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Patton v. Target Corp., No. 08-35177

State Need Not Consent to Settlement Following Punitive Damages Verdict

In Patton v. Target Corp., No. 08-35177, the court affirmed the district court's dismissal of an action with prejudice following a settlement where the district court correctly concluded that Or. Rev. Stat. section 31.735 did not require that the State consent to the parties' post-verdict settlement in the aftermath of a punitive damages verdict.

As the court wrote:  "Under Oregon's split-recovery statute, OR. REV. STAT. § 31.735, the State of Oregon (the "State") is entitled to 60 percent of any punitive damages awarded under Oregon law. The statute applies to cases decided under Oregon law in federal court. DeMendoza v. Huffman, 51 P.3d 1232, 1235-37 (Or.2002). In the case at bench, after the jury awarded a substantial amount of punitive damages1 , but before judgment was entered on the verdict, plaintiff and defendant settled the case for an undisclosed amount, without notice to or approval of the State."

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