Handy v. Lane CountyAnnotate this Case
Plaintiff filed this action claiming, among other things, that a quorum of the Lane County commissioners had violated ORS 192.630(2) by engaging in a series of private communications to decide whether to comply with a public records request. Plaintiff’s claim raised two issues: (1) whether a quorum of a public body can “meet” in violation of ORS 192.630(2) by means of seriatim communications or whether a quorum can meet only if all the members of the quorum are present at the same time; and (2) whether, if a quorum can meet by means of seriatim communications, plaintiff’s evidence was sufficient to establish that a quorum of the commissioners met privately. The trial court assumed that a quorum could be met by means of seriatim communications, but it ruled that plaintiff had not offered sufficient evidence to avoid defendants’ special motion to strike. The court accordingly dismissed plaintiff’s claims without prejudice. The Court of Appeals reversed. After review, the Supreme Court agreed with the trial court that, given the evidence that plaintiff offered in response to defendants’ special motion to strike, no reasonable trier of fact could find that a quorum met to decide whether to comply with the public records request. The Court reversed the Court of Appeals' decision with respect to that issue, and remanded this matter back to the appellate court for further consideration on whether the trial court abused its discretion in denying plaintiff's request for further discovery.