SC Number:
S061049, S061158
CA Number:
Case Title:
Evergreen West Business Center, LLC v. Terry W. Emmert
09:00 AM
Supreme Court Case 1
J. Rion Bourgeois and John M. Berman on behalf of Evergreen West Business Center, LLC
Hollis K. McMilan on behalf of Terry W. Emmert
Statement of Issues:
Evergreen West Business Center, LLC v. Terry W. Emmert (S061049) (Control) (S061158) (A146301) (appeal from Clackamas County Circuit Court; opinion reported at 254 Or App 361, 296 P3d 545 (2012)).

Plaintiff Evergreen West Business Center, LLC, and defendant Terry W. Emmert, have both been granted review of a Court of Appeals decision that reversed and remanded, on appeal and cross-appeal, a trial court's imposition of a constructive trust and reduction of punitive damages.

On review, the issues may be summarized as follows:


Whether the remedy of a constructive trust is unavailable if a party also has a legal remedy for damages.


(1) Did plaintiff fail to properly preserve and raise issues regarding punitive damages, such that the Court Appeals erred in addressing those issues?

(2) In a case where the harm is purely economic and the jury found actual damages of $1 but also awarded $600, 000 in punitive damages, may the trial court depart from the 4:1 ratio analysis announced in Goddard v. Farmers Insurance Co., 344 Or 232, 79 P3d 645 (2008), without making specific findings that the conduct giving rise to the punitive damages award was "particularly egregious"?

(3) Should there be procedures or standards to ensure that defendants whose conduct is of similar egregiousness do not face radically different punitive damage awards, especially with respect to defendants whose conduct causes nominal actual damages, so that those defendants are not punished more severely than defendants who cause greater economic harm?

(4) Is there a ratio between punitive damages and actual damages in cases involving purely economic harm that will violate due process regardless of the reprehensibility of the defendant's conduct, and, if so, where does the 600, 000:1 punitive-to-economic damages ratio in this case fall?

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: 11/06/2013