Justia Injury Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Nevada
by
In this case involving workers' compensation for "traveling" employees the Supreme Court vacated the order of the district court denying Appellants' petition for judicial review of the denial of their request for workers' compensation benefits, holding that the appeals officer failed to apply Nev. Rev. Stat. 616B.612(3). Jason Buma died in an ATV accident while on a required business trip for Respondent, his employer. Appellants, Buma's wife and daughter, filed a workers' compensation claim for workers' compensation benefits. Respondent denied the claim. The hearing officer affirmed, concluding that Buma's death occurred during an activity that was not part of his work duties. The appeals officer affirmed the denial, and the district court denied judicial review. The Supreme Court vacated the district court's order, holding (1) under section 616B.612(3), a traveling employee is under his employer's control for the duration of his business trip; and (2) because the appeals officer failed to apply the statute the case is remanded for reevaluation under the correct standards. View "Buma v. Providence Corp. Development" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court reversed the order of the district court denying an anti-SLAPP special motion to dismiss in a tort action, holding that, in determining whether the communications were made in good faith, the court must consider the "gist or sting" of the communications as a whole, rather than parsing each individual word in the communications to assess it for its truthfulness. In the complaint, Plaintiff alleged libel per se, slander per se, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Defendant filed an anti-SLAPP special motion to dismiss. The district court denied the motion, determining that Defendant did not meet her burden under the first prong of the anti-SLAPP analysis because she did not show that the statements were made in good faith. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the district court erred in its analysis of whether Defendant's statements were made in good faith; and (2) Defendant showed by a preponderance of the evidence that she made the statements in good faith under the first prong of the anti-SLAPP analysis, and Plaintiff could not demonstrate with prima facie evidence a probability of prevailing on this claim under the second prong. View "Rosen v. Tarkanian" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court granted in part a petition for a writ of prohibition or mandamus challenging a discovery ruling compelling Petitioner to disclose the identity of his sources in a tort action, holding that digital media falls within the protections of Nev. Rev. Stat. 49.275. The current version of section 49.275 protects journalists who are associated with newspapers, press associations, periodicals, and radio and television programs from mandatory disclosure of confidential sources. Petitioner in this case was a blogger who was sued for defamation. During discovery, Petitioner invoked the news shield statute under section 49.275 and refused to provide the identity of his sources. Respondent filed a motion to compel Petitioner to reveal his sources, arguing that the news shield statute does not apply to bloggers. The district court granted the motion to compel. Petitioner then filed this petition challenging that decision as well as the order allowing limited discovery. The Supreme Court granted the writ in part, holding that digital medial falls within the protections of section 49.275 but that the case required a remand so the district court could reconsider whether Petitioner's blog fell within the protection of the statute. View "Toll v. Honorable James Wilson" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court overruled Barto v. Weishaar, 692 P.2d 498 (Nev. 1985), and its conclusion that a suggestion of death emanating from the deceased party must identify the deceased party's successor or representative to trigger the deadline set forth in Nev. R. Civ. P. 25(a)(1) to file a motion to substitute, holding that Barto expanded rule 25(a)(1) beyond its plain language. James McNamee was sued for damages. During the litigation, McNamee died. Counsel for McNamee filed a suggestion of death without naming a successor or representative. Thereafter, the probate court appointed Susan Clokey as special administrator to defend the negligence suit. McNamee's attorney later filed a motion to substitute Clokey as the party defendant in the negligence suit. The district court denied the motion and named Fred Waid as general administrator of McNamee's estate. McNamee's attorney moved to dismiss the personal injury case because his motion to substitute had been denied. The district court denied the motion and substituted Waid as the defendant in place of McNamee. The Supreme Court held (1) a suggestion of death that is properly served triggers the deadline for filing a motion to substitute regardless of whether it identifies the deceased party's successor or representative; and (2) the trial court abused its discretion when it denied Petitioner's motion to substitute. View "McNamee v. Eighth Judicial District Court" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court reversed the order of the district court dismissing Appellant's complaint because he filed it, though he did not serve it, without an affidavit and expert report, holding that an initial pleading filed under Nev. Rev. Stat. 11.258(1) is void ab initio only when it is served without a concurrent filing of the required attorney affidavit and expert report. In dismissing Appellant's complaint the district court relief on a statement in Otak Nevada, LLC v. Eighth Judicial District Court, 260 P.3d 408 (2011), that "a pleading filed under [section] 11.258 without the required affidavit and expert report is void ab initio." The Supreme Court reversed the district court's order granting the motion to dismiss and remanded the matter to the district court for further consideration, holding that a pleading is void ab initio under section 11.258(1) only where the pleading is served without a concurrent filing of the required attorney affidavit and expert report, not where the pleading is merely filed. View "Reif v. Aries Consultants, Inc." on Justia Law

by
