2015 ORS 31.725¹
Pleading punitive damages
  • motion to amend pleading to assert claim for punitive damages
  • hearing

(1) A pleading in a civil action may not contain a request for an award of punitive damages except as provided in this section.

(2) At the time of filing a pleading with the court, the pleading may not contain a request for an award of punitive damages. At any time after the pleading is filed, a party may move the court to allow the party to amend the pleading to assert a claim for punitive damages. The party making the motion may submit affidavits and documentation supporting the claim for punitive damages. The party or parties opposing the motion may submit opposing affidavits and documentation.

(3) The court shall deny a motion to amend a pleading made under the provisions of this section if:

(a) The court determines that the affidavits and supporting documentation submitted by the party seeking punitive damages fail to set forth specific facts supported by admissible evidence adequate to avoid the granting of a motion for a directed verdict to the party opposing the motion on the issue of punitive damages in a trial of the matter; or

(b) The party opposing the motion establishes that the timing of the motion to amend prejudices the party’s ability to defend against the claim for punitive damages.

(4) The court may grant a continuance on a motion under this section to allow a party opposing the motion to conduct such discovery as is necessary to establish one of the grounds for denial of the motion specified in subsection (3) of this section. If the court grants the motion, the court may continue the action to allow such discovery as the defendant may require to defend against the claim for punitive damages.

(5) Subject to subsection (4) of this section, the court shall conduct a hearing on a motion filed under this section not more than 30 days after the motion is filed and served. The court shall issue a decision within 10 days after the hearing. If no decision is issued within 10 days, the motion shall be considered denied.

(6) Discovery of evidence of a defendant’s ability to pay shall not be allowed by a court unless and until the court grants a motion to amend a pleading under this section. [Formerly 18.535]

(formerly 18.535)

Notes of Decisions

Statute is inapplicable in federal diversity cases. Pruett v. Erickson Air-Crane Company, 183 FRD 248 (D. Or. 1998)

Standard for determining sufficiency of evidence supporting mo­tion to amend is whether plaintiff has presented some evidence supporting each ele­ment of claim. Bolt v. Influence, Inc., 333 Or 572, 43 P3d 425 (2002)

In determining sufficiency of evidence supporting mo­tion to amend, court must also consider evidence submitted by defendant es­tab­lishing immunity or other exemp­tion or complete de­fense to punitive damages award. Bolt v. Influence, Inc., 333 Or 572, 43 P3d 425 (2002)

Require­ment that court deny mo­tion to amend pleading to include punitive damages if evidence is insufficient does not affect discre­tion of court to deny mo­tion on other grounds. Richardson v. Fred Meyer, Inc., 211 Or App 421, 155 P3d 881 (2007)


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.