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Beware of Court Fees

I just returned from the Multnomah County Courthouse where prominently posted was a warning that ORS 21.580 had been repealed as of October 1, 2011 and that lawyers representing public entities should be prepared to pay all fees unless they are able to point to some other exemption.  I hate to admit this was the first I had heard of this, so when I got back to the office I checked the legislative website. Sure enough the court fee bill, HB 2710, repealed that statue.

I loved this statute when I worked for Clackamas County because I could go to our courthouse without having to bring a check or cash.  Problem was that sometimes I had to go the courthouses in Marion, Multnomah and Washington County’s, and it was always a gamble if they were going to make my county pay.  Fortunately, I found ORS 20.180, which grants the state, counties, cities and school district’s (including officers, employees and agents that are parties in there official capacity) a deferral of any court fees that can be recovered under a cost bill.  The deferred fee need be paid only if that fee is included in an award of costs and the adverse party pays the cost bill.  HB 2071 did not repeal this statue.

Keep in mind that Section 5 of HB 2710 requires the caption of many pleadings to contain a citation to the statutory provision establishing the applicable fee.  A table of fees, along with the applicable statutory citation is available on the Judicial Department website. Link

If you want to take advantage of deferral under ORS 20.180, I would suggest that you follow that statutory reference with something like “Fee deferred under ORS 20.180”.