intro\u8ab2\u7a0b\u4e4bCASE.pdf - Table of Contents List of Cases 1 Oberg v Honda Motor Co 316 Ore 263(1993 2 Honda v Oberg 114 S Ct 2331(1994 3 BMW v Gore 116 S

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Unformatted text preview: Table of Contents List of Cases 1. Oberg v. Honda Motor Co., 316 Ore. 263 (1993) 2. Honda v. Oberg, 114 S. Ct. 2331 (1994) 3. BMW v. Gore, 116 S. Ct. 1589 (1996) 4. Cooper Industries v. Leatherman, 121 S. Ct. 1678 (2001) 5. State Farm v. Campbell, 123 S. Ct. 1513 (2003) 6. Philip Morris v. Williams, 127 S. Ct. 1057 (2007) 7. Exxon v. Baker, 128 S. Ct. 2605 (2008) Oberg v. Honda Motor Co. Supreme Court of Oregon January 10, 1992, Argued and submitted; March 30, 1993, Reassigned ; May 20, 1993, Decided ; May 20, 1993, Filed SC No. S38436 Reporter: 316 Ore. 263; 851 P.2d 1084; 1993 Ore. LEXIS 62; 61 U.S.L.W. 2743; CCH Prod. Liab. Rep. P13,548 Karl L. OBERG, Respondent on Review, v. HONDA issues at trial and were not hearsay because they were offered MOTOR CO., LTD.; Honda R&D Co., Ltd.; and American to prove notice of the dangerousness of ATVs, not the truth of Honda Motor Co., Inc., Petitioners on Review the matters asserted therein. The provision against excessive fines in Or. Const. art. I, § 16 applied only to criminal cases. Subsequent History: [***1] Reconsideration Denied July Application of objective criteria in considering punitive 27, 1993. Opinion on Remand from Supreme Court of United damages ensured that sufficiently definite and meaningful States February 2, 1995, Reported at: 1995 Ore. LEXIS 2. constraints were imposed on the finder of fact. The criteria established by Or. Rev. Stat. § 30.925 were detailed and Prior History: On review from the Court of Appeals. * CC objective, and were thus constitutionally sufficient. The jury No. A8709-05897; CA No. A61587. was instructed properly about the substantive criteria to be applied, and there was evidence to support its determination. Disposition: The decision of the Court of Appeals and the The punitive damages award thus did not violate the Due judgment of the circuit court are affirmed. Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Core Terms documents, accidents, punitive damages, award of punitive damages, trial court, notice, admissible, hearsay, excerpts, provides, consumer product, vehicles, injuries, circumstances, defendants', Consumer, exhibits, factors, overturn, cases, manufactured, stability, all-terrain, misconduct, records, hazard, product safety, due process, incidents, characteristics Case Summary Procedural Posture Defendants, manufacturers and sellers, appealed from a decision of the Court of Appeals (Oregon) that affirmed a judgment in favor of plaintiff consumer in his products liability action. Overview A consumer attempted to drive an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) up a steep embankment. It overturned backward and injured him. A jury returned a verdict in favor of the consumer in his subsequent product liability action against the manufacturers and sellers. The appellate court affirmed. On further appeal, the court affirmed. Consumer Products Safety Commission documents were relevant to * Outcome The court affirmed the judgment in favor of a consumer in his products liability action against manufacturers and sellers of an all-terrain vehicle. The admission of Consumer Products Safety Commission documents was not error, a state constitutional provision against excessive fines applied only to criminal cases, and the procedure for arriving at the punitive damages award was constitutionally sound. LexisNexis® Headnotes Constitutional Law > ... > Fundamental Process > Scope of Protection Rights > Procedural Due HN1 See U.S. Const. amend. XIV. Evidence > Relevance > Relevant Evidence HN2 Or. Evid. Code 401 provides that "relevant evidence" means evidence having any tendency to make the existence of any fact that is of consequence to the determination of the action more probable or less probable than it would be without the evidence. Evidence > Relevance > Relevant Evidence Appeal from Multnomah County Circuit Court, Robert P. Jones, Judge. 108 Or App 43, 814 P2d 517 (1991). 316 Ore. 263, *263; 851 P.2d 1084, **1084; 1993 Ore. LEXIS 62, ***1 HN3 Or. Evid. Code 402 provides that all relevant evidence is admissible, except as otherwise provided by the Oregon Evidence Code, by the Constitutions of the United States and Oregon , or by Oregon statutory and decisional law. Evidence which is not relevant is not admissible. Evidence > ... > Hearsay > Rule Components > General Overview Evidence > ... > Hearsay > Rule Components > Declarants Evidence > ... > Hearsay > Rule Components > Truth of Matter Asserted HN4 Or. Evid. Code 801(3) provides that "hearsay" is a statement, other than one made by the declarant while testifying at the trial or hearing, offered in evidence to prove the truth of the matter asserted. Civil Procedure > Judicial Officers > Judges > General Overview Evidence > Relevance > Exclusion