Civil Motions - Motions Panel Consensus Statements

November 2008
By Stephen K. Bushong, Multnomah County Circuit Court

Before filing a motion in a civil case, attorneys should always check the Civil Motion Panel Statement of Consensus (available at http://courts.oregon.gov/Multnomah/docs/CivilCourt/CivilMotionPanel_CivilMotionPanelStatementOfConsensus.pdf). Although the consensus statements are not binding, judges ordinarily will make rulings that are consistent with the consensus statements. This remains true, even with many new judges on the bench and hearing civil motions. If there is already a consensus statement on the issue presented in your motion, you should consider whether filing the motion is in your client's interests. If you decide to file the motion anyway, you should cite the consensus statement in your motion and be prepared to explain why the consensus statement should not be followed in your case. As a practical matter, the party seeking a ruling that deviates from a consensus statement has the burden of convincing the court that there are good and substantial reasons to deviate from the consensus statement in that particular case.

The Civil Motions Panel can modify or delete existing consensus statements if it is apparent that there is no longer a consensus among the judges deciding civil motions on a particular issue. The panel may also adopt additional consensus statements if there is a consensus among the judges deciding civil motions on a particular issue. If you believe that there is already a consensus among judges on an issue that is not reflected in the current consensus statements, or that an existing consensus statement should be modified or deleted because it is no longer an accurate statement of the judges' rulings (not because you wish it weren't so), please notify Judge Janice Wilson, Civil Motions Panel Chair.