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In re J. M. E.

Court of Appeals of Oregon

September 18, 2019

In the Matter of J. M. E., a Youth.
v.
J. M. E., Appellant. STATE OF OREGON, Respondent,

          Argued and Submitted December 19, 2017

          Marion County Circuit Court 15JU07122 Heidi O. Strauch, Judge pro tempore.

          George W. Kelly argued the cause and fled the brief for appellant.

          Sharia Mayfeld, Assistant Attorney General, argued the cause for respondent. On the brief were Ellen F. Rosenblum, Attorney General, Benjamin Gutman, Solicitor General, and Greg Rios, Assistant Attorney General.

          Before DeHoog, Presiding Judge, and Egan, Chief Judge, and Aoyagi, Judge.

         Case Summary: Youth appeals a supplemental judgment ordering him to pay restitution after causing physical injury to the victim. Youth argues that the juvenile court erred in ordering restitution for a hospital bill in the absence of evidence that the bill was reasonable. The state disagrees, arguing that the Crime Victim Compensation Program (CVCP) payment of the medical bill in question is proof that the bill was reasonable because the CVCP is under a statutory duty to pay only reasonable expenses. Held: The juvenile court erred. Payment of medical bills in accordance with the statutory and regulatory scheme governing the CVCP does not, in the absence of other evidence, support the determination that those bills are reasonable. Because, in this case, the state produced no other evidence as to the reasonableness of the medical bill in question, the trial court erred in including that portion of the victim's medical expenses in the supplemental judgment.

         Supplemental judgment vacated and remanded.

         [299 Or.App. 484] DEHOOG, P. J.

         Youth appeals a supplemental judgment ordering him to pay restitution, arguing that the juvenile court erred in ordering restitution for a hospital bill in the absence of evidence that the bill was reasonable. The state disagrees, relying on the fact that the Crime Victim Compensation Program (CVCP)-which is under a statutory duty to pay only reasonable expenses-paid the medical bill in question as proof that the bill was reasonable. We agree with youth that, on this record, there is insufficient evidence to prove the hospital bill's reasonableness. The court, therefore, erred in including that amount in the restitution award, and we, therefore, vacate and remand the supplemental judgment.

         The relevant facts are undisputed. The court found that evidence established, beyond a reasonable doubt, that youth committed acts which, had youth been an adult, would have constituted fourth-degree assault. Specifically, youth punched the victim in the nose, causing him physical injury. After a hearing, the court ordered youth to pay $13,065.49 as restitution for the victim's medical expenses. That award was the sum of several different medical expenses that the victim incurred. Youth, however, challenges only a portion of that restitution award: $4,745.49 for treatment at Silverton Hospital. CVCP paid that bill.

         The state did not present any evidence at the restitution hearing as to the reasonableness of the medical bill incurred at Silverton Hospital.[1] Instead, in closing, the state argued:

"And I would also argue that Crime Victim's Compensation, just like insurance companies, are not going to pay more than what they feel is necessary. It's in their best interest to only pay amounts that they deem reasonable. And so they did not pay the full amount for the hospital bill; however, the hospital bill is not asking for the difference in that.
[299 Or.App. 485] "But although I didn't have anyone to testify for Crime Victim Compensation, I would argue that they would only pay what they feel is reasonable from the information that they've received."

         Youth disagreed with the state, focusing on the state's concession that it presented "no evidence of any kind" as to the reasonableness of the Silverton Hospital bill. ...


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