Jeff GIST, individually and on behalf of all similarly situated, Petitioner on Review,
ZOAN MANAGEMENT, INC.; Senvoy, LLC; and Driver Resources, LLC, a domestic limited liability company, Respondents on Review.
and submitted May 10, 2018.
review of an order of the Court of Appeals. (CC 131115916)
(CA A159509) [*]
T. Hunt, Law Office of Lisa T. Hunt, LLC, Eugene, argued the
cause and fled the briefs for the petitioner on review.
Charles J. Paternoster, Parson Farnell & Grein, LLP,
Portland, argued the cause and fled the brief for the
respondents on review.
Walters, Chief Justice, and Balmer, Kistler, Nakamoto, Flynn,
and Duncan, Justices, and Landau, Senior Justice pro tempore.
Or. 730 (2018)] Case Summary: In a civil action, defendants
successfully petitioned for an order compelling arbitration.
In response, plaintiff dismissed the action with prejudice
and appealed the general judgment of dismissal. The Court of
Appeals dismissed the appeal, holding that under Steenson
v. Robinson, 236 Or. 414, 385 P.2d 738 (1963), a
plaintiff could not appeal from a voluntary dismissal. Held:
(1) Steenson did not bar plaintiff's appeal; and (2) the
Oregon Uniform Arbitration Act did not bar plaintiff's
Or. 731 (2018)] BALMER, J.
case requires us to determine whether the Court of Appeals
correctly dismissed plaintiff's appeal of a judgment
dismissing his complaint with prejudice on the grounds that
the appeal was barred by this court's decision in
Steenson v. Robinson, 236 Or. 414, 385 P.2d 738
(1963). That decision set out the common-law rule that a
party may not appeal from a voluntarily-requested judgment.
For reasons we explain below, we conclude that the judgment
was appealable and remand the case to the Court of Appeals.
We are not asked to-and we do not-express any view on the
merits of plaintiff's appeal or on the reviewability of
the issues raised by plaintiff in his appeal.
worked as a driver for defendant Driver Resources, LLC. The
other two defendants are related companies. In November 2013,
plaintiff filed a class-action complaint against defendants,
on behalf of himself and other similarly situated drivers. At
issue was defendants' compliance with Oregon's wage
and hour laws, as set out in ORS chapters 652 and 653. In
January 2014, defendants filed a petition to compel
arbitration, on the basis of an agreement that plaintiff had
signed with one defendant. Plaintiff responded to the
petition by arguing that the agreement was unconscionable,
and therefore that arbitration should not be compelled. The
trial court granted defendants' petition, requiring
plaintiff to proceed to arbitration.
made several attempts to obtain appellate review of the trial
court's order compelling arbitration. First, plaintiff
filed an interlocutory appeal, arguing that the order
compelling arbitration was appealable under ORS 19.205(2),
which allows interlocutory appeals of court orders affecting
substantial rights. The Court of Appeals dismissed that
appeal on the grounds that the order compelling arbitration
was not appealable. Second, in December 2014, plaintiff asked
the trial court to amend its order compelling arbitration to
state that the order presented "a controlling question
of law as to which there is substantial ground for difference
of opinion" for the purposes of ORS 19.225, a statute
that gives the Court of Appeals discretion to hear
interlocutory appeals in cases involving class actions in
which [363 Or. 732 (2018)] the trial court makes such a
finding. The trial court denied that motion. Finally, in
March 2015, plaintiff moved to dismiss all of his claims with
prejudice. Plaintiff explained to the court that the order
compelling arbitration effectively precluded any recovery by
plaintiff, because plaintiff was unemployed and could not
afford to pay the arbitrators, and that the purpose of the
dismissal was to allow plaintiff to appeal the judgment and
obtain review of the order compelling arbitration.
Plaintiff's counsel stated, "If we do not convince
the Court of Appeals or if we get AWOP'd and nobody wants
to hear it or write an opinion on it, then the case is over,
my client loses, it's done." The trial court,
without expressing a view on plaintiffs factual contentions,
granted the motion to dismiss and entered a general judgment
of dismissal with prejudice, one that made clear that the
dismissal was at plaintiffs request.
filed an appeal from that judgment in the Court of Appeals.
Defendants moved to dismiss the appeal on two grounds. First,
defendants argued that this court's decision in
Steenson prevented appeal of a voluntary dismissal.
Second, defendants argued that plaintiff's attempt to
appeal an order granting a motion to compel arbitration is
barred by ORS 36.730, which governs certain appeals in cases
involving arbitration. They contended that that statute
creates an exception to ORS 19.205(1), which generally
permits appeal of a general judgment.
Appellate Commissioner rejected defendants' second
argument, determining that ORS 19.205(1), in combination with
ORS 19.245, provided a statutory basis allowing plaintiff to
appeal the general judgment of dismissal.However, the
Appellate Commissioner held that Steenson prevented
plaintiff from taking an appeal and entered an order
dismissing the appeal on that ground. Plaintiff petitioned
for reconsideration of the Appellate Commissioner's
decision by the Court of Appeals. That petition was denied.
Plaintiff then filed a petition for review of the dismissal
of the appeal in this court, which we allowed.
Or. 733 (2018)] ORS 19.205(1) provides that "[u]nless
otherwise provided by law, a limited judgment, general
judgment or supplemental judgment, as those terms are denned
by ORS 18.005, may be appealed as provided in this
chapter." In this case, plaintiff attempts to appeal a
general judgment. ORS 19.245(1) provides that, subject to
exceptions that do not apply here, "any party to a
judgment may appeal from the judgment." Those statutes
authorize plaintiff to appeal the general judgment of
dismissal entered here, unless some other rule of law
prevents the appeal.
did before the Court of Appeals, defendants argue that two
separate legal rules bar plaintiff's appeal in this case.
First, defendants argue that this court's decision in
Steenson prevents plaintiff from appealing.
Steenson announced a common law rule "that a
party may not appeal from a judgment which he voluntarily
requested." 236 Or at 416-17. Second, defendants argue
that a provision of the Oregon Uniform Arbitration Act, ORS
36.730, bars plaintiff's appeal. That statute permits
interlocutory appeals of orders "denying a petition to
compel arbitration," ORS 36.730(1)(a), or "granting
a petition to stay arbitration," ORS 36.730(1)(b), but
contains no analogous provision permitting an interlocutory
appeal of an order granting a petition to compel arbitration.
Defendants draw from that omission the inference that an