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Martinez v. Delgado-Galban

Court of Appeals of Oregon

March 20, 2019

Julian MARTINEZ, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
Jeng-Li Roy DELGADO-GALBAN, Defendant-Appellant.

          Argued and submitted March 8, 2018.

          Washington County Circuit Court C154139CV; Andrew Erwin, Judge.

          Jack Oswald argued the cause for appellant. Also on the briefs was Oswald & Mitchell.

          Collin C. McKean argued the cause for respondent. Also on the brief was McKean Smith LLC.

          Before Armstrong, Presiding Judge, and Tookey, Judge, and Shorr, Judge.

         Reversed and remanded.

         Case Summary: Defendant appeals from a general judgment awarding plaintiff economic and noneconomic damages. Defendant assigns error to the trial court's denial of his motion to strike plaintiff's claim for damages for medical expenses, contending that the trial court should have granted his motion because plaintiff failed to present evidence that plaintiff's medical expenses were reasonable.

         Held: The trial court erred when it denied defendant's motion to strike plaintiff's claim for damages for medical expenses because plaintiff failed to present evidence that the amounts charged for medical services were reasonable.

         Reversed and remanded. [296 Or.App. 660]

          TOOKEY, J.

         Plaintiff sustained injuries during an altercation with defendant. In this personal injury action, he seeks recovery from defendant for, among other harm, his medical expenses. After the close of plaintiffs case, defendant moved to strike plaintiff's claim for damages for medical expenses, contending that those expenses could not be recovered because plaintiff had failed to produce any evidence that the amount that plaintiff was charged for the medical treatment that plaintiff had received was reasonable. The trial court denied defendant's motion to strike. The jury found in favor of plaintiff, awarding plaintiff economic and noneconomic damages. Defendant appeals from a general judgment, assigning error to, among other rulings, the trial court's denial of his motion to strike. For the reasons that follow, we reverse and remand.[1]

         The material facts are not in dispute. Plaintiff and defendant were in an altercation during which plaintiff was cut by a knife wielded by defendant. Plaintiff sought and received medical treatment for his injuries. The medical treatment included three separate visits to the Tuality Community Hospital emergency room.

         Plaintiff sued defendant for battery and assault, seeking, among other types of damages, economic damages for his medical expenses. During the resulting trial, plaintiff presented evidence of the amount that he was charged by Tuality Community Hospital for the medical treatment that he had received, submitting into evidence copies of the bills that he had received from Tuality Community Hospital. Additionally, plaintiff presented testimony from an expert witness, Dr. Paul Puziss, who testified that the treatment plaintiff received was reasonable:

"Q: And the treatment that you understand he had received at that point, do you believe that that was reasonable, ...

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