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Posts published in “Day: June 28, 2007”

OR: They’re out

The Oregon Legislature's main web page says that regular sessions usually last about six months. The last few years, that's been a little embarassingly optimistic for sessions running from January into August. This year, remarkably, it was an over-long estimate - this session, adjourned shortly after noon today, ran not a lot more than five months. As widely noted, this was the shortest regular session in a dozen years.

We should note here as well the other departures mentioned at the Statehouse this week. In addition to Senate Majority Leader Kate Brown, about whom we've blogged earlier, Blue Oregon cited three more indicated from today's floor sessions: Senator Avel Gordly (currently an independent from Portland) and Representatives Karen Minnis (R-Wood Village, a former House speaker) and Donna Nelson (R-McMinnville, one of the chamber's most colorful characters) also indicated they were opting out.

(Politically? Gordly's seat likely will revert to a Democrat; Minnis' may well go Democratic; Nelson's probably but not definitely will stay Republican.)

And Senator Vicki Walker, D-Eugene, is apparently the first in the race for secretary of state in 2008. (Running in mid-term, she would retain her Senate seat if unsuccessful.)

A side note: Don't be surprised if the next couple of weeks doesn't unplug a bunch of announcements on hold while the session lasted.

Informal appearance

Washington courts In most sports, a team can lose by default - by failing to show up to play when appearance was expected. Same thing can happen in court cases. But wouldn't you know there's a gray area involved?

Consider this - three decisions on the matter today from the Washington Supreme Court.

One day in November 1998, a car owned by Bonnie Burris but driven by her son Jeffrey Barth rear-ended the car driven by Sherri Morin, who later reported medical costs as a result. Insurers were contacted and some money exchanged, but after a year with no settlement Morin hired an attorney to case the case to court, where it was filed in June 2001.

When that happened, Burris, the car owner, was personally served notice, and Barth, who couldn't be found, was given notice "by publication," an ad in the newspaper. Neither of them responded formally to the court, however, and in December 2002 a trial court gave Morin a default judgement against the other two. Many months later, in February 2004, Barth and Burris filed papers asking that default decision be set aside, since they had "informally appeared" at various points. As the Supreme Court wrote, "The trial court agreed and vacated the default judgment. Morin appealed. The Court of Appeals, Division One, concluded that in light of the prelitigation contact between Farmers and Morin, including the payment for property damage, the trial court had not abused its discretion in setting aside default judgment on the ground of an informal appearance."

The Supreme Court disagreed.

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