Chenoweth Law Group, P.C.
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Portland Environmental and Business Law Blog

Keep your estate out of court

Over the past few weeks, we've discussed a number of cases involved in civil appeals and highlighted some important facets of the appeals process. Today, we're taking a moment to point out that it is often in your best interest to keep a case from traveling up the court system if possible. One of those times is when you are planning your estate.

If you are of sound mind and have goals and desires for your estate, then taking the time to create a strong estate plan can reduce the chances that your heirs battle their way through the courts. Not only does this save your heirs stress and time, but it can also save a lot of money for your estate, leaving more for your spouse, children or other heirs.

Navigating the Complexities of Venture Capital

Many young ventures and startups explore the option of seeking venture capital to finance the next step in growth and expansion. This is a hot trend in business currently, and many companies are eager to start the process and lock down funding for new projects and for scaling up.

Venture capital is a complex process, however, strictly governed by SEC rules and regulations. There are a multitude of pitfalls along the way that could potentially ruin a business. It is critical that you have a skilled commercial law attorney at your side, guiding you through important decisions and next-steps.

Here are a few questions to ask when considering venture capital as a means of financing:

Is mediation and arbitration an option?

When you are dealing with civil litigation, it's important to understand your options as well as your requirements for bringing the case to a court. If you don't understand all of your options and requirements correctly, then you could find yourself losing the case on a technicality, and you might not have any luck with appeals for the same reason.

One thing to decide before you bring a case to court via a lawsuit is whether mediation and arbitration are options you might like to consider. In some cases, mediation might even be required by the contract, and if you attempt to go to court without going through any required mediation process, your case might be thrown out.

Protect Your Competitive Advantage Through IP Protection Measures

A company's greatest asset is its trade secrets and intellectual property. This includes all processes and procedures used during its operations, as well as any ideas, technology or concepts that it extracts value from.

In the chaos of start-ups and strategizing paths to growth, many small and growing companies fail to establish safe-guards to protect these secrets - but the threat is there. Employees may leave the company, competitors may start to prowl. Information can be mobile. 

It is critical that you have an established plan for protecting your secrets. This starts by partnering with a skilled business law attorney who understands your company and who can create strategies for securing it. This includes:

Oregon appeals court affirms workers' compensation decision

Not every case that is appealed is won on appeals. Winning an appeal takes a lot of preparation, but it's not enough to prepare. You also need a strong legal basis on which to build your appeal. The Oregon appeals court has recently affirmed a lower agency's decision after reviewing an appeal that didn't seem to have a strong foundation.

The appeal occurred because a claimant was not satisfied with the findings of the Workers' Compensation Board. According to the Oregon Court of Appeals media release, the original determination found that the woman could not prevail on a workers' compensation claim for adding an omitted or new condition. The woman reportedly wanted to claim benefits for radiculitis/radiculopathy.

Case files and status review in federal court

If you are considering an appeals process in the federal court system, you might want to find information about the status of your case or review records from your case. While a lot of this type of information is a matter of public record, it can be difficult to find what you are looking for without experience. And some records are sealed by the courts for a variety of reasons and do not become part of the public record.

Most federal courts keep records via a digital system. Individuals can use kiosks within the court buildings to look up information or can access information via a web portal called Public Access to Court Electronic Records, or PACER. Accessing information through PACER costs 8 cents per page, but information accessed through public kiosks in court buildings is free.

2 ways to increase appeals success

Most businesses bring a civil case to court because they believe they have a good chance of winning the case. Most of the time, if you are sure you will lose, you will probably settle out of court. But what happens if you do lose in court? It does happen, and that's why an appeals process exists.

Because losing is a possible outcome at trial, working with a lawyer who plans ahead is always a good idea. Even as you are preparing your trial case and doing everything you can for a successful outcome there, you and your lawyer might also want to begin building a strong appeal foundation should the need arise to use it.

Litigation can prove disruptive to small business. Mitigate your risk.

From the moment a business owner sets up an LLC or other legal entity to structure the company, he or she is acutely aware of the potential for lawsuits. Whether or not the risk for legal troubles is high, the possibility is in the back of most business owners' minds.

This worry exists for good reason. Studies show that litigation creates significant disruption and financial strain on small businesses. In addition to the expense it adds to a balance sheet, a lawsuit will divert a business owner and management's attention from core competencies, as well as the team's goals for growth. This disruption can derail growth for an extended period of time, if not handled correctly.

There are proactive ways a business owner can protect against lawsuits and keep risk low. By working with a skilled business law attorney long before legal issues arise, you can put in place policies and legal structures that will mitigate the risk of litigation.

Basic facts about the U.S. Court of Appeals

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal District offers a Frequently Asked Questions page with some very basic information about accessing cases and seeking information from the court. The FAQ is not really designed to provide viable information to non-legal professionals, though there are some good points of information on the page.

The FAQ page does have some contact information, including phone numbers, for those seeking assistance with filing an appeal. Note that the court is not going to provide legal advice or walk a layman completely through the appeals process, though, which is why it's a good idea to start with an appeals attorney. The court will provide specific information about forms or rules, or point someone in the direction of that information.

Appeals court upholds Bureau of Labor and Industries decision

The appeals court in Oregon recently reviewed a case that was appealed by an employer after a decision was made by the Bureau of Labor and Industries' Commissioner. The appeals court ultimately sided against the employer and upheld the decision.

The original case stemmed from a complaint filed by a petitioner, which stated that the employer in question had not complied with certain laws required consideration in veteran employment application processes. Specifically, the petitioner claimed that the employer did not have an internal process that provided special consideration for veteran applicants.BOLI reviewed the complaint and agreed that the process did not provide for special consideration. Special consideration is required under the law for veteran applicants. BOLI ordered the employer to implement a process that provided such consideration. It also ordered the employer to pay damages to the petitioner for emotional distress.

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