Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Nevada

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Nev. Rev. Stat. 18.015, which provides for the enforcement of liens for attorney fees, as amended in 2013, provides for the enforcement of a retaining lien for attorney fees. Respondent represented Appellant in a paternity action. Respondent later filed and served a notice of a retaining lien against Appellant for $13,701 for unpaid legal fees. Respondent filed a motion asking the district court to adjudicate the rights of counsel, for enforcement of attorney’s lien, and for a judgment for attorney fees. Appellant argued that Respondent was asserting a charging lien, not a retaining lien, and that the purported charging lien failed as a matter of law. The district court granted Respondent’s motion. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the plain language of section 18.015 unambiguously permits an attorney to enforce a retaining lien; and (2) the district court did not err by enforcing Respondent’s valid retaining lien against Appellant under section 18.015. View "Fredianelli v. Martinez" on Justia Law

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Both the general principles of claim preclusion and the terms in a Nev. R. Civ. P. 68 offer of judgment are implicated when a party seeks to relitigate claims after entry of a final judgment pursuant to the Rule 68 offer, even when they arise out of facts discovered during the Rule 68 offer’s ten-day irrevocable period for acceptance. Further, these subsequent claims are barred where principles of claim preclusion apply or, alternatively, where the terms of the offer of judgment indicate that such claims are barred. The district court in this case concluded that the doctrine of claim preclusion barred Appellants’ action. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Appellants’ claims were barred both by the doctrine of claim preclusion and by the terms of the offer of judgment between the parties. View "Mendenhall v. Tassinari" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court granted the Nevada Department of Transportation’s (NDOT) petition for a writ of mandamus, holding that the district court erred in denying NDOT’s motions for summary judgment on Landowner’s contract claims concerning a settlement agreement in a condemnation action. The court held that the district court erred in declining to grant summary judgment by interpreting the parties’ agreement to include a duty imposed outside the express terms of the agreement and allowing a claim for unilateral mistake to proceed even though Landowner’s claim was barred by the applicable statute of limitations. View "State Department of Transportation v. Eighth Judicial District Court" on Justia Law

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Homeowners’ associations (HOAs) have representational standing to represent unit owners who purchase their units after litigation commences on claims alleging construction defects, but HOAs do not have standing under Nev. Rev. Stat. 116.3102(1)(d) to bring, or continue to pursue, claims for unit owners who sell their units after the litigation commences. In this case, an HOA filed a complaint against the real party in interest on its own behalf and on behalf of all of the HOA unit owners, alleging, inter alia, breach of implied warranties of workmanlike quality and habitability and breach of contract. The district court granted partial summary judgment for the real party in interest, concluding that the HOA could only maintain an action for those owners who had owned their units continuously since the HOA first filed its complaint. The Supreme Court granted a writ of mandamus requested by the HOA, holding (1) the HOA had standing in the construction defect action to represent unit owners who purchased units after the initiation of the underlying litigation; but (2) the HOA did not have standing to represent unit owners who sold their units after the litigation commenced. View "High Noon at Arlington Ranch Homeowners Ass’n v. Eighth Judicial District Court" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court’s exception to immunity for intentional torts and bad-faith conduct survives its adoption of the federal discretionary-function immunity test. Plaintiff sued Franchise Tax Board of the State of California (FTB) seeking damages for intentional torts and bad-faith conduct committed by FTB auditors. A jury awarded Plaintiff $139 million in damages on his tort claims and $250 million in punitive damages. The United States Supreme Court vacated the Supreme Court’s decision, holding that the Constitution does not permit Nevada to award damages against California agencies under Nevada law that are greater than it could award against Nevada agencies in similar circumstances. On remand, the Supreme Court held (1) FTB cannot invoke discretionary-function immunity to protect itself from Plaintiff’s intentional tort and bad-faith causes of action; (2) all of Plaintiff’s causes of action, except for his fraud and intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED) claims, failed; (3) in regard to the IIED claim, substantial evidence supported the jury’s findings as to liability and an award of damages up to the amount of Nevada’s statutory cap; (4) FTB was entitled to the $50,000 statutory cap on Plaintiff’s IIED and fraud claims; and (5) FTB was immune from punitive damages because punitive damages would not be available against a Nevada government entity. View "Franchise Tax Board v. Hyatt" on Justia Law

