ORS 28.020¹
Declarations as to writings and laws

Any person interested under a deed, will, written contract or other writing constituting a contract, or whose rights, status or other legal relations are affected by a constitution, statute, municipal charter, ordinance, contract or franchise may have determined any question of construction or validity arising under any such instrument, constitution, statute, municipal charter, ordinance, contract or franchise and obtain a declaration of rights, status or other legal relations thereunder.

Notes of Decisions

Citizen had standing, in declaratory judg­ment pro­ceed­ing, to sue city to test validity of ordinance authorizing police to detain citizens for up to two hours. Cornelius v. City of Ashland, 12 Or App 181, 506 P2d 182 (1973), Sup Ct review denied

In declaratory judg­ment pro­ceed­ing to invalidate contract between hospital district and physician, complaint alleging that plaintiff was “resident and inhabitant” and “taxpayer” residing within boundaries of district was subject to demurrer because it failed to show how plaintiff’s “rights, status or other legal rela­tions” were affected by contract. Gruber v. Lincoln Hospital District, 285 Or 3, 588 P2d 1281 (1979)

Where ordinance re­quired car rental companies to collect and remit tax on motor vehicle rentals, tax was not invalid on ground of improper adop­tion pro­ce­dures, improper use of tax funds, or unconstitu­tional impact on interstate commerce. Budget Rent-A-Car v. Multnomah County, 287 Or 93, 597 P2d 1232 (1979)

Economic harm to plaintiff caused by defendant’s substantial advantage gained through absence of workers compensa­tion insurance expense constituted “rights, status or other legal rela­tions” affected by statute and thereby conferred standing to obtain declaratory judg­ment. Associated Reforesta­tion Contractors v. Workers Comp. Bd., 59 Or App 348, 650 P2d 1068 (1982), Sup Ct review denied

To es­tab­lish standing, taxpayer must show present or foreseeable financial interest. Chadwick v. Alexander, 310 Or 700, 801 P2d 797 (1991)

Require­ment that per­son bringing ac­tion be “affected” by statute prevents representa­tional standing. Oregon Taxpayers United PAC v. Keisling, 143 Or App 537, 924 P2d 853 (1996), Sup Ct review denied

Determina­tion under ORS 28.080 (Supplemental relief) concerning what coercive relief is necessary to effectuate declaratory judg­ment is separate from process of analyzing party rights, status or other legal rela­tions in order to issue declaratory judg­ment. Ken Leahy Construc­tion, Inc. v. Cascade General, Inc., 329 Or 566, 994 P2d 112 (1999)

Require­ment that complaint state justiciable controversy is jurisdic­tional. Beck v. City of Portland, 202 Or App 360, 122 P3d 131 (2005)

To have standing to bring declaratory judg­ment ac­tion under this sec­tion, per­son must (1) es­tab­lish statute at issue adversely affects per­son’s “legally recognized interest”; (2) show claimed injury or impact is real or probable, not hypothetical or speculative; and (3) show decision by court will in some sense rectify injury. “Legally recognized interest” may be recognized by statute at issue or other sources. MT & M Gaming, Inc. v. City of Portland, 360 Or 544, 383 P3d 800 (2016)

Out-of-state casino lacked standing to seek declara­tion about meaning of Oregon’s social gaming statutes because its interest in maintaining competitive advantage con­ducting betting games in Washington is not “legally recognized interest.” MT & M Gaming, Inc. v. City of Portland, 360 Or 544, 383 P3d 800 (2016)

Law Review Cita­tions

2 EL 331 (1972); 40 WLR 563 (2004)

Law Review Cita­tions

40 WLR 563 (2004)

Chapter 28

Notes of Decisions

Declaratory judg­ment pro­ceed­ings to determine coverage under insurance policies are legal in nature. Hartford v. Aetna/Mt. Hood Radio, 270 Or 226, 527 P2d 406 (1974)

