Limited liability companies have become a popular business form, and I have helped form some LLCs in my practice. Although they have many advantages, a recent case from the Oregon Court of Appeals highlights a major disadvantage: it is not as easy to sell an interest in an LLC as it is to sell corporate stock.
In Oregon, if you use another’s land with permission, and make a significant expenditure for continued use, the owner may be prevented from withdrawing permission in the future, effectively creating an easement?
The original case establishing this principle involved permission to build a pipeline to draw water from a spring on the defendant’s property for use by the plaintiff.
In 49 states, sales of goods are governed by the Uniform Commercial Code. One major part of the Code is a series of provisions describing how damages are calculated when either a buyer or a seller violates a sales agreement. These provisions, however, give sellers a choice of how to calculate damages, and the Oregon Supreme Court has recently ruled that the decision of a seller to resell does not lock the seller into one of those choices.
Alimony awards are rarer in divorce cases than they were before the social and economic changes of the last half century. Courts will, however, award it in some cases. My first solo trial included a situation where alimony should not have been requested: the other spouse, who was retired after being the primary breadwinner, asked for alimony from my spouse, and then argued that the purpose was to fund a new business expecting to create a significant number of jobs. I didn’t need to spend much time arguing against the award.
In some circumstances, courts have the power to order people to do things in order to correct problems they may have caused. For example, early in my career, I was involved in an important case about what someone needs to prove to have the legal description in a deed modified. The power is not, however, unlimited. Two recent cases, one from Oregon and one from Idaho, illustrate the principles that the remedy ordered by the court should roughly correspond to the relief requested and arguments presented by the people involved, and should fit the facts of the dispute.
The Constitution states that when federal and state law conflict, federal law controls. This concept, called preemption, is a simple idea but very hard to apply. A recent federal case from California discusses its application to packaged sunflower seeds.
A judgment dissolving a marriage or domestic partnership that assigns rights in a retirement account does not necessarily cancel the designation of a beneficiary, and if the designation is not changed, the former spouse or partner may be able to claim the account.