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Civil Motion Panel Statement

Washington County Circuit Court Civil Motion Panel Statement

The Civil Motion Panel of Washington County consists of those judges who regularly hear and decide civil motions on cases not assigned to a specific judge. This Statement is a compilation of rulings from those judges in which a consensus has been reached on certain issues.

This Statement does not have the force of law or court rule, and the decisions contained within are not binding on any judge. Decisions reflect no predetermination on merits of any judge on any issue in particular.

Consistent with the goal of the Civil Motion Panel, this Statement is intended to provided assistance in guiding practitioners on anticipated rulings on specific matters, and may eliminate time and expense in presenting issues to the Court.

  1. TRIAL RESETS - The Court takes into consideration the age of the case, nature of the case, number of previous resets, timeliness of the request, the reason for the request, and whether the parties or the Court set the trial date when ruling on motions to reset. Stipulation of the parties is not a sufficient reason for a reset.
    1. Motion to Reset (granted): This is a (non-exclusive and non-controlling) list of factors that will likely have a motion to reset granted:
      1. Serious illness or injury of party, attorney or pivotal witness.
      2. Funeral of family or close friend of a party, attorney or pivotal witness.
      3. Likelihood that a judge or courtroom may not be available on the scheduled date.
      4. Factors which could not reasonably have been anticipated until at or near the time making the motion.
      5. Any other factor which the Court may, at its discretion, deem to be important.
    2. Motion to Reset (denied): This is a (non-exclusive and non-controlling) list of factors that will likely have a motion to reset denied (absent a showing of good cause):
      1. Failure to complete discovery and depositions.
      2. Failure to locate and/or schedule witnesses until shortly before trial.
      3. Interference with vacations.
      4. Failure to prepare for trial.
      5. Stipulation of the parties.
      6. Factors that were known or should have been anticipated but were not brought to the Court’s attention until shortly before trial.
      1. General Rule: The court will allow one continuance of a maximum of 90 days.
      2. Complex Cases/Construction Defect Cases: If the case has been designated as complex per UTCR 7.030 motions to continue will be reviewed on case-by-case basis.
    1. Once a case has been transferred to arbitration, all matters shall be heard by the arbitrator. UTCR 13.040(3). A party may request a hearing to "show cause" to establish a basis for the court, not the arbitrator, to decide a motion.
    2. Punitive Damages--Where actual damages alleged are less than $50,000 the pleading of a punitive damages claim, though exceeding $50,000, does not exempt the case from arbitration.
  3. COMPLEX/CONSTRUCTION DEFECT CASES (Consensus decisions still subject to higher court's rulings)
    1. Status Conferences:
      1. Should occur within 60 days of defendant's answer
      2. Parties should be ready to address the following:
        1. Estimated Length of trial
        2. Referral to referee/mediator
        3. Availability for trial dates set by the court
      3. Plaintiff's counsel is to prepare a Case Management Order within 30 days after hearing.
    2. Generally Nuisance/Trespass/Water Intrusion claims will fail at the Summary Judgment Stage.
    3. Two year Statute of Limitation for negligence.
    1. Medical Examinations (ORCP 44)
      1. Audio or video recording of the examination is not permitted absent a showing of extraordinary reason.
      2. The examinee may not be accompanied by a third person absent a showing of a special need, e.g. the examinee is a minor or a vulnerable person.
      3. If the examinee is requested to complete any forms as part of the examination, they shall be furnished to the examinee a reasonable time before the examination.
    2. Depositions
      1. Foreign Depositions: Motions must be accompanied by a copy of the subpoena to be served.
      2. The location for the deposition must be within Washington County unless the person to be deposed agrees to have the deposition outside of Washington County. The affidavit must include the agreement to be deposed outside Washington County. ORCP 38
  5. VENUE
    1. The court will allow one change of venue prior to any defendant being served per ORS 14.110. If a change of venue has occurred in another court, no further changes shall be granted. Any subsequent requests for a change of venue will be denied until after all defendants have been served. A change of venue can be requested after service when required by law.
    1. Motions for judgment debtor exams must include information that the creditor has complied with ORS 18.265(1) within the last six months.
    1. Occurs daily between 8:00 am and 8:30 am with the Chief Civil Judge. Motions must comply with the UTCR 5.060 and Washington County's SLR. Be prepared to be turned away if they are not in compliance with UTCR and SLR.
    1. Matters. Probate department cases include: Estate, Affidavit of Claiming Successor (Small Estates), Guardianship, Conservatorship, Name Change and Trust Proceedings.
    2. Ex Parte. Generally, appearance before a judge in a probate matter is not required and should be resolved via File & Serve/Odyssey. However, any requested probate ex parte appearance shall be arranged by contacting the Probate Commissioner. Matters may not be presented at civil ex parte.
    3. Status Conferences. The court will set a status conference on any matter brought before the court to frame the issues, discuss settlement options and set the appropriate amount of time on the docket.
    4. Hearings. The probate commissioner sets all hearings regarding probate matters and all inquiries regarding hearings (resets, appearances, settlements, etc) should be directed to the probate department directly, not chambers.
      1. General Rule: Appropriate pleadings should be filed for the specified request; i.e. Motion to Reset, Motion for Telephonic Appearance. For time sensitive pleadings, the pleadings requesting expedited handling under UTCR 21.070(5) should be filed with a letter explaining the basis for the expedited request. Additionally, the probate commissioner should be notified via email at regarding the filing.
      2. Settlements. Parties are encouraged to resolve their issues without judicial involvement; however an appearance is required regarding any matter set for hearing before the court which has resolved unless the following has occurred:
        1. Stipulated Order or Judgment is submitted prior to the hearing.
        2. Agreement by Letter is submitted indicating the general resolution and anticipated filing date for pleadings (in this case the court will automatically grant a 30 day reset).
      3. Show Cause Hearings/Order to Appear. If a hearing to show cause a fiduciary has been scheduled because a deficiency of statutory pleadings has not been filed with the court, the hearing will not be cancelled upon the correction of the deficiency.  Parties must still appear before the court.