Declaratory judg­ment pro­ceed­ings will be treated as either legal or equitable, depending upon the essential nature of the case. Intl. Health and Life Ins. Co. v. Lewis, 271 Or 35, 530 P2d 517 (1975)

Where complaint in declaratory judg­ment pro­ceed­ing sufficiently alleged justiciable controversy, it was error to grant mo­tion to dismiss for failure to state claim. Hupp v. Schumacher, 29 Or App 9, 562 P2d 217 (1977); Goose Hollow v. City of Portland, 58 Or App 722, 650 P2d 135 (1982)

Where a case sounds in law, an appellate court is precluded from testing the weight of evidence but rather to see if evidence exists from which the trier of fact could have drawn particular conclusions of fact. Lindsey v. Dairyland Ins. Co., 278 Or 681, 565 P2d 744 (1977)

The insurer was found not obligated to pay a propor­tionate share of the attorney fees of the insured incurred in the settle­ment of the per­sonal injury ac­tion. Lindsey v. Dairyland Ins. Co., 278 Or 681, 565 P2d 744 (1977)

Where students at college administered by Oregon State Board of Higher Educa­tion sought review of course grades through college grievance pro­ce­dures, judicial review was properly under ORS 183.490 (Agency may be compelled to act) and not declaratory judg­ment pro­vi­sions of this chapter. McBeth v. Elliott, 42 Or App 783, 601 P2d 871 (1979)

Declaratory judg­ment pro­ceed­ing filed by insured to determine its rights under an insurance policy insuring against loss or damage to prop­erty in its custody did not present a justiciable controversy. Mitchell Bros. Truck Lines v. Lexington Ins. Co., 287 Or 217, 598 P2d 294 (1979)

Challenging Board of Parole’s refusal to set release date through declaratory judg­ment was not proper as special statutory remedy under ORS 144.335 (Appeal from order of board to Court of Appeals) was available. Sterling v. Blalock, 47 Or App 275, 614 P2d 610 (1980)

City council’s removal of plaintiff as city attorney was quasi-judicial pro­ceed­ing, so proper ap­peal to circuit court was by way of writ of review and not declaratory judg­ment. Jordan v. City Council of Lake Oswego, 49 Or App 31, 618 P2d 1298 (1980), Sup Ct review denied

Where appraisal process pursuant to [former] ORS 743.648 had been initiated, declaratory judg­ment ac­tion to construe policy pro­vi­sions could not be commenced until appraisal was completed. Director v. So. Carolina Ins. Co., 49 Or App 179, 619 P2d 649 (1980), Sup Ct review denied

Circuit court had authority to determine whether Attorney General had statutory duty, but lacked authority to determine whether exercise of duty would violate attorney disciplinary rules. Brown v. Oregon State Bar, 293 Or 446, 648 P2d 1289 (1982)

Ac­tion seeking construc­tion of liability policy where there were legitimate ques­tions of coverage or noncoverage arising under policy issued for protec­tion of the insured against claims of third per­sons sustaining injury or damage presented justiciable controversy appropriate for declaratory judg­ment. State Farm Fire & Cas. Co. v. Reuter, 294 Or 446, 657 P2d 1231 (1983)

Plaintiff’s challenge to county charter failed to state justiciable claim because plaintiff only named sponsor of initiative as defendant. Hudson v. Feder, 115 Or App 1, 836 P2d 779 (1992), Sup Ct review denied

Law Review Cita­tions

10 WLJ 370 (1974); 15 EL 244 (1985)

1 Legislative Counsel Committee, CHAPTER 28—Declaratory Judgments; Certification of Questions of Law, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­ors028.­html (2019) (last ac­cessed May 16, 2020).
2 Legislative Counsel Committee, Annotations to the Oregon Revised Stat­utes, Cumulative Supplement - 2019, Chapter 28, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­ano028.­html (2019) (last ac­cessed May 16, 2020).
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. Currency Information