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The ONLY advice I give away: If you get served with a demand from a lawyer or a summons from a court, CALL A REAL LAWYER
One of the most difficult things I do is explain to people that I can no longer help them, although I could have helped them easily . . . if they had come to me in time. This happens all the time in debt lawsuits where someone sues you and serves you with a summons for a debt you don't (think you) owe.
I think the problem is, we learn a lot of things in life, but so far as I know, nobody in high school teaches you how to deal with the legal system (except to hope that you don't get arrested in your youthful exuberance).
There's way too many possible situations to cover in detail, so let me boil it down for you into one simple, fail-safe rule:
If you get a letter FROM a lawyer or a summons or threatening letter from a court or government agency, call a real, licensed attorney and ask how to respond.
If you instead try to take a crash course on Internet Law School or Facebook Law School or wait until you realize you are in over your head, you may easily wait yourself into a much more expensive or even dangerous class of problem. If you can't afford a complete consultation with an attorney, call the Oregon State Bar Lawyer Referral Service at 800-42-7636; they offer brief (1/2 hour or so) consults for just $35.
Like bullies and illnesses, lawsuits can be ignored, but they won’t go away. Denise Norton learned this valuable lesson the hard way this week when she found out that a lawsuit she has tried to ignore could wind up costing Norton her North Seattle home. . . .
Right now, Oregon is one of only two states in the nation that returns class action windfalls -- unclaimed damages -- to corporations found liable for wrongdoing by a judge or jury.
So, today, Oregon law lets corporations who injured or ripped off workers keep part of the judgment they were ordered to pay.
HB 2700 closes this outrageous loophole in Oregon law that allows unclaimed funds remaining in class action settlements to be returned to corporations who were found guilty of wrongdoing.
Under HB 2700, unclaimed class action penalties would go to Legal Aid of Oregon to provide services to needy citizens who cannot afford private lawyers and other appropriate charities as designated by the judge in the case -- NOT back to the companies whose wrongdoing required a lawsuit to fix in the first place!
SIGN THE PETITION IN FAVOR OF HB 2700: http://jenniferfororegon.com/petition/
John Gear is a Salem attorney.