Oregon Case Law Update: Oregon Supreme Court Limits the Applicability of Oregon’s Statute of Repose in Product Liability Actions

Matt Ukishima

Oregon Case Law Update: Oregon Supreme Court Limits the Applicability of Oregon’s Statute of Repose in Product Liability Actions

From the Desk of Matt Ukishima: Oregon limits the timeframe for initiating a product liability civil action for personal injury or property damage to ten years from the date of purchase (statute of ultimate repose). In cases where the product was manufactured in a different state with a longer statute of repose, plaintiffs may sue in Oregon and get the benefit of the longer limitations period. But, what happens if the manufacturing state has no statute of repose for product liability claims? Read on to find out.

Claims Pointer: The Oregon Supreme Court determined that, while Oregon imposes a statute of repose of 10 years for product liability claims, when the product is manufactured in a state with no applicable statute of repose, then the claim is not subject to any repose period. In effect, this ruling expands the potential liability exposure for manufacturers, sellers, distributors, and others in the chain of manufacturing and sale for products and components manufactured in the 32 states that do not employ product liability statutes of repose.

Miller v. Ford Motor Co., 363 Or 105 (June 7, 2018).

In this matter, Aline L. Miller (“Plaintiff”) owned a Ford Escape, first sold in June 2001 and manufactured in Missouri. In May 2012, the Escape caught fire in Miller’s garage due to a faulty engine sensor. Plaintiff’s home was damaged and Plaintiff was injured when she fled the fire. In April 2014, Plaintiff filed a product liability lawsuit against Ford Motor Company (“Ford”) in Oregon State Court. Ford removed the case to Federal District Court and moved for summary judgment based on Oregon’s statute of repose for product liability actions. After the District Court denied Ford’s motion, the case was appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which then turned to the Oregon Supreme Court with a certified question...

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