Lexis Nexis - Case Brief

Not a Lexis+ subscriber? Try it out for free.

Law School Case Brief

Davis & Davis - 193 Or. App. 279, 89 P.3d 1206 (2004)

Rule:

Under the cognitive test, a person is competent if he or she has the capacity to understand the nature of the act and to apprehend its consequences. The cognitive test is the test that Oregon courts appear to follow. Under the affective test, a person is incompetent if the person is unable to act in a reasonable manner in relation to the transaction and the other party has reason to know of his condition.

Facts:

Wife appeals from a judgment denying her request to set aside a stipulated dissolution judgment. Wife argues that she was not mentally competent at the time that she stipulated to the judgment and that the trial court erred in finding otherwise; in particular, she asserts that the trial court applied the wrong legal test in determining her competency. In denying wife's motion, the trial court noted that courts have applied two tests to determine mental competency in similar circumstances: the "cognitive test" and the "affective test."  Under the cognitive test, a person is competent if he or she has the capacity "to understand the nature of the act and to apprehend its consequences." The cognitive test is the test that Oregon courts appear to follow. Wife argues, however, that the broader affective test should be adopted. Under the affective test, a person is incompetent if the person is "unable to act in a reasonable manner in relation to the transaction and the other party has reason to know of his condition."

Issue:

Did the trial court err in applying the cognitive test?

Answer:

No

Conclusion:

The state appellate court held that the record supported the trial court's conclusion that, under the cognitive test, the wife was competent to enter into the stipulated judgment. Under the cognitive test, a person was competent if he or she had the capacity to understand the nature of the act and to apprehend its consequences. Under the broader affective test, which the wife urged the court to adopt, a person was incompetent if the person was unable to act in a reasonable manner in relation to the transaction and the other party had reason to know of his or her condition. The court concluded that, although Oregon courts may have applied certain aspects of the affective test in determining competency, the cognitive test was the test that Oregon courts appeared to follow. The trial court thus did not err in applying the cognitive test.

Access the full text case Not a Lexis+ subscriber? Try it out for free.
Be Sure You're Prepared for Class