2015 ORS 31.730¹
Standards for award of punitive damages
  • required review of award by court
  • additional reduction of award for remedial measures

(1) Punitive damages are not recoverable in a civil action unless it is proven by clear and convincing evidence that the party against whom punitive damages are sought has acted with malice or has shown a reckless and outrageous indifference to a highly unreasonable risk of harm and has acted with a conscious indifference to the health, safety and welfare of others.

(2) If an award of punitive damages is made by a jury, the court shall review the award to determine whether the award is within the range of damages that a rational juror would be entitled to award based on the record as a whole, viewing the statutory and common-law factors that allow an award of punitive damages for the specific type of claim at issue in the proceeding.

(3) In addition to any reduction that may be made under subsection (2) of this section, upon the motion of a defendant the court may reduce the amount of any judgment requiring the payment of punitive damages entered against the defendant if the defendant establishes that the defendant has taken remedial measures that are reasonable under the circumstances to prevent reoccurrence of the conduct that gave rise to the claim for punitive damages. In reducing awards of punitive damages under the provisions of this subsection, the court shall consider the amount of any previous judgment for punitive damages entered against the same defendant for the same conduct giving rise to a claim for punitive damages. [Formerly 18.537]

(formerly 18.537)

Notes of Decisions

Whether punitive damages are within range awardable by ra­tional juror is not determined by fixed ratio between compensatory damages amount and punitive damages amount. Axen v. American Home Products Corp., 158 Or App 292, 974 P2d 224 (1999), modified 160 Or App 19, 981 P2d 340 (1999), Sup Ct review denied, cert. denied, 528 US 1136

Reduc­tion of punitive damages awarded on common law claim of wrongful discharge violates sec­tion 17, Article I, Oregon Constitu­tion. Halbasch v. Med-Data, Inc., 192 FRD 641 (D. Or. 2000)

Power to reduce damages award based on remedial measures taken by defendant is limited to trial court. Groth v. Hyundai Precision and Ind. Co., 209 Or App 781, 149 P3d 333 (2006)

Proof of elevated mens rea re­quired by this pro­vi­sion for award of noneconomic damages does not es­tab­lish similar require­ment for other statutes that provide for award of noneconomic damages. Herring v. American Medical Response Northwest, 255 Or App 315, 297 P3d 9 (2013), Sup Ct review denied

  • Mail Tribune / Loren Sawyer, Nov 29, 2009
    “Dennis Powers' guest opinion about per­sonal injury lawsuits in the Mail Tribune Nov. 22, reveals a slanted view, ignoring the body of law currently on the books which controls the very problems he wants to "fix." My best guess would be that I tried over 3,000 cases as a circuit judge in Jackson and other Oregon counties for more than 40 years. ...”

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.