In this case concerning a mentally disabled passenger who suffered a non-transportation-related injury on the bus the Supreme Court determined that the district court erred by instructing the jury that the bus company owed a duty to "use the highest degree of care" toward the passenger, holding that the bus company did not need to do more than that which was reasonable under the circumstances in rendering aid to the passenger. The passenger, an intellectually disabled man, choked to death on a sandwich while riding on a paratransit bus operated by Defendant, the bus company. Plaintiffs sued Defendant's bus driver for negligence, arguing that Defendant, as a common carrier, owed the highest degree of care to monitor and assist the passenger while riding the bus. The jury found Defendant liable for the passenger's death. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the district court erred in instructing the jury that Defendant owed the passenger more than an ordinary duty of reasonable care under the circumstances; and (2) the erroneous instruction led the jury to misapply the "additional care" instruction applicable to the passenger. View "First Transit, Inc. v. Chernikoff" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the district court's denial of the City of Reno's petition for judicial review of an appeals officer's decision that the City was not entitled to reduce Respondent's lump sum permanent partial disability (PPD) payment, holding that there is no legal basis to justify a workers' compensation insurer's reduction of the twenty-five-percent lump sum payment limit for an employee's PPD award. An injured employee may elect to receive a lump sum payment for a PPD award, but if the employee's PPD rating exceeds a twenty-five percent whole person impairment (WPI), the employee may only elect to receive a lump sum payment for up to twenty-five percent of the rating. Respondent suffered three industrial injuries. With respect to Respondent's third PPD payment, the City offered Respondent an eighteen-percent lump sum payment, believing it could deduct Respondent's two previous PPD lump sum payments from the twenty-five percent limit. A hearing officer found that the City erred. An appeals officer affirmed and district court affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the appeals officer correctly determined that Respondent was entitled to a lump sum payment for the first twenty-five percent of her most recent WPI rating and PPD award with the remaining eight percent to be paid in installments. View "City of Reno v. Yturbide" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s order dismissing Plaintiff-inmate’s complaint to the extent Plaintiff asserted state tort claims under Nev. Rev. Stat. 41.031 and 41.0337 but reversed the district court’s dismissal as to Plaintiff’s claims made pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1983, holding that, while a plaintiff must name the State as a party to any state tort claims to comply with sections 41.031 and 41.0337, this statutory requirement does not apply to section 1983 claims. At issue in this case was how sections 41.031 and 41.0337’s requirement that the State be named by a plaintiff as a party to invoke a waiver of Nevada’s sovereign immunity operates when a plaintiff brings an action against state employee pursuant to both those state statutes and 42 U.S.C. 1983. Plaintiff asserted both state tort claims and section 1983 claims against state employees but did not name the State as party to any claims. The district court dismissed the complaint. The Supreme Court reversed in part, holding that Nev. Rev. Stat. Chapter 41’s requirement that a plaintiff name the State as a party to any state tort claims does not apply to section 1983 claims, even when brought in the same complaint as a plaintiff’s state tort claims. View "Craig v. Donnelly" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed a district court order denying Appellant’s special motion to dismiss, holding that the district court properly denied Appellant’s special motion to dismiss filed pursuant to Nevada’s anti-SLAPP statutes. Appellant was sued under Nevada’s Deceptive Trade Practice and RICO statutes. In denying the special motion to dismiss, the district court found that Appellant failed to demonstrate that his conduct was “a good faith communication that was either truthful or made without knowledge of its falsehood,” one of the statutory requirements for anti-SLAPP protection. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the appropriate standard of review for a district court’s denial or grant of an anti-SLAPP motion to dismiss is de novo; and (2) the district court did not err in denying Appellant’s special motion to dismiss because Appellant failed to demonstrate that the challenged claims arose from activity protected by Nev. Rev. Stat. 41.660. View "Coker v. Sassone" on Justia Law

by
At issue was the correct interpretation of Nev. Rev. Stat. 616B.578, under which an employer may qualify for reimbursement on a workers’ compensation claim if the employer proves that it retained its employee after requiring knowledge of the employee’s permanent physical impairment and before a subsequent injury occurs. After noting that the statutory definition of a “permanent physical impairment” must support a rating of permanent impairment of six percent or more of the whole person the Supreme Court held (1) section 616B.578 requires an employer to prove that it had knowledge of a preexisting permanent physical impairment that would support a rating of at least six percent whole person impairment; (2) the statute cannot be reasonably interpreted to require knowledge of a specific medical diagnosis for an employer to successfully seek reimbursement; and (3) in the instant case, because it was unclear whether the employer knew of any permanent condition that hindered the employee’s employment and whether it could be fairly and reasonably inferred from the record that the employer knew of the employee’s preexisting physical impairment supporting a rating of at least six percent whole person impairment, this matter must be remanded for further proceedings. View "North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District v. Board of Administration of Subsequent Injury Account for Associations of Self-Insured Public or Private Employers" on Justia Law