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Humphers v. First Interstate Bank of Oregon

Supreme Court of Oregon
696 P.2d 527 (1985)


Facts

Ramona Humphers (plaintiff) gave her newborn up for adoption. Medical records of the child’s birth and the adoption documents were sealed from the public. Only Humphers, her mother, and the physician treating Humphers at the time, Dr. Mackey (defendant), knew about the daughter she gave up for adoption. Twenty-one years later, the adopted daughter, Dawn Kastning, sought out Mackey in her quest to find her biological mother. Mackey provided Kastning with information, some of which was false, to help her successfully locate Humphers. Humphers became distressed over the contact. Humphers filed suit against Mackey’s estate, which was managed by First Interstate Bank of Oregon (the Bank) (defendant). Humpher’s five-theory complaint alleged that (1) Mackey’s “outrageous conduct” should result in liability; (2) that Mackey’s disclosure of a professional secret fell below the applicable standard of care; (3) that his disclosure was a breach of a confidential relationship; (4) that his disclosure was an invasion of Humphers’ privacy; and (5) that his disclosures to Kastning breached a contractual obligation of secrecy. The trial court granted the Bank’s motion for summary judgment on all of Humphers’ theories and Humphers appealed. The court of appeals affirmed the trial court’s judgment except for the third and fourth theories. The Bank then appealed to the state’s supreme court.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (En Banc)

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