2015 ORS 31.610¹
Liability of defendants several only
  • determination of defendants’ shares of monetary obligation
  • reallocation of uncollectible obligation
  • parties exempt from reallocation

(1) Except as otherwise provided in this section, in any civil action arising out of bodily injury, death or property damage, including claims for emotional injury or distress, loss of care, comfort, companionship and society, and loss of consortium, the liability of each defendant for damages awarded to plaintiff shall be several only and shall not be joint.

(2) In any action described in subsection (1) of this section, the court shall determine the award of damages to each claimant in accordance with the percentages of fault determined by the trier of fact under ORS 31.605 (Special questions to trier of fact) and shall enter judgment against each party determined to be liable. The court shall enter a judgment in favor of the plaintiff against any third party defendant who is found to be liable in any degree, even if the plaintiff did not make a direct claim against the third party defendant. The several liability of each defendant and third party defendant shall be set out separately in the judgment, based on the percentages of fault determined by the trier of fact under ORS 31.605 (Special questions to trier of fact). The court shall calculate and state in the judgment a monetary amount reflecting the share of the obligation of each person specified in ORS 31.600 (Contributory negligence not bar to recovery) (2). Each person’s share of the obligation shall be equal to the total amount of the damages found by the trier of fact, with no reduction for amounts paid in settlement of the claim or by way of contribution, multiplied by the percentage of fault determined for the person by the trier of fact under ORS 31.605 (Special questions to trier of fact).

(3) Upon motion made not later than one year after judgment has become final by lapse of time for appeal or after appellate review, the court shall determine whether all or part of a party’s share of the obligation determined under subsection (2) of this section is uncollectible. If the court determines that all or part of any party’s share of the obligation is uncollectible, the court shall reallocate any uncollectible share among the other parties. The reallocation shall be made on the basis of each party’s respective percentage of fault determined by the trier of fact under ORS 31.605 (Special questions to trier of fact). The claimant’s share of the reallocation shall be based on any percentage of fault determined to be attributable to the claimant by the trier of fact under ORS 31.605 (Special questions to trier of fact), plus any percentage of fault attributable to a person who has settled with the claimant. Reallocation of obligations under this subsection does not affect any right to contribution from the party whose share of the obligation is determined to be uncollectible. Unless the party has entered into a covenant not to sue or not to enforce a judgment with the claimant, reallocation under this subsection does not affect continuing liability on the judgment to the claimant by the party whose share of the obligation is determined to be uncollectible.

(4) Notwithstanding subsection (3) of this section, a party’s share of the obligation to a claimant may not be increased by reason of reallocation under subsection (3) of this section if:

(a) The percentage of fault of the claimant is equal to or greater than the percentage of fault of the party as determined by the trier of fact under ORS 31.605 (Special questions to trier of fact); or

(b) The percentage of fault of the party is 25 percent or less as determined by the trier of fact under ORS 31.605 (Special questions to trier of fact).

(5) If any party’s share of the obligation to a claimant is not increased by reason of the application of subsection (4) of this section, the amount of that party’s share of the reallocation shall be considered uncollectible and shall be reallocated among all other parties who are not subject to subsection (4) of this section, including the claimant, in the same manner as otherwise provided for reallocation under subsection (3) of this section.

(6) This section does not apply to:

(a) A civil action resulting from the violation of a standard established by Oregon or federal statute, rule or regulation for the spill, release or disposal of any hazardous waste, as defined in ORS 466.005 (Definitions for ORS 453.635 and 466.005 to 466.385), hazardous substance, as defined in ORS 453.005 (Definitions for ORS 453.005 to 453.135) or radioactive waste, as defined in ORS 469.300 (Definitions).

(b) A civil action resulting from the violation of Oregon or federal standards for air pollution, as defined in ORS 468A.005 (Definitions for air pollution laws) or water pollution, as defined in ORS 468B.005 (Definitions for water pollution control laws). [Formerly 18.485]

(formerly 18.485)

Notes of Decisions

Whether defendant is 15 percent or more at fault is measured only against other parties to ac­tion. Davis v. O'Brien, 320 Or 729, 891 P2d 1307 (1995); Faverty v. McDonald's Restaurants, 133 Or App 514, 892 P2d 703 (1995)

Where plaintiff did not make direct claim against third-party defendant, "damages" awarded in judg­ment against third-party defendant may not include attorney fees. Huntley v. Tri-Met, 210 Or App 269, 149 P3d 1268 (2006)

When read with ORS 31.600 (Contributory negligence not bar to recovery) and 31.605 (Special questions to trier of fact), this sec­tion sets forth comprehensive system for allocating fault between parties and distributing liability for damages severally in accordance with that alloca­tion. Comparative fault system eliminates need for common-law indemnity claim. Eclectic Invest­ment, LLC v. Patterson, 357 Or 25, 346 P3d 468 (2015)

Law Review Cita­tions

24 WLR 313 (1988)


1 Legislative Counsel Committee, CHAPTER 31—Tort Actions, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­ors031.­html (2015) (last ac­cessed Jul. 16, 2016).
 
2 Legislative Counsel Committee, Annotations to the Oregon Revised Stat­utes, Cumulative Supplement - 2015, Chapter 31, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­ano031.­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.