On January 4, 2018, the Oregon Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Rains v. Stayton Builders. Plaintiff Kevin Rains had fallen 16 feet on a work site and was rendered paraplegic. The jury returned a verdict in favor of Kevin Rains and his spouse Mitzi Rains, which after reduction for comparative fault, resulted in $2,343,750 in noneconomic damages to Kevin and $759,375 in noneconomic damages (loss of consortium) to Mitzi. As it had in November 2017 in Vasquez v. Double Press Mfg. (see prior post), and citing to Vasquez, the Court of Appeals considered the severity of the injury (paraplegia) in concluding that reducing Kevin’s noneconomic award from $2.3 million to $500,000 would violate the remedy clause of the Oregon Constitution. The Court also concluded that “we do not see a principled reason to conclude that reducing Mitzi’s noneconomic damages award by $259,375 in the circumstances of this case leaves her with a ‘substantial remedy.’” Thus application of the $500,000 cap to Mitzi’s $759,375 loss of consortium award was also held to violate the remedy clause.
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