Articles Posted in Government & Administrative Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the district court's denial of the petition filed by the Nevada Department of Corrections (NDOC) seeking judicial review of a hearing officer's decision to reinstate Brian Ludwick's employment after NDOC terminated Ludwick for a first-time offense, holding that the hearing officer committed legal error in relying on an invalid regulation to set aside Ludwick's termination. The Supreme Court remanded the case, holding (1) the hearing officer erred in relying on a regulation that the State Personnel Commission had not approved as statutorily required; and (2) in light of O'Keefe v. State, Department of Motor Vehicles, 431 P.3d 350 (Nev. 2018), the hearing officer did not properly consider whether Ludwick's actions constituted violations of the valid regulations NDOC charged him with violating and, if so, whether those violations warranted termination as a first-time disciplinary measure. View "State, Department of Corrections v. Ludwick" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the district court's denial of the City of Reno's petition for judicial review of an appeals officer's decision that the City was not entitled to reduce Respondent's lump sum permanent partial disability (PPD) payment, holding that there is no legal basis to justify a workers' compensation insurer's reduction of the twenty-five-percent lump sum payment limit for an employee's PPD award. An injured employee may elect to receive a lump sum payment for a PPD award, but if the employee's PPD rating exceeds a twenty-five percent whole person impairment (WPI), the employee may only elect to receive a lump sum payment for up to twenty-five percent of the rating. Respondent suffered three industrial injuries. With respect to Respondent's third PPD payment, the City offered Respondent an eighteen-percent lump sum payment, believing it could deduct Respondent's two previous PPD lump sum payments from the twenty-five percent limit. A hearing officer found that the City erred. An appeals officer affirmed and district court affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the appeals officer correctly determined that Respondent was entitled to a lump sum payment for the first twenty-five percent of her most recent WPI rating and PPD award with the remaining eight percent to be paid in installments. View "City of Reno v. Yturbide" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court denied Jennifer Henry’s petition for a writ of prohibition challenging the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline’s authority to discipline her, holding that Nev. Rev. Stat. 1.428, the statute giving the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline its purported jurisdiction over Jennifer Henry as a hearing master, is constitutional. Henry presided over a hearing in the juvenile court, wherein she acted inappropriately. The Commission later filed a formal statement of charges for Henry’s conduct. Henry filed this petition for a writ of prohibition challenging the Commission’s jurisdiction. The Supreme Court denied the writ, holding that section 1.428 is constitutional and that Henry falls under the purview of the Commission’s jurisdiction. View "Henry v. Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court held that the Labor Commissioner properly determined that the “repair” portion of a maintenance contract is a public work project under Nev. Rev. Stat. 338.010(15), even if the contract is predominantly for maintenance, and is thus not exempt from prevailing wage requirements. This case involved a maintenance contract for an airport shuttle system. The Labor Commissioner determined in this case that because a portion of the work under the contract in this case was repair work, that work was a “public work” project under the statute and thus subject to prevailing wage requirements. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the Labor Commissioner properly determined that twenty percent of the work involved repair rather than maintenance and was thus subject to the prevailing wage, and no exceptions applied that would allow Appellant to forego paying prevailing wages on that portion of the contract. View "Bombardier Transportation (Holdings) USA, Inc. v. Nevada Labor Commissioner" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s order granting a petition for review of a decision of a hearing officer to reinstate a classified employee after that employee was terminated by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), holding that the hearing officer applied the wrong standard of review. After the DMV terminated the employee’s employment for disciplinary reasons, the employee requested a hearing to challenge the decision. The hearing officer reversed the DMV’s decision to terminate the employee and recommended the lesser discipline of a suspension. The district court granted the DMV’s petition for judicial review and set aside the hearing officer’s decision. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) whether the employee violated a law or regulation is reviewed de novo, but the agency’s decision to terminate the employee is entitled to deference; and (2) the hearing officer did not apply that deferential standard in this case. View "O’Keefe v. State, Department of Motor Vehicles" on Justia Law

