Lindemeier v. Walker

Decision Date07 August 1975
Citation272 Or. 682,538 P.2d 1266
PartiesGary LINDEMEIER and Edward D. Stuckrath, as Executors of the Will of Theodore Lindemeier, Deceased, Appellants, v. Ward E. WALKER, d/b/a J. J. Walker Real Estate, Respondent.
CourtOregon Supreme Court

Fred A. Granata, Portland, argued the cause and filed briefs for appellants.

Robert H. Bay, Day & Prohaska, P.C., Portland, argued the cause and filed a brief for respondent.

HOWELL, Justice.

Plaintiffs filed this action at law against a real estate broker to recover damages for the broker's alleged failure to sell property at its market value. The defendant filed a demurrer to plaintiffs' amended complaint on the grounds that plaintiffs' action was barred by the two-year statute of limitations for torts, ORS 12.110. The trial court sustained the demurrer and judgment was entered in favor of defendant. Plaintiffs appeal, contending that the complaint stated a cause of action in contract and the six-year statute of limitations, ORS 12.080, applied.

The complaint alleged the plaintiffs are executors of the will of Theodore Lindemeier. Lindemeier employed the defendant real estate broker to procure the sale of certain property in Multnomah County and agreed to pay the defendant a brokerage commission in the event of a sale. The defendant procured a purchaser to whom the property was sold for $3,519.70, but the market value of the property was not less than $17,000. Finally, the complaint alleged that the defendant 'breached its employment contract with Theodore Lindemeier by intentionally failing to exert any effort to obtain a sale to the best advantage of its principal, * * * at the best price possible, to the damage of Theodore Lindemeier in the sum of $13,480.30.'

Plaintiffs filed their complaint on September 10, 1974, more than two years after the alleged agreement between Lindemeier and defendant.

The plaintiffs contend that they were entitled to elect whether to bring the action in contract or in tort, and that they elected to allege a contract action.

In Dowell v. Mossberg, 226 Or. 173, 355 P.2d 624, 359 P.2d 541 (1961), a malpractice case against a physician, plaintiff alleged a cause of action in contract in order to avoid the tort statute of limitations. We held that the implied contract between a patient and a physician is a matter of inducement and not the contractual relationship which gives rise to a cause of action of malpractice. Basically, a malpractice action sounds in tort. 'Failure to exercise due care in the treatment of a patient is a breach of a legal duty which arises, not out of contract, but out of the relationship of physician and patient.' Dowell v. Mossberg, supra at 190, 359 P.2d at 543.

We followed the same rule in Bales for Food v. Poole, 246 Or. 253, 424 P.2d 892 (1967), a malpractice action against an engineer-architect for failure to properly prepare the plans for a shopping center. The complaint there alleged an agreement between plaintiff and defendant, which agreement defendant breached by failing to exercise due care in drafting the plans and supervising the construction. Plaintiff contended that he alleged a cause of action in contract and that the six-year statute of limitations, ORS 12.080, applied. We held that the gravamen of plaintiff's cause of action sounded in tort and the two-year statute applied. The substance of the opinion in Bales is clearly that whether the action is in contract or in tort must be determined on the basis of the predominant characteristic of the action and, further, that the time within which actions must be commenced cannot depend upon the form in which the action is brought.

The plaintiffs contend that Dowell v. Mossberg, supra, and Bales for Food v. Poole, supra, have been modified by our decision in Redfield v....

To continue reading

Request your trial
20 cases
  • Gladhart v. Oregon Vineyard Supply Co.
    • United States
    • Oregon Court of Appeals
    • 22 Diciembre 1999
    ...characteristic of the claim, not the plaintiff's election, that governs the applicable statute of limitations. Lindemeier v. Walker, 272 Or. 682, 538 P.2d 1266 (1975). 12. As to whether ORS 72.7250(2) applies to implied warranties, see Sponseller v. Meltebeke, 280 Or. 361, 365 n. 2, 570 P.2......
  • Erickson Hardwood Co. v. North Pacific Lumber Co.
    • United States
    • Oregon Court of Appeals
    • 11 Enero 1985
    ... ... It relies on Lindemeier v. Walker, 272 Or. 682, 538 P.2d 1266 (1975), and Bales for Food v. Poole, 246 Or. 253, 424 P.2d 892 (1967); see Dowell v. Mossberg, 226 Or. 173, ... ...
  • Georgetown Realty, Inc. v. Home Ins. Co.
    • United States
    • Oregon Supreme Court
    • 1 Mayo 1992
    ... ... P.2d 892 (1967) (claim against engineer for failure to use due care in preparing plans barred by two-year tort statute of limitations); Lindemeier v. Walker, 272 Or. 682, 684-85, 538 P.2d 1266 (1975) (claim against real estate broker for failure to obtain best price for real property barred by ... ...
  • Securities-Intermountain, Inc. v. Sunset Fuel Co.
    • United States
    • Oregon Supreme Court
    • 3 Junio 1980
    ... ... Thus the two-year limit of ORS 12.110(1) was held to apply. 8 Finally, Bales for Food in turn was followed in Lindemeier v. Walker, 272 Or. 682, 538 P.2d 1266 (1975) and Ashley v. Fletcher, 275 Or. 405, 550 P.2d 1385 (1976), actions for damages resulting from faulty ... ...
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT