Rights and Duties Relating to Cemeteries, Human Bodies and Anatomical Gifts

ORS 97.760
Civil action by Indian tribe or member

  • time for commencing action
  • venue
  • damages
  • attorney fees


Apart from any criminal prosecution, an Indian tribe or enrolled member thereof shall have a civil action to secure an injunction, damages or other appropriate relief against any person who is alleged to have violated ORS 97.745 (Prohibited acts). The action must be brought within two years of the discovery of the violation by the plaintiff. The action may be filed in the circuit court of the county in which the subject grave, cairn, remains or artifacts are located, or within which the defendant resides.


Any conviction pursuant to ORS 97.990 (Penalties) (5) shall be prima facie evidence of a violation of ORS 97.745 (Prohibited acts) in an action brought under this section.


If the plaintiff prevails:


The court may grant injunctive or such other equitable relief as is appropriate, including forfeiture of any artifacts or remains acquired or equipment used in the violation. The court shall order the disposition of any items forfeited as it sees fit, including the reinterment of any human remains in accordance with ORS 97.745 (Prohibited acts) (1);


The plaintiff shall recover imputed damages in an amount not to exceed $10,000 or actual damages, whichever is greater. Actual damages include special and general damages, which include damages for emotional distress;


The plaintiff may recover punitive damages upon proof that the violation was willful. Punitive damages may be recovered without proof of actual damages. All punitive damages shall be paid by the defendant to the Commission on Indian Services for the purposes of Indian historic preservation; and


An award of imputed or punitive damages may be made only once for a particular violation by a particular person, but shall not preclude the award of such damages based on violations by other persons or on other violations.


The court may award reasonable attorney fees to the prevailing party in an action under this section. [1981 c.442 §2; 1995 c.543 §1; 1995 c.618 §55]
§§ 97.740 to 97.760

Law Review Citations

25 EL 463 (1995)

Chapter 97

Atty. Gen. Opinions

Embalming dead human body without prior authorization from surviving spouse or next of kin, (1981) Vol 41, p 457


Last accessed
Jun. 26, 2021