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 »


Requiring Consent to Searches at the Schoolhouse Door as a Condition of Enrollment: An Upcoming Constitutional Issue

May 18, 2015

Most readers are aware that the Fourth Amendment prohibits “unreasonable” searches and seizures without a warrant. When a person consents to a search, that rule no longer applies, and a series of cases has discussed when consent can be required. It is generally agreed, for example, that security searches at airports, courthouses, or other government offices are allowed. A recent case in Nevada and an older case from Oregon disagree on whether public schools can require students to consent to searches as a condition of enrollment. Read the rest of this entry »


Slip and Fall Cases Needn’t Have a Hard Landing

May 11, 2015

One of the more difficult personal injury cases to prove is the “slip and fall” situation. A recent case in Oregon, however, approved a creative argument that may make these cases easier for plaintiffs in some situations. Read the rest of this entry »


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