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.
Stalking and the Effect of a Threat in One incident on the Reasonableness of Fear in Another IncidentMarch 3, 2014
Oregon has a stalking protection law that requires two incidents causing reasonable fear of imminent harm to qualify for a protective order. Because of the courts’ interpretation of the free speech clause in the state constitution, threats only count if they are threats of immediate violence. A recent case, however, shows that a threat can be used as evidence that fear caused in another incident was reasonable.
In divorces and other child custody disputes, one parent may want to relocate to another county or state. If the other parent objects, the court will have to decide whether to allow the move. Oregon and Washington use different standards to decide these questions.
The Oregon Supreme Court ruled on February 20 that the word “accident,” in an insurance policy, can mean that in some cases two collisions are one accident and in some cases they are two accidents? The court ruled, effectively, that if the two collisions are separated in time, place, or causation to the point that they would be understood to be two accidents, then they are two accidents.
It is fairly common to borrow money to buy large goods. Sometimes, the seller lends the money itself, and takes a promissory note. Unfortunately, the laws for sales, on the one hand, and notes and checks, on the other, have different statutes of limitations. If the seller decides to wait before trying to collect, sometimes the question of which limitations period arises. A recent case from Washington held that the seller has a choice of which document to use as the basis of its claim, and, if the note is properly written, each statute applies to the document in question.
Washington has an equity-skimming law designed to protect homeowners at risk of foreclosure or tax sale. A recent case makes clear that, with regard to a risk of tax sale, a notice of sale need not be issued to trigger the law’s protections.