SENATE COMMITTEE ON JUDICIARY

 

April 10, 2003                                                                                                      Hearing Room 343

8:00 A.M.                                                                                                                       Tapes 93-95

 

MEMBERS PRESENT:         Sen. John Minnis, Chair

Sen. Ginny Burdick, Vice-Chair

Sen. Ted Ferrioli

Sen. Charlie Ringo

Sen. Charles Starr

Sen. Vicki Walker

 

STAFF PRESENT:                 Craig Prins, Counsel

Ann Martin, Committee Assistant

 

MEASURE/ISSUES HEARD:           SB 47 Public Hearing

                                                SB 426 Public Hearing

                                                SB 592 Public Hearing

                                                SB 615 Public Hearing          

                                                SB 619 Public Hearing

                                                SB 655 Public Hearing

                                                SB 679 Public Hearing

                                                SB 752 Public Hearing

SB 792 Public Hearing

SB 880 Public Hearing

 

 

These minutes are in compliance with Senate and House Rules.  Only text enclosed in quotation marks reports a speaker’s exact words.  For complete contents, please refer to the tapes.

 

TAPE/#

Speaker

Comments

TAPE, 93 A

002

Chair Minnis

Calls the meeting to order at 8:12 a.m. Opens a public hearing on SB 47.

SB 47 PUBLIC HEARING

009

Craig Prins

Committee Counsel. Introduces SB 47 which delays imposition of interest on criminal judgments until July 1, 2007.

020

Paul Snider

Association of Oregon Counties. Testifies in support of SB 47.

040

Bradd Swank

State Court Administrator’s Office. Testifies in support of SB 47.

083

Chair Minnis

Closes the public hearing on SB 47 and opens a public hearing on SB 426.

SB 426 PUBLIC HEARING

100

Craig Prins

Committee Counsel. Introduces SB 426 which expands crime of assault in third degree.

105

Susan Schneider

City of Portland. Testifies in support of SB 426.

122

Chair Minnis

Closes the public hearing on SB 426 and opens a public hearing on SB 592.

SB 592 PUBLIC HEARING

129

Craig Prins

Committee Counsel. Introduces SB 592 which creates crime of unlawful delivery of Salvia divinorum.

145

Chair Minnis

Closes the public hearing on SB 592 and opens a public hearing on SB 615.

SB 615 PUBLIC HEARING

157

Craig Prins

Committee Counsel. Introduces SB 615 which revives certain claims for childhood sexual abuse that are barred solely because statues of limitations for claims have expired.

170

Deborah Holton

Oregon Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. Submits testimony and testifies in support of SB 615 (EXHIBIT A).

209

Chair Minnis

Closes the public hearing on SB 615 and opens a public hearing on SB 619.

SB 619 PUBLIC HEARING

210

Craig Prins

Committee Counsel. Introduces SB 619 which directs court to instruct jury to determine that defendant should not receive death sentence when jury finds that defendant is person with mental retardation.

226

Chair Minnis

Closes the public hearing on SB 619 and opens a public hearing on SB 655.

SB 655 PUBLIC HEARING

228

Craig Prins

Committee Counsel. Introduces SB 655 which creates crime of unlawful trafficking in communication or access devices.

240

Ted Hughes

Testifies in support of SB 655.

260

Chair Minnis

Closes the public hearing on SB 655 and opens a public hearing on SB 679.

SB 679 PUBLIC HEARING

260

Craig Prins

Committee Counsel. Introduces SB 679 which creates crime of unlawful tobacco sales to persons under 21 years of age.

275

Chair Minnis

Closes the public hearing on SB 679 and opens a public hearing on SB 752.

SB 752 PUBLIC HEARING

277

Craig Prins

Committee Counsel. Introduces SB 752 which creates Sexual Assault Victims’ Emergency Medical Response Fund.

285

Deborah Holton

Oregon Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. Submits testimony and testifies in support of SB 752 (EXHIBIT B).

310

Chair Minnis

Closes the public hearing on SB 752 and opens a public hearing on SB 792.

SB 792 PUBLIC HEARING

313

Craig Prins

Committee Counsel. Introduces SB 792 which provides that proof by owner of residential building that all original contractors were paid by owner is complete defense to any construction lien claimed against residential building.

 

333

Chair Minnis

Closes the public hearing on SB 792 and opens a public hearing on SB 880.

SB 880 PUBLIC HEARING

336

Craig Prins

Committee Counsel. Introduces SB 880 which establishes amount of supersedeas undertaking required for stay of certain judgments if judgment is against product manufacturer that is making payments to state under Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) or related legislation. Discusses -2 and -3 amendments (EXHIBITS C & D).

362

Jim Gardner

Attorney, Gardner and Gardner. Represents Philip and Morris. Submits testimony and testifies in support of SB 880 (EXHIBITS E & F).

TAPE 94, A

002

Gardner

Continues his testimony in support of SB 880.

059

Sen. Walker

States that since the tobacco companies have lied to the American people then why should they be concerned that Philip Morris may go bankrupt.

064

Gardner

Explains the consequences to the state and the MSA.

076

Sen. Ringo

Asks why they cannot disclose the state of their finances.

083

Gardner

Answers that they have been disclosed to the Attorney General’s office.

085

Sen. Ringo

Asks about the Crime Victim’s Fund and how it relates to this legislation.

099

Gardner

Says that passage of this legislation would increase the chance that payments would be made toward the Crime Victim’s Fund.

126

Chuck Tauman

Attorney. Defends victims of tobacco companies. Testifies in opposition to SB 880. Says that if Philip Morris does go bankrupt and if the bond is limited then Oregon and the crime victims will suffer.

