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Portland Environmental and Real Estate Law Blog

Boundary disputes in Oregon

Boundary issues can be unexpected and frustrating for a property owner. You may feel that your area is well-defined, but ownership and property values could be affected if a dispute arises showing differences for a plat or deed. Because your real estate investments are important, it is helpful to work with an experienced lawyer who understands boundary issues if such a dispute arises.

In some cases, adverse possession may be used to resolve a disputed boundary issue. This principle involves the use of property by an adjoining owner for a defined length of time. In such a case, the individual using the land in question must be physically present, and the use must be obvious for an unbroken period of time. In addressing these issues with your lawyer, you will want to be able to identify how long the area in question has been in use. You will also want to identify whether the actual owner has been aware of the situation and whether a complaint has ever been raised over the issue. Another critical issue related to encroachment and adverse possession is who has been responsible for the payment of property taxes.

Superfund sites

The state of Oregon has its share of Superfund sites, and that means that the health problems and environmental contamination associated with those areas can be a real problem for a substantial number of the state's citizens. Ever since the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act was passed in 1980, the term Superfund has been used to designate areas that have been toxified and environmentally devastated, most often by heavy industrial use.

Once a site has been designated a Superfund, the Environmental Protection Agency has certain rights to step in and clean it. The EPA will begin by assessing the site, placing it on the National Priorities List wherever deemed appropriate, and will begin to clear the area of harmful pollutants. It will strive to involve the community wherever possible. The agency may also compel the company or companies responsible for the pollution to pay restitution.

How a case gets heard by the U.S. Supreme Court

Oregon residents may be interested to learn how a case ends up being heard by the United States Supreme Court. Because Supreme Court decisions have such a major impact on future cases, not every plaintiff can appeal their case all the way to the top. To begin, the U.S. Supreme Court will only hear cases that involve federal laws due to their jurisdiction.

If the U.S. Supreme Court ends up hearing a case, it is usually because the losing party in a case appealed multiple lower courts' decisions to rule against them. The individual will usually begin their case at a local state or federal court. Once the person has appealed unsuccessfully to all of the other courts, they may choose to prepare a petition for certiorari and present it to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Appealing a civil court decision or judgement in Oregon

Oregon litigants may appeal a decision made by a civil court judge or a judgement returned by a civil court jury. However, an appeal is not a second chance to argue their case, and they must be able to show that an error was made in applying the law for their appeal to be successful. The appeals process begins when attorneys file written arguments with the court called appellate briefs. After these written arguments have been reviewed, the attorneys may be asked to make oral arguments.

There are significant differences between a trial and an appeal. Trials are based on facts and evidence, but appeals focus on the way that the law was applied. Appellate courts accept the facts as they were presented at trial, and there are generally no witnesses called or new evidence introduced during civil appeals. Another difference between a trial and an appeal is the number of judges involved. Trials are presided over by one judge, but appeals are heard by a number of judges.

Oregon will contests

People in Oregon sometimes choose to challenge a will that has been submitted to court for probate. Challenging a will can be difficult, as courts generally strictly follow their provisions as representing the wishes of the deceased testator. There are certain situations which may arise that can overcome the court's presumption of a will's validity.

Interested parties to a will may challenge either the entire will or a portion of it. There are three separate grounds under which a person may challenge the will. A challenge can be made if either the entire will or a provision within it is invalid. Challenges may also be asserted based on a later will having been written by the decedent in place of the one that was admitted to court. Finally, a challenge may be asserted if the decedent made a promise to either write a will or to revoke one, or to not write a will and/or not revoke one or to die intestate.

Aggressive legal representation for victims of severe injuries

Combining compassion with legal proficiency, we represent Oregon residents who've been severely injured in an accident caused by the negligent conduct of another person. Our lawyers understand that a serious injury like a spinal cord or brain injury can take a physical and financial toll on your life and the lives of your family members, and we firmly believe that you deserve compensation for your losses. We know that the recovery period can be long-term and that the medical expenses can be steep.

Our law firm, based in Portland, has proven strategies for effective results in personal injury claims. We'll work diligently to try to secure the maximum amount of compensation you deserve while using the most efficient means possible during the litigation process. Our skilled team thoroughly analyzes the case in establishing a clear picture of liability so that we increase the likelihood of obtaining the reparation you need in order to fully recover from your injuries.

An overview of civil cases

An Oregon resident who is faced with or considering civil litigation might wonder about the process. A civil case begins as an individual with a complaint files the appropriate paperwork with the court. This is followed by the serving of a copy of the complaint upon the defendant. The complaint provides a summary of the issue in question, describing the defendant's role in causing the injury or dispute in question. The complaint also requests that the court order relief in the case, which may take various forms, including monetary or legal declarations of rights.

Discovery is the effort of those involved in the case to obtain information about the case, and both parties must make information available. This includes copies of relevant documents and information about the identities of witnesses. This allows both sides to prepare adequately for a trial. Motions may be filed to seek rulings on various pieces of evidence or on the procedures to be used. Depositions may be used to obtain answers under oath about a case.

Noncompete agreements in Oregon

Entrepreneurs and employees in Oregon may benefit from learning more about the provisions governing noncompeting agreements in the state. These agreements must meet several criteria described in the provisions, otherwise that are voidable by state law. Employers are required to inform employees of a noncompetition agreement within an offer of employment at least two weeks before the first day work.

Otherwise, the agreement may be presented following an employee's advancement by the employer. Noncompetition agreements may also be valid if the employer has a protectable interest, such as the employee having access to trade secrets or other confidential information that could be competitively sensitive, like marketing strategies or product development plans. These agreements may also apply to on-air talent working for an employer in the broadcasting industry. These agreements are valid for on-air talent if the employer spent the equivalent of at least 10 percent of the talent's salary on recourses within the year preceding termination.

Appealing federal trial court decisions

As many Oregon residents know, the outcome of a civil case brought in federal court may be appealed by asking an appellate court to reverse or modify the lower court's decision. Either side may file an appeal in a civil case. The appellate court may also be asked to review decisions made by administrative agencies such as the Social Security Administration and bankruptcy courts.

The appeal is made to the particular U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that has jurisdiction over the lower U.S. District Court. . The appellate court's conclusion is usually the final word unless the case is brought before the Supreme Court, where a writ of certiorari is filed asking the Supreme Court to hear the case.

Trade secrets and non-competition agreements

As many businesses may know, a venture's competitive edge may rely on information that is protected from competitors. Many of these policies and procedures are designated as trade secrets, and some businesses ask that employees sign non-compete agreements in order to provide these secrets with added protection.

Trade secrets are generally protected under law. This is because the dissemination of that information might hurt a business's viability and market share, allowing competitors to use another entity's techniques to increase profitability. Non-competition agreements are useful tools for protecting that information. These contracts restrict how an employee might be able to interact with a business's competitors. However, even with these protections in place, some employees may breach the terms of a non-competition agreement or might cause harm to a business by violating trade secrets.

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