SENATE COMMITTEE ON JUDICIARY

 

 

June 10, 2003                                                                                                      Hearing Room 343

8:00 AM                                                                                                                  Tapes 158 – 159

 

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:                 Bill Joseph, Counsel

Jane Bodenweiser, Committee Assistant

 

 

MEASURE/ISSUES HEARD:           HB 2494A  Public Hearing

                                                HB 2498A  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 158, A

003

Chair Minnis

Calls the meeting to order at 9:00 a.m. and opens a public hearing on HB 2494A and HB 2498A.

HB 2494A & HB 2498A PUBLIC HEARING

009

Rep. Max Williams

House District 35.  Introduces HB 2494A that requires disclosure of expert witnesses in civil actions unless directed by court or agreed to by stipulation, and HB 2498A that sets rate of interest on judgments at nine percent per annum or at weekly average one-year constant maturity Treasury yield for the week preceding date of entry of judgment.

108

Sen. Ferrioli

Expresses concern about disclosure of what an expert witness is paid.

114

Rep. Williams

Comments on the issue of expert witness pay disclosure.

132

Sen. Ringo

Asks where the interest rate of the Federal Treasury Department (FTD) is found.

138

Rep. Williams

Details the availability of the information on the FTD website.

146

Russ Lipetzky

Attorney; Salem, Oregon.  Testifies as neutral on HB 2494A, with reference to proposed conceptual amendments (EXHIBIT A).  

185

Sen. Ringo

Asks whether Mr. Lipetzky’s concerns were raised on the House side.

190

Lipetzky

Explains that the family law community was unaware of the bill until late in the process. Offers testimony regarding HB 2498A.

210

Committee

Discusses the Department of Justice role in determining interest rates.

220

Sen. Ringo

Asks whether Mr. Lipetzky has a possible solution.

225

Lipetzky

Provides that the committee should draft amendments which would exclude domestic relations cases.

227

Sen. Ringo

Offers his interpretation of the issue of concern.

230

Lipetzky

Acknowledges, and further outlines his concerns and possible solutions.

233

Chair Minnis

Asks why the court could not set the interest rate as a part of the judgment.

235

Lipetzky

Points out the inconsistency of the rates which would be set.

250

John Phillips

Oregon Department of Revenue.  Submits testimony and testifies as neutral on HB 2498A (EXHIBIT B).  Proposes an amendment which would narrow the effects of the bill to exclude certain property cases.

260

Chair Minnis

Asks whether Revenue vented their concerns on the House side.

265

Phillips

Explains they did not know of the bill until it had left the House.

270

Diane Belt

Oregon Association of County Tax Collectors. Testifies regarding HB 2498A.

290

Mark Comstock

Oregon State Bar Debtor/Creditor Section.  Submits testimony and testifies in opposition to HB 2498A (EXHIBIT C).

315

Sen. Ringo

Clarifies the court’s role in determining the judgment rate.

320

Comstock

Comments on the court’s acceptance of treasury yields, and outlines the concerns for the changing interest rate. Points out the difficulty in deciding which federal interest rate to use.

345

Chair Minnis

Asks how the Federal Courts identify the interest rate to use.

350

Comstock

Explains the procedure at the Federal level. Believes it would be a burden on the state courts.

425

Chair Minnis

Asks if he testified at the public hearings in the House committee.

430

Comstock

Indicates that he did not testify before the House committee.

440

Sen. Ringo

Clarifies Mr. Comstock’s interpretation of the bill.

455

Comstock

Further offers his interpretation of the bill.

TAPE 159, A

008

Sen. Ringo

Asks how long the interest rate has been nine percent.

013

Comstock

Comments on the recent history of the interest rate.

017

Scott Gallant

Oregon Medical Association.  Testifies in support of HB 2494A and HB 2498A.  Discusses the work group that crafted the bills presented.

050

Mike Crew

Attorney.  Testifies in support of HB 2494A and HB 2498A. Explains where the interest rate in question can be found.

