Tort Actions

ORS 31.815
Covenant not to sue

  • effect
  • notice


When a covenant not to sue or not to enforce judgment is given in good faith to one of two or more persons liable in tort for the same injury to person or property or the same wrongful death or claimed to be liable in tort for the same injury or the same wrongful death:


It does not discharge any of the other tortfeasors from liability for the injury or wrongful death unless its terms so provide; but the claimant’s claim against all other persons specified in ORS 31.600 (Contributory negligence not bar to recovery) (2) for the injury or wrongful death is reduced by the share of the obligation of the tortfeasor who is given the covenant, as determined under ORS 31.605 (Special questions to trier of fact) and 31.610 (Liability of defendants several only); and


It discharges the tortfeasor to whom it is given from all liability for contribution to any other tortfeasor.


When a covenant described in subsection (1) of this section is given, the claimant shall give notice of all of the terms of the covenant to all persons against whom the claimant makes claims. [Formerly 18.455]

Notes of Decisions

Crediting of settlements under this section is to be done by the court rather than jury, and evidence about existence or amount of settlement is not admissible except in appropriate circumstances where court instructs jury to disregard settlement and render verdict for full amount of damages. Yardley v. Rucker Brothers Trucking, Inc., 42 Or App 239, 600 P2d 485 (1979), Sup Ct review denied

This section can properly be applied in action for wrongful death cognizable under maritime law. Wheeler v. Bonnin, 47 Or App 645, 615 P2d 355 (1980)

Where claims of spouse were separate and distinct there was no error in failing to combine spouses’ shares of pretrial settlement. Ertsgaard v. Beard, 97 Or App 471, 777 P2d 971 (1989), aff’d 310 Or 486, 800 P2d 759 (1990)

Third-party defendants were not entitled to summary judgment on contribution claim without producing direct evidence that plaintiff’s covenant not to sue was given in good faith. SAIF v. Barkman, 101 Or App 20, 789 P2d 8 (1990)

Where part of amount paid for settlement related to non-tort claim but was not separately identified, joint tortfeasor was entitled to setoff for full settlement amount. Hirsovescu v. Shangri-La, Inc., 127 Or App 22, 870 P2d 859 (1994)


Last accessed
May 30, 2023