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 »

When the Person Who Owes You Money Dies

June 18, 2015

When someone who owes money dies, the law tries to wrap up payment relatively quickly so that the can pass the estate and move on. As a result, claimants usually have to submit claims within a relatively short time after a probate is opened (if there ever is a probate). If the executor or administrator rejects the claim, then a motion or lawsuit, depending on the procedure in the decedent’s home state, has to be filed quickly. Claims of interests in specific property of the estate, however, usually are not covered by the short notice requirements, as discussed in a recent case from Washington. Read the rest of this entry »

Limitations on Taking the Children Out of the Country

June 8, 2015

Parents sometimes disagree whether one of them should be allowed to take children out of the country without the other parent after the parents’ relationship ends. It is not uncommon for parents to negotiate conditions for international travel when the possibility is brought up at the time of a divorce or paternity proceeding. A recent case from Alaska illustrates what courts in most states will do if the parents can’t agree. Read the rest of this entry »

SLAPPing Back a Little Too Hard

June 1, 2015

I have previously written about anti-SLAPP laws. These laws are designed to discourage lawsuits brought for the sole purpose of causing financial hardship to people who speak out against the plaintiff’s actions, without actually trying to win the suit. Usually, they provide for a procedure to dismiss such suits at an early stage if there really is no serious chance of the plaintiff winning. The Washington anti-SLAPP law, however, was recently ruled unconstitutional because it made getting rid of a possible SLAPP suit too easy. Read the rest of this entry »

Parentage by Artificial Insemination – Partially Clarifying Single-Sex Relationship Rules

May 26, 2015

In Oregon, a spouse who consents to artificial insemination of his or her wife is deemed a parent of the child. During the period before the establishment of single-sex marriage in Oregon, the rights of same-sex partners were partially unresolved. In 2009, the Oregon Court of Appeals ruled that the state constitution required recognizing the partners as parents because they had no legal means of establishing a state-recognized relationship. Subsequently, the legislature enacted a domestic partnership law that gave single-sex couples the right to a relationship analogous to marriage. Although not many couples took advantage of that law, some did, and the Court of Appeals recently confirmed that they, too, may have parental rights. Read the rest of this entry »


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