Oct 11, 2017

Mass Shootings, the Second Amendment, and the Gun Control Debate

Lit candlesWe can expect the gun control debate to grow louder in the wake of the Las Vegas mass shooting on October 1, 2017.  Shooter Stephen Paddock killed at least 58 people and injured nearly 500 others in the recent massacre.  Proponents of stricter gun control will likely point to this shooting to plead for stricter regulation of our Second Amendment right to bear arms.  Their rationale is that someone intent on mass killing would be … Read more

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Oct 5, 2017

Oregon’s Stricter Distracted Driving Law Takes Effect on October 1, 2017

Cell phone use while drivingOregon drivers should be ready for a stricter version of the hands-free device law to go into effect on October 1, 2017.  The new law, based on House Bill 2597, expressly expands the hands-free driving law beyond merely phone conversations and texting while driving.  The new law generally prohibits holding or using any mobile electronic device while driving without a hands-free accessory.  For drivers under 18 of age, the law continues to prohibit the use … Read more

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Sep 27, 2017

Are We Sinking the Jones Act?

US FlagAs a former merchant mariner, I continue to follow issues relating to the shipping industry in general with a particular interest as to matters touching on the survival of America’s merchant marine.  I was surprised to recently learn that Senator John McCain, a man whom I admire, has introduced legislation in the U.S. Senate to repeal the Jones Act restrictions against foreign flag vessels carrying cargo between U.S. ports.  His bill, entitled the Open America’s Read more

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Sep 22, 2017

The Way Some Lawyers are Trying to Make Money from Extreme Weather Disasters

HurricaneHurricane Harvey was a disaster for almost everyone it touched.  Yet, showing that no disaster is without profit to someone, lawyers are already thinking of ways to blame damage from the storm on governments, architects, builders and others.  As Reuters reports in a recent story by Sebastien Malo, those lawyers are trying to show that certain targets, all with presumably deep pockets, should be legally responsible for the damages and injuries millions suffered in the … Read more

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Sep 18, 2017

A Brief Summary of Contract Law: Key Terms, Common Defenses and General Recommendations

ContractMany individuals and companies enter into contracts without fully understanding the terms.  Often, neither party has clarity on what the contract requires in terms of performance standards, remedies for breach and whether unwritten terms can supplement the written contract.

This post is intended to provide a quick guide to some key terms and issues that are relevant in the area of contract law.

What is a contract and how is it formed? 

In general, a … Read more

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Aug 23, 2017

Tenant Security Deposits under Oregon and Washington Law

Apartment complexAmong the more common inquiries we receive from tenants in both Oregon and Washington relate to security deposits that they are required to provide in order to lease residential property.  The legal duties and requirements regarding tenant security deposits can be found in the two states’ respective landlord-tenant acts.  Oregon’s Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (the “Oregon Act”) is found in Chapter 90 of the Oregon Revised Statutes.  Washington’s Residential Landlord-Tenant Act of 1973 (the … Read more

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Aug 16, 2017

Don’t Break the Law Just Because There’s a Solar Eclipse

Solar eclipseOregon will be the first state in the U.S. to experience the total solar eclipse on August 21, 2017.  Given the expected increase of traffic and tourism, the Oregon State Police would like to remind you that the eclipse is no excuse to break the law.  For example, unless there is a genuine emergency or another exemption applies, you have no right to stop your car in traffic to get a better view.  (See ORS Read more

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Aug 3, 2017

The RAISE Act: President Donald Trump’s Immigration Reform Plan

Donald TrumpPresident Donald Trump announced his plan for reforming legal immigration on August 2, 2017.  Senators Tom Cotton and David Perdue joined the President’s announcement of the new plan.

The new immigration plan is formally titled Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment Act (RAISE Act).  By selecting this title, the President and lawmakers appear to communicate their intent to improve American employment and give Americans a wage raise by limiting immigration.

Here are the … Read more

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Estate Planning Issues for Married Couples

Elderly coupleAmong the more common estate plans for married couples is what is sometimes referred to as a sweetheart estate plan.  Such a plan provides for the entirety of the deceased spouse’s estate to pass to the surviving spouse; on the death of the surviving spouse, whatever remains will pass to the couple’s children or other designated heirs.  Mutual reciprocal wills can be used to accomplish this intent.  Of course, on the death of the surviving … Read more

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Jul 27, 2017

OxyContin and Other Prescription Painkillers: Following the Tobacco Lawsuits Model?

Spilled prescription pills“Recently my advertising agency ended a long relationship with Lucky Strike cigarettes, and I’m relieved.” – Don Draper, “Mad Men”.

Like Don Draper “quitting” cigarettes, more lawmakers and health researchers are ready to fight the makers of OxyContin and other opioid painkillers.

In January 2017, the City of Everett, Washington filed a lawsuit against OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma.  Purdue Pharma filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, and the court’s decision might come … Read more

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