Submitted November 3, 2017.
Clackamas County Circuit Court CV14100850; Katherine E.
Stavrum fled the brief for appellant pro se.
Donnelly fled the brief for respondents.
Armstrong, Presiding Judge, and Tookey, Judge, and Shorr,
Summary: Plaintiff appeals a judgment entered in favor of
defendants that dismissed plaintiff's claims and awarded
damages to one of the defendants on her breach-of-contract
counterclaims. Plaintiff asserts that the trial court erred
in denying his motion for a directed verdict because the
contract debt that formed the basis of defendant's
counterclaims had been discharged in plaintiff's
bankruptcy proceeding. Held: The trial court erred,
in part, because the debts that arose before plaintiff fled
his bankruptcy petition were discharged in his no-asset
Chapter 7 bankruptcy, even if defendant did not have notice
of the bankruptcy proceeding.
Or.App. 535] ARMSTRONG, P. J.
appeals a judgment entered in favor of defendants that
dismissed plaintiff's claims and awarded damages to
defendant Kowalski on her breach-of-contract counterclaims.
We write to address only plaintiff's first assignment of
error; we reject his second assignment of error without
discussion. In his first assignment of error, plaintiff
asserts that the trial court erred in denying his motion for
a directed verdict because he had proven that the contract
debt that formed the basis of defendant's counterclaims
had been discharged in plaintiff's bankruptcy proceeding.
Defendant's sole response on appeal is that plaintiff
failed to preserve his first assignment of error. We conclude
that plaintiff preserved his assignment of error and that the
trial court erred in denying plaintiffs motion for directed
verdict, in part. Accordingly, we reverse and remand the
judgment on defendant's counterclaims in part and
relevant facts are few and undisputed. Plaintiff was a
building contractor who agreed with defendants to build a
barn on defendants' property to serve as a horse-boarding
facility and then to work at their horse-boarding facility in
exchange for, among other things, free rent. From June 2009
to December 2010, defendant Kowalski made personal loans to
plaintiff in the form of five separate checks. On April 4, 2013,
plaintiff filed a bankruptcy petition in the United States
Bankruptcy Court for the District of Oregon under Chapter 7
of the Bankruptcy Code. See 11 USC §§
701-784. By a check dated June 6, 2013, defendant Kowalski
made an additional loan to plaintiff. And, on July 15, 2013,
plaintiff obtained a discharge order in his Chapter 7
bankruptcy proceeding that discharged his debts and
determined that he had no assets to distribute to his
October 2014, plaintiff filed this action against defendants
on various claims stemming from his work at their property,
including building the barn. Defendant [296 Or.App. 536]
Kowalski filed breach-of-contract counterclaims, seeking
repayment of the money that she had lent to plaintiff.
Plaintiff asserted affirmative defenses, including that
"[a]ny debt owed to the defendant was discharged when
the plaintiff filed for relief pursuant to Chapter 7
case was tried to the court. At the close of defendant's
case on her counterclaims, plaintiff moved for a directed
verdict, arguing that the bankruptcy discharge order, which
was admitted into evidence, discharged all of the claimed
debt. Plaintiff specifically argued as follows:
"[PLAINTIFF]: *** [O]n bankruptcy, I don't
think-even if somebody is not notified [of the bankruptcy
proceeding], I think that-and even though I gave everybody
notification, if I missed somebody, it is still covered
underneath the bankruptcy.
"THE COURT: So your argument is that bankruptcy law
applies to debts that are not listed on the ...