Articles Posted in Consumer Law

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The issue presented for the Supreme Court’s review was whether provisions of Oregon’s Unlawful Trade Practices Act (UTPA) that prohibited using “unconscionable tactic[s]” to collect certain debts, and causing likely “confusion” or “misunderstanding” regarding loans and credit, applied to the debt collection activities of plaintiffs, Daniel N. Gordon, P.C. and Daniel Gordon. The trial court held that those provisions applied only to certain consumer relationships and that plaintiffs’ roles as a lawyer and law firm engaged in debt collection activities, and not as a lender or debt owner, removed their activities from the scope of the UTPA. The court granted plaintiffs’ request for an injunction preventing the Oregon Department of Justice from enforcing the UTPA against plaintiffs. The Court of Appeals reversed, concluding that the UTPA did apply to plaintiffs’ debt collection activities. The Supreme Court affirmed the Court of Appeals. View "Daniel N. Gordon, PC v. Rosenblum" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff had an Oregon auto insurance policy issued by defendant. In 2008, plaintiff was injured in a motor vehicle accident. Among other expenses, plaintiff incurred $430.67 in transportation costs to attend medical appointments and to obtain medication. She then applied for PIP medical benefits under her insurance policy. Defendant paid for plaintiff’s medical care, but it declined to pay for her transportation expenses to obtain her medical care. Plaintiff then filed a complaint for breach of contract, both for herself and on behalf of others similarly situated. She alleged that her claim for medical expenses under ORS 742.524(1)(a) included her transportation costs. Defendant moved for summary judgment, arguing ORS 742.524(1)(a) did not require it to pay for transportation costs. After a hearing, the trial court granted defendant’s motion and entered a judgment in defendant’s favor. The question on review was whether the PIP medical benefit in ORS 742.524(1)(a) included the insured plaintiff’s transportation costs to receive medical care. The Supreme Court held that PIP benefits for the “expenses of medical * * * services” do not include an insured’s transportation costs for traveling to receive medical care. Therefore, the Court affirmed the grant of summary judgment in favor of defendant. View "Dowell v. Oregon Mutual Ins. Co." on Justia Law

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The issue this case presented for the Oregon Supreme Court's review centered on whether a defamatory statement made in an online business review was entitled to First Amendment protection. Plaintiff Carol Neumann owned plaintiff Dancing Deer Mountain, LLC, a business that arranged and performed wedding events at a property owned by Neumann. Defendant Christopher Liles was a wedding guest who attended a wedding and reception held on Neumann’s property in June 2010. Two days after those events, Liles posted a negative review about Neumann and her business on Google Reviews, a publicly accessible website where individuals may post comments about services or products they have received. In response to Neumann and Dancing Deer Mountain's defamation claim, Liles filed a special motion to strike under Oregon’s Anti-Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (Anti-SLAPP) statute. After a hearing, the trial court allowed Liles’s motion to strike and entered a judgment of dismissal of Neumann’s defamation claim without prejudice. The Court of Appeals reversed the judgment, reasoning that “the evidence submitted by plaintiffs, if credited, would permit a reasonable factfinder to rule in Neumann’s favor on the defamation claim, and the evidence submitted by [Liles] does not defeat Neumann’s claim as a matter of law.” After its review, the Supreme Court concluded that the online review at issue in this case was entitled to First Amendment protection. The Court therefore reversed the decision of the Court of Appeals to the contrary and remanded the case to the Court of Appeals to resolve a disputed attorney fee issue. View "Neumann v. Liles" on Justia Law

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ORS 742.061 authorizes an award of attorney fees to an insured who prevails in "an action * * * in any court of this state upon any policy of insurance of any kind or nature * * *." A later enacted statute, ORS 742.001, provides that ORS chapter 742 "appl[ies] to all insurance policies delivered or issued for delivery in this state * * *." The question in this case was whether ORS 742.001 precluded awarding attorney fees to an insured who prevailed in an action in an Oregon court on an insurance policy that was issued for delivery and delivered in the State of Washington. The trial court concluded that it did and entered a supplemental judgment to that effect. The Court of Appeals affirmed. Considering the text, context, and legislative history of Chapter 742, the Supreme Court concluded that the legislature did not intend that ORS 742.001 would limit the scope of ORS 742.061. "For us to hold otherwise, we would have to turn an expansion of the state's authority to impose substantive regulations on insurers transacting business in Oregon into a limitation on the remedial and procedural rules that affect insurers appearing in its courts. * * * we would have to read a limitation into the text of that section that the legislature did not include. We may not do that." The Court reversed the appellate court and remanded the case for further proceedings. View "Morgan v. Amex Assurance Company" on Justia Law