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LEGAL TERMS

EMINENT DOMAIN

The power of the federal or state government to take private property for a public purpose, even if the property owner objects. The Fifth Amendment to the Unite... (more...)
The power of the federal or state government to take private property for a public purpose, even if the property owner objects. The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution allows the government to take private property if the taking is for a public use and the owner is 'justly compensated' (usually, paid fair market value) for his or her loss. A public use is virtually anything that is sanctioned by a federal or state legislative body, but such uses may include roads, parks, reservoirs, schools, hospitals or other public buildings. Sometimes called condemnation, taking or expropriation.

MEMORANDUM

(1) An informal written document. A memorandum may be used in any number of circumstances, but most lawyers are best acquainted with the interoffice memorandum-... (more...)
(1) An informal written document. A memorandum may be used in any number of circumstances, but most lawyers are best acquainted with the interoffice memorandum--a document prepared by a junior associate in a law office or a judge's law clerk outlining the facts, procedural elements and legal arguments involved in a particular legal matter. These memos are reviewed by senior lawyers and judges who use them to decide how to proceed with the case. (2) Any written record, including a letter or note, that proves that a contract exists between two parties. This type of memo may be enough to validate an oral (spoken) contract that would otherwise be unenforceable because of the statute of frauds. (Under the statute of frauds, an oral contract is invalid if it can't be completed within one year from the date the contract is made.)

EASEMENT BY PRESCRIPTION

A right to use property, acquired by a long tradition of open and obvious use. For example, if hikers have been using a trail through your backyard for ten year... (more...)
A right to use property, acquired by a long tradition of open and obvious use. For example, if hikers have been using a trail through your backyard for ten years and you've never complained, they probably have an easement by prescription through your yard to the trail.

AUTHOR

In terms of copyright protection, either the person who creates the work, the person or business that pays another to create the work in an employment context o... (more...)
In terms of copyright protection, either the person who creates the work, the person or business that pays another to create the work in an employment context or the person or business that commissions the work under a valid work for hire contract. For example, a songwriter may write a song, but if he is employed by a company to do so, the company is the author of that song for copyright purposes.

LEASE OPTION

A contract in which an owner leases her house (usually for one to five years) to a tenant for a specific monthly rent, and which gives the tenant the right to b... (more...)
A contract in which an owner leases her house (usually for one to five years) to a tenant for a specific monthly rent, and which gives the tenant the right to buy the house at the end of the lease period for a price established in advance. A lease option is often a good arrangement for a potential home buyer because it lets him move into a house he may buy without having to come up with a down payment or financing at that time.

MULTIPLE LISTING SERVICE (MLS)

A computer-based service that provides real estate professionals with detailed listings of most homes currently on the market. Much of the information can now b... (more...)
A computer-based service that provides real estate professionals with detailed listings of most homes currently on the market. Much of the information can now be obtained by the public through websites like www.realtor.com.

FINDER'S FEE

A fee charged by real estate brokers and apartment-finding services in exchange for locating a rental property. These fees are permitted by law. Some landlords,... (more...)
A fee charged by real estate brokers and apartment-finding services in exchange for locating a rental property. These fees are permitted by law. Some landlords, however, charge finder's fees merely for renting a place. This type of charge is not legitimate and, in some areas, is specifically declared illegal.

LOAN BROKER

A person who specializes in matching home buyers with appropriate mortgage lenders. For a fee--often paid by the lender--a loan broker provides any easy and eff... (more...)
A person who specializes in matching home buyers with appropriate mortgage lenders. For a fee--often paid by the lender--a loan broker provides any easy and effective way to find the cheapest mortgage rates.

ELECTRONIC SIGNATURE

A paperless method of entering into an electronic contract. To 'sign' a contract electronically, a person may be asked to click an 'I Accept' button or use a 'k... (more...)
A paperless method of entering into an electronic contract. To 'sign' a contract electronically, a person may be asked to click an 'I Accept' button or use a 'key' to encrypt (scramble) information that uniquely identifies the signer using a method called Public Key Infrastructure (PKI). Electronic signatures are as binding as those in ink.

SAMPLE LEGAL CASES

City of Claremont v. Kruse

... Kruse also stated that the City had six weeks to amend its zoning code to accommodate his proposed use. ... At that meeting, Schultz explained that by operating CANNABIS without a business permit or license, Kruse was violating the City's zoning requirements. ...

City of Corona v. Naulls

... a medical marijuana establishment. At their meeting two days later, Temple informed Naulls that marijuana dispensaries were not, and never have been, a permitted land use under the City's zoning laws. Temple also then informed ...

Golden Gate Water Ski Club v. County of Contra Costa

... Parcels in A-2 districts must have a minimum of five acres. The zoning generally allows no more than one detached single-family residence per parcel plus such accessory structures and uses consistent with a single-family 254 residence. ...