Justia Injury Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Nevada
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In this case stemming from the self-help repossession of a vehicle, the Supreme Court considered what constitutes a breach of the peace such that the privilege to enter real property without judicial process and retake collateral no longer applies to those engaged in the repossession effort, holding that breach of the peace occurs when a secured party acts at a time or in a manner that is not reasonable during a self-help repossession. Plaintiffs sued those involved in the repossession, and the district court granted summary judgment on all claims. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding (1) In evaluating breach of the peace in the self-help repossession context, Nevada courts should follow the Second Restatement's reasonableness standard, and therefore, self-help repossessions must be conducted at a reasonable time and in a reasonable manner and that a breach of the peace occurs when a secured party fails to satisfy either or both of these obligations; (2) the district court erred when it concluded that the factual circumstances did not constitute a breach of the peace and trespass as a matter of law; (3) summary judgment was correctly granted against the Plaintiffs on four of their tort claims; and (4) as to Plaintiffs' remaining claims, genuine issues of material fact remained. View "Droge v. AAAA Two Star Towing, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the district court's order sua sponte modifying a discovery sanction in this negligence case, holding that the district court committed legal error by modifying the sanction and that the timing of the modification was prejudicial. Appellant was injured in a collision with Respondent's son. Appellant filed a complaint against Respondent alleging negligent entrustment and liability and against both Respondent and her son for punitive damages. At issue was whether Respondent permitted her son to drive the vehicle on the day of the accident. During discovery, Respondent produced a requested insurance claims file but redacted a claims note pertinent to the permissive use issue. The district court judge granted a discovery sanction against Respondent that established permissive use as a matter of law. Subsequently, a new judge sua sponte determined that establishing permissive use as a matter of law was unfair because it would prevent Respondent from defending against Appellant's punitive damages claim. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded the case for a new trial, holding (1) permissive use, established as a matter of law, does not prevent a defendant from defending a claim for punitive damages; and (2) the timing of the district court's modification of the discovery sanction was prejudicial, as trial had begun. View "Garcia v. Awerbach" on Justia Law

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In this workers' compensation appeal, the Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court reversing the decision of the appeals officer denying benefits to Respondent, holding that the plain language of Nev. Rev. Stat. 617.366(1) did not exclude the possibility of benefits for hearing loss when at least part of Respondent's current hearing disability was attributable to some level of hearing loss before he began his job that made the hearing loss worse. While serving as a police officer for the City of Henderson, Respondent suffered progressive hearing loss to the point where he was assigned to desk duty. Respondent sought compensation under Nev. Rev. Stat. 617.430 and .440, which entitle employees to workers' compensation benefits if they suffer a disability caused by an "occupational disease." Because Respondent already had some level of hearing loss, perhaps genetically induced, before his employment as a police officer, the appeals officer denied benefits. The district court reversed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the appeals officer applied the relevant statutes incorrectly as a matter of law. View "City of Henderson v. Spangler" on Justia Law

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In this discovery dispute, the Supreme Court granted Petitioner's petition for writ relief challenging the district court's denial of his motion for a protective order, holding that the district court and its judge (collectively, Respondents) did not engage in the proper process courts must use when determining the scope of discovery under Nev. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(1) or use the framework provided by this Court for courts to apply when determining whether a protective order should be issued for good cause under Nev. R. Civ. P. 26(c)(1). Joyce Sekera allegedly slipped and fell on the Venetian Casino Resort's (Petitioner) marble flooring and was seriously injured. During discovery, Sekera requested that Petitioner produce incident reports relating to slip and falls on the marble flooring for three years preceding her injury. Petitioner provided sixty-four incident reports but redacted the personal information of the injured parties. When Sekera insisted on receiving the unreacted reports the Venetian moved for a protective order. The district court denied the motion. The Supreme Court granted writ relief, holding that the district court (1) abused its discretion when it did not consider proportionality under section 26(b)(1) prior to allowing discovery; and (2) should have determined whether Petitioner demonstrated good cause for a protective order under section 26(c)(1). View "Venetian Casino Resort, LLC v. Eighth Judicial District Court" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court granted Petitioners' petitions for extraordinary relief in part and denied the petitions in part, holding that intervention after final judgment is impermissible under Nev. Rev. Stat. 12.130 and that an action that reached final judgment has no pending issues and, therefore, consolidation is improper. In 2007, Gary Lewis struck Cheyenne Nadler in an automobile accident. When Lewis and his insurer, United Automobile Insurance Company (UAIC), failed to defend Nalder's tort action, a default judgment was entered. In 2018, Nadler attempted to collect on the judgment through a new action. UAIC moved to intervene in and consolidate the 2007 case and the 2018 action. The district court granted the motions. The Supreme Court held (1) the district court erred in granting intervention in the 2007 action because a default judgment had been entered, but the court properly granted intervention in the 2018 action because a final judgment had not yet been entered; (2) the district court improperly consolidated the two cases; and (3) the district court properly vacated a judgment erroneously entered by the district court clerk when a stay was in effect. View "Nalder v. Eighth Judicial District Court" on Justia Law

