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Litigation

Northwest Business Litigation Blog Northwest Business Litigation Blog

Resource for in-house counsel, business executives, human resource managers and others who monitor litigation and legal issues affecting Northwest USA businesses.
By Ater Wynne LLP

Post Frequency: 1.8/day

Last Entry: June 06, 2014 at 12:47:25

Recent Entries: 296

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Oregon Supreme Court recognizes law firm "in house" privilege

Posted on June 06, 2014
The Oregon Supreme Court held last week that the attorney-client privilege applies to communications between a law firm's lawyers and the firm's in-house counsel. In Crimson Trace Corp. v. Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, plaintiff sued its lawyers for malpractice, and...


Angencies continue to attack restrictions on employee speech: Part 3 -- Lessons for employers

Posted on May 27, 2014
As discussed in our earlier posts (Part 1 and Part 2), the EEOC and NLRB have in recent years targeted employers who impose restrictions on employee speech and conduct that could chill employees' exercise of their rights under the NLRA...


Agencies continue to attack restrictions on employee speech: Part 2 -- NLRB

Posted on May 25, 2014
The EEOC?s recent lawsuits against employers described in Part 1 follow the NLRB?s similar attempts in recent years to rein in employer restrictions that could impact employee speech and other employment rights under federal labor law. The focus of the...


Agencies continue to attack restrictions on employer speech: Part 1 - EEOC

Posted on May 23, 2014
The EEOC and NLRB continue to target employers who restrict employee speech and conduct, especially when those restrictions could impact employees? rights under labor and employment laws. The EEOC recently filed suit attacking the use of certain terms in employer...


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Direct competition not required to assert Lanham Act false advertising claim

Posted on April 02, 2014
There is little debate that the Lanham Act, 15 USC 1125(a), entitles direct competitors to sue each other for false advertising, while consumers (including business consumers) lack standing to sue under the Act. For parties that are neither competitors nor...


Target of social media criticism can sue for defamation, Oregon Court of Appeals holds

Posted on March 31, 2014
The Oregon Court of Appeals recently held that a business owner can pursue a defamation claim against an individual who posted a negative on-line review. In Neumann v. Liles, plaintiff, who operates a wedding venue, was the target of a...


Oregon Supreme Court addresses seller's UCC remedies

Posted on March 28, 2014
When a party refuses to perform its contract to purchase goods, the Uniform Commercial Code entitles the aggrieved seller to sell the goods to another buyer and recover damages from the defaulting party. Often the buyer must sell at less...


EEOC files suit challenging employer's standard settlement terms

Posted on February 19, 2014
The EEOC has filed suit in Chicago against pharmacy giant CVS to stop it from using certain terms in its settlement agreements with employees. The EEOC claims that the company unlawfully violated employees' rights to communicate with the EEOC and...


NLRB Abandons Controversial Posting Rule

Posted on January 09, 2014
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) announced this week that it will not seek U.S. Supreme Court review of two Court of Appeals decisions invalidating its controversial posting rule. The rule required most private sector employers to post a notice...


Oregon Court of Appeals Adopts Broad Definition of "Employee" for Minimum Wage Statute

Posted on January 06, 2014
Last month, in Cejas Commercial Interiors, Inc., v. Torres-Lizama, the Oregon Court of Appeals adopted the ?economic realities test? for determining whether an individual is an employee under Oregon's minimum wage statute. The statute, ORS 653.025, provides that ?no employer...


Oregon Court of Appeals holds the line on pleading prejudgment interest

Posted on January 02, 2014
Last week the Oregon Court of Appeals reinforced the challenges facing parties seeking prejudgment interest. In Davis v. F.W. Financial Services, Inc., defendant asserted a counterclaim for conversion of funds, and sought interest accruing on that sum of money through...


Oregon Supreme Court disavows precedent on personal jurisdiction

Posted on December 31, 2013
The Oregon Supreme Court earlier this month refined its test for personal jurisdiction, rejecting thirty-year-old precedent and adopting a flexible approach consistent with more recent U.S. Supreme Court case law. Robinson v. Harley-Davidson Motor Co...


Free, hands-on Cover Oregon training for businesses and individuals

Posted on October 16, 2013
State Representative (and Ater Wynne attorney) Shemia Fagan is hosting a free Cover Oregon training for businesses and individuals interested in learning about the new online health insurance marketplace. This hands-on training will be more extensive than the presentations Cover...


Justice questions Oregon Supreme Court's remedy clause jurisprudence

Posted on September 30, 2013
Last week the Oregon Supreme Court invalidated a statutory cap on noneconomic tort damages. The plaintiffs in Klutschkowski v. PeaceHealth asserted a medical malpractice claim to recover for injuries their son had sustained during birth. Plaintiffs contended that the damages...