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The district court lacks the authority to extend the deadline for filing the opening brief in a petition for judicial review of a public utilities commission. Rural Telephone Company (Appellant) filed an application with Public Utilities Commission of Nevada (PUCN) seeking a change in its telephone service rates and charges. PUCN denied the requested changes. Appellant then filed a timely petition for judicial review in the district court and subsequently requested an extension of time to file its opening memorandum of points and authorities. The district court denied the motion for an extension and dismissed the petition. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court lacked statutory authority to grant Appellant an extension of time to file its opening memorandum of points and authorities. View "Rural Telephone Co. v. Public Utilities Commission of Nevada" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court’s holding in SFR Investments Pool 1, LLC v. U.S. Bank, N.A., 334 P.3d 408 (Nev. 2014) that foreclosures under Nev. Rev. Stat. 116.3116 extinguish first security interests applies to all foreclosures conducted since section 116.3116’s inception. Respondent in this case employed the three-factor test established by the United States Supreme Court in Chevron Oil Co. v. Huson, 404 U.S. 97 (1971) and argued that SFR could not apply retroactively because this court established a new principle of law, a retroactive application would not further the purposes of section 116.3116, and a retroactive application would product inequitable results. The Supreme Court held (1) the Chevron Oil factors do not apply, but rather, that the court’s analysis in Nevada Yellow Cab Corp. v. Eighth Judicial District Court, 383 P.3d 246 (Nev. 2016), governs the present matter; and (2) SFR did not create new law or overrule existing precent, and therefore, that decision applies retroactively. View "K&P Homes v. Christiana Trust" on Justia Law

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In these related original petitions for extraordinary relief the Supreme Court considered the issue of whether documents otherwise protected by the attorney-client privilege must be disclosed when the business judgment rule is asserted as a defense and under what circumstances a document may be protected by the work-product privilege even if it is at issue in the litigation. In docket no. 70050, the Supreme Court concluded that the district court erred when it compelled Wynn Resorts to produce certain attorney-client privileged documents from its attorneys on the basis that Wynn Resorts invoked the business judgment rule as a defense. The court thus granted Wynn Resorts’ petition for relief. In docket no. 70452, the Supreme Court concluded that the district court correctly determined that Wynn Resorts waived the attorney-client privilege by placing a report at issue in the initial litigation. However, because the work-product privilege may apply to some of the documents compiled in the preparation of the report, the court granted in part Wynn Resorts’ petition for relief and directed the district court to consider whether the work-product privilege applied to the documents underlying the report. View "Wynn Resorts, Ltd. v. Eighth Judicial District Court" on Justia Law

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A final order adjudicating a judgment debtor proceeding is appealable under Nev. R. App. P. 3A(b)(1), and such an appeal is generally a plain, speedy, and adequate remedy that precludes extraordinary writ relief. Petitioner filed this writ petition challenging the portion of the district court’s order that added her to a default judgment as a joint debtor. Petitioner failed to appeal the judgment. In challenging whether the challenged order was a final judgment from which she could have appealed, Petitioner argued that the order was interlocutory and that writ relief was appropriate because the order adding her to the default judgment was void on due process grounds. The Supreme Court denied the writ, holding (1) an order resolving a joint debtor proceeding is a final, appealable order, rendering extraordinary relief unavailable; and (2) extraordinary writ relief is not available when Petitioner had the right to appeal the challenged order. View "Rawson v. Ninth Judicial District Court" on Justia Law

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The Barton doctrine is extended to a court-appointed accountant in the capacity of a special master, thus requiring an individual to seek leave of the appointing court prior to filing suit in a non-appointing court against a court-appointed special master for actions taken in the scope of his court-derived authority. Larry Bertsch and his accounting firm (collectively, Bertsch) were appointed as special master in a lawsuit between Vion Operations, LLC and Jay Bloom (the Lion litigation). The district court later discharged Bertsch from his duties as special master. When the Vion litigation was dismissed, Bloom filed the underlying complaint against Bertsch alleging, inter alia, gross negligence and fraudulent concealment based on Bertsch’s allegedly wrongful actions in the Vion litigation. Bertsch filed a motion to dismiss, which the district court denied. Bertsch petitioned for a writ of mandamus arguing, in part, that Bloom’s complaint was jurisdictionally improper because Bloom did not first seek leave of the appointing court before instituting the underlying action. The Supreme Court granted the motion, holding that Bloom must first have filed a motion with the appointing court in order to sue Bertsch personally. View "Bertsch v. Eighth Judicial District Court" on Justia Law