Justia Nevada Supreme Court Opinion Summaries

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the district court convicting Defendant of murder with the use of a deadly weapon, robbery with the use of a deadly weapon, and related charges, holding that there was no error or abuse of discretion.Specifically, the Supreme Court held (1) the footwear impression evidence presented during trial was admissible without expert testimony, and therefore, the district court did not err in admitting the evidence; (2) neither the district court's failure to make express findings under Lipsitz v. State, 442 P.3d 138 (Nev. 2019), nor its decision to allow a witness to testify via two-way video contributed to the verdict and were therefore harmless; and (3) the district court did not improperly limit witness testimony. View "Brown v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law
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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the judgment of the district court finding Babylyn Tate not negligent in this tort action, holding that none of the challenged conduct or other alleged trial errors warranted reversal.At issue was the procedural question of whether a party must file a motion for a new trial in district court in order to preserve attorney-misconduct claims on appeal. The Supreme Court answered (1) the rule announced in Rives v. Farris, 506 P.3d 1064 (2022), that a party is not necessarily required to move for a new trial to preserve its arguments based on trial error or its ability to seek a new trial as an appellate remedy, applies; (2) the alleged improper ability-to-pay argument and golden-rule argument did not warrant reversal; and (3) there was no abuse of discretion in the district court's challenged rulings. View "Evans-Waiau v. Tate" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law
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The Supreme Court reversed the order of the district court granting Respondents' consolidated petitions for judicial review and reinstating the decision of the State Engineer approving the Diamond Valley Groundwater Management Plan (GMP), holding that the State Engineer's decision to approve the GMP was not erroneous.Once an over-appropriated basin is designated a critical management area (CMA) water permit and certificate holders may petition the State Engineer to approve a GMP that sets forth the necessary steps for removal of the basin's designation as a CMA. After Diamond Valley was designated a CMA the State Engineer approved the Diamond Valley GMP, which deviated somewhat from the doctrine of appropriation. The district court invalidated the order. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the GMP complied with Nev. Rev. Stat. 534.037 and 534.110(7); and (2) therefore, the GMP was valid. View "Diamond Natural Resources Protection & Conservation Ass'n v. Diamond Valley Ranch, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the order of the district court granting a motion for relief from a default judgment under Nev. R. Civ. P. 60(b)(1) and (6), despite the fact that the motion was filed more than fourteen months after service of written notice of entry of default, holding that the district court abused its discretion in granting Rule 60(b) relief.Plaintiff filed a complaint alleging that he was attacked by security guards on Defendant's premises and that Defendant was negligent in its duty to maintain the premises in a reasonably safe condition. Default was later entered against Defendant. Over fourteen months later Defendant filed a motion to set aside the judgment and stay execution on the ground of mistake or excusable neglect under Rule 60(b)(1) and any other reason justifying relief under Rule 60(b)(6). The district court found sufficient ground for relief under both rules. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) this Court had jurisdiction over this appeal; (2) Rule 60(b)(6) may not be used as a subterfuge to circumvent the time limits that apply to a request for relief based on Rule 60(b)(1); and (3) the district court abused its discretion in granting relief under Rule 60(b)(6). View "Vargas v. J Morales Inc." on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury
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The Supreme Court reversed Defendant's murder convictions and affirmed her remaining convictions, holding that the district court's instruction on murder was inaccurate and caused prejudice and that Defendant's challenges to her remaining convictions failed.After a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of second-degree murder, robbery, grand larceny, and leaving the scene. On appeal, Defendant argued that the district court's murder instruction was plainly inaccurate and caused prejudice. The Supreme Court agreed and reversed, holding (1) the instructions on murder allowed the jury to convict without finding that Defendant acted with malice was erroneous, and the error in instruction caused actual prejudice; and (2) Defendant's arguments challenging her remaining convictions were unavailing. View "Guidry v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law
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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the district court dismissing Appellant's civil rights complaint without prejudice on the grounds that Appellant failed personally to serve any of the Nevada Department of Corrections (NDOC) parties with a copy of the summons and complaint within the service period, holding that the court was required to allow Appellant additional time to cure defects in service.Specifically, the Supreme Court held (1) Appellant alleged sufficient facts to state a claim for relief under 42 U.S.C. 1983 against Respondent based on an alleged deliberate indifference to serious medical needs; and (2) Nev. R. Civ. P. 4.2(d)(6) gave Appellant additional time to complete service on the remaining respondents. Appellant, an inmate, filed this lawsuit against various officials and employees of NDOC, alleging a violation of 42 U.S.C. 1983 based on Respondents' alleged indifference to his serious medical needs. The district court dismissed the complaint for failure to state a claim. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) Appellant properly pleaded a section 1983 claim against Respondent; and (2) Appellant was entitled to additional time under Rule 4.2(d)(6) to serve the state officials or employees. View "Harris v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the order of the district court denying SR Construction, Inc.'s motion to compel arbitration because its master subcontract agreement (MSA) with Peek Brothers Construction, Inc. constituted a valid arbitration provision that applied to the parties' underlying dispute, holding that the dispute was arbitrable.On appeal, SR argued that the district court erred in holding that the underlying dispute fell outside the bounds of the parties' arbitration agreement.The Supreme Court agreed and reversed, holding (1) as applied, the MSA provision was broad, and an attendant presumption of arbitrability applied; and (2) Peek's dispute was presumptively arbitrable under the parties' agreement. View "SR Construction, Inc. v. Peek Brothers Construction, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and vacated in part Defendant's conviction of, among other things, sixteen counts of lewdness with a child under age fourteen and nineteen counts of sexual assault of a minor under sixteen years of age, holding that the unit of prosecution for the crime of incest is per victim, not per instance.Specifically, the Supreme Court (1) vacated six of Defendant's nine incest convictions because Defendant was improperly charged with nine counts when he only should have been charged with three counts; (2) vacated two counts of possession of visual presentation depicting the sexual conduct of a child based on a unit-of-prosecution analysis, holding that the State impermissibly pled multiple possession charges as having occurred at the same time; (3) vacated one count of child abuse or neglect via sexual abuse, holding that the count was redundant to another count; and (4) otherwise affirmed, holding that none of Defendant's other challenges on appeal warranted reversal. View "Sena v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law
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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court in this action involving a foreclosed property located in a homeowner's association (HOA) community and sold by the HOA to a subsequent purchaser at a foreclosure sale, holding that there was no error or abuse of discretion.In the alternative to seeking to quiet title, Plaintiff, the subsequent purchaser of the property at issue, asserting a misrepresentation claim against the HOA and its agent based upon their failure to disclose and publicly record for failing to disclose a superpriority tender. The court granted summary judgment for Defendant. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that there was no error in the proceedings below. View "Saticoy Bay, LLC v. Thornburg Mortgage Securities Trust 2007-3" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court dismissing Plaintiff's complaint against the State alleging that Nevada's system of public education had failed its students, holding that Plaintiff's claims were nonjusticiable.Appellants - nine parents of students attending public schools in the districts of Clark, Washoe, and White Pine Counties - sued State education agencies and officials alleging that Nevada's system of public education failed to achieve the standards that she argued were required for a sufficient, basic education under Nev. Const. art. 11, 1,2 and 6. In dismissing the complaint, the district court determined that the claims presented nonjusticiable political questions. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Appellants' complaint did not present justiciable questions appropriate for adjudication. View "Shea v. State" on Justia Law