Justia Injury Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Nevada
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The Supreme Court held that the two-year limitations period of Nev. Rev. Stat. 11.190(4)(e) for commencing actions to recover for personal injuries or wrongful death is subject to equitable tolling and that Appellant failed to demonstrate that her circumstances warranted equitable tolling of section 11.190(4)(e).Plaintiff filed a civil torts complaint two and a half years after an alleged sexual assault occurred, alleging that Defendant sexually assaulted her. Defendant filed a motion to dismiss based on Nev. Rev. Stat. 11.190(4)(e), which imposes a two-year limitations period for wrongful death and personal injury claims. In response, Plaintiff argued that the limitations period should be tolled. The district court granted Defendant's motion, finding that equitable tolling of the statute of limitations did not apply. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) section 11.190(4)(e) is subject to equitable tolling; but (2) Plaintiff failed to meet the relevant tolling factors in this case. View "Fausto v. Sanchez-Flores" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court granted in part and denied in part a petition for a writ of mandamus stemming from lawsuits brought against generic drug manufacturers for selling vials of propofol to ambulatory surgical centers despite an allegedly foreseeable risk that they would be used on multiple patients, holding that some of the claims were preempted.Plaintiffs alleged that Petitioners knew or should have known that selling 50 mL vials of propofol, as opposed to 20 mL vials, to ambulatory surgical centers with high patient turnover was unsafe due to the risk of contamination from multi-dosing. Petitioners filed a motion to dismiss, alleging that Plaintiff's claims conflicted with federal law. The district courts summarily denied the motions to dismiss. Petitioners then filed the instant writ petition. The Supreme Court granted the writ in part, holding (1) Plaintiffs' negligence cause of action and request for punitive damages survived; but (2) the remainder of Plaintiffs' causes of action were preempted. View "Teva Parenteral Medicines, Inc. v. Eighth Judicial District Court" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court held that the district court properly determined that the allegedly defamatory statements made by Respondents Kay Zilverberg and Victoria Eagan fell within the protections of Nevada's anti-SLAPP statutes and that Appellant Jason Smith did not demonstrate with prima facie evidence a probability of prevailing on his claims.Appellant was a professional thrifter, and Respondents were thrifters. When Respondents criticized Appellant for bullying behavior Appellant filed a complaint alleging that Respondents' statements were false and defamatory. Respondents filed an anti-SLAPP special motion to dismiss. The district court granted the motion and awarded Respondents attorney fees. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the district court correctly granted the anti-SLAPP special motion to dismiss; and (2) Appellant failed to show with prima facie evidence a probability of prevailing on his claims. View "Smith v. Zilverberg" on Justia Law

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In this defamation action, the Supreme Court reversed the decision of the district court denying Defendant's special motion to dismiss under Nev. Rev. Stat. 41.660, Nevada's anti-SLAPP statute, holding that each of Defendant's statements was "made in direct connection with an issue of public interest in a place open to the public or in a public forum." See Nev. Rev. Stat. 41.637(4).The statements at issue were Defendant's criticisms of the homeowners' association and developers/managers of Southern Highlands in Clark County. Plaintiffs - Olympia Companies, LLC and its president - sued Defendant for defamation and defamation per se. The district court denied Defendant's motion to dismiss, concluding that Defendant failed to establish a prima facie case under section 41.660. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Defendant met his prima facie burden to demonstrate that his statements were all made in public forums on a matter of public interest. The Court remanded the case with direction to consider whether Defendant made his communications in good faith. View "Kosor v. Olympia Companies, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court held that when a tortfeasor settles with the plaintiff, the tortfeasor may then assert a claim for contribution against a doctor who allegedly caused new injuries in treating the original injury.Marie Gonzales was injured in an accident involving a truck driven by an employee of Republic Silver State Disposal. Dr. Andrew Cash treated Gonzales's original injury and allegedly caused further injuries. Gonzales sued Republic and its employee, and the parties settled. The settlement agreement expressly discharged Gonzales's claim against her medical providers and reserved Republic's rights under the Uniform Contribution Among Tortfeasors Act, Nev. Rev. Stat. 17.225-.305. Republic then sued Cash for contribution. The district court granted summary judgment for Cash, concluding that contribution was not available between successive tortfeasors. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the right of contribution exists when the two parties are jointly or severally liable for the same injury, and whether the parties are joint or successive tortfeasors is immaterial; and (2) because Republic and Cash were jointly or severally liable for the injuries Cash allegedly caused and Republic settled those claims, Republic may pursue an action for contribution against Cash. View "Republic Silver State Disposal, Inc. v. Cash" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reaffirmed in this case that undocumented aliens who are injured while working for a Nevada employer may be eligible for monetary disability benefits, holding that these monetary benefits, paid by the insurer, do not conflict with federal law or undermine the Legislature's intent.Respondent, an undocumented Nevadan, was severely injured while working for High Point Construction and applied for permanent total disability (PTD) status. Associated Risk Management (ARM), High Point's insurance administrator, denied the request. An appeals officer reversed and granted Respondent PTD status pursuant to the "odd-lot doctrine." ARM petitioned for judicial review, arguing that the appeals officer committed legal error by granting PTD to an undocumented alien. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) undocumented aliens are not precluded from receiving disability benefits under Nevada's workers' compensation laws; (2) although federal law prohibits employers from knowingly employing an undocumented alien, it does not prohibit insurers from compensating undocumented aliens for injuries they sustain while working; and (3) the appeals officer's decision was based on substantial evidence. View "Associated Risk Management, Inc. v. Ibanez" on Justia Law

