Articles Tagged with Dictionaries

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“The Lillian Goldman Law Library has released an android app of our Pronouncing Dictionary of the United States Supreme Court.

Link directly to their web document version: “Pronouncing Dictionary of the Supreme Court of the United States

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What happens in Oregon when a word in a statute is undefined – and someone’s life and liberty is at stake?

In the case of 2011 ORS 167.007 and Oregon v. Palomo, the Oregon Court of Appeals weighs in and defines the word “fee,” with a little help from a dictionary and a legislative history.

Oregon v. Palomo A148047 (Control), A148045

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If you follow national and international news it’s important to make sure you remember that other people in other places may define THINGS differently from the way we define them in America.

For example: Did you know that a U.S. Billion is different from a British Billion? (See also the Oxford Dictionaries website entry.)

(Think about those $$$ amounts thrown out in news stories about international financial debacles. Whose “Billion” is being referenced?)

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On December 9, 2010, the Oregon Supreme Court decided:

Barbara L. Hopkins v. SAIF Corp., et al., (WCB 0407794) (CA A138825) (SC S058081)

“… On review from the Court of Appeals in a judicial review from an order of the Workers’ Compensation Board. Hopkins v. SAIF, 232 Or App 439, 222 P3d 1140 (2009)….

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It’s not easy to find a simple online explanation of the difference between Official and Unofficial sources of law. My explanation may fill in that gap – or not, depending on your specific question. (And a blog post this long can hardly be called “simple,” but such is life — and law.)

1) In a nutshell, an official source is a source that has been authorized by an official body, such as a court or a legislature. In Oregon, for example, we have the official statutes of Oregon, published in the Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS), by the Oregon Legislature, through Legislative Counsel. (This official statutory compilation should not be confused with Oregon Laws, which is the official session law compilation.)

2) We also have in Oregon, as do many states, an unofficial statutory compilation, the Oregon Revised Statutes Annotated, which is published by Thomson-Reuters (West Group).

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Can a self-represented (pro se) litigant claim “attorneys fees?”

For a discussion of the meaning of attorneys fees in the context of a pro se litigant’s public records lawsuit, I recommend you read the recently decided (June 17) Colby v. Gunson (A133979) (2009).

Excerpt: “Plaintiff argues that he is entitled to attorney fees and costs under ORS 192.490(3) because he is a “person seeking the right to inspect” public records, and he prevailed in the appeal. Defendant contends that the statutory reference to “attorney fees” includes only fees that are charged to a client under a contractual commitment between an attorney and client and not the value of the time invested in the case by a self-represented client. Our determination of the intended meaning of the term “attorney fees” in ORS 192.490(3) is governed by the method described in PGE v. Bureau of Labor and Industries, 317 Or 606, 610-12, 859 P2d 1143 (1993), as recently modified by State v. Gaines, 346 Or 160, 171-72, ___ P3d ___ (2009) (examination of the text and context of the statute, and legislative history of the enactment when that history appears useful to the court’s analysis)….

ORS 192.409(3) does not require that the attorney fees be “incurred.” The statutory construction issue in this case, then, is whether the bare term “attorney fees” implies that same contractual dynamic–a charge by an attorney that a separate entity is obligated to pay. We determine the legislative intent in the use of particular statutory wording by giving words their plain, natural, and ordinary meaning. Haynes v. Tri-County Metro., 337 Or 659, 663, 103 P3d 101 (2004). In common parlance, “attorney fee” connotes a charge for an attorney’s professional services. Webster’s Third New Int’l Dictionary 833 (unabridged ed 2002) defines “fee” to include “compensation often in the form of a fixed charge for professional service or for special and requested exercise of talent or of skill (as by an artist) (a doctor’s ~) (a lawyer’s retainer ~).” Similarly, Black’s Law Dictionary 139 (8th ed 2004) defines “attorney fee” as “[t]he charge to a client for services performed for the client, such as an hourly fee, a flat fee, or a contingent fee.” A “charge,” in turn, arises in a transaction between two persons. Webster’s defines “charge” to mean:…”
(read full case!)