Articles Posted in Contracts

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Mother and Father shared joint legal and physical custody of their two minor children as stated in a stipulated order. One provision of the order provided for “teenage discretion” in determining time spent with either parent when a child reaches the age of fourteen, and another provision conferred authority to resolve disputes to a “parenting coordinator” and authorized the district court to issue an order that defines the coordinator’s role. Father later filed a motion to modify the original stipulated child custody order, arguing that the two provisions at issue should be rendered void because they were against public policy. The district court denied modification. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that neither contractual provision was against the best interest of the children, which is the paramount public policy concern in child custody matters, and the parenting coordinator provision did not improperly delegate decision-making authority. View "Harrison v. Harrison" on Justia Law

Posted in: Contracts, Family Law

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Sumona Islam entered into an agreement with her employer, Atlantis Casino Resort Spa (Atlantis), to refrain from employment or association with any other gaming establishment within 150 miles for one year following the end of her employment. After Islam resigned from Atlantis and began working as a casino host at Grand Sierra Resort (GSR), she entered altered and copied gaming customers’ information from Atlantis’ computer management system into GSR’s computer management system. GSR used this and other information conveyed by Islam to market to those customers without knowing the information was wrongfully obtained. Atlantis filed a complaint against both Islam and GSR, alleging tort and contract claims. All three parties appealed the district court’s decision. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court (1) correctly found that the noncompete agreement was unreasonable and unenforceable; (2) properly denied Atlantis’ conversion claim based on Islam’s alteration of the electronic information; and (3) properly found that GSR did not misappropriate Atlantis’s trade secrets. View "Golden Road Motor Inn v. Islam" on Justia Law

Posted in: Contracts, Injury Law

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Grupo Famsa, S.A. de C.V. (Grupo), a Mexican company, agreed to guarantee a commercial lease entered into between Famsa, Inc. (Famsa) and Uno LLC (Uno). When Famsa failed to comply with the terms of the lease, Uno filed a complaint against Famsa and Grupo for breach of the commercial lease and guaranty. Uno served Grupo through the procedures outlined in the Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters (Hague Convention). The Mexican Central Authority issued a certificate of proof of international service of process upon Grupo. Grupo filed a motion to quash service of process, arguing that service of process was constitutionally deficient. The district court denied Grupo’s motion to quash. Grupo subsequently petitioned the Supreme Court for a writ of prohibition seeking to prohibit the district court from exercising jurisdiction over Grupo. The Supreme Court granted the petition in part, holding (1) service of process on a foreign company pursuant to the Hague Convention does not satisfy constitutional due process when service depends solely upon a certificate of compliance issued by the foreign nation’s central authority; and (2) the district court failed to conduct the necessary fact-finding to determine whether service was constitutionally sufficient in this case. View "Grupo Famsa, S.A. de C.V. v. Eighth Judicial Dist. Court" on Justia Law

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Respondent, a contractor, and Appellant, a homeowner, entered into a contract under which Respondent agreed to install automation, sound, surveillance, and landscaping systems in Appellant’s residence. Respondent did not have an electrical contractor’s license when it bid the contract and began the work but did receive a license before it completed the work. When the parties disagreed on the performance of the contract, Appellant refused to tender further payment to Respondent, and Respondent filed a notice of lien against Appellant’s residence. Respondent filed a complaint alleging breach of contract, breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, foreclosure of notice of lien, and declaratory relief, alleging that an electrical license was not required for the work performed on Appellant’s residence and that its lien was proper and perfected. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Respondent. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that genuine issues of material fact existed regarding whether Respondent’s work on Appellant’s residence required a license and whether Respondent completed the contract in a workmanlike manner, thereby possibly negating Appellant’s obligation to make final payment under the contract. Remanded. View "Tom v. Innovative Home Sys." on Justia Law

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MB America, Inc. (MBA) and Alaska Pacific Leasing Company entered into an agreement whereby Alaska Pacific agreed to become a dealer for MBA’s line of products. A dispute later arose between the parties, and MBA sued Alaska Pacific in the district court. Alaska Pacific filed a motion for summary judgment alleging that MBA had prematurely filed its complaint because it had not complied with a prelitigation mediation provision in the agreement. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Alaska Pacific. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the prelitigation provision in the parties’ contract was a condition precedent to litigation; (2) MBA did not initiate mediation as required under the agreement; and (3) therefore, the district court correctly granted Alaska Pacific’s motion for summary judgment and did not err in granting attorney fees to Alaska Pacific. View "MB America, Inc. v. Alaska Pacific Leasing Co." on Justia Law

