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

What is a clear title?

A clear title is one that is free from anything that might encumber a person's legal claim to ownership. If you buy a piece of real estate, then the title should be transferred to you, but it's important to do some research to ensure it's a clear title. If the title isn't clear, then you could face an ownership dispute because of a past matter you had nothing to do with.

Other terms for a clear title include "good title," "clean title" and "free and clear title." Usually, these terms mean that the person or entity holding the title has a free, clear right to ownership and that one can transfer all ownership rights to the property in a sales transaction.

What Businesses Need to Know about Non-Disclosure Agreements

Non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) can play a critical role in the operations of virtually any business, particularly when it cooperates with another business or professional.

These agreements legally protect sensitive information, including trade secrets and information that provide a competitive advantage, from being compromised -- and from being used against the company.

Beyond Non-Compete Agreements, Employees Have Fiduciary Duties to Employers

One of the greatest risks to a company is the possibility that its employees could leak sensitive information or later compete against it.

Many companies take steps to protect their intellectual property and brand with non-compete and non-disclosure agreements, but companies should also be aware that they have legal rights beyond those contracts.

Some basics about Oregon gun laws

Whether you own a business that sells guns, a firing range that helps people perfect their shots or you are simply an individual Oregon citizen with a firearm, it's important to keep up on the applicable laws. The lines between potential wrongdoing and legality can be slim in some areas of gun law, and the civil matters are even grayer.

The complexity isn't helped by the overlapping and sometimes contradictory relationship between state, federal and local laws on the matter. That's why it's important to involve a legal professional if you are dealing with civil suits or appeals related to firearms.

State court reverses trial court ruling in harassment case

The Oregon Supreme Court recently reversed the ruling of a trial court, which originally issued a summary judgment for the defendants in a sexual harassment case. The decision of the appeals court centered around whether or not the defendant in the case could have a reasonable expectation to know that sexual abuse was possible.

The lawsuit involved six plaintiffs who originally filed separate suits. The suits were combined,, as they were all against the same defendant for the same reason. The six plaintiffs are suing an ambulance company. They allege that the ambulance company failed to prevent one of its employees from sexually abusing medical patients while the patients were being transported.

You don't have to agree with the will

Not honoring someone's final wishes seems disrespectful, which is why many people shy away from questioning a will. Some people might not want to step into the legal arena on estate matters because they feel it will look like they are seeking something for themselves and not caring about the person they have lost. But this isn't always the case: What if the will isn't representing the person's wishes?

Wills aren't infallible, and there are cases where the document in question might not be legitimate in representing the wishes of the deceased. In such cases, family members and loved ones have litigation options for disputing the validity of a will.

What is the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act?

The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, or RCRA, is a federal law that puts a lot of power into the hands of the Environmental Protection Agency related to hazardous waste. The RCRA gives the EPA what it calls "cradle-to-grave" dominion over hazardous waste, which means the federal entity has some control and say over how those materials are generated, transported, treated, stored and disposed of. The law also includes a number of amendments detailing specific types of waste.

Part of the authority granted to the EPA under the RCRA involves monitoring and investigation. The EPA works with other government and private industries to ensure compliance with the RCRA provisions across a wide variety of businesses and industries. While much of the monitoring for compliance is delegated to state or local organizations and governments, those who fail to comply with the RCRA could ultimately face fines, sanctions or other actions from the EPA.

Liquor and recreational marijuana don't mix

According to Oregon law, you can't mix marijuana and liquor use in a public place where liquor is being served. That means recreational marijuana is verboten at bars. It's also not allowed at places such as breweries, wineries or any other business that is licensed to and does in fact manufacture alcohol.

The law limits your use of recreational marijuana at special venues where alcohol is being served. Have a bar -- open or otherwise -- at your wedding? No recreational marijuana allowed. You cannot sell or consume recreational marijuana at these locations or events. Individuals are allowed to have on them one ounce of recreational marijuana if they aren't using it. One ounce is the legal limit in Oregon for personal possession.

Who does Oregon law consider to be heirs to estates?

Like all states, Oregon has set up some parameters around who might be considered an heir to an estate. Some individuals are automatically considered to be heirs while others are only heirs if a document, such as a will, names them so. Oregon law allows anyone to be named an heir in a will or other estate planning document.

Many relatives might be considered an heir under Oregon law even without a will in place. A spouse and children, for example, are almost always considered heirs. Other relatives that could be considered heirs include grandchildren or great-grandchildren, siblings, parents, grandparents or nieces and nephews of any degree.

The appellant versus the appellee

When a lower court decision is entered, both parties generally have the right of appeal. In some specific cases, appeals might not be allowed, particularly if the parties had agreed to abide by an arbitration decision beforehand. If an appeal is entered, though, the parties become the appellant and the appellee.

The person or organization that files the appeal in the matter is the appellant. The appellant has the burden of proof in the case, just like a plaintiff has the burden of proof in a civil case. The appellant must make a case showing that the trial court or judge made some type of error in handling the trial or in rendering the decision. Those errors must be legal errors in relation to understanding and implementing the case law or in handling the procedures of the trial. The appellant does not introduce new evidence in an appeal that might have changed the outcome of the trial case.

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