Blachana, LLC v. Bureau of Labor and Industries, 250 OrApp 80 (2012)

Holding:   BOLI erred in finding that Blachana, which operated a restaurant and bar, was a “successor to the business” of NW Sportsbar, and, therefore, liable for wage claims brought against the former business.

1)  “(W)e determine the legislature’s intended meaning of the relevant statutory text (cite omitted) by examining the text and context of the statute, including any relevant legislative history, and, if ambiguity remains after that examination, resorting to applicable statutory construction canons.” citing State v. Gaines. at p. 85.

2)   Courts give statutory terms their “plain, natural, and ordinary meaning unless the text or context indicates that another meaning was intended.” at p. 86.

3)   “We give words that have well-defined legal meaning those meanings.” at p. 86.

4)   If there are no statutory definitions provided, Courts “look to definitions from dictionaries in use at the time the statute was enacted * * *.” at p. 86.

5)  Legislature’s use of the word “or” suggests that the lawmakers intended that the two clauses contained in the sentence are “intended to be disjunctive and distinctive.” If the Court concludes that this is so, it should avoid an interpretation that renders the clauses repetitive. at pp. 87-88.

6)  The common law “sometimes is helpful in providing a backdrop against which the statute was enacted.” at p. 88.

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