News for those who live, work and play in the Santiam Canyon

Judge weighing PacifiCorp verdict

On Thursday, parties on James et al vs. PacifiCorp argued whether or not a June 12 jury verdict should be thrown out and whether the company should pay full damages.

The hearing was held before Judge Steffan Alexander in Multnomah County Circuit Court, and news coverage can be found at canyonweekly.com.

PacifiCorp argues the June 12 verdict was based neither on the evidence nor the law, and asked Alexander to set aside the verdict and either rule in the company’s favor or set a new trial.

PacifiCorp also claims witness testimony about fire deaths was outside the scope of the lawsuit and potentially prejudiced the jury, and thus was allegedly grounds for a mistrial.

Additionally the company claims it should not pay economic damages to plaintiffs, including $4.4 million of $90 million in total damages awarded in June to 17 plaintiffs. 

PacifiCorp settled with a class of insurance providers in May for an undisclosed sum and claims this also settled claims by James class members. 

PacifiCorp cited an Oregon law stating insurance companies could sue to recover damages as if a client’s losses were their own.

This matter was argued during a hearing Oct. 13, which resulted in no decision after new arguments were presented. 

Parties have since submitted new filings reflecting their current arguments.

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