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Lawrence v. Bailey

Court of Appeals of Oregon

December 4, 2019

Daylen LAWRENCE, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
Amber BAILEY, Defendant-Appellant.

          Argued and submitted November 15, 2018.

          Multnomah County Circuit Court 15CV06417. Jerome E. LaBarre, Judge.

          Jonathan Henderson argued the cause for appellant. Also on the briefs were Carl R. Rodrigues and Davis Rothwell Earle & Xóchihua, P. C.

          Willard E. Merkel argued the cause for respondent. Also on the brief was Merkel & Associates.

          Before DeHoog, Presiding Judge, and Aoyagi, Judge, and Hadlock, Judge pro tempore.

         Case Summary: In this second appeal arising from a binding arbitration award in tort litigation, defendant appeals from both an order denying her relief from a judgment under ORCP 71B(1)(e) and the underlying judgment. After the first appeal, and before the trial court entered a new judgment as instructed on remand, defendant moved for satisfaction of the judgment. The trial court denied defendant's motion on the ground that it lacked authority, at that time, to determine whether defendant had satisfied the judgment. The court then entered a judgment for plaintiff reflecting the full amount awarded by the arbitrator and stating that defendant was entitled to a credit for any payments determined to have been made by defendant's insurer. Defendant subsequently moved for satisfaction of that judgment under ORCP 71B(1)(e), providing evidence that her insurer had paid the remaining amount due. Plaintiff contested the motion, arguing that it was an impermissible motion for reconsideration of defendant's pre-judgment motion for satisfaction. The trial court denied the motion on the basis that it was an impermissible motion for reconsideration under a local rule. Defendant argues that the trial court erred in denying her ORCP 71B(1)(e) motion on that ground. Held: Defendant's motion did not seek reconsideration of an earlier ruling. The motion instead sought the credit to which defendant was [301 Or.App. 160] entitled by the terms of the judgment. Accordingly, the trial court erred when it denied defendant's motion on that basis.

         Reversed and remanded.

         [301 Or.App. 161] HADLOCK, J. PRO TEMPORE

         Defendant moved under ORCP 71 B(1)(e) for relief from a judgment, contending that the judgment had been satisfied. The trial court denied the motion on the ground that it was an impermissible motion for reconsideration. Defendant appeals from both the underlying judgment and the order denying her ORCP 71 B(1)(e) motion. For the reasons set out below, we conclude that the trial court erred when it determined that defendant's motion impermissibly sought reconsideration of an earlier ruling. Accordingly, we reverse and remand.

         The pertinent facts are procedural and undisputed. This is the second appeal arising from tort litigation related to a motor vehicle accident in which plaintiff was injured. As we explained in the first appeal, after plaintiff filed a civil action in circuit court, the parties agreed to submit the claim to binding arbitration. Lawrence v. Bailey, 279 Or.App. 356, 357, 379 P.3d 863 (2016) (Lawrence I). The arbitrator ultimately awarded plaintiff a total of $9, 074.50, including $2, 324.00 in medical expenses, and stated that it was his intent that any amount that had been paid by insurance would be paid only "one time." Id. at 358. Following a proceeding to confirm the award, the circuit court entered a judgment for $6, 944.50, reflecting a $2, 130.00 credit for payment that defendant asserted her insurer had made to plaintiffs health care providers. Id. at 359-61. On plaintiffs appeal, we held that the arbitration award "recognized that defendant was entitled to a credit for medical expenses that she had paid to plaintiffs health care providers," although the arbitrator "did not establish the amount of that credit anywhere in the award." Id. at 362. Because the arbitrator had not established the amount of the credit to which defendant was entitled, we explained, the circuit court "should have entered an order and judgment that reflects all that the arbitrator actually decided and only that-i.e., plaintiff had damages of $9, 074.50 and defendant was entitled to a credit for medical expenses that her insurer had already paid." Id. at 363. We reversed and remanded for entry of a judgment so stating. In doing so, we observed that processes remained available for determining the amount of the credit:

[301 Or.App. 162] "To the extent that leaves open the issue of the amount of credit to which defendant is entitled, satisfaction and enforceability of the judgment may be affected, and presumably any future dispute as to whether defendant has satisfied that judgment can be dealt with in the proceedings provided for enforcement of a judgment in a civil proceeding. See ORS 36.715 (judgment confirming an arbitration award may be 'enforced as any other judgment in a civil action')."

Id.

         On remand, the parties submitted competing proposed forms of judgment. Before any new judgment was entered, defendant moved in February 2017 for a satisfaction of judgment, based on her assertions that her insurer had paid plaintiffs health care providers $2, 130.00 in 2012 and that defendant had subsequently paid the remaining $6, 944.50, which had resulted in entry of a partial satisfaction of judgment in 2015. Defendant accordingly sought an order recognizing full satisfaction of the judgment. As authority for that motion, defendant cited former ORS 18.410 (1995), repealed by Or Laws 2003, ch 576, § 580, which she described as the statute that "sets out the procedure for the court to determine if a judgment has been satisfied or, if not satisfied, to determine the payment needed to fully satisfy a judgment."

         At a March 2017 hearing on defendant's motion and the proposed forms of judgment, plaintiff argued that there could not be "satisfaction of a judgment that hasn't been entered." Plaintiff also pointed out that former ORS 18.410 (1995) had been repealed. In addition, she asserted that the attachments to defendant's motion (which consisted largely of correspondence between the parties' lawyers) did not amount to evidence of the amount that defendant's insurer had paid. The trial court denied defendant's motion and ultimately, in keeping with our holding in Lawrence I, entered a judgment that included a money award in the amount of $9, 074.50 and stated that defendant "shall ...


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