231

Chair Minnis

Wonders if they cannot secure the bond and are going bankrupt, then wouldn’t that affect the MSA.

275

Sen. Burdick

Asks if he is warning about the situation if the tobacco companies went bankrupt.

286

Tauman

Says that is correct and explains.

349

Sen. Walker

Inquires about financial records of Philip Morris. Wonders if Attorney General’s Office has seen those.

375

Tauman

Says that he does not believe that Philip Morris has shared their financial statements.

TAPE 93, B

005

Sen. Walker

Inquires as to why someone doesn’t do a judgment debtor exam of Philip Morris.

007

Tauman

Says that is an excellent idea.

015

Sen. Burdick

Asks if there was a request to lower the bond in the Illinois case.

018

Tauman

Responds that the judge filed a motion to the judge who imposed the bond to lower the bond.

040

Sen. Burdick

Asks if typically the trial court awards are reduced on appeal.

044

Tauman

Responds with discussion of Williams v. Philip Morris.

061

Sen. Ringo

Inquires about condition of  Philip Morris’s finances.

072

Tauman

Points out that they are doing some guessing and the committee needs to decide who has the burden of proof.

085

Chair Minnis

Mentions that the state is making revenue from the MSA.

094

Tauman

Discusses how state had to expend a tremendous amount of resources on victims of tobacco companies.

100

Chair Minnis

Tells that his mother died of lung cancer and never blamed the cigarette company. Feels that lawyers have made millions on these victims.

117

Tauman

Discusses his clients and how they admitted their responsibility.

145

Chair Minnis

Says that he “respectively disagrees” about the motivation of the lawyers.

149

Sen. Burdick

Asks about the bond issue.

157

Tauman

Says that the court should be able to eliminate the bond. Discusses the compromise made in Illinois.

193

Chair Minnis

Discusses the enforcement of judgments.

233

Tauman

Mentions that under oath Philip Morris admitted to raising their prices to pay for the MSA.

252

Sen. Ringo

Asks what information he has pertaining to Phillip Morris’s finances.

255

Tauman

Reports that there is a limited amount of information that comes from the annual report from the parent company of Philip Morris.

276

Sen. Ringo

Asks if he has the 2001 financial report of Philip Morris.

279

Tauman

Answers, yes.

294

Sen. Ringo

Says that “the fact that they’re raising bankruptcy as a rationale for the bill may be the best argument against the bill.”

300

Sen. Walker

Notes that bankruptcy may not be a bad idea for Philip Morris.

325

Pete Shepherd

Deputy Attorney General. Submits testimony and testifies in opposition to SB 880 (EXHIBIT G). Discusses financial implications of the bill.

374

Sen. Burdick

Wonders if they oppose the -2 amendments.

376

Shepherd

Says yes, thinks $1 million is too small of a bond.

433

Chair Minnis

States that the plaintiff’s counsel in the Illinois proceeding is going to receive $1.775 billion dollars. Asks if that is a contingency fee.

440

Shepherd

Says that he thinks that was a determination by the trial judge in Illinois.

TAPE 94, B

003

Shepherd

Concludes his testimony in opposition to SB 880. Discusses Illinois case and how it is different from the cases in Oregon.

165

Sen. Burdick

Asks about a level of cap that the Attorney General might support.

169

Shepherd

Says that he doesn’t have a specific number to suggest today.

161

Sen. Burdick

Asks if Oregon laws are adequate to allow judges to reduce a bond.

184

Shepherd

Answers, yes, under current law a trial judge has the ability to reduce the bond.

188

Sen. Walker

Discusses bankruptcy of Philip Morris.

197

Shepherd

Says that the certain thing about bankruptcy is it will delay payment.

203

Sen. Walker

Asks if he has seen Philip Morris’s financial statements.

205

Shepherd

Says that the Oregon Attorney General’s office has not received that information.

232

Sen. Walker

Asks if the state has ever considered requesting a judgment debtor exam of Philip Morris.

234

Shepherd

Answers that they have not had any need to do that.

255

Sen. Ringo

Asks if they would need to know Philip Morris’s financial situation to proceed with this bill.

261

Shepherd

Responds that that would be important to know.

275

Sen. Ringo

Asks what financial information they have on Philip Morris now.

277

Shepherd

Says that they only have public information on Philip Morris.

289

Sen. Ringo

Asks how the committee would know what figure to put in this bill without the financial information from Philip Morris.

292

Shepherd

Emphasizes that they need that information.

299

Chair Minnis

Discusses bill.

327

Shepherd

Explains what would happen in bankruptcy proceeding of Philip Morris.

355

Gardner

Responds to key points.

TAPE 95, A

003

Gardner

Concludes his discussion in support of SB 880.

049

Sen. Ferrioli

States that we depend on the money from tobacco settlement agreements.

075

Chair Minnis

Closes the public hearing on SB 880 and adjourns the meeting at 10:30 a.m.

 

 

EXHIBIT SUMMARY

 

A – SB 615, written testimony, submitted by Deborah Holton, 1 pg.

B – SB 752, written testimony, submitted by Deborah Holton, 1 pg.

C – SB 880, -2 amendments, submitted by staff, dated 4/9/03, 1 pg.

D – SB 880, -3 amendments, submitted by staff, dated 4/9/03, 1 pg.

E – SB 880, newspaper article from Wall Street Journal, submitted by Jim Gardner, 3 pgs.

F – SB 880, opinion from Covington & Burling Law Firm, submitted by Jim Gardner, 4 pgs.

G – SB 880, letter from Philip Morris Co., submitted by Pete Shepherd, 2 pgs.