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In these two personal injury disputes the Supreme Court denied Petitioners' petition for a writ of mandamus demanding that the Supreme Court reverse the district court's order denying their two motions to strike requests for trials de novo in their cases, holding that Petitioners did not offer any cogent, compelling reason for the Supreme Court to issue mandamus.In separate incidents, John Walker sustained injuries when Sheila Michaels collided with him, and Ralph Ortega received injuries after Katheryn Fritter rear-ended his vehicle. Walker sued Michaels, and Ortega sued Fritter. Both cases proceeded to arbitration. Michaels and Fritter each served offers of judgment, which Walker and Ortega, respectively, rejected. Ultimately, the arbitrators in Walker's and Ortega's cases found in their favor. Because Farmers Insurance insured both Michaels and Fritter, the same attorney, McMillen, represented the interests of both defendants. McMillen sought trials de novo in both cases. Walker and Ortega filed motions to strike the requests. After the district court rejected the motions to strike, Walker and Ortega filed this petition for a writ of mandamus. The Supreme Court denied their petition, holding that Petitioners failed to demonstrate a basis for the Supreme Court to grant either a traditional or advisory writ of mandamus. View "Walker v. Second Judicial District Court" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the order of the district court imposing case-termination sanctions on MDB Trucking, LLC for spoliation of evidence, holding that the record did not support the imposition of case-terminating sanctions in this case.Plaintiffs filed lawsuits against MDB, a commercial trucking company, and Versa Products Company, which manufactured the dump gate valves, after an MDB driver experienced an uncommanded activation of the dump gate in his rig's trailer, causing it to open and unexpectedly dump its loads. The incident caused several collisions. MBD cross-claimed against Versa for contribution, alleging an unreasonably dangerous and defective design of the Versa valve. MDB reached a settlement with Plaintiffs, who assigned their claims against Versa to MDB. Versa then filed the motion for sanctions underlying this appeal, asking the district court to dismiss MDB's claim with prejudice for having spoliated evidence, namely by discarding plug, sockets, and cords in the tractor/trailer rig. The district court dismissed MDB's claims with prejudice, holding that MDB's failure to preserve the replaced parts caused Versa prejudice that lesser sanctions could not cure. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that MDB acted negligently, not willfully, when it discarded the replaced parts and that, on remand, the district court should consider whether Versa can meet its burden of proving prejudice. View "MDB Trucking, LLC v. Versa Products Co." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the district court dismissing Appellant's defamation claim against The Associated Press and one of its reporters (collectively, Respondents), holding that a news article reporting on the contents of a citizen's complaint to the police that was neither investigated nor evaluated by the police is not a report of an official action or proceeding for which the fair report privilege provides an absolute defense.Respondents published a news article reporting on a 2018 citizen's complaint to the police, in which the complainant alleged that Appellant sexually assaulted her in the early 1970s. Police did not investigate the allegations for statute of limitations reasons. In his complaint, Appellant asserted that the complainant's accusations against him were false and that Respondents published the article with malice. The district court concluded that the fair report privilege protected Respondents from defamation liability because their article reported on a public record, namely documentation of a citizen's complaint to the police alleged that a crime occurred. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the complaint did not constitute an official action or proceeding as contemplated by the fair report privilege. View "Wynn v. Associated Press" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court denying Clark County's petition for judicial review of the decision of an appeals officer reversing Clark County's denial of a retiree's claim for ongoing partial disability benefits, holding that the appeals officer correctly found that the retiree was entitled to benefits based on the wages he was earning at the time he retired.Brent Bean worked as a Clark County firefighter and retired in 2011. In 2014, Bean was diagnosed with prostate cancer and had part of his prostate removed. Clark County rejected Bean's claim for occupational disease benefits insofar as it sought ongoing permanent partial disability benefits, concluding that because Bean was retired at the time he became permanently partially disabled, he was not earning wages upon which to base a permanent partial disability benefits award. The appeals officer reversed, and the district court rejected Clark County's petition for judicial review. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the appeals officer correctly found that compensation for Bean's permanent partial disability rating must be based on the wages he was earning at the time of his retirement. View "Clark County v. Bean" on Justia Law