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Portland Environmental and Real Estate Law Blog

How do federal court of appeals work?

A series of courts at the federal level hear appeals of certain types of cases and decisions. A federal appellate court can hear appeals regarding decisions made by various federal agencies. They will also hear appeals of decisions made by federal courts at the district level. The courts are known as the federal circuit courts or the U.S. Courts of Appeals.

The country is divided into 13 overall circuits. Each circuit has a federal appeals court and multiple district courts under that court. Above the federal courts is the Supreme Court. According to, the Supreme Court doesn't even hear 100 cases annually, but the courts directly under the highest court adjudicate tens of thousands of matters annually.

Appeals court: Limited liability still effective for defendant

A court decision was recently appealed that involved a loan and a limited liability company. The appeal related to the plaintiffs' limited argument for liability protections under an LLC -- an argument that the appellate court did not agree with.

The original case stemmed from a loan made to a company called JJR Enterprises. The company was a limited liability company, which meant that the partners of the company would have been protected personally from certain creditors and debts.

Easement claim belonged to landlord, says appeals court

The appeals court in Oregon recently issued a decision in a land-use case brought by a plaintiff who was the tenant of a piece of property. The original trial court dismissed the case, and the appeals court agreed that the trial court was right that the plaintiff did not have a right to seek an injunction.

The case was originally filed by a plaintiff who claimed a private prescriptive easement. The easement was being claimed over a piece of commercial property that neighbored the property the plaintiff had tenancy over. In the original complaint, the plaintiff claimed that the defendants had interfered with the easement.

Sexual assault allegations lead to dismissal, lawsuit filed

A lawsuit filed recently in the Lane County Circuit Court is attempting to hold the University of Oregon and other entities responsible for several negative effects that a former basketball player claims to have suffered as a result of the university dismissing him from the school. The case all started when the former player and two others were accused of sexual assault in 2014.

In response to the sexual assault against the former player, the school dismissed him in June of 2014. The dismissal also barred the man and two other players from the campus for four to 10 years. The lawsuit asserts that the former player didn't commit the sexual assault. No criminal charges were filed regarding the alleged sexual assault because of actions and statements by the alleged victim that were considered conflicting.

Take steps to keep your intellectual property protected

In one of our previous blog posts, we discussed the case of the yoga guru who wanted his series of poses to be copyrighted. A ruling by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals noted that the series of moves wasn't eligible for copyright. That case brings up the importance of ensuring that materials you attempt to copyright meet the requirements for a copyright. We know that you want to protect your intellectual property and can help you to learn your options to do so.

In some cases, you might find that you end up having to go to court to protect your intellectual property. When you have to take that step, you should be prepared to file an appeal just in case the original verdict that is handed down isn't what you were hoping for. We can help you prepare your initial case and any appeals that you might find necessary.

Yoga pose sequence isn't eligible for copyright; court rules

Protecting intellectual property is important to many businesses and professionals. A recent ruling handed down by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals noted that a series of yoga moves isn't a protectable idea. The case stems from the claim that a series of yoga moves and breathing exercises dubbed "the Sequence" should be copyright protected.

The case began in 2002 when the yoga guru behind Bikram yoga asked that a sequence of 26 moves and two breathing exercises be protected by a copyright. The yoga practice, which is done in a room that is 105 degrees, is done in yoga studios that aren't operated or owned by the man.

Protect your company from sexual harassment lawsuits and appeals

Over the last two months, we have discussed how an employee's claims of sexual harassment can affect your company. We covered tips on how to handle the complaints and provided tips on how to investigate claims and train management. Even in the best-handled of cases, there is a still a chance that you will find yourself in court trying to protect your business.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 includes regulations involving sexual harassment. This act applies to employers who have at least 15 employees. It is important for you to learn how this act applies to your company if you have 15 or more employees.

What kind of training on sexual harassment do managers need?

Over the past few weeks, we have discussed how employers should respond to complaints about sexual harassment. In most cases, it is easier for an employer to make it clear from the beginning that sexual harassment isn't permissible. One way that employers can do this is to provide training for managers to help them learn about sexual harassment and how to prevent sexual harassment.

What should a training program for managers include?

Responding to a sexual harassment complaint against you

Sexual harassment in the workplace is something that can cripple an organization. Over the past few weeks, we have given employers some tips for dealing with complaints of sexual harassment. One point that we haven't yet discussed is how to handle complaints of sexual harassment when they are made against you.

If an employee accuses you of sexual harassment, you can't ignore the complaint. Instead, you must follow the same guidelines as you would follow if the complaint was made against another person. As a manager, supervisor, owner or person of authority in your company, you have to ensure that you are protecting the interests of the company.

Tips for dealing with sexual harassment complaints

Over the past few weeks, we have discussed several factors about how you should deal with a sexual harassment complaint that is made by an employee. Most of the information in those posts was regarding the steps you should take to address the complaint. It is equally as important that you react in a suitable manner to the complaints.

When an employee comes to you with a complaint of sexual harassment, you shouldn't get upset with the employee voicing the complaint. It might help to remember that the complaining employee is the victim if the complaint is factual. Keeping calm and not reacting with anger can help to protect your company from claims of retaliation.

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