Posted in: Contracts

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Real parties in interest (collectively, Seaver) filed a complaint against Petitioners (collectively, the Helfsteins) and against Uninet Imaging, Inc., alleging claims arising out of agreements between the Helfsteins and Seaver following Uninet’s purchase of the Helfsteins’ companies. The Helfsteisn settled with Seaver, and Seaver voluntarily dismissed their claims against the Helfsteins. Seaver later filed a notice of rescission, alleging that the Helfsteisn fraudulently induced them to settle. Meanwhile, the district court resolved the claims between Seaver and Uninet. Seaver later filed a Nev. R. Civ. P. 60(b) motion to set aside the settlement agreement and voluntary dismissal, seeking to proceed on their claims against the Helfsteins. The Helfsteisn filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the district court lacked jurisdiction over them and that the Rule 60(b) motion was procedurally improper. The district court denied the motion. The Helfsteins then filed this original writ petition asking the Supreme Court to consider whether Rule 60(b) can be used to set aside a voluntary dismissal or a settlement agreement. The Supreme Court granted the petition, holding that even if Rule 60(b) applied in this case, the motion was time-barred. View "Helfstein v. Eighth Judicial Dist. Court" on Justia Law

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High Noon at Arlington Ranch Homeowners Association filed a complaint against D.R. Horton, Inc. alleging breach of implied warranties of workmanlike quality and habitability, breach of contract, breach of express warranties, and breach of fiduciary duty. High Noon moved, ex parte, for a stay and enlargement of time for service of the complaint until the Nev. Rev. Stat. Chapter 40 prelitigation process for constructional defect cases was complete. The district court granted High Noon’s motion. The Chapter 40 process was still not complete more than eight years later. In these original petitions for extraordinary relief, D.R. Horton argued that the district court erred when it initially granted the ex parte stay and further erred when it denied a motion to dismiss the underlying complaint pursuant to the five-year rule in Nev. R. Civ. P. 41(e) when the Chapter 40 process was still not complete. The Supreme Court denied both of these petitions for a writ of prohibition or mandamus, concluding (1) the district court’s order granting a stay was not in error; and (2) the five-year period was tolled under the Boren exception to Rule 41(d). View "D.R. Horton, Inc. v. Eighth Judicial Dist. Court" on Justia Law

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Appellants guaranteed a promissory note executed in favor of Respondent, which was secured by land in Arizona. The guaranties were executed in Nevada and contained a Nevada choice-of-law provision. After default on the note, Respondent filed a complaint in Nevada and then initiated foreclosure proceedings in Arizona. Respondent sought a deficiency judgment on the guaranty through its initially filed complaint. The district court concluded that because the property was located in Arizona and sold pursuant to Arizona law, neither Arizona’s nor Nevada’s limitations period applied for seeking a deficiency judgment, and therefore, the deficiency judgment could proceed. Judgment was entered in Respondent’s favor for $929,224. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) because of the choice-of-law provision in the promissory note, Nevada law - particularly Nevada’s limitations period - applied in this case; and (2) Respondent failed to comply with Nev. Rev. Stat. 40.455(1) because it did not apply for a deficiency judgment within six months of the foreclosure sale, and therefore, the district court erred when it denied Appellants’ motion to dismiss the complaint as time-barred. View "Mardian v. Greenberg Family Trust" on Justia Law

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Appellant, a Utah-based credit union, loaned an amount of money secured by real property in Mesquite Nevada to Respondents. Respondents later defaulted. Appellant held a trustee’s sale, resulting in a deficiency on the loan balance. Appellant sued Respondents in Clark County to recover the deficiency. Respondents filed a motion to dismiss the action under Nev. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(1), alleging that Appellant could not sue to recover the deficiency in Nevada. The district court granted the motion to dismiss, finding that the note and loan agreement contained language clearly expressing the parties’ intent to submit litigation relating to the note and agreement to the jurisdiction of the State of Utah. At issue on appeal was whether forum selection clauses in the loan agreement and note were mandatory or permissive. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the contract clauses stating that the parties shall “submit themselves to the jurisdiction of” Utah were permissive forum selection clauses, and therefore, the district court erred when it found that Utah was the sole forum for any controversy and dismissed the case for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. View "Am. First Fed. Credit Union v. Soro" on Justia Law

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Stephen Hansen was injured when Brad Aguilar struck Hansen’s vehicle. Hansen sued Aguilar, who was insured by State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company. State Farm agreed to defend Aguilar under a reservation of rights. Aguilar agreed to a settlement with Hansen in which he assigned his rights against State Farm to Hansen. Hansen filed this action in federal district court alleging, among other claims, that State Farm breached a contract in its representation of Aguilar. The federal district court concluded that State Farm breached its contractual duty to defend Aguilar because it did not provide Aguilar with independent counsel of his choosing. State Farm moved for reconsideration. The federal district court granted the motion in part and certified two questions to the Supreme Court concerning Nevada’s conflict-of-interest rules in insurance litigation. The Supreme Court answered (1) Nevada law requires an insurer to provide independent counsel for its insured when a conflict of interest exists between the insurer and its insured; and (2) an insurer is only obligated to provide independent counsel when an actual of conflict exists, and a reservation of rights letter does not create a per se conflict of interest. View "State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v. Hansen" on Justia Law