Articles Posted in Government & Administrative 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

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The failure to name a party of record in the caption of a petition for judicial review is not jurisdictionally fatal under Nev. Rev. Stat. 233B.130(2)(a) where the party is named in the body of the petition and is properly served with the petition. Appellant, a former corrections officer employed by the State of Nevada, Department of Corrections (NDOC), filed a workers’ compensation claim. Cannon Cochran Management Services, Inc. (CCMSI), as NDOC’s third-party administrator, denied Appellant’s claim. An appeals officer affirmed. Appellant then filed a petition for judicial review. The caption of the petition listed as respondents NDOC and the Department of Administration but did not individually identify CCMSI. The district court dismissed Appellant’s petition for judicial review for lack of jurisdiction. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Appellant’s failure to name CCMSI in the caption of the petition did not render the petition jurisdictionally defective because the body of the petition named CCMSI through incorporation by reference of the attached administrative decision and CCMSI was timely served with the petition. View "Prevost v. State, Department of Administration" on Justia Law

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Where the record showed that, when faced with a resign-or-be-fired option, Appellant’s decision to resign was freely given and stemming from his own choice, such a resignation was voluntary pursuant to Nev. Rev. Stat. 612.380. Appellant filed a claim for unemployment insurance benefits with the Employment Security Division (ESD). An ESD claims adjudicator denied the claim based on section 612.380, stating that Appellant voluntarily resigned because he resigned from his employment in anticipation of being discharged or laid off. An administrative referee and Board of Review upheld the decision. The district court denied Appellant’s petition for judicial review. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Appellant voluntarily resigned pursuant to section 612.380; and (2) substantial evidence supported the appeals referee’s determination that Appellant lacked good cause to resign, which rendered him ineligible for unemployment benefits. View "Dolores v. State, Department of Employment Security Division" on Justia Law

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The grounds on which the district court denied a petition for a writ of mandamus to compel disclosure of records where members of the Lyon County Board of Commissioners conducted county business on private cellphones and email accounts were erroneous. Appellant brought suit against the Board challenging its approval of a zoning change. Appellant then filed a petition for a writ of mandamus to compel Lyon County to disclose all public records of the commissioners’ communications regarding the change to the county’s zoning plan, including the communications contained on the commissioners’ private cell phones and email accounts. In denying the petition, the district court reasoned that the records were not open to public inspection, within the control of the county, and records of official actions of the county or paid for with public money. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded, holding that the Nevada Public Records Act does not categorically exempt public records maintained on private devices or servers from disclosure. View "Comstock Residents Ass’n v. Lyon County Board of Commissioners" on Justia Law

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Zenor was employed by the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) when he injured his wrist on the job. Eleven months later, Zenor underwent an examination and received an evaluation by his treating physician, Dr. Huene, who determined Zenor was not yet capable of performing his pre-injury job duties. Two months later, Dr. Huene again examined Zenor and determined he could fully use his wrist with a brace as needed. Less than one month later, Dr. Huene released Zenor "without limitations." Zenor delivered the full release to NDOT that same day. NDOT nonetheless commenced proceedings and separated him from employment for medical reasons. An administrative hearing officer reversed. The district court affirmed. Zenor sought attorney fees under NRS 18.010(2)(b) on the ground that NDOT unreasonably brought its petition to harass him. The court held that NRS 233B.130 prohibited attorney fees in a judicial action of a final agency decision. The Nevada Supreme Court affirmed. NRS 233B.130(6), which states that the provisions of NRS Chapter 233B provide the exclusive means of judicial action in a petition for judicial review, prohibits an award of attorney fees under NRS 18.010(2)(b) in petitions for judicial review. View "Zenor v. State of Nevada Department of Transportation" on Justia Law