Filing and Enforcing Protective Proceedings: Make Sure to File in the Right State

November 25, 2014

Every state allows courts to appoint guardians or conservators for incompetent people. Generally speaking, however, if the protected person lives in a different state, the reach of the appointment will be limited. A recent case from Washington demonstrates one consequence of filing in the wrong state, and also discourages trying to take advantage of interstate disputes in a complicated family fight. Read the rest of this entry »

Browsing the Seller’s Terms

November 17, 2014

Before the Internet became a major retail venue, courts struggled with the enforceability of terms of “shrinkwrap” agreements in software sales that were hidden in the box. More recently, the courts have been faced with the enforceability of terms posted on web sites for sales of varied merchandise. A recent federal case suggests that sellers have to make sure customers have clear notice of the need to read the terms before they will be enforced.

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Are the Oregon Courts Likely to Recognize That Pets Have More Value than Resale?

November 14, 2014

When an animal is injured or killed as a result of someone else’s fault, the law generally treats it as a loss of property, and the owner is likely to recover only the resale value of the pet or the cost of vet’s bills. That usually isn’t that much money. A recent case by the Oregon Supreme Court raises the question of whether the court is likely to allow greater damages, but in my opinion, it probably won’t.

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The Difference Between Offensive and Alarming Conduct in Stalking Cases

August 25, 2014

Stalking laws are generally designed to protect victims from being threatened by the speech or conduct of the stalker. In Oregon, for example, stalking is two contacts between the stalker and the victim, each of which must cause the victim to be reasonably alarmed for his or her safety or the safety of a member of his or her family or household. When the alarm is caused by speech, it must include a threat of harm. A recent case demonstrates the difference between simply offensive and alarming speech and conduct.

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Oregon Makes It Harder to Claim Title by Use of Someone Else’s Property

August 18, 2014

In all states, there is a principle of law called adverse possession, by which a person who uses another person’s property for long enough for the statute of limitations to expire can claim title to the property he or she used. To some extent, this is based on the fact that there are statutes of limitations, and to some extent, it seeks to ensure confidence in the possessor that his or her efforts will not go to waste. To a large extent, the modern application of the rule is to resolve boundary disputes and mistakes in transfers instead of taking over otherwise unused land. The exact details of how the rule applies varies from state to state, and a new case from Oregon clarifies that the use in question has to be clearly distinct from the general public and clearly continuous, making Oregon’s already strict interpretation of adverse possession even stricter.

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The Perils of Leaving Out Important Information When Asking for Advice

August 11, 2014

When a client asks a lawyer for advice, the lawyer may make a mistake if the client leaves out some information. This is particularly true when the proposed advice relates to a broader plan instead of just a single transaction. A recent case from Nevada illustrates what might go wrong.

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When Good Intentions Pave a Road

August 4, 2014

Recently, it was reported that a restaurant in North Carolina has been offering discounts to customers who pray in public. Unfortunately, this practice is probably illegal, but it illustrates the occasional need to find out if a well-meaning idea might cause legal problems.

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