Register for Ater Wynne's Seminar on Gender Equality: Emerging LGBT Issues in the Workplace

Posted on September 18, 2013
Ater Wynne invites you to attend its next employment law seminar, on Thursday, September 19, 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., at Portland's World Trade Center. A panel will discuss Gender Equality: Emerging LGBT Issues in the Workplace. For details and...


Oregon Court of Appeals invokes imputed knowledge doctrine to defeat rescission claim

Posted on September 04, 2013
The Court of Appeals last week thwarted an effort to unwind a sale of real property, holding that the disappointed purchaser had imputed knowledge of problems with the property at the time of the sale. In Atkeson v. T&K Lands,...


Seattle City Council restricts criminal background checks

Posted on August 27, 2013
Starting in November 2013, a new Seattle ordinance will severely restrict when and how a private employer may ask about and use the criminal conviction history of its job applicants and employees. The new law applies to all employees who...


Judge orders Clackamas County to assist TriMet in completing Portland-Milwaukie light rail

Posted on July 02, 2013
In a case involving issues of statutory interpretation, the scope of the initiative power, and the prohibition on impairment of contract, a judge yesterday ordered Clackamas County to cooperate with TriMet in the construction and operation of the Portland-Milwaukie light...


U.S. Supreme Court won't undo arbitration clause preventing class action

Posted on June 21, 2013
The U.S. Supreme Court yesterday enforced an arbitration agreement prohibiting class arbitration of antitrust claims, even though the plaintiffs showed that it was uneconomical for them each to pursue claims individually. In American Express v. Italian Colors Restaurant, a group...


Oregon Supreme Court rules on MERS and non-judicial foreclosures

Posted on June 18, 2013
Observers say that non-judicial foreclosures in Oregon will resume following the Oregon Supreme Court's recent rulings in Brandrup v. ReconTrust Co. and Niday v. GMAC Mortgage. The Oregon Court of Appeals held last year that a non-judicial foreclosure cannot occur...


Employers must allow veterans time off to observe Veteran's Day

Posted on June 18, 2013
In case you may have missed it, one of the employment laws that passed in the 2013 Oregon legislative session is SB 1, which provides employees who are veterans and scheduled to work on November 11 a day off in...


New Portland sick leave ordinance will go into effect January 1, 2014

Posted on April 11, 2013
Following in the footsteps of Seattle, San Francisco, and others, the City of Portland enacted a sick leave ordinance on March 13, 2013, applicable to employees who work at least 240 hours per calendar year within the City limits. Employees...


US Supreme Court: Class certification inquiry may involve a ruling on the merits

Posted on April 04, 2013
Courts considering motions to certify a class action can't shy away from considering the merits, if doing so is necessary to determine whether the class meets the requirements of FRCP 23(a). That was the conclusion reached last week by the...


Employers must exercise caution when withdrawing offers of employment

Posted on April 03, 2013
The Oregon Supreme Court in Cocchiara v. Lithia Motors, Inc., (discussed in our earlier blog post here) opened up the possibility of a promissory estoppel or fraud claim against an employer who withdraws an offer of at-will employment. The Supreme...


Retracting an at-will job offer puts employer at risk for a tort claim

Posted on March 20, 2013
The Oregon Supreme Court this month held that a person offered at-will employment may be able to state a claim for promissory estoppel and fraud when the prospective employer retracts the offer. In Cocchiara v. Lithia Motors, Inc., according to...


Securities fraud: Proof of materiality not required to obtain class certification

Posted on March 04, 2013
Last week the U.S. Supreme Court held that a securities fraud plaintiff need not prove the materiality of defendant's alleged misrepresentations or omissions in order to obtain class certification. While materiality is a necessary element of a securities fraud claim,...


LLC member's breach of fiduciary duty results in 600,000-1 ratio of punitive to compensatory damages

Posted on December 31, 2012
Last week the Oregon Court of Appeals again addressed the appropriate ratio of punitive to compensatory damages when compensatory damages are modest. One week after affirming an award of punitive damages that was 200 times compensatory damages in Lithia Medford...


Oregon Court of Appeals affirms 200-1 ratio of puntive damages to compensatory damages

Posted on December 27, 2012
The Oregon Court of Appeals last week affirmed a jury award of $100,000 in punitive damages in a case where compensatory damages were $500. The Court applied the standards set forth by the Oregon Supreme Court last year in Hamlin...


Ater Wynne vindicates trademark owner against prior user of mark

Posted on December 06, 2012
A federal judge in Illinois recently ruled that a Chicago company's long-term use of the term "vault" to describe its product did not defeat an Oregon company's use of the term as a registered trademark. Edsal Manufactoring Company, Inc., an...


US Supreme Court: Federal Arbitration Act bars state court from ruling on contract's validity

Posted on November 29, 2012
This week the U.S. Supreme Court again affirmed the broad scope of the Federal Arbitration Act, holding that when a contract includes a valid arbitration provision, an arbitrator, and not a court, should decide in the first instance whether the...


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