In 1999, the Oregon Supreme Court issued a landmark decision that made Oregon one of the few states that allow an employer to be held vicariously liable for an employee abusing a child. Fearing v. Bucher, 328 Oregon Supreme Court 367 (1999). This ruling was followed by a flood of child abuse lawsuits that resulted in the bankruptcy of the Catholic Archdiocese of Portland in the 2000s given that it could be held liable for child abuse by priests it employed. The Fearing case, which involved alleged child abuse by a priest, remains the law in Oregon as to an “employee”
of a defendant.
Moreover, Oregon’s child abuse statute of limitations was amended in 2009 to grant an alleged child abuse victim an automatic right to file a civil lawsuit until they reach 40 years of age. (Oregon Revised Statutes 12.117) Continue reading