How to Find Recent Oregon Attorney General Opinions (if you’re a mere mortal)

Assume for the purpose of this blog post that you want (and need) to find yesterday’s (August 11th) Very Important, Big News AG opinion about Treasurer Ted Wheeler. (Legal researchers are funny that way. We can’t rely just on news stories. Go figure.)

Here’s the Willamette Week story: Attorney General Says Treasurer Ted Wheeler Is Ineligible to Run For Re-Election In 2016*

Here’s the Stateman-Journal story: AG: Wheeler can’t run for reelection in 2016

Now, neither newspaper publishes (as of this moment) or links to the opinion. They may in time. But what if you need the actual opinion now?

Are the newspapers relying on a DOJ release – or do they have the actual opinion? Hard to tell, so let’s visit the DOJ website, because, maybe, it’s 2014 and this is exactly the sort of thing that websites are handy for: communication.

Let’s see if we can find that (yesterday’s) AG Opinion, at the DOJ/AG’s website:

  • Does the DOJ’s homepage help us find the AG opinion? (Nope.)
  • How about if you click on “What Can We Help You Find?” (Nope, not for this question of ours.)
  • What about that list of “Legal Resources” on the right side of that page or the Legal Resources page itself? (There is a link to AG Opinions, but ….)
  • From the Attorney General Opinions webpage? (Searching the word “wheeler” didn’t work. And a search using 2014 brought up only something as recent as June, but when I narrow it to AG Opinions, I get “No results.” Not helpful. And searching Summaries reveals that there aren’t any 2014 opinions here – and there likely weren’t any so maybe nothing is missing. (So why don’t they say, “No opinions have been issued in 2014″ so we don’t all wonder – and have to call to make sure?)
  • Maybe if we go directly to the Office of the Attorney General’s webpage itself. (Nope, no luck here.)

Maybe they give opinions out to the Media? So let’s try the 2014 Media Releases page. Nope, nuttin’ honey. The most recent entry was June 6th. Today is the 12th and the opinion was “released” early on the 11th. But this is a public agency, this decision affects everyone, and they have a public website – maybe it’s like some of those Dilbert cartoons. (Like the one (from 12/8/11) where Dilbert wonders if he has to meet up with a “newly discovered stone age tribe that has never used Skype” Like Dilbert, “I’m totally confused.”) Maybe I’m missing something here, so I’ll give them a call.

So, it took me 3 transfers and I got to a super-helpful person (hi Nancy!). She said that the opinion was sent over for posting and that should happen shortly. (It was not for me to nag her, who has no control over such matters, why an important decision like this one wasn’t posted yesterday, immediately after the affected parties were notified, which they were first thing in yesterday morning.)

So keep an eye on Opinion Summaries. The AG Opinion may appear any moment.

And then again, this is a reminder that my guide to legal resources Not Online has a growing list of new entries to add and I plan to update the last version (2013) by early September. (And this includes some of the DOJ Public Records Orders, not all of which seem to be online. But maybe that has changed in recent months. I’ll check on that before I write that blog post.)

As for us mere mortals, well, this is a problem not just at the DOJ. There are plenty of public-record court documents that appear on the very expensive court records databases, for purchase if you have the money, and way ahead of them being accessible publicly, even if you visit the courthouse itself. (This will change in time, with the advent of eCourt, but mere mortals are for now outside of that loop, too.) And not all CJ Orders are online either, by the way.

Yes, I clearly ate my Cranky Flakes this morning, but really! Really! Really! I’m totally confused.

*The Willamette Week often includes this disclaimer regarding the current AG: Full disclosure: Rosenblum is married to WW publisher and co-owner Richard Meeker. (Maybe they, and the Statesman Journal, got an early look at a press release or the opinion? Sigh.)

Why You Need to Call the Police if Your Caregiver or Employee Steals From You

Hat tip to Law for Real People blog: Why You Need to Call the Police if Your Caregiver or Employee Steals From You

Excerpt: “I just had a call from a very nice person who needs caregivers around-the-clock, 365 days a year. One of these caregivers recently stole money from from my friend. My friend said it happened about six weeks ago, and that the person was no longer serving as a caregiver, so she was just going to let it go.

I had to explain to her why it was so important that she call the police:

Because other people looking to hire caregivers are going to look at the home-care workers’ registry and look at the results of the criminal background checks, and if she doesn’t file a police report about the theft, this caregiver will appear to have both a lot of experience and no problems in her background….” [Link to full blog post.]

Oregon Adds Statewide Abuse Reporting Line: (855) 503-SAFE

You may also need to call the Medicaid Fraud Unit (MFU) at 971-673-1971 (see also the DOJ Medicaid Fraud website.)

Oregon 2014 Legislative Session Preview

From Oregon Legislative Administration Committee Services:

“To encourage transparency, public participation, and efficiency in government, the Oregon Legislative Assembly is making available the 2014 Senate and House Legislative Measures prior to the official start of the legislative session.

Access the 2014 Legislative Bills

A list of committee (only) legislative concepts with the corresponding measure numbers is available by clicking here.

