Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Nevada

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Respondent sued Appellant for damages arising out of a motor vehicle accident. An arbitrator found in favor of Appellant and awarded him damages. After a trial de novo, a jury found in favor of Respondent and awarded him damages. Because Respondent’s award failed to exceed the arbitration award by twenty percent, Respondent was liable for Appellant’s attorney fees and costs. The short trial judge offset the damages and attorney fees and costs awards and entered a net judgment in favor of Appellant. After Respondent failed to pay the judgment, the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) suspended Respondent’s driving privileges until the judgment was satisfied under Nev. Rev. Stat. 485.302. Respondent requested an administrative hearing to contest the suspension, arguing that section 485.302 did not apply because he was not an uninsured driver and the judgment was not for personal injury or property damages. An administrative law judge agreed with Respondent and dismissed and rescinded the suspension. Appellant filed a petition for judicial review. The district court denied the petition. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the judgment for attorney fees and costs was not a “judgment” for purposes of chapter 485; and (2) therefore, the DMV was not required to suspend Respondent’s driving privileges upon receipt of the judgment. View "Simmons v. Briones" on Justia Law

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Howard Shapiro petitioned a New Jersey court to appoint him as conservator for his father. Respondents - Glen, Rhoda, Lynn, and Michelle Welt - opposed the petition. Howard and Jenna Shapiro (together, Appellants) filed a complaint alleging, inter alia, defamation for statements the Welts made on their website during the course of the conservatorship matter. The district court granted the Welts’ motion to dismiss, concluding that Appellants’ complaint was filed in an attempt to prevent a good-faith communication in connection with an issue of public concern under Nev. Rev. Stat. 41.637(4). The Supreme Court affirmed in part, reversed in part, vacated in part, and remanded, holding (1) section 41.637 is not unconstitutionally vague; (2) the district court must analyze statements made in relation to a conservatorship action under guiding principles enunciated in California law to determine if a statement is an issue of public interest under section 41.637(4); and (3) the district court must conduct a case-specific, fact-intensive inquiry that balances the underlying principles of the absolute litigation privilege as enunciated by Jacobs v. Adelson before determining whether a party has met their burden for proving a likelihood of success on the merits. View "Shapiro v. Welt" on Justia Law

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Michael Adams died after striking Susan Fallini’s cow while driving on a portion of highway designated as open range. Adams’ estate sued Fallini for negligence. The district court entered a final judgment against Fallini for $1,294,041. Thereafter, Fallini brought a motion pursuant to Nev. R. Civ. P. 60(b), contending that the district court should set aside the judgment because the Estate’s counsel committed a fraud upon the court. The district court granted the motion. Fallini then filed a motion for entry of final argument, arguing that Nev. Rev. Stat. 568.360 provided a complete defense to the Estate’s claims. The district court granted the motion and dismissed the action. The Estate appealed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) this court had jurisdiction to consider challenges to the district court’s Rule 60(b) order in this appeal; (2) the district court did not err in addressing the merits of Fallini’s the Rule 60(b) motion; and (3) under the circumstances of this case, the district court did not abuse its discretion in granting relief based on fraud upon the court. View "Estate of Adams v. Fallini" on Justia Law

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Appellant filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which was later converted to a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Prior to filing, Appellant was involved in two personal injury cases. As part of his bankruptcy proceedings, Appellant claimed two personal injury exemptions, one for the personal injury settlement stemming from a dog attack and another stemming from an automobile accident. The bankruptcy court certified to the Supreme Court the question of whether a debtor is entitled to more than one personal injury exemption under Nev. Rev. Stat. 21.090(1)(u) if the debtor has more than one personal injury accident. The Supreme Court held that section 21.090(1)(u) entitles a debtor to an exemption for each personal injury claim, on a per-claim basis. View "Kaplan v. Dutra" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff brought a personal injury action against Defendant for injuries she received during an accident. After a trial, the jury returned a verdict in the amount of $719,776. Defendant appealed, arguing that the district court abused its discretion by, inter alia, denying his motion for a mistrial due to jury indoctrination, dismissing jurors for cause that displayed concerns about their ability to award large verdicts, excluding evidence of Plaintiff’s medical liens, and awarding costs to Plaintiff. The Supreme Court reversed the district court’s decision as to the award of expert witness fees and otherwise affirmed, holding (1) Plaintiff’s questioning of the jurors during voir dire did not reach the level of indoctrination; (2) the district court erred by dismissing for cause five jurors, but the error was harmless; (3) the district court abused its discretion by excluding evidence of the medical lien’s existence to prove bias in Plaintiff’s medical providers, but the error was harmless; and (4) the district court abused its discretion by awarding Plaintiff expert witness fees in excess of $1,500 per expert because it did not state a basis for its award. View "Khoury v. Seastrand" on Justia Law