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In this dispute between two labor unions over which entity has the right to represent Clark County School District employees as the exclusive bargaining representative, the Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court concluding that the Local Government Employee-Management Relations Board exceeded its statutory authority by ordering a second, discretionary, runoff election with a different vote-counting standard, holding that the Board incorrectly interpreted the governing statute and regulation. In the three elections that have occurred since the dispute in this case arose, the challenging union secured a majority of the votes cast but failed to secure a majority of the members of the bargaining unit. After the last election, the Board deemed the challenging union the winner of the election because the union obtained a majority of the votes cast. The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s order granting the petition for judicial review, holding (1) the vote-counting standard mandated by Nev. Rev. Stat. 288.160 and Nevada Administrative Code 288.110 is a majority of the members of the bargaining unit and not simply a majority of the votes cast; and (2) therefore, the Board’s interpretation of section 288.160(4) and 288.110 as allowing for the use of a majority-of-the-votes cast standard at the runoff election was improper. View "State, Local Government Employee-Management Relations Board v. Education Support Employees Ass’n" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court held that a physician’s due process rights do not attach at the investigative stage of a complaint made to the Nevada State Board of Medical Examiners (Board), thereby extending the holding in Hernandez v. Bennett-Haron, 287 P.3d 305 (Nev. 2012). Appellant, a physician, filed a writ petition and a motion for injunctive relief in the district court, arguing that the Board violated his due process rights by keeping a complaint filed against him and identity of the complainant confidential during its investigation. The district court denied relief. On appeal, Appellant argued that the Board’s investigative procedures violated his due process rights. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the district court appropriately applied Hernandez to find that the investigation did not require due process protection because it did not also adjudicate the complaint, and therefore, the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying Appellant’s motion for a preliminary injunction; and (2) the Board reasonably interpreted Nev. Rev. Stat. 630.336 to mean that the complaint and complainant may be kept confidential from the licensee. View "Sarfo v. State Board of Medical Examiners" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court held that the Parole Board’s use of the Static-99R recidivism risk assessment comports with Nev. Rev. Stat. 213.1214’s assessment requirements, that changes to parole procedures do not constitute an ex post facto violation, and that the use of the Static-99R assessment does not violate an inmate’s due process rights. As part of Appellant’s parole review, his recidivism risk was assessed with the Static-99R risk assessment. The assessment classified Appellant as a high risk to recidivate, and the Parole Board denied parole. Appellant filed a petition for declaratory judgment challenging the Static-99R assessment. The district court granted the State’s motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the district court did not err in denying Appellant’s claim that the Static-99R assessment was not formally adopted as or determined to be a “currently accepted standard of assessment” for use in Appellant’s parole hearing; (2) because Appellant failed to show that changes to the parole statute enacted after his conviction created a risk of prolonged imprisonment, they did not constitute impermissible ex post facto punishment; and (3) the district court did not err in denying Appellant’s claim that the use of the Static-99R violated his due process rights. View "Coles v. Bisbee" on Justia Law

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Neither Nev. Rev. Stat. 361.227(2)(b) nor Nev. Rev. Stat. 361.227(5)(c) required the Washoe County Assessor to value fully developed but unsold condominium units as a single unit or to apply the discounted cash flow method to determine their full cash value. The State Board of Equalization found that the county assessor properly assessed each unsold condominium unit at issue based on its retail price. On appeal, Appellant argued that because the condominium building qualified as a subdivision, the unsold condominium units should have been valued together as a single unit and discounted to determine the net sellout or wholesale value to a single buyer. The district court upheld the State Board’s decision. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the State Board did not apply a fundamentally wrong principle in assessing the condominiums as individual units and utilizing the sales comparison method to ensure that the taxable value did not exceed the full cash value. View "Montage Marketing, LLC v. Washoe County ex rel. Washoe County Board of Equalization" on Justia Law

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An attorney for a public body must have authorization from the client in a public meeting prior to filing a notice of appeal. Fred Voltz filed an ethics complaint, termed a request for opinion (RFO), against two assemblymen with the State of Nevada Commission on Ethics. The assemblymen sought dismissal, but the Commission denied the motion to dismiss. The assemblymen then filed a petition for judicial review. The district court granted the petition and directed the Commission to dismiss the RFOs. On the advice of the Commission’s legal counsel and without consulting the Commission, the chair and executive chair authorized the filing of a notice of appeal. Thereafter, the notice of appeal was filed. The assemblymen filed suit against the Commission alleging that the Commission violated the open meeting law by filing a notice of appeal without first making its decision or taking action to appeal the district court’s order in a public meeting. Thereafter, the Commission held an open meeting and voted in favor of appealing the district court’s order directing the Commission to dismiss the RFOs. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal for lack of jurisdiction because the notice of appeal was filed without Commission authorization. View "State Commission on Ethics v. Hansen" on Justia Law