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Portland Environmental and Business Law Blog

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.

April is a great month to double check environmental compliance

With Earth Day rapidly approaching on April 22, this is a good month for businesses and organizations to think about their approach to the environment. Are you compliant with all environmental laws that apply to your location and industry? If not, you are risking large fines, sanctions and even lawsuits -- all of which damage your bottom line and could even put smaller organizations out of business.

One area where laws and regulations are especially complex is related to the protection of water. Water is one of the most important natural resources on the planet. People, animals, plants and the planet itself rely on water for existence and life, which is why so many organizations are involved in protecting water sources.

What are pleadings in civil litigation?

When a civil lawsuit is filed, the documents that are filed by plaintiffs and defendants into the court record at the start of the case are called pleadings. There are different kinds of pleadings that serve different purposes, and an experienced legal professional can help you understand what pleading is required. While you might have to provide information that will go into pleadings during your case, the documents themselves are usually prepared and filed by lawyers.

Most civil lawsuits begin with a pleading known as the petition or the complaint. This document usually outlines what grievance, complaint or case a plaintiff believes he or she has against a defendant. In addition to spelling out the complaint, this pleading typically also includes a demand for judgment against the defendant that includes what the plaintiff wants to see from the defendant.

Seek experienced help with underground storage tank law

Did you know that underground storage tanks -- the type that often hold fuel such as gasoline or biodiesel -- come with their own laws and regulations? It's probably obvious that you simply can't let one of these tanks full of hazardous materials rot away on your land, but liability for damage to the soil and environment can become expensive if you don't maintain such tanks in compliance with state and national environmental laws.

And what do you do if you find out you have such tanks on your property and you don't want them there? It's not a matter of simply digging up tanks and moving them to a new location. There are many regulations to follow when moving such equipment, which is why you should always understand your responsibilities fully before purchasing property with such tanks.

Tips for dealing with a bad business partner

In the formation and launching days of a business, owners spend a significant amount of time and thought strategically selecting business partners who will contribute to the growth of the business. If, as time progresses, that partner ends up doing more harm than good and is no longer acting in the best interests of the business, you may become interested in removing that individual from the partnership.

That can be much more difficult than it seems. You may think that you are locked into the partnership because of agreements and corporate documents structuring the entity. While you may not be able to simply uproot the partner, there are practical steps and legal strategies available to creawte options for yourself. 

Here are a few steps to deal with a troublesome partner:

Some basics about the federal court system

The federal court system hears certain types of cases both of a criminal law and a civil law nature. The bulk of the cases heard in federal courts are civil in nature, and the Constitution does define what type of cases can be heard in such courts. For example, any case that is dealing with Constitutional law can be heard in a federal court. Other types of cases that can be heard in federal courts include matters that involve one or more federal laws, some matters that involve parties from multiple states and legal matters that exist between United States citizens and citizens of foreign nations.

Typically, cases that will be heard in a federal court begin at the district court level. The court system at the federal level is divided into districts. Every state has at least one district court within it's borders. Larger states have multiple district courts so that everyone in the nation has some type of access to the federal court system.

The importance of asking the right questions during business formation

One of the most critical - and often overlooked - steps in starting a company is asking the right questions while selecting an appropriate business formation or entity structure that will keep the venture secure and allow for scalability through the future.

Many entrepreneurs start businesses based on what they know: their passions, their strengths and the ideas they know will make money. The nuts and bolts of business and business law often produce blind-spots and areas of weakness. Basing an entity selection on misinformation or something you read online can lead to significant vulnerabilities in the future and prevent your business from growing as it could otherwise.

With the help of business veterans and an attorney who understands how to lay a solid foundation for a company, you can avoid costly and time consuming pitfalls in the future.

Here are some issues that are directly affected by the formation decision that you should work with a lawyer to answer the right questions regarding:

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  • OPB