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Portland General Electric Co. v. Taber

146 Or. App. 735 (1997)

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Portland General Electric Co. v. Taber

Oregon Court of Appeals

146 Or. App. 735 (1997)

Facts

Harry Taber (defendant) owned a truck that crashed into a wooden power pole owned by Portland General Electric Co. (plaintiff) in 1994. The electric company sued Taber, seeking to recover damages for removing and replacing the pole and the cost of a new pole. The pole that was damaged had been installed in 1934. Taber agreed to pay $2,213 for the removal and replacement costs but disputed the electric company’s charge for approximately $400 for a new pole. Farmers Insurance Company of Oregon intervened in the lawsuit because Farmers was involved in another lawsuit in which the value of the electric company’s power pole was also in question. Taber and Farmers argued that the proper measure of damages for the pole would be the undepreciated value because the electric company’s accounting system depreciates the poles as a capital asset based on a 37-year useful life. The electric company also sought damages based on the undepreciated value until 1993. There is no market for used power poles, and the electric company argued that the proper measure of damages should be the replacement cost of a new power pole. All parties requested summary judgment on the issue of damages, and the trial court ruled that the electric company was only entitled to the undepreciated value of the pole. The power company appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Haselton, J.)

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