ACADEMIC TOPICS

Construction

The act of interpreting and giving meaning to a statute, law, contract, or will when there is some ambiguity or question about its meaning. Strict, or narrow, construction means considering only the literal words, whereas broad, or liberal, construction, means taking into account societal and situational meanings to the language.

Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA)

A federal law that enables employees and their families to continue health care coverage under an employers group health plan even after they experience an event -- such as a layoff, termination, cut in hours, or divorce -- that would otherwise end their coverage. Employees and their families must pay the full premium, but they get to pay the employer-negotiated group rate, which is often less expensive than an individual rate. This continued coverage lasts for 18 to 36 months, depending on the event that made the employee eligible.

Confidential Communication

Information exchanged between two people who (1) have a relationship in which private communications are protected by law, and (2) intend that the information be kept in confidence. The law recognizes certain parties whose communications will be considered confidential and protected, including spouses, doctor and patient, attorney and client, and priest and confessor. Communications between these individuals cannot be disclosed in court unless the protected party waives that protection. The intention that the communication be confidential is critical. For example, if an attorney and his client are discussing a matter in the presence of an unnecessary third party -- for example, in an elevator with other people present -- the discussion will not be considered confidential and may be admitted at trial. Also known as privileged communication.

Commerce

In 15 U.S.C. §1127:

 1) The exchanging, buying, or selling of things having economic value between two or more entities, for example goods, services, and money.  Commerce is often done on a large scale, typically between individuals, businesses, or nations.  

 2) The Lanham Act (trademark) provides that a mark is all be deemed to be in "use in commerce"

   (1) on goods when: 

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