Oregon Case Law Update: Plaintiffs Can Be Barred from Recovery if Engaged in Felony

Matt Ukishima

Oregon Case Law Update: Plaintiffs Can Be Barred from Recovery if Engaged in Felony

From the Desk of Matt Ukishima: Under Oregon law, a defense against personal injuries is when a plaintiff was injured while in the act of committing a Class A or B felony.  But, whose burden of proof is it to show a defendant used unjustifiable physical force causing a plaintiff injuries?  Read on to find out.

Claims Pointer: In this case arising out of a plaintiff who was injured after he shot a customer in a store and was tackled by store employees, the Oregon Court of Appeals held that the record established as a matter of law plaintiff’s injuries arose during the commission of a felony and was a substantial factor contributing to his injuries.  The court also held that once the defendant has established the plaintiff was in the act of committing a class A or B felony, plaintiff has to burden of proof to show that defendant’s force was unjustifiable.

Harryman v. Fred Meyer, 289 Or App 324 (2017)

Jerry Harryman (“Plaintiff”) was standing in the checkout line at Fred Meyer Inc. (“Fred Meyer”) when he got into an argument with a customer ahead of him.  The argument escalated into a physical fight, and Plaintiff pulled out a handgun and shot the other customer in the leg.  Fred Meyer employees responded by pushing Plaintiff to the floor and disarming him.  Plaintiff was convicted of assault in the second degree with a firearm, a Class B felony.  Afterwards, Plaintiff brought a personal injury suit against Fred Meyers for personal injuries sustained when Fred Meyer employees pushed him to the floor and disarmed him.  Plaintiff claimed that he shot the other customer in self-defense, and the employees were negligent in assuming he was the agressor and using excessive force to restrain him.  Fred Meyer asked the court to grant summary judgment and dismiss Plaintiff’s claim based on ORS 31.180, which provides a defense against personal injury claims if the...

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