Tort Actions

ORS 31.740
When award of punitive damages against health practitioner prohibited

Punitive damages may not be awarded against a health practitioner if:


The health practitioner is licensed, registered or certified as:


A psychologist under ORS 675.030 (Licensing of psychologists after examination) to 675.070 (Authorized sanctions), 675.085 (Investigation) and 675.090 (Application of ORS 675);


An occupational therapist under ORS 675.230 (Application for licensing) to 675.300 (Grounds and procedures for denial, refusal to renew, suspension or revocation of license);


A regulated social worker under ORS 675.510 (Definitions for ORS 675) to 675.600 (Duties of board);


A physician under ORS 677.100 (Qualifications of applicant for license) to 677.228 (Automatic lapse of license for failure to pay registration fee or report change of location) or 677.805 (“Ankle” defined for ORS 677) to 677.840 (Fees);


An emergency medical services provider under ORS chapter 682;


A nurse under ORS 678.040 (Qualifications of applicants for license) to 678.101 (Renewal of license);


A nurse practitioner under ORS 678.375 (Nurse practitioners) to 678.390 (Authority of nurse practitioner and clinical nurse specialist to write prescriptions or dispense drugs);


A dentist under ORS chapter 679;


A dental hygienist under ORS 680.040 (Qualifications of applicants for dental hygiene licensure examination) to 680.100 (Discipline of dental hygienist);


A denturist under ORS 680.515 (Application for license) to 680.535 (Grounds for imposing discipline);


An audiologist or speech-language pathologist under ORS 681.250 (Requirement for license in speech-language pathology or audiology) to 681.350 (Denial, suspension or revocation of license or conditional license);


An optometrist under ORS 683.040 (Qualifications of applicants) to 683.155 (Hearing) and 683.170 (Sanction may be set aside by board) to 683.220 (Licensing of applicant holding license in another state);


A chiropractor under ORS 684.040 (Application for license) to 684.105 (Discipline procedure);


A naturopath under ORS 685.060 (Minimum educational requirements for license) to 685.110 (Grounds for discipline), 685.125 (Discipline procedure) and 685.135 (Certificate of special competency in natural childbirth);


A massage therapist under ORS 687.011 (Definitions) to 687.250 (Enforcement);


A physical therapist under ORS 688.040 (Licensing procedure) to 688.145 (Discipline procedure);


A medical imaging licensee under ORS 688.445 (Licensing and renewal procedure) to 688.525 (Grounds for discipline);


A pharmacist under ORS 689.151 (Board control over licensing, standards and discipline) and 689.225 (License requirement) to 689.285 (Continuing education);


A physician assistant as provided by ORS 677.505 (Application of provisions governing physician assistants to other health professions) to 677.525 (Fees); or


A professional counselor or marriage and family therapist under ORS 675.715 (Application) to 675.835 (Injunctive proceedings); and


The health practitioner was engaged in conduct regulated by the license, registration or certificate issued by the appropriate governing body and was acting within the scope of practice for which the license, registration or certificate was issued and without malice. [Formerly 18.550; 2005 c.366 §4; 2009 c.442 §27; 2009 c.833 §26; 2011 c.396 §1; 2011 c.703 §20; 2013 c.129 §20; 2021 c.97 §5]
Note: Section 2, chapter 396, Oregon Laws 2011, provides:
Sec. 2. The amendments to ORS 31.740 (When award of punitive damages against health practitioner prohibited) by section 1 of this 2011 Act apply only to causes of action that arise on or after the effective date of this 2011 Act [January 1, 2012]. [2011 c.396 §2]

Notes of Decisions

Employer of health practitioner may be subject to vicarious liability for punitive damages whether or not employer was at fault. Johannesen v. Salem Hospital, 336 Or 211, 82 P3d 139 (2003)


Last accessed
May 30, 2023