Articles Tagged with Statutory interpretation

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Lack of Oxford Comma Costs Maine Company Millions in Overtime Dispute,” by Daniel Victor, March 16, 2017, New York Times.

A class-action lawsuit about overtime pay for truck drivers hinged entirely on a debate that has bitterly divided friends, families and foes: The dreaded — or totally necessary — Oxford comma, perhaps the most polarizing of punctuation marks.

What ensued in The United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, and in a 29-page court decision handed down on Monday, was an exercise in high-stakes grammar pedantry that could cost a dairy company in Portland, Me., an estimated $10 million….” [Link to full NYT article.]

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“The Unacknowledged Legislators of the World,” April 28, 2015 by Jennifer Davis (Law Library of Congress)

“…. The centrality of interpretation to law and poetry is also explored by Wallace Stevens, most markedly in his poem “Metaphors of a Magnifico“:

Twenty men crossing a bridge,

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From Willamette Law Online:  ‘Whitfield v. United States, Case #: 13-9026, Date Filed: January 13, 2015

Scalia, J., delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court.

Full Text Opinion: http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/14pdf/13-9026_11o2.pdf 

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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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I could use this case to teach an entire course on Oregon legal research to lawyers, law students, legislators, and self-represented litigants:

City of Damascus v. Henry R. Brown, Jr. (A156920)

ARMSTRONG, P. J.

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If you’ve ever come across one of these “see Preface” notes in the ORS, you might be wondering where you can find that Preface:

Example: “192.715 to 192.760 were enacted into law by the Legislative Assembly but were not added to or made a part of ORS chapter 192 or any series therin by legislative action. See Preface to Oregon Revised Statutes for further explanation.

In the print, this is easy. You just open up Volume 1 and start reading.

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[Link to Vanorum I.]

See Justice Landau’s concurring opinion in State of Oregon v. Ian George Vanornum (SC S060715), decided December 27, 2013 (on page PDF page 24 or Opinion page 23 or Concurring page 1)

Excerpt:

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State of Oregon v. Ian George Vanornum (SC S060715), decided December 27, 2013:

Excerpt, p. 7: “.... The initial question that this case raises — whether ORCP 59 H controls appellate court review of claims of instructional error — arises because subsection (1) declares that “a party may not obtain review on appeal” of a trial court’s asserted error in giving or refusing to give a jury instruction unless the party identified the asserted error to the trial court and made a timely notation of exception….” [Link to full opinion.]

Oregon Rules of Civil Procedure (ORCP)

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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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The next time someone says, “It’s not your grandma’s world, anymore,” you might want to respond, “what a pity, my grandma was a smart cookie.”
The 9/8/11, blog post at Legal Research Plus, “How to Use Legislative History to Teach Grammar,” cites and links to Prof. Susan J. Hankin’s “Statutory Interpretation in the Age of Grammatical Permissiveness:  An Object Lesson for Teaching Why Grammar Matters