Cultural Practices and People’s Intent

February 2, 2016

As our society continues to become more and more multicultural,the law is learning to respect aspects of many cultures. For example, I have, at various times, had to take into account a Chinese client’s expectations with relations with the police when called in response to a domestic dispute, Hmong clients’ reliance on extended families for child rearing, and Nigerian inheritance practices regarding clan property in Nigeria and its potential availability for distribution in a divorce. I have also read case opinions regarding such issues as whether the courts can order Orthodox Jews to participate in ritual divorce ceremonies as provided in a traditional marriage contract. (Courts differ from state to state on that.) A recent case in Oregon discusses a situation involving a traditional practice from another culture and how it affected several people. Read the rest of this entry »

The Purpose of Spousal Support is Important if You Want the Award Modified Later

January 25, 2016

In most states, spousal support (alimony) awards can be terminated or modified some time after the divorce. In Oregon, this requires a showing of a substantial change of circumstances, and the original purpose of the award should be fulfilled in any modification. A recent case illustrates the importance of determining the original purpose. Read the rest of this entry »

Freedom to Negotiate

January 19, 2016

As previously discussed, the law encourages settlement of disputes for many reasons, not the least of which is that settlements are more likely to be carried out than judgments enforced. One of the policies in favor of settlement is the enactment of rules prohibiting the admission of settlement negotiations in court to prove or disprove the matter in dispute. A recent case from Oregon exemplifies the application of this rule. Read the rest of this entry »

Accelerated Depreciation of Self-Employed Parents in Support Decisions

January 13, 2016

In Oregon, child support rulings are based on several factors, including the income of both parents. When dealing with the income of self-employed parents, the rules for calculating income state that “accelerated” depreciation of business assets should be added back into the parent’s income. A recent case provides some guidance as to how to prove how much depreciation was accelerated. Read the rest of this entry »

Looking at the Single Sex Marriage Opinion

July 20, 2015

As you are probably aware by now, last month the Supreme Court ruled that all states must recognize single-sex marriages and allow single-sex marriages to be performed in-state. Unfortunately, the reasoning of the Court is weak, and leaves unresolved other issues related to sexual orientation discrimination. It also has the potential to undermine longstanding understanding of how the Equal Protection Clause of the constitution is interpreted. Read the rest of this entry »

Does it Matter Whether a Plaintiff Dies Before or After the Claim is Resolved?

July 13, 2015

When people file lawsuits, or otherwise pursue claims, the law usually wants the results to be final. As a result, once a case is settled or continued to judgment, it covers all of the claims that the plaintiff could have brought when the suit was filed. A recent case from Washington applies this principle to the question of whether an old suit can be the basis for a wrongful death claim many years after the old suit ends. Read the rest of this entry »

False Arrest and False Imprisonment Distinguished

June 23, 2015

If the police arrest someone in bad faith, that person may (sometimes) be able to sue for false arrest. If anyone improperly restricts someone’s movements to a small area, they may be sued for false imprisonment. A recent case from Oregon illustrates the difference. Read the rest of this entry »


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