of Relevant Evidence > Confusion, Prejudice & Waste of Time HN5 Under Or. Evid. Code 403, relevant evidence is admissible so long as its probative value is not substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice, confusion of the issues, or misleading the jury, or by considerations of undue delay or needless presentation of cumulative evidence. Or. Evid. Code 403 requires the trial judge to go through a conscious process of balancing the costs of the evidence against its benefits. Unless the judge concludes that the probative worth of the evidence is substantially outweighed by one or more of the countervailing factors, there is no discretion to exclude; the evidence must be admitted. Civil Procedure > Judgments > Relief From Judgments > Motions for New Trials Civil Procedure > Judgments > Relief Discovered Evidence From Judgments > Newly HN6 Under Oregon law, newly discovered evidence which will justify a court in granting a new trial must meet the following requirements: (1) it must be such as will probably change the result if a new trial is granted; (2) it must have been discovered since the trial; (3) it must be such as, with due diligence, could not have been discovered before the trial; (4) it must be material to the issue; (5) it must not be merely cumulative; (6) it must not be merely impeaching or contradicting of former evidence. Page 2 of 28 Civil Procedure > Remedies > Damages > General Overview Civil Procedure > Remedies > Damages > Punitive Damages Torts > ... > Types of Damages > Punitive Damages > General Overview HN9 In cases involving potential awards of punitive damages in Oregon , the finder of fact must determine what punitive damages, if any, to award based on the proper premise of deterring future similar misconduct by the defendant or others. To this end, a number of factors may be relevant, including the seriousness of the hazard to the public, the attitude and conduct of the wrongdoer upon learning of the hazard, the number and position of employees involved in causing or covering up the misconduct, the duration of the misconduct or its cover-up, the financial condition of the wrongdoer, and prior and potential punishment from similarly situated plaintiffs or other sources. Counsel: Jeffrey R. Brooke, of Bowman and Brooke, Phoenix, Arizona, argued the cause and filed the petition for petitioners on review. With him on the petition were Paul G. Cereghini, Phoenix, Arizona; and Thomas W. Brown and James H. Gidley, of Cosgrave, Vergeer & Kester, Portland. William A. Gaylord, of Gaylord & Eyerman, P.C., Portland, argued the cause for respondent on review and filed a response to the petition. With him on the response was Doris J. Brook, and Raymond F. Thomas of Royce, Swanson & Thomas, Portland. Jonathan M. Hoffman, of Martin Bischoff, Templeton, Langslet & Hoffman, Portland; and Malcolm E. Wheeler, of Parcel, Mauro, Hultin & Spaanstra, P.C., Denver, Colorado, filed a brief on behalf of amici curiae Product Liability Advisory Council, Inc.; The Motor Vehicles Manufacturers Association of the United States, Inc.; [***2] The Chamber of Commerce of the United States; National Association of Manufacturers of the United States of America; Business Roundtable; and Chemical Manufacturers Association. Mildred J. Carmack and Ridgway K. Foley, Jr., P.C., of Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt, Portland; and James N. Westwood, of Miller, Nash, Wiener, Hager & Carlsen, Portland, filed a brief on behalf of amicus curiae Oregon Association of Defense Counsel. Civil Procedure > Remedies > Damages > General Overview Civil Procedure > Remedies > Damages > Punitive Damages Torts > ... > Types of Damages > Punitive Damages > General Overview HN7 See Or. Rev. Stat. § 30.925. Torts > ... > Types of Damages > Punitive Damages > General Overview HN8 See Or. Rev. Stat. § 41.315. David A. Engels, of Banks, Newcomb & Engels, Portland, filed a brief on behalf of amici curiae Consumer Federation of America; United States Public Interest Research Group; Oregon State Public Interest Research Group; Portland Family Head Injury Support Group; Oregon Trial Lawyers Association; and The Southern Poverty Law Center. 316 Ore. 263, *263; 851 P.2d 1084, **1084; 1993 Ore. LEXIS 62, ***2 James H. Clarke, of Lane Powell Spears Lubersky, Portland, filed a brief on behalf of amici curiae Snap-On Tools Corporation; Tim Kash; and Ray Park. Judges: In Banc. Graber, J. Peterson, J., filed a dissenting opinion. Opinion by: GRABER Opinion [*266] [**1085] This case involves a product liability claim against defendants, who manufactured and sold a 1985 Honda Model ATC350X three-wheeled all-terrain vehicle (ATV) used by plaintiff. Plaintiff [***3] attempted [**1086] to drive the ATV up a steep embankment; it overturned backward, injuring him. Plaintiff then brought this action against defendants, alleging that they were negligent in manufacturing, distributing, and selling the ATV, because they knew or should have known that it had an inherently dangerous design that rendered it unreasonably dangerous to users, and alleging strict liability. A jury returned a verdict in favor of plaintiff, awarding both general and punitive damages. 