Justia Civil Procedure Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Nevada
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The Supreme Court reversed one of Defendant's convictions for robbery but affirmed the judgment of conviction in all other respects after adopting factors to guide the Court in deciding whether to consider an error's harmlessness despite the State's failure to argue it, holding that the district court's error in denying Defendant's motion to suppress was harmless. Defendant was found guilty of two counts of robbery with the use of a deadly weapon, murder with the use of a deadly weapon, and other crimes. The jury sentenced Defendant to death. On appeal, Defendant argued that the district court erred in denying his motion to suppress statements he made during an interview with detectives before his arrest. The Supreme Court concluded that the district court did err by denying Defendant's motion to suppress. The Court then adopted three factors to help determine whether the Court should consider an error's harmlessness when the State has not argued harmlessness in a death penalty case. After weighing those factors, the Court held (1) sua sponte harmless error review was appropriate in this matter, and the complained-of error was harmless; (2) one of the convictions for robbery was not supported by sufficient evidence; and (3) no other issue warranted relief. View "Belcher v. State" 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 held that a voluntary dismissal with prejudice generally conveys "prevailing party" status upon the defendant for purposes of an award of attorney fees and costs under Nev. Rev. Stat. 18.010(2) and Nev. Rev. Stat. 18.020, but district courts should consider the circumstances surrounding the voluntary dismissal with prejudice in determining whether the dismissal conveys prevailing party status. The Residences at MGM Grand - Tower A Owners' Association (the Association) was sued after it was discovered that a unit at The Signature at MGM Grand had mold damage. The Association requested dismissal from the case because it was not a proper party to the action. Eventually, the parties stipulated to dismiss the Association from the case with prejudice. Thereafter, the Association moved for attorney fees and costs. The Trust argued that the Association could not be considered a prevailing party because the case had not proceeded to judgment. The district court concluded that the Association was the prevailing party and awarded attorney fees and costs. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that under the facts of this case, the dismissal with prejudice was substantively a judgment on the merits, and therefore, the Association was a prevailing party for purposes of sections 18.010(2) and 18.020. View "145 East Harmon II Trust v. Residences at MGM Grand" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court dismissing Appellant's timely petition for judicial review of an administrative decision, holding that because Appellant did not demonstrate good cause for untimely serving the petition the district court properly dismissed the petition. Pursuant to Nev. Rev. Stat. 233B.130(5), Appellant had to serve its timely filed petition for judicial review within forty-five days. Appellant, however, served the petition fifteen days after the forty-five-day deadline had passed. The district court dismissed the petition, finding that Appellant did not effect service within the required deadline and did not show good cause to extend the service deadline. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the forty-five-day service requirement is not a jurisdictional requirement because section 233B.130(5) affords the district court discretion to extend the time frame upon a showing of good cause; but (2) the district court did not abuse its discretion in finding that Appellant failed to show good cause under the circumstances. View "Spar Business Services, Inc. v. Olson" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the orders of the district court dismissing Michael Tricarichi's fraud, conspiracy, and racketeering claims against Respondents, holding that Tricarichi failed to establish personal jurisdiction. Tricarichi brought this action alleging that Respondents lured him into an intermediary tax shelter scheme that left him liable as a transferee for a multimillion federal tax deficiency and penalty. The district court dismissed Tricarichi's claims for lack of personal jurisdiction over Respondents. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the district court correctly determined that Respondents lacked minimal contacts with Nevada to satisfy due process and support personal jurisdiction; and (2) Nevada's long-arm statute encompasses a conspiracy-based theory of personal jurisdiction, which this Court adopts as a basis upon which specific jurisdiction may lie, but Tricarichi failed to establish personal jurisdiction under that theory. View "Tricarichi v. Coöperatieve Rabobank, U.A." