Articles Tagged with Legal dictionaries

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Oregon v. Lang, 273 Or App 113 (2015), (Benton County Circuit Court CM1320460; A154498)

Citations below are to the online, unofficial advance sheet version of this case, and available for viewing (at least as of today) at: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/docs/A154498.pdf

This is another case that would be quite instructive to laypeople interested in the law, assuming they read the whole case and also perhaps talk to a lawyer or judge about it, rather than relying on a brief news report – or a blog post.

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State v. Lewis (A152266, 2014) Multnomah County Circuit Court (111235241)

We conclude that the state failed to present sufficient evidence that the victim in this case suffered “physical injury,” as required by ORS 163.160(1)(a)….

As noted, ORS 163.160(1)(a) provides that, “[a] person commits the crime of assault in the fourth degree if the person * * * [i]ntentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes physical injury to another.” “Physical injury” is, in turn, defined, in turn, as “impairment of physical condition or substantial pain.” ORS 161.015(7). Defendant contends that the state failed to present sufficient evidence for a rational trier of fact to have found, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the victim suffered either “impairment of physical condition” or “substantial pain” from having her hair pulled out. We address each contention in turn….

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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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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!)