Barnes v. Lackner, 93 Or App 439, 762 P2d 1043 (1988)

Joanne Reisman

Case Conclusion Date:January 1, 1988

Practice Area:Personal Injury

Outcome:Plaintiff fully compensated, New law made

Description:My client contracted with the Defendant to put his boat in dry storage for the winter. The storage facility leaked and water ruined the boat's engine. Payment was demanded under ORS 20.080 a statute designed to compel early settlement because if the case is not settled the Plaintiff can be awarded their attorney fees. State Farm insured the Defendant and refused to pay for damages saying that the homeowner's policy didn't cover storing boats for profit. They later agreed to pay for the damages but then argued that ORS 20.080 applied only to tort cases and not to storage contract cases so we were not entitled to attorney fees. We appealed and won the case establishing that this statute could be used to settle both tort and contract cases. This was a lead case in Oregon used by other attorneys for several years. (Due to this case, the legislature created a separate rule, ORS 20.082 for contracts and ORS 20.080 was changed to apply only to torts.)