Author: uslawessentials

Checks and Balances/Legal English Game

Checks and balances limit the power of each branch of the federal government.  The Constitution provides powers to each branch of government, including the legislative, executive, and judicial branches,  Each of these branches have powers that can prevent other brances from becoming too powerful. How well can you do on this game?   You can also try this quiz:   USLawEssentials Checks and Balances Quiz » Powered by...

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If states traditionally regulate marriage, why can’t states make homosexual marriage illegal?

An international student asked a very good question in our class the other day. He noted that because of federalism, states generally have the power to regulate marriage.  When people get married in the United States, a state, not the national government, certifies the marriage. But the student also noted that he learned that states may not prohibit a same-sex couple from getting married.  That is, if two men or two women want to get married, the state must permit the marriage.   How can this be if states regulate marriage within their borders?  Under what authority can states be required to allow same-sex couples to get married? The Constitution and the Supremacy Clause The answer is connected to the Constitution of the United States and the Supremacy Clause  (more info on the Supremacy Clause here). No law is higher in the United States than the Constitution – – that is why the Constitution is called the Supreme Law of the United States.  If any law violates the Constitution, a court can declare the law unconstitutional through its power of judicial review. You can think of this like a card game.  The Constitution is the highest card in the deck, the Ace of Spades.  Any other card is weaker than the Ace of Spades.  We’ll say a state law is the Queen is Hearts.  Because the Ace of Spades is higher than the Queen, the...

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What is Negligence?

Negligence is what people in an everyday conversation would call carelessness or an accident. Negligence is a type of tort, called an unintentional tort. Because it is a tort, plaintiffs who have been injured as a result of negligence have the right to recover for their injuries in a civil lawsuit. To prevail in a claim for negligence, plaintiff must prove the four elements of negligence: (i) defendant owed a duty of reasonable care to plaintiff; (ii) defendant breached that duty; (iii) defendant’s  breach of his duty caused; (iv) plaintiff’s damages. Duty By duty we mean that defendant had an obligation to plaintiff...

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What does DBA mean? (New Legal English Quiz too!) by Daniel Edelson | Jan 17, 2015 | Quiz, What does . . . mean? | 0 CommentsDBA is an acronym that stands for "Doing Business As"   Sometimes a person or company will conduct business under a name different from its true legal name.  For example, let's say Connie Smith, a private individual, and Acme Food Suppliers both decide to sell... What is an Offer? by Daniel Edelson | Jan 16, 2015 | Contract law, video, What does . . . mean? | 0 CommentsAn offer, together with acceptance and consideration, is one of the elements needed  to form a contract under US law.  The offer provides a counterpart  (sometimes called an offeree) with the power to accept a deal and to form an agreement.To identify an offer  make... What is a class action? by Daniel Edelson | Jan 16, 2015 | Uncategorized | 0 CommentsA class action is where a single party, or perhaps a few parties, represents a larger group in a civil litigation.  Usually a class action is brought by plaintiffs, but sometimes a group of defendants can be a class, too.I think it is helpful to think of a class... Thanks for the review! by Daniel Edelson | Jan 9, 2015 | Uncategorized | 0 CommentsThanks for the review of my Udemy course...Wonderful Introduction to US Contract LawI really enjoyed taking this course....

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Agency by estoppel test

In an agency by estoppel a defendant will be liable to a plaintiff because the defendant’s negligence or intentional acts caused the plaintiff to reasonably rely on there being an agency relationship between the defendant and someone who purported to act on behalf of the defendant. As a general rule,  a person can bind someone else to a contract if he has authority as an agent to act on that person’s behalf.  The person on whose behalf the agent is acting is called the principal.   For example, a salesperson (agent) can bind his company (principal) to a sales contract because he has authority as an agent to represent the company.   If an agent sells a house on the owner’s (principal) behalf the  owner can’t suddenly refuse to sell the house. Naturally, the result is different if a person is not really an agent.  If a person pretends to be a salesperson for a company he can’t force the company to honor a contract – – the “salesperson”  is an imposter and no agency relationship exists with the company. Courts will apply an exception where a person or company is careless and as a result a third party reasonably relies on the existence of an agency relationship.   For example, let’s say an imposter goes around purporting to act as a salesperson for an electronics store that sells television sets.  The...

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