Library Management in the Age of MOOCS

Expertise needed by 21st Century Library Managers: Money, Privacy, Copyright, Licensing, and Education Law … that is, the same skills professional librarians needed in the 20th and 19th centuries!

But user, funder, and governing body assumptions and expectations of what libraries can be and knowledge of how libraries are managed have changed:

“Libraries in the Time of MOOCs,” by Curtis Kendrick and Irene Gashurov, in Educause, Monday, November 4, 2013

“....  Soon, librarians might be asked to provide access to copyrighted, licensed electronic resources for MOOC students around the world. Will we be equipped with the technology to accommodate unprecedented numbers of students inside and outside the university? We will also have to deal with legal issues related to MOOCs, such as intellectual property rights, privacy issues, and state regulations. After exhausting the many ways of saying no to difficult change, perhaps we can find a way to work with all the stakeholders and help shape the rapidly changing MOOC model in concert with our own needs while we still can….”

Wikipedia MOOC article.

Hat tip to Library Link of the Day (11/6/13)

Is there an Official Online Version of “Oregon Tax Reports”?

There is a rumor that 18 Oregon Tax Reports (2013) may be the last official print edition of the official Oregon Tax Reports.

Oregon Tax Court decisions, from 1999 to the present, can be found online at the OJD website, however, the site includes the following disclaimer: “None of the documents found in this website are the official publications. Official publications of the Oregon Tax Court can be found in the ‘Oregon Tax Reports.

Note: The OJD Appellate Courts Style Manual doesn’t state specifically if one can cite to the Tax Court’s online edition of its opinions.

The 2013 State Legislature passed the Uniform Electronic Legal Information Act (UELMA), which leads one to believe that there might (one day) be an official, authenticated, permanently archived, and publicly accessible electronic version of the Oregon Tax Court decisions. HOWEVER, the Oregon UELMA bill that became law did not require official, authenticated, or preservation of court documents (only administrative rules and statutes).

Oregon UELMA: Chapter 221, (2013 Laws): Effective date May 23, 2013

Who Regulates Automobile/Car Rental Companies in Oregon?

Depending on your specific question, you will need to look at different parts of the Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS) or contact state regulatory or consumer agencies. Here are a few places to start your research (in no particular order):

1) Do a quick search for Oregon consumer law and car rentals. For example, Laura Gunderson at the Oregonian “Complaint Desk” and Brent Hunsberger at the Oregonian’s “It’s Only Money” column cover a lot of useful Oregon consumer-protection ground; they are worth reading. They are also the first to say whoops if they make a mistake or overlook something, so don’t stop there with your research. (These columns move around the Oregonian website, so you may need to use a search engine to find them.)

2) Oregon Department of Justice (ODOJ) Consumer Hotline

3) Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services

4) Search for car or automobile rental statutes in the Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS)

5) Consider Oregon Small Claims Court (but you should investigate other options first). (There is now a book on Oregon Small Claims Court – yay!)

6) You may want to speak to an attorney: the Oregon State Bar Information and Referral Service has a toll free number to call to get names of attorneys in your area:  503-684-3763 or 1-800-452-7636

Oregon Landlord-Tenant Law: When a Tenant Dies …. A Short Checklist

Landlords, and others subject to the Oregon Landlord-Tenant Act, should consult or retain an Oregon attorney for advice on abandoned property, probate, guardianship or conservatorship, and other legal issues that may arise when a tenant dies.

Short Checklist:

1) Read the Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS) sections on abandoned tenant property, notification of authorities and family, etc. (E.g. Sample index terms: “Landlord and Tenant”, “Dead Bodies”, and “Death”). (Make sure you also check for laws enacted since the last ORS compilation.)

2) The Oregon Rental Housing Association and the Rental Housing Association of Greater Portland have abandoned property-tenant death forms or checklists that can be reviewed and purchased.

3) Check the county circuit court’s website (in the county where the property is located) for procedural information and forms on transferring property following death.

4) Check links from the Oregon State Bar Landlord-Tenant resource list and at the Oregon Legal Aid and Oregon Law Center website.

5) NOLO has a book called “Every Landlord’s Legal Guide,” which has a section entitled “When a Tenant Dies”. This book is available at many public libraries in Oregon and for purchase at the Nolo website.

6) eHow has a page on Landlord Rights in the Event of a Tenant’s Death that summarizes some of the key issues. The eHow post is not Oregon-specific, nor is it legal advice.

7) Previous OLR blogposts on Oregon landlord-tenant laws.

8) The Oregon State Bar Information and Referral Service has a toll free number to call to get names of attorneys in your area; call their referral service at 503-684-3763 or 1-800-452-7636.

Disclaimer: The information provided on this blog is for research purposes only. We do not provide legal advice, nor do we endorse any person, product, or company.

Disclaimer: It is against state law for library staff members to engage in any conduct that might constitute the unauthorized practice of law (ORS 9.160, 9.166 and 9.21). They may not interpret statutes, cases or regulations, perform legal research, recommend or assist in the preparation of forms, or advise patrons regarding their legal rights. They may, however, assist patrons in locating materials or links that would aid in individual research.