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Portland Environmental and Real Estate Law Blog

Wolf case moving through 9th Circuit Court of Appeals

Wolves are beautiful creatures that should be protected, but a plan by one state could potentially harm these majestic animals. The United States Forest Service and the Idaho Fish and Game Department have been sued by the Western Watersheds Project, Defenders of Wildlife and some other environmental groups. In the latest update about this issue, the Idaho Fish and Game representatives have filed a declaration saying they won't move forward with their plan immediately.

The government entity was going to have wolves killed by using a hired hunter. The opponents of the plan say that the Wilderness Act, which is a federal act, was violated when the hired hunter was allowed to use a cabin and air strip by the U.S. Forest Service.

Oregon court rules against host in wrongful death case

Interpreting the law can be a complex project. A recent ruling by the Oregon Court of Appeals shows that interpretation of the law is often more complex than most people realize at first glance.

The case has to do with a wrongful death lawsuit filed when a man was killed at a party. The deceased man and his friend, both of whom had been consuming alcohol at the party, were acting out robbery scenarios. They were using real guns. An accident occurred and the deceased man was shot.

Lowe's drops property tax valuation appeal in Oregon

For a person who owns a business, making sure that property tax valuations are correct is a serious concern. If the valuation is too high, you might end up paying more than what you should have to pay. If it is too low, you won't pay enough. For Lowe's, a property tax valuation issue has been an ongoing fight with one county assessor's office since February of 2013, when the company filed an appeal with the Board of Property Tax Appeals.

While the company's appeal was denied, that wasn't the last avenue Lowe's had to appeal the tax valuation. They then took the case to the Magistrate's Division of the Oregon Property Tax Court. At that point, the city of Lebanon and Lynn County pooled their resources to hire an independent appraisal service and outside legal counsel. That appeal was heard in September of 2013. In January of 2014, the Magistrate ruled against Lowe's and upheld the county's valuation of the land.

Could unpaid internships result in employment litigation?

Unpaid internships in Oregon and across the country have been around as far back in history as most people can remember. Internships were thought of as a win/win situation. An employer gets a free worker, and the intern gets on-the-job training and experience. Sounds like an all-around win, right? Not according to some Human Resources experts and the director of the Center for Human Resources at Wharton School of Business. They believe that companies are ignoring the Fair Labor Standards Act and exploiting the talents of young people.

A professor of legal studies and business ethics claims that unpaid internship is outright illegal. She says that employers have either forgotten about the Fair Labor Standards Act, or they believe it doesn’t apply to them. Even President Obama and the White House have unpaid interns, despite the president’s push for increased minimum wages across the country. An advocacy group has petitioned the president to begin paying White House interns – regardless of the cost – which is estimated at $2.5 million annually.

Update: Environmental law case heading to federal appeals court

Protecting the species native to areas is a vital part of protecting the environment; however, there are instances in which it is necessary to look at the impact that actions on the wildlife's habitat will have on humans.

A case that we told you about a few weeks ago is currently working through the appeals court system. It is between a group of environmentalists and the joint effort of the federal government and the Coquille Indian Tribe and shows how complex environmental litigation can be in some cases.

Fraudulent investment leads to civil litigation

The Boy Scouts of America Trapper Trails Council has filed a lawsuit against a man that was allegedly involved in a Ponzi scheme that left the Boy Scout Troop without funds that it was entitled to receive. The council reportedly invested $200,000 in one of the defendant's entities. The investment was made in 2008, but the defendant hasn't had a license to sell investments since 1997. Oregon residents might like to learn about this interesting case.

The council says that it was defrauded out of $281,000 in total. They are seeking full repayment of that amount with the civil lawsuit they filed against the man. The civil litigation alleges embezzlement, actual fraud, larceny, fraud as fiduciary, false pretenses and false representation.

Wolf family at heart of Oregon environmental litigation

The first family of wolves to live in Oregon in approximately 70 years are at the heart of a civil lawsuit that was filed by Oregon Wild. The conservation group is concerned about the effect that logging in the area near where the wolf is raising her pups will have a negative effect on the family.

In Oregon, the wolf is protected by state laws. They are also still classified as endangered in western Oregon, despite the endangered label being lifted in other areas of the country.

Appeals court process won't halt Oregon same-sex marriages

Same-sex marriages in Oregon can move full steam ahead without worry for now thanks to a recent decision by the United States Supreme Court. It declined to stop the marriages while the intervention of a group that opposes gay marriage is considered in a federal appeals court. In Portland, 245 same-sex marriage licenses have been obtained since the May 19 ruling by a U.S. District judge that declared the gay marriage ban in the state unconstitutional.

In response to that ruling, the National Organization for Marriage filed a request to intervene in the case. That request was denied without comment by the full lower court. Now, the group is trying to appeal via the federal appeals court.

Lawsuit threatened regarding endangered birds, logging in Oregon

Logging companies have purchased state land in Oregon, with plans to clear-cut the area for profit. However, one group is now threatening to go forward with environmental litigation if the companies do start logging off their new land, saying that their actions could contribute to the decline in the population of an endangered bird, with the end result possibly being the extinction of that bird.

The bird in question is the marbled murrelet, a seabird that is said to live on some of the land that was sold. The environmental agencies had originally reported only finding that bird on a lone piece of land, but new reports indicate that it may be more widespread, inhabiting many of the parcels that were purchased for longing.

Oregon Supreme Court tackles environmental litigation

Taking care of the environment is a top priority for many people in Oregon and across the nation. A recent ruling by the Oregon Supreme Court enforces the need of humans to care for the delicate ecosystem in the state.

The case had to do with a stream that is so small, it is unnamed. The Supreme Court ruled that the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife had to put the needs of the fish above the rights of the dam owners. It concluded that the wildlife department had misinterpreted rules about fish migration through the dams.

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