Busch v. McInnis Waste Systems, Inc.Annotate this Case
Plaintiff had the right-of-way and was walking across a crosswalk in downtown Portland when defendant’s garbage truck struck him. By the time the truck stopped, plaintiff’s leg was under the truck and attached to his body by a one-inch piece of skin. Plaintiff was fully conscious and alert, and he experienced tremendous pain. Plaintiff had surgery to amputate his leg just above the knee. In this personal injury action, the issue presented for the Oregon Supreme Court's review centered on the constitutionality of a statutory cap on the damages that a plaintiff may recover for injuries resulting from a breach of a common-law duty. Here, plaintiff brought a personal injury claim for damages against defendant, a private entity, and, pursuant to ORS 31.710(1), the trial court reduced the noneconomic damages that the jury awarded — $10,500,000 — to the maximum amount permitted by statute — $500,000. The Court of Appeals held that, as applied to plaintiff, the cap violated the remedy clause of Article I, section 10, of the Oregon Constitution and reversed. After review, the Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Court of Appeals and reversed the decision of the circuit court.