Pleading a specific amount of damages

June 2008
By Hon. John A. Wittmayer, Multnomah County Circuit Court

We continue to see, on occasion, a complaint that does not plead a specific sum of damages, and instead alleges damages "in an amount to be determined at trial." ORCP 18B says that when damages are sought, "the amount thereof shall be stated." We all know that it is sometimes difficult to know the exact amount of economic damages to seek when the complaint is filed, and sometimes the "right amount" of non-economic damages to seek changes as the case progresses. But these issues can usually be handled pretty easily by amendment.