Hurricane 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
Jul 25, 2017
A recent story in the Oregonian tells how the state of Oregon has taken a married couple’s children because the state claims the couple isn’t smart enough to be parents. In fact, the state took their younger child from the hospital before his mother was even able to see him.
As the story points out, both parents have held jobs and they maintain a household. While neither parent looks like another Einstein, when has anyone … Read more
Jul 5, 2017
In a recent bizarre trip down the rabbit hole, in Twist Architecture v. Board of Architect Examiners, 361 Or. 507 (2017), the Oregon Supreme Court upheld a fine against architects, duly licensed in Washington, for daring to call themselves “architects” on their correspondence and website read by Oregon clients who hired them to prepare master plans for possible commercial development in the state of Oregon.
Even though the drawings the architects here were hired to … Read more
Jun 20, 2017
From time to time we get calls asking us to help remove items posted to the internet that the caller finds embarrassing, unfair or just plain wrong. Sometimes we can help but often we can’t. Recently Walter Olson at the Overlawyered web site of the Cato Institute collected a number of recent posts by law professor Eugene Volokh here, here and here as well as this story in Tech Dirt.
A few simple … Read more
Jun 13, 2017
We jubilantly welcome Michael Litvin to our firm. Michael graduated from Southridge High School in Beaverton, Oregon before graduating from University of California, Berkeley with a double major in Rhetoric and Political Science in 2-1/2 years with Highest Distinction in General Scholarship. Michael earned his Juris Doctorate from Cornell Law School in 2009 where he served as an Associate Editor and Fellow with the Legal Information Institute (LII), Managing Editor of the Cornell International Law … Read more
May 16, 2017
Now That We’ve Taken Your Money, Prove Why We Shouldn’t Keep It; Or, The Advantages of a Presumption of Guilt
Some states apparently insist that even if your criminal conviction is overturned on appeal and the charges against you are dismissed, the state should still keep any fines you’ve paid unless and until you can prove that you were actually innocent of the crime you were charged with in the first place. In other words, they actually have a presumption of guilt that you have to overcome before the state will return the fines you … Read more
May 9, 2017
Perhaps it’s not surprising but public employees take significantly more time off from work than workers in the private sector. As pointed out in Steven Malanga’s City Journal article, there are various causes promoting this difference between employees in the private and public sectors. Among other things, public sector employees can often retire on full disability while continuing to work full time in other jobs. Many jurisdictions such as New York City apparently offer … Read more
May 3, 2017
Yellow Traffic Lights are Too Brief but Don’t Try to Tell the State of Oregon’s Board of Engineering Examiners – It Will Certainly Ignore Your Message and Fine You for Speaking
In an email to the Oregon State Board of Engineering an electronics engineer argued that yellow traffic lights in the state were too brief and thus put the public at risk. He supported his arguments with calculations and graphs which he prepared at his own cost in his free time.
The Oregon State Board of Engineering disregarded the substance of his email but attacked the author, Mats Jarlstrom, for referring to himself as an “electronics … Read more
Apr 6, 2017
City, county and state governments throughout the United States often enact measures to protect or promote favored business groups. The City of Portland’s efforts to protect the cab companies through ordinances limiting the rates and services of other businesses that transport individuals within the metro area such as airport limos, Uber and Lyft recently received judicial approval from the Ninth Circuit in Speed’s Auto Servs. Group v. City of Portland, 2017 U.S. App Lexis 5551 … Read more
Mar 7, 2017
The 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