Articles Posted in Civil Procedure

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The Supreme Court denied in part and granted in part a petition for a writ of mandamus or prohibition filed by Petitioner, an attorney who was being investigated by the State Bar of Nevada for potential ethical violations after he testified at his personal bankruptcy proceedings that he had not implemented a reliable or identifiable system of accounting for his client trust account. The State Bar served Petitioner with two subpoenas duces tecum seeking production of client accounting records and tax records. Petitioner objected to the subpoenas, asserting his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. The chairman of the Southern Nevada Disciplinary Board (Board) rejected Petitioner’s objections to the subpoenas. This petition for writ relief followed. The Supreme Court held (1) with regard to the requested client accounting records, this court adopts the three-prong test under Grosso v. United States, 390 U.S. 62 (1968), to conclude that the right against self-incrimination does not protect Petitioner from disclosure; but (2) with regard to the requested tax records, the Board must hold a hearing to determine how the records are relevant and material to the State Bar’s allegations against Petitioner and whether there is a compelling need for those records. View "Agwara v. State Bar of Nevada" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court dismissed this appeal brought by Parent challenging the district court’s placement decision following the termination of Parent’s parental rights where Parent entered into a stipulation agreeing to the termination of her parental rights but reserving the right to participate in a contested pre-termination hearing regarding the child’s placement. The Supreme Court held that Parent lacked standing to challenge the placement decision because Parent’s parental rights were clearly terminated, and therefore, Parent no longer had any substantial interest that could be affected by the court’s placement decision. Further, the Supreme Court’s prior order denying writ relief did not confer standing on Parent. View "In re Parental Rights as to T.L." on Justia Law

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The general rule of privilege between psychologist and patient set forth in Nev. Rev. Stat. 49.209 applies when a criminal defendant seeks records related to a patient who is court-ordered to partake in therapy. J.A., a minor, was placed on probation for soliciting prostitution. As a condition of probation, J.A. was required to complete counseling with Dr. Shera Bradley. Based on J.A.’s statements to the police, Dontae Hudson was charged with first-degree kidnapping, sex trafficking of a child under the age of sixteen, and related crimes. Hudson filed a motion for discovery, including requests for J.A.’s counseling records. The district court ordered that Dr. Bradley disclose J.A.’s counseling records for in camera review. Dr. Bradley filed this petition for relief in the form of a writ of mandamus or prohibition challenging the discovery order. The Supreme Court granted the petition and directed the clerk of court to issue a writ of prohibition ordering the district court to halt the production of the documents, holding that the psychologist-patient privilege applies to J.A. and Dr. Bradley’s confidential communications, and Hudson failed to show that an exception to the privilege applied or that the privilege was waived. View "Bradley v. Eighth Judicial District Court" on Justia Law

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A post-judgment vexatious litigant determination may be considered in an appeal from an otherwise appealable order. In 2015, Appellant and Respondent were divorced via a divorce decree. Appellant subsequently filed several motions to reopen the decree and alter its terms. The district court eventually entered an order granting Respondent additional sums from certain accounts and declaring both Appellant and Respondent to be vexatious litigants. Appellant appealed. The Supreme Court questioned whether the portion of the order declaring Appellant to be a vexatious litigant was appealable where no statute or court rule appeared to authorize an appeal from such an order. The court concluded that it could consider the vexatious litigant determination in the context of this appeal because the post-judgment vexatious litigant determination was contained within an otherwise independently appealable order. View "Yu v. Yu" on Justia Law

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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

Posted in: Civil Procedure

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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