1 [***4] Defendants appealed. They argued, among other things, that the trial court erred in admitting in evidence excerpts of various documents generated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), 2 relating to the safety of ATVs. Defendants also argued that the trial court erred in denying their motion for a new trial on the basis of the discovery of new eyewitnesses to plaintiff's accident. Finally, they argued that the award of punitive damages was excessive and, therefore, violated their rights under Article I, section 16, of the Oregon Constitution3 and the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. 4 Page 3 of 28 The Court of Appeals held that the trial court did not err in admitting the excerpts from the CPSC documents, [*267] because that evidence was used for the limited and relevant purpose of showing defendants' knowledge [***5] of the allegedly dangerous characteristics of ATVs. Oberg v. Honda Motor Co., 108 Or App 43, 47-48, 814 P2d 517 (1991). The Court of Appeals also held that the trial court did not err in denying defendants' motion for a new trial on the basis of the discovery of new eyewitnesses to plaintiff's accident, because the trial court was entitled to find that the newly discovered evidence probably would not have changed the verdict. Id. at 55-56. With respect to punitive damages, the court held that the award did not violate defendants' rights under Article I, section 16, of the Oregon Constitution, because that provision "does not apply in civil actions between private parties." Id. at 49-50. Finally, the court held that the award of punitive damages did not violate defendants' rights under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. Id. at 50-55. We affirm the decision of the Court of Appeals. ADMISSIBILITY OF CPSC DOCUMENTS Defendants first argue that [***6] the trial court erred in allowing plaintiff to read to the jury excerpts from nine CPSC documents. The documents included seven CPSC internal staff memoranda on the safety of ATVs; a CPSC notice of proposed rulemaking and request for comments and data relating to the safety of ATVs; and a CPSC press release concerning ATV-related accidents and injuries. A. Relevance 1 The jury awarded plaintiff $ 919,390.39 in compensatory damages and $ 5,000,000 in punitive damages. It allocated 20 percent of the fault to plaintiff and 80 percent to defendants. The trial court reduced the compensatory damage award by 20 percent and entered a judgment against defendants for $ 5,735,512.31. 2 The Consumer Product Safety Commission is a federal agency that collects, investigates, analyzes, and disseminates information relating to the cause and prevention of death, injury, and illness associated with consumer products in the United States. 15 USC § 2054 (1991). 3 Article I, section 16, of the Oregon Constitution, provides in part: "Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed. Cruel and unusual punishments shall not be inflicted, but all penalties shall be proportioned to the offense." 4 HN1 The Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States provides in part: "No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law[.]" 316 Ore. 263, *267; 851 P.2d 1084, **1086; 1993 Ore. LEXIS 62, ***6 During the hearing on defendants' motion in limine to exclude documents generated by the CPSC, plaintiff argued that the disputed material was relevant to show that defendants had "notice" of the alleged dangerousness of ATVs and that [**1087] the material was, therefore, relevant to two issues: the foreseeability of plaintiff's injury and defendants' reaction to the notice as bearing on punitive damages. HN2 OEC 401 provides: "'Relevant evidence' means evidence having any tendency to make the existence of any fact that is of consequence to the determination of the action more probable or less probable than it would be without the evidence." [*268] HN3 OEC 402 provides: "All relevant evidence is admissible, except as otherwise provided by the Oregon Evidence Code, by the Constitutions of the United States [***7] and Oregon, or by Oregon statutory and decisional law. Evidence which is not relevant is not admissible." Page 4 of 28 Another concerned reports showing a "pattern of loss of control" specifically associated with ATVs manufactured by Honda. Three excerpts concerned reported incidents in which ATVs overturned backward, and three others more specifically concerned incidents in which ATVs overturned backward while climbing hills. As noted, the ninth excerpt concerned the similarity in configuration among all brands of ATVs. The trial court was entitled to find that the prior occurrences that were described in those [*269] excerpts were sufficiently similar to the accident at issue in this case to make those occurrences relevant. In