Justia Bankruptcy Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Oregon Supreme Court
Plaintifff Pattyann Larsen filed employment discrimination and other claims against her former employer shortly after her debts had been discharged by the federal bankruptcy court, but she had failed to list those claims as assets in her bankruptcy case. The trial court granted defendant’s motion for summary judgment, concluding that the bankruptcy trustee—not plaintiff— was the real party in interest. The court then denied plaintiff’s motion to substitute the bankruptcy trustee as plaintiff and dismissed the case based on its conclusion that plaintiff’s attempt to pursue this action in her own name was not an “honest and understandable mistake.” The Court of Appeals affirmed, concluding that the trial court had not abused its discretion in denying substitution. THe Oregon Supreme Court reversed: under ORCP 26 A, a motion to substitute the real party in interest as the plaintiff, if granted, would require plaintiff to amend the complaint under ORCP 23 A. “We have interpreted the standard specified in that rule—leave to amend ‘shall be freely given when justice so requires’—to mean that leave to amend should be granted absent any unfair prejudice to the nonmoving party. The text, context, and legislative history of ORCP 26 A confirm that the standards governing leave to amend the pleadings under ORCP 23 A also apply in deciding whether to allow substitution of the real party in interest under ORCP 26 A.” Defendant did not contend that it would be unfairly prejudiced if the bankruptcy trustee were to be substituted as the plaintiff in this case. The Supreme Court concluded that, because the trial court applied the wrong legal standard, it abused its discretion in denying substitution and dismissing this case. View "Larsen v. Selmet, Inc." on Justia Law