Apr 3, 2017

Are Cab Drivers Employees or Independent Contractors? It All Depends…

Taxi cabA recent decision from our federal appeals court ruled that drivers of the Yellow Cab Company in Phoenix, Arizona are not employees of the cab company but, instead, are independent contractors who are not entitled to the minimum wages required by either Arizona law or the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)[1].  The decision was issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirming a trial court decision issued by … Read more

No comments

Mar 13, 2017

Another Stab at Cargo Preference for the U.S. Merchant Marine

Cargo ShipThere are approximately 50,000 merchant ships engaged in international trade, transporting every kind of cargo.[1]  Fewer than 200 of those ships fly the American flag.[2]  What is left of the U.S. merchant marine is heavily dependent on cargo preference laws; i.e., federal statutes which mandate that shippers transport certain cargos on U.S. flag vessels.  For example, any military cargo shipped by sea must be carried in a U.S. flag ship.  Other laws mandate … Read more

No comments

Mar 8, 2017

Guardianships in Oregon: What Reforms are Needed?

Training - 030817The Oregon legislature is considering making changes to guardianship proceedings which would include uniform policies throughout the state with respect to court appointed visitors.  The visitor occupies an important place in a guardianship proceeding.  The visitor’s job is to interview and evaluate the respondent (i.e., the person who is alleged to be in need of a guardian) and then report back to the court with a recommendation whether or not to appoint a guardian. Judges … Read more

No comments

Mar 7, 2017

Who Runs the Shop – Things Public Officials Can’t Say About Public Employees

Speak No Evil Monkey - 030717 croppedThe Oregon Supreme Court has just ruled that a City Council or other government body can be punished for committing an unfair labor practice if one of its members criticizes the public employee unions to which the city’s employees belong.

In AFSCME Council 75 v. City of Lebanon, 360 Or 809 (2017) the Court held that the City could be sanctioned for an unfair labor practice if one member of the Council, in a letter … Read more

No comments

Mar 6, 2017

Have You Had Anything to Drink Tonight? – Ask Me No Questions and I’ll Tell You No Lies

Police lightsPulled over by the police, watching the flashing red and blue lights in your rear view mirror, you look for your license, registration and proof of insurance. You roll your window down and the officer asks if you’ve been drinking.

What should you say?

The truth of course. Always the truth. Especially if the truth is that you haven’t been drinking.

But what if you have been drinking?

Before you answer, you might want to … Read more

No comments

Feb 27, 2017

Executor of Estate Found Personally Liable to IRS for Decedent’s Unpaid Taxes

Gold dollar signsBenjamin Franklin once observed “in this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”  For those who doubt Franklin’s sagacity in that regard, consider the recent case of Marci McNicol.  A federal court found her personally liable to the Internal Revenue Services to the tune of $125,000.00 with respect to taxes owed by her late husband.  Here’s what happened.

On his death, in addition to their four minor children, McNicol’s husband … Read more

No comments

Feb 23, 2017

Cover Your Tail – Protecting Against Personal Liability of LLC Members After the Company Dies

FailureOne of the principal benefits of a limited liability company is the insulation it provides its members against personal liability for company debts.  It is, however, possible to lose that protection against personal liability.  One situation where the members and managers can expose themselves to personal liability for company debts is when the company is dissolved and the members assume responsibility for paying the company’s remaining debts, winding up its affairs and distributing the company’s … Read more

No comments

Feb 22, 2017

Some Laws Require Discrimination

McDonalds - 022217It’s often assumed that all civil rights laws forbid discrimination which the law considers somehow wrongful or “invidious” while ignoring the fact that many “civil rights laws” actually require discrimination.  McDonald’s assumed that it complied with the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) by serving only customers in cars at the drive through window at its late-night outlets because it was not wrongfully discriminating against disabled customers who couldn’t drive.  Thus, McDonald’s claimed that it complied … Read more

No comments

Feb 20, 2017

Oaths and Oath Breaking

Barack Obama Oath“When a man takes an oath, he’s holding his own self in his own hands like water, and if he opens his fingers then, he needn’t  hope to find himself again.”

 Paul Scofield, as Sir Thomas More, in A Man for All Seasons (1966)

Once upon a time, an oath taken by a public official meant something, consequences notwithstanding, as dramatized in the Hollywood classic movie of more than 50 years ago, A Man for Read more

No comments

Feb 14, 2017

What Happens When Dad Gives Your Inheritance to His New Girlfriend?

InheritanceMost folks will acknowledge that an adult of sound mind is free to give his money and property to whomever he pleases, both during his lifetime and after death, as directed by his estate plan.  Such an acknowledgement, however, is subject to qualification, particularly when the soundness of the giver’s mind is called into question.  This can arise in a variety of scenarios, often when the giver makes someone new the object of his affections … Read more

No comments