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James M. Daigle is a 1987 graduate of the University of Oregon and a 1994 graduate of the University of Oregon School of Law. After law school he cler... (more)

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LEGAL TERMS

MORTGAGE

A loan in which the borrower puts up the title to real estate as security (collateral) for a loan. If the borrower doesn't pay back the debt on time, the lender... (more...)
A loan in which the borrower puts up the title to real estate as security (collateral) for a loan. If the borrower doesn't pay back the debt on time, the lender can foreclose on the real estate and have it sold to pay off the loan.

FRIENDLY SUIT

A lawsuit brought by two parties, not as adversaries, but as collaborators in order to resolve a legal question that affects them both. For example, two compani... (more...)
A lawsuit brought by two parties, not as adversaries, but as collaborators in order to resolve a legal question that affects them both. For example, two companies might bring a friendly suit to court in order to clarify a legal interpretation of a contract between them.

HEIR

One who receives property from someone who has died. While the traditional meaning includes only those who had a legal right to the deceased person's property, ... (more...)
One who receives property from someone who has died. While the traditional meaning includes only those who had a legal right to the deceased person's property, modern usage includes anyone who receives property from the estate of a deceased person.

EVIDENCE

The many types of information presented to a judge or jury designed to convince them of the truth or falsity of key facts. Evidence typically includes testimony... (more...)
The many types of information presented to a judge or jury designed to convince them of the truth or falsity of key facts. Evidence typically includes testimony of witnesses, documents, photographs, items of damaged property, government records, videos and laboratory reports. Rules that are as strict as they are quirky and technical govern what types of evidence can be properly admitted as part of a trial. For example, the hearsay rule purports to prevent secondhand testimony of the 'he said, she said' variety, but the existence of dozens of exceptions often means that hairsplitting lawyers can find a way to introduce such testimony into evidence. See also admissible evidence, inadmissible evidence.

OFFER

A proposal to enter into an agreement with another person. An offer must express the intent of the person making the offer to form a contract, must contain some... (more...)
A proposal to enter into an agreement with another person. An offer must express the intent of the person making the offer to form a contract, must contain some essential terms--including the price and subject matter of the contract--and must be communicated by the person making the offer. A legally valid acceptance of the offer will create a binding contract.

DEBENTURE

A type of bond (an interest-bearing document that serves as evidence of a debt) that does not require security in the form of a mortgage or lien on a specific p... (more...)
A type of bond (an interest-bearing document that serves as evidence of a debt) that does not require security in the form of a mortgage or lien on a specific piece of property. Repayment of a debenture is guaranteed only by the general credit of the issuer. For example, a corporation may issue a secured bond that gives the bondholder a lien on the corporation's factory. But if it issues a debenture, the loan is not secured by any property at all. When a corporation issues debentures, the holders are considered creditors of the corporation and are entitled to payment before shareholders if the business folds.

REFUGEE

In the context of U.S. immigration law, people who have been allowed to live in the United States indefinitely to protect them from persecution in their home co... (more...)
In the context of U.S. immigration law, people who have been allowed to live in the United States indefinitely to protect them from persecution in their home countries. Refugees get their status before coming to the U.S., while asylum seekers obtain their status after arrival. Refugees may eventually get green cards.

LEGACY

An outdated legal word meaning personal property left by a will. The more common term for this type of property is bequest. Compare devise.

DONATION

A gift of property. The IRS allows you to take an income tax deduction for the value of donations made to charitable organizations who are recognized as such by... (more...)
A gift of property. The IRS allows you to take an income tax deduction for the value of donations made to charitable organizations who are recognized as such by the IRS.

SAMPLE LEGAL CASES

State v. Gaines

... at 611, 859 P.2d 1143. [2] If the legislature's intent remains unclear after examining legislative history, "the court may resort to general maxims of statutory construction to aid in resolving the remaining uncertainty." Id. at 612, 859 P.2d 1143. ...

Taylor v. Ramsay-Gerding Construction Co.

HH TAYLOR, CA Taylor, Petitioners on Review, and Taylor & Taylor, Inc., an Oregon corporation, Cross-Respondent, v. RAMSAY-GERDING CONSTRUCTION COMPANY, an Oregon corporation, Defendant, and Chemrex, Inc., a foreign corporation, Respondent on ...

Abraham v. T. Henry Construction, Inc.

Richard ABRAHAM and Janice Abraham, husband and wife, as trustees for the Richard D. Abraham and Janice M. Abraham Trust, Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. T. HENRY CONSTRUCTION, INC., an Oregon corporation; Stelmen Plastering, Inc., an Oregon corporation; Northwest Gutter ...