May 24, 2024

Understanding ORS 31.230

Understanding ORS 31.230: Wrongful Use of Civil Proceeding

At Johnson Law, P.C., we believe in empowering our clients and the community with knowledge about the laws that protect their rights. One important area of Oregon tort law is ORS Chapter 31.230, which addresses the wrongful use of civil proceedings. This statute is essential for understanding the protections available against unfounded legal claims.

Key Aspects of ORS 31.230

1. No Requirement for Special Injury: ORS 31.230(1) states that to bring a claim for wrongful use of a civil proceeding, a person does not need to plead or prove special injury beyond the typical expenses and consequences associated with defending against baseless legal claims. This means individuals wrongfully sued do not have to demonstrate extraordinary harm to seek damages.

2. Safe Harbor Provision: Under ORS 31.230(2), the law provides a safe harbor for plaintiffs who file a civil action within 60 days of the statute of limitations expiring, provided they dismiss the action within 120 days of filing. This provision protects individuals who need to preserve their claims close to the deadline from being accused of wrongful use of civil proceedings, as long as they act promptly to dismiss unfounded claims.

3. Timing of Claims: According to ORS 31.230(3), any claim for damages due to the wrongful use of a civil proceeding must be brought as an original action after the conclusion of the proceeding in question. This ensures that such claims are addressed separately and only after the initial case has been resolved.

ORS.230 Text

(Wrongful Use of Civil Proceeding)

      31.230 Wrongful use of civil proceeding; pleading; procedure. (1) In order to bring a claim for wrongful use of a civil proceeding against another, a person shall not be required to plead or prove special injury beyond the expense and other consequences normally associated with defending against unfounded legal claims.

      (2) The filing of a civil action within 60 days of the running of the statute of limitations for the purpose of preserving and evaluating the claim when the action is dismissed within 120 days after the date of filing shall not constitute grounds for a claim for wrongful use of a civil proceeding under subsection (1) of this section.

      (3) A claim for damages for wrongful use of a civil proceeding shall be brought in an original action after the proceeding which is the subject matter of the claim is concluded. [Formerly 30.895]

Theoretical Example: Wrongful Use of Civil Proceeding

To better understand how ORS 31.230 works in practice, let’s consider a hypothetical scenario:

Example: Imagine John, a small business owner, is sued by a competitor, Sarah, for alleged trademark infringement. Sarah's lawsuit is based on weak evidence and seems more like an attempt to disrupt John's business rather than a legitimate legal claim. John incurs significant legal fees and business disruptions as he defends himself in court.

After several months, the court dismisses Sarah’s lawsuit, finding it baseless. Under ORS 31.230, John can bring a claim for wrongful use of a civil proceeding against Sarah. He does not need to prove any special injury beyond the typical legal expenses and disruptions he faced. If John successfully proves that Sarah’s lawsuit was unfounded and malicious, he could recover damages for the costs he incurred in defending himself.

What to Do if You Are Wrongfully Sued

If you find yourself wrongfully subjected to a civil proceeding, it is crucial to understand your rights and the legal remedies available to you under ORS 31.230. While Johnson Law, P.C. specializes in personal injury cases, we recognize the importance of addressing wrongful use of civil proceedings.

Oregon State Bar Referral Service

For those who need legal assistance in matters of wrongful use of civil proceedings, we recommend contacting the Oregon State Bar Referral Service. They can connect you with qualified attorneys who specialize in this area of law and can provide the necessary support and representation.

Oregon State Bar Referral Service:

  • Website:
  • Phone Number: 503-684-3763 or toll-free in Oregon at 800-452-7636

About Johnson Law, P.C.

While our primary focus is on personal injury cases, Johnson Law, P.C. is committed to providing resources and guidance to the community. We are a boutique personal injury law firm with locations in Hillsboro, Portland, and Vancouver, dedicated to fighting against large insurance companies to secure rightful compensation for our clients. Our mission is to provide personalized attention and aggressive representation for those involved in car accidents and other personal injury matters.

Our Locations:

  • Hillsboro Office: 1323 NE Orenco Station Pkwy, Ste #210, Hillsboro, OR
  • Portland Office: 521 SW Clay St, Ste #209, Portland, OR
  • Vancouver Office: 2220 H St, Ste #1, Vancouver, WA
  • Phone Number: 971-205-3266

Visit our main page to learn more about our services and how we can assist with personal injury cases.


This blog post is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. While we strive to provide accurate and up-to-date information, the law can change rapidly, and specific legal outcomes can vary based on individual circumstances. For personalized legal advice, please contact a qualified attorney.

This post is part of a broader series on ORS Chapter 31. For more detailed explanations and discussions on other sections of this chapter, please visit our ORS Chapter 31 Explained page.

Your Questions Answered

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(971) 205-3266
1323 NE Orenco Station Pkwy
Suite #210
Hillsboro, OR 97124


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