099

Sen. Walker

Asks for Mr. Crew’s response to prior testimony heard on HB 2498A.

107

Crew

Comments on the history of HB 2498A, explaining the bill has broadened in scope since its start.

114

Sen. Walker

Asks whether Mr. Crew has an objection to accommodating those concerns addressed today.

121

Crew

Points out that ideally there would be one interest rate which would bind all parties.

125

Sen. Walker

Comments on the fairness issue of the interest rate.

125

Sen. Ringo

Asks about the incentive issue.

129

Crew

Points out there is an incentive to pay off a judgment due to its affect on credit ratings and future financing availability.

137

Sen. Ringo

Asks whether by lowering the interest rates, there would be more incentive to appeal the judgment, drawing out the payment.

143

Crew

Acknowledges the possibility, but comments on the costs of the appeals process.

160

Sen. Ringo

Further questions whether this measure would increase the number of appeals with marginal merit.

170

Crew

Concurs, commenting on the possibility of more appeals.

180

Sen. Ringo

Clarifies that the witness acknowledges that by lowering the interest rates there would be more appeals.

185

Crew

Indicates that he could not know how many appeals would be filed.

190

Jim Dorigan

CEO, Northwest Physicians Mutual. Testifies in support of HB 2494A and HB 2498A.

236

Sen. Walker

Asks for further clarification regarding the Governor’s Task Force as mentioned in Mr. Dorigan’s testimony.

241

Dorigan

Comments on the makeup and function of the task force.

262

Sen. Walker

Clarifies that the solutions offered by the task force were not unanimous.

266

Dorigan

Explains how the issues were dealt with in the task force, and points out the solutions which manifested into HB 2494 and HB 2498.

275

Sen. Walker

Asks whether any of the recommendations were passed on to the Governor.

279

Dorigan

Points out the task force finished when Governor Kulongoski took office.

284

Mark Morrell

Oregon State Bar.  Introduces Everett Jack.  Testifies as neutral on HB 2494A. 

321

Chair Minnis

Asks about tampering with an expert witness.

330

Morrell

Says that risk exists, and outlines how this could happen.

340

Chair Minnis

Asks how other states deal with this issue.

345

Morrell

Discusses how other states and the federal court deal with the issue.

361

Chair Minnis

Wonders about the credibility of a witness.

381

Morrell

Comments on the credibility issue.

436

Sen. Walker

Asks if the bill doesn’t also require disclosure of trials which the experts have recently testified in.

445

Morrell

Acknowledges, and explains the importance of trial history of expert witnesses.

TAPE 158, B

041

Sen. Walker

Questions whether an expert witness could be disqualified if they were unable to remember every trial they had been in.

047

Morrell

Allows that is certainly a possibility, and further discusses.

053

Bill Joseph

Committee Counsel.  Clarifies the disclosure policy.

070

Morrell

Continues his testimony.

084

Everett Jack

Oregon State Bar.  Testifies as neutral on HB 2494A. 

164

Morrell

Points out that expert witness costs are not recoverable.

183

Chair Minnis

Indicates his wish to hear the remaining testimony on the two bills at the next meeting.

185

Sen. Walker

Expresses her wish to have the witnesses give testimony at the next meeting.

190

Chair Minnis

Closes the public hearing on HB 2494A, and HB 2498A.  Adjourns the meeting at 10:10 a.m.

The following prepared testimony is submitted for the record without public testimony for HB 2494A, and HB 2498A.

 

William Gaylord

Submits written testimony (EXHIBIT D).

 

David Miller

Submits written testimony (EXHIBIT E).

 

 

EXHIBIT SUMMARY

 

A – HB 2494A, conceptual amendments, Russell Lipetzky, 1 p.

B – HB 2498A, written testimony, John Phillips, 1 p.

C – HB 2498A, written testimony, Mark Comstock, 4 pp

D – HB 2494A, written testimony, William Gaylord, 2 pp.

E – HB 2494A, written testimony, David Miller, 3 pp.