: whether the state must expressly allege its theory for joining multiple offenses, whether the governor’s moratorium on imposing the death penalty affects the jury’s ability to constitutionally consider that punishment, and whether the Supreme Court should presume that the undisclosed bias of an alternate juror impaired defendant’s constitutional right to trial by an impartial jury. Ultimately, the Court concluded none of defendant’s assignments of error identifies a basis for reversing the judgment, and affirmed. View "Oregon v. Taylor" on Justia Law

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Petitioner Melton Jackson, Jr. was tried on charges of first-degree sexual abuse and first-degree sodomy in 2001. At trial, petitioner’s counsel did not object to certain testimony, and controlling case law at that time from the Court of Appeals held that such testimony was admissible. In 2009, however, the Supreme Court held that that testimony was not admissible. In his post-conviction complaint, petitioner alleged that his trial counsel had failed to provide constitutionally adequate assistance and that he had been prejudiced as a result. The Court of Appeals affirmed the post-conviction court’s grant of partial summary judgment against petitioner, assuming that counsel exercising reasonable professional skill and judgment would have objected to the testimony so as to preserve the right to seek Supreme Court review of then-existing Court of Appeals case law. Thus the Court of Appeals concluded that as a factual matter, the chance that the Supreme Court would have allowed review in petitioner’s case and ruled in his favor was too small for him to demonstrate prejudice. The Oregon Supreme Court addressed only the prejudice aspect of petitioner's claim, and disagreed with the appellate court's application of the case law controlling here. "In our view, it is not appropriate, or workable as a matter of judicial decision-making, to speculate as to how individual members of the Supreme Court would have viewed a petition for review in petitioner’s case, as the post-conviction court suggested. Nor is it correct to conclude [. . .] that because of this court’s 'complete discretion' regarding whether or not to allow petitions for review, any assessment of the likelihood that such a petition by petitioner would have been allowed would be 'nothing but speculation.'" The Oregon Supreme Court concluded a petitioner had to show his lawyer’s deficiency had “a tendency to affect the result of the prosecution.” Given that conclusion, the alleged constitutional inadequacy of his trial counsel, which blocked his appellate counsel from the opportunity to raise the issue on appeal and subsequently in a petition for review, was prejudicial. View "Jackson v. Franke" on Justia Law