2015 ORS 182.090¹
State agency to pay attorney fees and expenses when court finds for petitioner and that agency acted unreasonably

(1) In any civil judicial proceeding involving as adverse parties a state agency, as defined in ORS 291.002 (Definitions), and a petitioner, the court shall award the petitioner reasonable attorney fees and reasonable expenses if the court finds in favor of the petitioner and also finds that the state agency acted without a reasonable basis in fact or in law.

(2) Amounts allowed under this section for reasonable attorney fees and expenses shall be paid from funds available to the state agency. The court may withhold all or part of the attorney fees from any award to a petitioner if the court finds that the state agency has proved that its action was substantially justified or that special circumstances exist which make the award of all or a portion of the attorney fees unjust.

(3) As used in this section, civil judicial proceeding means any proceeding, other than a criminal proceeding as defined in ORS 131.005 (General definitions) (7), conducted before a court of this state. [1981 c.871 §2; 1983 c.763 §61]

Notes of Decisions

This statute has no applica­tion to judicial review of agency ac­tions under Administrative Procedures Act. Donnell v. Eastern Oregon State College, 64 Or App 271, 668 P2d 423 (1983), Sup Ct review denied

Relevant law was not so clear at time of trial that state could be said to have acted without reasonable basis in fact or law in pursuing its claim, and attorneys fees should not have been awarded against state. Simpson v. State of Oregon, 94 Or App 15, 764 P2d 580 (1988)

Where plaintiff brought ac­tion against State Depart­ment of Energy under ORS 183.490 (Agency may be compelled to act) to compel depart­ment to act, plaintiff is not entitled to attorney fees under this sec­tion, which operates with ORS 183.497 (Awarding costs and attorney fees when finding for petitioner) and does not provide independent source of award for attorney fees. Cascade Kelly Holdings, LLC v. Depart­ment of Energy, 275 Or App 500, 365 P3d 603 (2015)


1 Legislative Counsel Committee, CHAPTER 182—State Administrative Agencies, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­ors182.­html (2015) (last ac­cessed Jul. 16, 2016).
 
2 Legislative Counsel Committee, Annotations to the Oregon Revised Stat­utes, Cumulative Supplement - 2015, Chapter 182, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­ano182.­html (2015) (last ac­cessed Jul. 16, 2016).
 
3 OregonLaws.org assembles these lists by analyzing references between Sections. Each listed item refers back to the current Section in its own text. The result reveals relationships in the code that may not have otherwise been apparent.