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Teegarden v. State

Court of Appeals of Oregon

April 15, 2015

Kurtiss TEEGARDEN, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
STATE OF OREGON, acting by and through Oregon Youth Authority; and Sid Thompson, Defendants-Respondents

Argued and Submitted May 2, 2014.

Page 274

11C20059. Marion County Circuit Court. Dennis J. Graves, Judge.

Kevin T. Lafky argued the cause for appellant. With him on the briefs were Tonyia J. Brady and Lafky & Lafky.

Inge D. Wells, Assistant Attorney-in-Charge, argued the cause for respondents. With her on the brief were Ellen F. Rosenblum, Attorney General, and Anna M. Joyce, Solicitor General.

Before Sercombe, Presiding Judge, and Hadlock, Judge, and Tookey, Judge.

OPINION

Page 275

[270 Or.App. 375] SERCOMBE, P. J.

Plaintiff, who is a former employee of the State of Oregon--specifically, Oregon Youth Authority--filed a complaint seeking damages from the state and Sid Thompson, the superintendent of MacLaren Youth Correctional Facility where plaintiff had worked (collectively, OYA).[1] After OYA moved for judgment on the pleadings pursuant to ORCP 21 B, the trial court concluded that plaintiff had resolved " all civil areas of dispute" by way of a settlement agreement. Accordingly, the court entered a judgment dismissing all of plaintiff's claims with prejudice. Plaintiff appeals the trial court's judgment and, as explained below, we reverse and remand.

We state the facts as alleged in the complaint and supplemented by the terms of the settlement agreement, which was attached to OYA's answer. See Boyer v. Salomon Smith Barney, 344 Or. 583, 589 n 3, 188 P.3d 233 (2008) (where the defendants incorporated a contract into their answer and plaintiff did not object to the trial court considering the terms of that agreement in evaluating a motion for judgment on the pleadings, the appellate court treated the terms of the agreement " as having been admitted by plaintiff, the same as if plaintiff had alleged those terms in his complaint" ).

Plaintiff worked for OYA as a group life coordinator at MacLaren. In that position, plaintiff's main job duty was to supervise youth offenders in the facility. Over the course of several months in 2010, plaintiff made a number of complaints to management about staff being attacked by youth offenders, knowledge of offenders planning attacks on staff, differential treatment of offenders, staff being put physically at risk, lack of policies and rules governing the unit, and failure to provide treatment to offenders. On May 19, 2010, OYA terminated plaintiff from his position.

After plaintiff was dismissed, he pursued a grievance through his union. As part of the settlement of the [270 Or.App. 376] grievance, OYA agreed that plaintiff's dismissal would be characterized as a resignation and that plaintiff would not have any further legal issues regarding the events leading to his termination. In return, plaintiff agreed to drop his claims and release OYA from liability. Accordingly, the parties signed a settlement agreement.

The agreement, entered into in August 2010, recites that the parties " wish to resolve this grievance on mutually satisfactory terms without further hearing or litigation of any kind." Accordingly, OYA " agrees to revoke the Letter of Dismissal and accepts a Letter

Page 276

of Resignation * * * from [plaintiff], effective upon final signature of this document." Plaintiff, for his part, " agrees not to appeal, grieve, or otherwise challenge the * * * Letter of Dismissal," and the union " voluntarily withdraws the * * * grievance with prejudice." The agreement contains a provision stating that it " is the sole and entire agreement between the parties. This Agreement fully supersedes any and all written or oral contracts, agreements or ...


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