OR Case Update: Satisfying Actual Notice through Asserting A Claim rather than All Claims

From the Desk of Joshua P. Hayward: When is actual notice to a public body satisfied pursuant to the Oregon Tort Claims Act (OTCA)?

Claims Pointer: In Oregon, as in many other states, a plaintiff is required to provide notice of a tort claim against a public body within six months to one year pursuant to the OTCA. In the following case, the Court of Appeals noted that Plaintiff provided actual notice of a property damage claim within six months of an accident. The Court ruled that despite not notifying the public body that she intended to file a personal injury lawsuit until more than one year after the car accident, Plaintiff timely notified Defendant of a claim within six months and, therefore, her personal injury claim was not time-barred.

Heng-Nguyen v. Tigard-Tualatin School Dist., 275 Or App 724 (2015)

On February 28, 2011, Defendant’s employee hit Plaintiff’s car. A week after the accident, Plaintiff spoke to “Jensen,” Defendant’s liability insurance trust representative. Plaintiff and Jensen agreed that Defendant’s insurance trust would pay Plaintiff $6,030 in exchange for Plaintiff releasing Defendant from all claims she had against it, except for a potential personal-injury claim. Plaintiff received a check from Defendant. The front of the check stated, “full and final resolution of property damage only.” The back of the check stated, “Endorsement of this check by Payee acknowledges a full and final release of all claims except personal injury claims against Tigard-Tualatin School District.”

In March 2012, over a year after the accident, Plaintiff notified Jensen that she also suffered physical injuries in the accident. Plaintiff subsequently filed an action against Defendant, seeking damages for personal injuries. Defendant filed an answer and moved for summary judgment contending that it had not received notice of Plaintiff’s personal injury claim within 180 days of the accident as required by the OTCA. Defendant argued that in...

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