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court overruled the holding in Ballin v. Farmers Insurance Exchange, 797 P.2d 978, 980 (Nev. 1990), that an order that resolves fewer than all claims in a consolidated action is not appealable as a final judgment even if the order resolves all of the claims in one of the consolidated cases and held that an order finally resolving a constituent consolidated case is immediately appealable as a final judgment even where the other constituent case or cases remain pending. The order challenged in this appeal finally resolved one of three consolidated cases. While this appeal was pending, the United States Supreme Court decided Hall v. Hall, 584 U.S. __ (2018), holding that an order resolving one of several cases consolidated pursuant to Fed. R. Crim. P. 42(a) is immediately appealable. Appellants urged the Supreme court to interpret Nev. R. Civ. P. 42(a) as the United States Supreme Court interpreted Fed. R. Civ. P. 42(a) in Hall. The Supreme Court concluded that compelling circumstances existed warranting departure from the doctrine of stare decisions, overruled its decision in Mallin, and concluded that the appeal in this case may proceed. View "In re Estate of Sarge" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s order dismissing the underlying proceeding filed by the plaintiff’s attorney seeking to substitute for the deceased plaintiff where the defendant filed the suggestion of death on the record, holding that the suggestion of death filed on the record, rather than the deceased party’s actual date of death, triggers the ninety-day time limitation prescribed in Nev. R. Civ. P. 25(a)(1). The plaintiff’s attorney in the underlying complaint filed the motions seeking to substitute for the deceased plaintiff within ninety days of the deceased plaintiff’s actual date of death. The district court denied the motions and dismissed the case with prejudice. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the plaintiff’s attorney filed the motions at issue before the expiration of the ninety-day limitation; but (2) the motions failed to identify the property party for substitution under Nev. Rev. Stat. 41.100. View "Gonor v. Dale" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of a library district, holding that Senate Bill 175 (SB 175) does not preempt a library district from banning the possession of firearms on its premises. In 2015, the Legislature enacted SB 175, which declares that the regulation of firearms in the State is within the exclusive domain of the Legislature and that any other law, regulation, or rule to the contrary is null and void. The library district in this case had a policy prohibiting patrons from bringing firearms onto the district’s premises. Plaintiff filed a declaratory relief action seeking a ruling that SB 175 preempted the district from enforcing its policy. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the library district. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that because SB 175’s plain language expressly pertains only to counties, cities, or towns with respect to firearm regulation, library districts are not within the field of governmental entities that the Legislature expressly stated SB 175 would preempt. View "Flores v. Las Vegas-Clark County Library District" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed a district court order denying a pro se plaintiff’s (Plaintiff) motion to set aside the judgment under Nev. R. Civ. P. 60(b) that was filed five months and three weeks after the court dismissed Plaintiff’s case, holding that the district court’s decision was not an abuse of discretion. Plaintiff sued Fiesta Palms, LLC (Defendant) for injuries he sustained at the Fiesta Palms sportsbook. Plaintiff appeared pro se at several hearings. The district court eventually granted Defendant’s motion to dismiss in an order stating that Defendant’s motion was unopposed and therefore deemed meritorious. Five months and three weeks later, Plaintiff moved to set aside the district court’s order of dismissal pursuant to Rule 60(b), recounting his efforts to obtain legal representation. The district court denied relief. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying relief to Plaintiff, an unrepresented litigant who knowingly neglected procedural requirements and then failed promptly to move for relief. View "Rodriguez v. Fiesta Palms, LLC" on Justia Law

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At issue in this civil lawsuit was whether a stipulation to a discovery schedule that expressly waived the usual requirement that written reports be produced and exchanged summarizing the anticipated testimony of all expert witnesses designated to appear at trial continued when the district court entered a scheduling order that extended the deadline of identifying expert witnesses but said nothing about whether the stipulation to waive expert reports continued in effect or not. The Supreme Court held (1) the intent of the parties controlled the duration and scope of the stipulation; and (2) in the absence of any intention that the stipulation be deemed to have been superseded by the new order, the stipulation should be read to continue in effect until and unless expressly vacated either by the court or by a subsequent agreement between the parties. View "Dechambeau v. Balkenbush" on Justia Law