Oregon Statutory recovery of costs and attorney fees in contractual claims

Many people try the self help route when they enter into an agreement with someone who they think is a good friend, only to find out the other party fails to perform his or her end of the bargain.

Not to long ago, I helped a kind lady out who was conned in to prepaying for goods and services for which she did not receive. To make matters worse, the business owner refused to refund her money and more than 60 days had passed so the credit card company refused to help her out. She has advanced more than $5,000.00 on a project and no work was done. The other party made various bogus claims as to what her money was spent on and conflated issues to argue that she owed him money for some unrelated and non-existent matter. The bottom line was, she paid for something and received nothing. She thought her only recourse was small claims court because she could not afford an attorney to prosecute her claim. She was also very unsure of the process. She obtained a packet of paperwork from the court, but was overwhelmed and emotionally aggravated with the process in part because the person who took advantage of her was a friend of the family and she simply could not believe she was being treated poorly. Further, she is not a litigious individual and was upset she had to seek such measures and felt she had little to no hope of success.

Fast forward a few months later and we secured a judgment for her that allowed her to recover the money she advanced in full along with her, court costs and attorney fees with a handy little tool called ORS § 20.082. The statute provides for attorney fees for contracts which are less than $10,000.00. Most people are not aware of this little statutory provision or the process by which to implement it.

Contract drafting and enforcement does not have to be complicated. If you need help, give us a call.