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Kelli Barrett filed a complaint against Humboldt General Hospital and Dr. Sharon McIntyre, alleging, inter alia, battery based on an alleged lack of informed consent. Barrett filed the complaint without a supporting medical expert affidavit. Defendants moved to dismiss the complaint based on Nev. Rev. Stat. 41A.071’s requirement that an expert affidavit be filed with “medical malpractice” actions. The district court denied the motion as to the battery claim. Defendants filed this original petition for a writ of mandamus challenging the district court’s denial of their motion as Barrett’s battery claim. The Supreme Court granted the petition, holding that a battery claim against a medical provider based on an allegation of lack of informed consent is subject to section 41A.071’s medical expert affidavit requirement. View "Humboldt Gen. Hosp. v. Sixth Judicial Dist. Court" on Justia Law

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Sumona Islam entered into an agreement with her employer, Atlantis Casino Resort Spa (Atlantis), to refrain from employment or association with any other gaming establishment within 150 miles for one year following the end of her employment. After Islam resigned from Atlantis and began working as a casino host at Grand Sierra Resort (GSR), she entered altered and copied gaming customers’ information from Atlantis’ computer management system into GSR’s computer management system. GSR used this and other information conveyed by Islam to market to those customers without knowing the information was wrongfully obtained. Atlantis filed a complaint against both Islam and GSR, alleging tort and contract claims. All three parties appealed the district court’s decision. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court (1) correctly found that the noncompete agreement was unreasonable and unenforceable; (2) properly denied Atlantis’ conversion claim based on Islam’s alteration of the electronic information; and (3) properly found that GSR did not misappropriate Atlantis’s trade secrets. View "Golden Road Motor Inn v. Islam" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff was evicted from all properties owned, operated, or managed by Caesers Entertainment Corporation, which owns and operates a number of casinos throughout the United States. Plaintiff filed this action alleging that, under the common law and Nev. Rev. Stat. 463.0129(1)(e), Caesars could not exclude him without cause. The district court granted Caesars’ motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) pursuant to section 463.0129, gaming establishments generally have the right to exclude any person from their premises, but the reason for exclusion must not be discriminatory or unlawful; and (2) Plaintiff failed to plead or demonstrate that his exclusion from Caesars’ properties was for unlawful reasons, and therefore, the district court did not err in dismissing the complaint. View "Slade v. Caesars Ent. Corp." on Justia Law

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This lawsuit arose after Diane Collins rear-ended Ja Cynta McClendon’s car. Collins designated Dr. Eugene Appel as a testifying medical expert and filed an expert witness report. Before McClendon was able to depose Appel, Collins de-designated him as a testifying expert witness. Collins moved for a protective order to prevent McClendon from deposing Appel or calling him to testify at trial. McClendon subsequently moved to designate Appel as her own expert witness. The district court granted Collins’ motion for a protective order and denied McClendon’s motion. The jury subsequently entered judgment in favor of Collins. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) after an expert report has been disclosed, a testifying expert witness cannot regain the confidentiality protections of Nev. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(4)(B) by de-designating that witness to the status of a nontestifying expert; (2) after the expert witness has lost Rule 26(b)(4)(B)’s protections, the district court has the discretion whether to allow the witness to be further deposed or called to testify at trial by an opposing party; and (3) the district court abused its discretion by basing its decision on the fact that Appel had not yet been deposed, but the error was harmless. View "McClendon v. Collins" on Justia Law

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Respondents filed a personal injury suit against Appellant arising from an automobile accident. Before trial, Respondents filed a motion in limine to preclude Appellant from presenting a low-impact defense in the case. The district court granted Respondents’ motion, concluding that the result was required by Hallmark v. Eldridge. During the trial, the court sustained eight objections by Respondents to Appellant’s questions and evidence as violating the pretrial order prohibiting a low-impact defense. Following these alleged violations and violations of two additional pretrial orders, the district court struck Appellant’s answer as a sanction. The court then entered a default judgment against Appellant. The Supreme Court reversed and ordered a new trial, holding (1) the district court erred in extending Hallmark to preclude all argument of a low-impact defense; and (2) any misconduct by Appellant’s trial counsel did not rise to the level requiring the case-ending sanctions imposed by the district court under BMW v. Roth. View "Rish v. Simao" on Justia Law