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In this defamation action, the Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the district court's orders granting the anti-SLAPP special motions to dismiss filed by Steve Sanson and Louis Schneider, holding that Sanson's allegedly defamatory statements regarding Jennifer Abrams' conduct at and following a family court proceeding against Schneider, opposing counsel, fell within the protection of Nevada's anti-SLAPP statutes but that the district court erred as to Sanson's private telephone statements to nonparty David Schoen. Schneider allegedly gave video of a closed-court hearing in the family law case to Sanson, who published articles on his website concerning Abrams' courtroom conduct and practices. The articles were sent to email subscribers and published through social media outlets. Abrams sued Sanson and Schneider alleging, inter alias, defamation. The district court granted Defendants' special motions to dismiss. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding (1) Sanson met his burden under the first prong of the anti-SLAPP analysis, and Abrams did not prove with prima facie evidence a probability of prevailing on her claims; and (2) the district court erred as to Sanson's statements to Schoen because private telephone conversations are not statements made in a place open to the public or in a public forum. View "Abrams v. Sanson" on Justia Law

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In this defamation action, the Supreme Court reversed the order of the district court denying Defendant's anti-SLAPP motion to dismiss, holding that the district court erred in finding that Defendant failed to satisfy prong one of the anti-SLAPP analysis so as to shift the burden to Plaintiff to demonstrate that the claims should be allowed to proceed. Third-party comments posted to Defendant's Facebook page criticized Plaintiff for his handling of wild bears in his capacity as a biologist with the Nevada Department of Wildlife. Based on these comments, Plaintiff sued. Defendant moved to dismiss the claims pursuant to an anti-SLAPP special motion to dismiss. The district court denied the motion. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the district court erred in determining that the comments at issue were not in the public interest and were not made in good faith and that Defendant met her burden under the first prong of the anti-SLAPP analysis. View "Stark v. Lackey" on Justia Law

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In this appeal considering the preclusive effect of a qualified immunity decision where the federal district court's judgment addressed both prongs of the qualified immunity inquiry but the federal court of appeals addressed only one prong to affirm the judgment, the Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the judgment in favor of Defendants. Appellant filed this tort action in state court, asserting claims against FCH1, LLC and Jeannie Houston and against Officer Aaron Baca and other Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) officers. The defendants removed the case to federal district court. The federal judge concluded that Officer Baca was entitled to qualified immunity and that LVMPD could not be liable on the federal claims. The judge then dismissed the remaining state law claims. Before the appellate court issued its disposition affirming the judgment, Appellant refiled her state law claims against the defendants. The district court entered judgment for the defendants. The Supreme Court reversed in part, holding that the district court (1) erred in granting summary judgment to Officer Baca based on issue preclusion; (2) correctly granted summary judgment to LVMPD based on discretionary immunity; and (3) erred in granting summary judgment to FCH1 and Houston on the negligence and false imprisonment claims. View "Paulos v. FCH1, LLC" on Justia Law

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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

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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