summary, the excerpts from the CPSC documents, admitted by the trial court, were relevant to issues at trial. The trial court did not err in so holding. B. Hearsay We next consider defendants' argument [***9] that, even if the excerpts from the CPSC documents were relevant to the issue whether defendants had notice of the dangerousness of the product, those excerpts were inadmissible because they were hearsay. HN4 OEC 801(3) provides: Defendants do not challenge the authenticity of the CPSC documents, and they stipulated that they had received each of the documents from which plaintiff read excerpts, at approximately the time of its publication. Defendants do not argue that their knowledge of ATVs' potential instability was irrelevant to the issues at trial. Rather, they argue that the other ATVs and the other accidents described in the disputed documents were so unlike this ATV and this accident that knowledge of the documents did not give defendants notice of anything relevant. "'Hearsay' is a statement, other than one made by the declarant while testifying at the trial or hearing, offered in evidence to prove the truth of the matter asserted." Second, defendants contend that the accidents that were referred to or described in the CPSC documents were not "substantially similar" to the accident that caused plaintiff's injury here. Again, we disagree with defendants' contention. One of the excerpts at issue concerned reports of the instability of ATVs as a class. "Jurors, I am now going to permit plaintiff's counsel to read to you excerpts from some documents of the federal agency. The documents that I will allow plaintiff's counsel to read to you are not admitted for the purpose of establishing the truth of the statements Defendants' hearsay objections were not well taken, because the excerpts from the CPSC documents were not offered to prove the truth of the matters asserted therein. Rather, those excerpts were offered for the limited and proper purpose of showing that defendants had knowledge of the potential dangerousness of ATVs. See Kirkpatrick, Oregon Evidence First, defendants contend that the ATVs that were the subject 484-85 (2d ed 1989) ("[m]any out-of-court statements may be of the CPSC documents were not "substantially similar" to the received in evidence because they are not being offered for Honda ATV that allegedly caused the injury in this case. We the truth of the matter asserted," but for some other purpose, are unpersuaded. The CPSC documents dealt with ATVs as a including the purpose of showing that the recipient of the class of vehicles. As one of the documents stated, vehicles of statement had knowledge of the matter asserted therein). that class are of similar design. The trial court was entitled to [**1088] It is clear that the trial court admitted the find that the ATVs that were the subject of the CPSC documents for the limited purpose for which plaintiff offered documents were sufficiently similar to the ATV that caused them. The court gave the [***10] following instruction just the injury in this case to provide notice to before the excerpts of CPSC documents were read to the jury: defendants [***8] of danger to persons in plaintiff's position. 316 Ore. 263, *269; 851 P.2d 1084, **1088; 1993 Ore. LEXIS 62, ***10 contained in those documents. That means that you should not assume that the statements in those documents are true. "These documents are admitted for the limited purpose of notice. Plaintiff has alleged that these documents gave [*270] defendants notice before the date of [plaintiff's] accident that the [ATVs] could overturn. "I will not suggest to you that these documents constitute adequate notice. The adequacy of the notice is an issue for you to decide. The statements contained in these documents, the ones that will be read to you, may or may not be true. But we are not going to resolve their truth in this courtroom. In other words, they are coming in for a limited purpose on the basis that the plaintiff has alleged that [Defendants] had notice, and this is the evidence that's submitted to you and you will make that ultimate [***11] determination."After plaintiff's counsel read the excerpts, the trial court told the jury: "Jurors, again, I want to review with you the limitation that the Court has placed on this information. First, I want to remind you that you should not assume that these statements are true. The plaintiff claims that the excerpts that the lawyer just read to you gave [defendants] notice before plaintiff's accident that [ATVs] could overturn, and I'm not suggesting to you that the excerpts just read to you constitute adequate notice. That will be an issue that you will have to decide." The CPSC documents were not excludable as hearsay. C. Prejudice Defendants argued that the probative value of each of the CPSC documents was substantially outweighed by its prejudicial effect. In State v. Pinnell, 311 Or 98, 112, 806 P2d ...
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