Chenoweth Law Group, P.C.
A Portland, Oregon law firm practicing in
Oregon • Washington • California
Toll Free 866-489-5384 Portland 503-446-6261

Portland Environmental and Real Estate Law Blog

Ways in which car accident liability is established

Oregon drivers may be interested how liability is ascertained after a car accident. Without this important information, it may be difficult to prove that a driver was negligent and caused the accident. There are several ways to establish liability, and being aware of what to do may help. When an accident happens, it is necessary to document how it occurred. In some municipalities, police are no longer required to appear at an accident site if no one was injured. If authorities are on site, obtaining a copy of what is reported may assist in proving fault. An insurance company may use this in its assessment of the accident.

The police report includes the officer's conclusions based on an evaluation of the accident. Speeding prior to a crash often results in skid marks of varying lengths. Witness accounts and traffic tickets may be noted in the report. If the report appears to be in error, it may be possible to amend it. The difficulty here may reflect the type of error that was made. In addition, the procedure to amend the report might differ from one jurisdiction to another.

Are there limitations on noncompetition agreements?

Employees in Oregon might benefit from understanding more about noncompetition agreements as described by the state legislature. Noncompetition agreements may be described as a contract between an employee and employer in which the employee agrees not to compete with the employer's products, services or processes for a specific duration of time or within a specific geographic location after termination. These types of agreements are often a condition of employment or finalizing a business contract.

According to state law, noncompetition agreements may only extend two years from the date of termination. These agreements must comply with a number of conditions in order to be enforceable by the courts. Noncompetition agreements may be a condition of advancement or employment. As a condition of employment, the employee must be provided with written notice of the agreement no less than two weeks before the first day of work.

Protecting firms by safeguarding their assets

Modern companies all rely on intellectual property of some form, but their rights to their ideas and methodologies aren't guaranteed. Other corporations, ex-employees and other parties may decide to take these trade secrets for themselves and profit. Although firms generally retain the ability to pursue action against those who violate the sanctity of their IP, they must follow the proper avenues to take full advantage of their lawful options. The lawyers at Oregon-based Chenoweth Law Group PC understand how important it is to safeguard the trade secrets your business revolves around, so we work hard to help you build and enforce legal protections.

Trade secret litigation isn't just for pursuing competitors who steal patents, violate trademarks or otherwise damage your brand. We also help employers create viable non-compete, non-disclosure and non-solicitation agreements that make it easier to manage workforces and engage in deals with other parties. We have ample experience representing firms in pursuit restitution following embezzlement, employee theft and breaches of duty by managers, executives and other high-level decision makers. Regardless what the nature of your dispute is, we're ready to strengthen your case.

Summary judgment in civil lawsuits

People in Oregon who are involved in a lawsuit may wonder what is meant by the term summary judgment. When a suit is initially filed, the plaintiff is filing a civil complaint, and through an attorney, he or she will assert various legal grounds and theories upon which his or her claims are based.

An individual may file a summary judgment motion when both parties agree on most facts and there are no significant elements legally in dispute. Typically, there are three parts to a summary judgment motion. In the first part, the plaintiff, for instance, will present his or her version of the events, which could be accompanied with evidence that supports the claim. Evidence could include witness statements, police reports, photographs and other pertinent information. In the second section, the plaintiff's attorney will write a memorandum discussing the laws that apply to the case. During this part, the lawyer will also present convincing arguments as to why a plaintiff should win the case.

Understanding the federal court system

Residents of Oregon who have become engaged in complex legislation or have been indicted on federal charges may benefit from an understanding of the structure of the court. There are 94 judicial districts in the United States federal court system, and they are organized within 12 regional circuits.

Each district has a district court that handles various tasks like federal trials. There are also bankruptcy courts in each district. Although the district may be contiguous with the state border in less populous states such as Oregon, states with larger populations are divided into multiple districts. Along with California and Washington, Oregon is part of the 9th regional circuit.

Helping Oregon residents understand the court system

A court is a legal institution set up by the government that allows for a standard process to settle private disputes. The court abides by the adversarial process, which entails two sides presenting their case to a fact finder. In most cases, the fact finder is either the jury or a judge. The goal of each side is to emphasize the facts of their case while pointing out the flaws in the other side's argument.

Depending on the scope of a judge's ruling or a jury's verdict, those not directly involved in a given case may be impacted by its result. For instance, the ruling in the case Brown v. Board of Education meant that all black students could enroll in schools with white students present. When a court rules, it generally creates a precedent for other courts to rule in similar cases, which may also impact those who were not directly involved in the precedent setting case.

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.

  • Avvo
  • OPB