Neighbors Home Blocking Ocean View In Oregon

Defendants built their home in a way that partially blocked plaintiff's ocean view. Plaintiff sued alleging, among other things, breach of an express contract, breach of an implied contract, and fraud. Defendants' argument is based on two separate propositions. They argue initially that two Supreme Court decisions, Drulard v. Le Tourneau, 286 Ore. 159, 593 P.2d 1118 (1979), and Frankland v. City of Lake Oswego, 267 Ore. 452, 517 P.2d 1042 (1973), establish that plaintiff is entitled only to reliance damages for breach of an implied contract. The difficulty with defendants' argument is the assumption that underlies it. Plaintiff's trial memorandum made clear that she intended to state a claim for an implied-in-fact contract, not one implied in law. Plaintiff's trial memorandum stated: "As the court is aware, an implied contract can be proven by the conduct of the parties. In this particular case, the evidence will be clear that the conduct of both parties up until the construction of defendants' home indicated the existence of this contractual agreement between the parties that plaintiff would support their variance and they would not block her view." According to plaintiff's testimony, she was distressed by the fact that defendants blocked her view at all. Under plaintiff's fraud claim, however, defendants are only responsible for plaintiff's emotional distress that resulted from the additional loss of view that their fraud caused. Plaintiff offered no evidence that would permit the jury to determine those damages. Even if plaintiff would otherwise be able to recover emotional distress damages, a point on which we express no opinion, there was no evidence from which the jury reasonably could determine the emotional distress damages that defendants' fraud caused. The trial court correctly granted defendants' motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict on plaintiff's fraud claim.