SC Number:
CA Number:
Case Title:
Amber Kennedy v. Kelsey C. Wheeler
09:00 AM
Supreme Court Case 2
Mark G. McDougal on behalf of Amber Kennedy
Michael T. Stone on behalf of Kelsey C. Wheeler
Statement of Issues:
Amber Kennedy v. Kelsey C. Wheeler (S061836) (A149019) (appeal from Yamhill County Circuit Court; opinion reported at 258 Or App 343, 309 P3d 196 (2013)).

Plaintiff Amber Kennedy has been granted review of a Court of Appeals decision that reversed and remanded a trial court judgment in plaintiff's favor, on the basis that the trial court had erred in receiving a verdict in which only the same eight jurors agreed on liability, economic damages, and noneconomic damages, despite jury instructions and a verdict form (that had become the law of the case) indicating that at least the same nine jurors were required to agree on economic and noneconomic damages.

On review, the issues are:

(1) If a jury is improperly instructed as to the requirements for a valid verdict, may an allegedly valid jury verdict that comports with the Oregon Constitution be invalidated as unconstitutional based on such an incorrect jury instruction?

(2) Does a trial judge who realizes that the jury was incorrectly instructed as to their voting requirements have an inherent authority to override those incorrect instructions and accept an allegedly constitutionally valid verdict?

(3) If twelve jurors agree on liability, and thereafter three-fourths of the jury agree on economic damages, and a separate three-fourths of the jury agree on noneconomic damages, does the verdict violate Article VII (Amended), section 5(7), of the Oregon Constitution?

(4) Should a trial judge's determination that a party failed to timely object to a jury's verdict be given great weight, given the judge's understanding of how things elapsed in real time and whether or not the judge was adequately apprised of the basis of the objection?

The foregoing summary of a Supreme Court case that is scheduled for oral argument has been prepared for the benefit of the public. Parties and practitioners should rely on neither the factual summary set out above, nor the statement of issues to be decided, as delineating the questions that the Supreme Court ultimately may consider on review. See generally Oregon Rule of Appellate Procedure 9.20.
Justice(s) NOT Participating:
Merit Briefs

Last Revised: 04/21/2014