Justia Nevada Supreme Court Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Personal Injury
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The Supreme Court overruled Barto v. Weishaar, 692 P.2d 498 (Nev. 1985), and its conclusion that a suggestion of death emanating from the deceased party must identify the deceased party's successor or representative to trigger the deadline set forth in Nev. R. Civ. P. 25(a)(1) to file a motion to substitute, holding that Barto expanded rule 25(a)(1) beyond its plain language. James McNamee was sued for damages. During the litigation, McNamee died. Counsel for McNamee filed a suggestion of death without naming a successor or representative. Thereafter, the probate court appointed Susan Clokey as special administrator to defend the negligence suit. McNamee's attorney later filed a motion to substitute Clokey as the party defendant in the negligence suit. The district court denied the motion and named Fred Waid as general administrator of McNamee's estate. McNamee's attorney moved to dismiss the personal injury case because his motion to substitute had been denied. The district court denied the motion and substituted Waid as the defendant in place of McNamee. The Supreme Court held (1) a suggestion of death that is properly served triggers the deadline for filing a motion to substitute regardless of whether it identifies the deceased party's successor or representative; and (2) the trial court abused its discretion when it denied Petitioner's motion to substitute. View "McNamee v. Eighth Judicial District Court" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the order of the district court dismissing Appellant's complaint because he filed it, though he did not serve it, without an affidavit and expert report, holding that an initial pleading filed under Nev. Rev. Stat. 11.258(1) is void ab initio only when it is served without a concurrent filing of the required attorney affidavit and expert report. In dismissing Appellant's complaint the district court relief on a statement in Otak Nevada, LLC v. Eighth Judicial District Court, 260 P.3d 408 (2011), that "a pleading filed under [section] 11.258 without the required affidavit and expert report is void ab initio." The Supreme Court reversed the district court's order granting the motion to dismiss and remanded the matter to the district court for further consideration, holding that a pleading is void ab initio under section 11.258(1) only where the pleading is served without a concurrent filing of the required attorney affidavit and expert report, not where the pleading is merely filed. View "Reif v. Aries Consultants, Inc." on Justia Law

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In this case concerning a mentally disabled passenger who suffered a non-transportation-related injury on the bus the Supreme Court determined that the district court erred by instructing the jury that the bus company owed a duty to "use the highest degree of care" toward the passenger, holding that the bus company did not need to do more than that which was reasonable under the circumstances in rendering aid to the passenger. The passenger, an intellectually disabled man, choked to death on a sandwich while riding on a paratransit bus operated by Defendant, the bus company. Plaintiffs sued Defendant's bus driver for negligence, arguing that Defendant, as a common carrier, owed the highest degree of care to monitor and assist the passenger while riding the bus. The jury found Defendant liable for the passenger's death. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the district court erred in instructing the jury that Defendant owed the passenger more than an ordinary duty of reasonable care under the circumstances; and (2) the erroneous instruction led the jury to misapply the "additional care" instruction applicable to the passenger. View "First Transit, Inc. v. Chernikoff" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury
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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 affirmed the district court’s order dismissing Plaintiff-inmate’s complaint to the extent Plaintiff asserted state tort claims under Nev. Rev. Stat. 41.031 and 41.0337 but reversed the district court’s dismissal as to Plaintiff’s claims made pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1983, holding that, while a plaintiff must name the State as a party to any state tort claims to comply with sections 41.031 and 41.0337, this statutory requirement does not apply to section 1983 claims. At issue in this case was how sections 41.031 and 41.0337’s requirement that the State be named by a plaintiff as a party to invoke a waiver of Nevada’s sovereign immunity operates when a plaintiff brings an action against state employee pursuant to both those state statutes and 42 U.S.C. 1983. Plaintiff asserted both state tort claims and section 1983 claims against state employees but did not name the State as party to any claims. The district court dismissed the complaint. The Supreme Court reversed in part, holding that Nev. Rev. Stat. Chapter 41’s requirement that a plaintiff name the State as a party to any state tort claims does not apply to section 1983 claims, even when brought in the same complaint as a plaintiff’s state tort claims. View "Craig v. Donnelly" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed a district court order denying Appellant’s special motion to dismiss, holding that the district court properly denied Appellant’s special motion to dismiss filed pursuant to Nevada’s anti-SLAPP statutes. Appellant was sued under Nevada’s Deceptive Trade Practice and RICO statutes. In denying the special motion to dismiss, the district court found that Appellant failed to demonstrate that his conduct was “a good faith communication that was either truthful or made without knowledge of its falsehood,” one of the statutory requirements for anti-SLAPP protection. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the appropriate standard of review for a district court’s denial or grant of an anti-SLAPP motion to dismiss is de novo; and (2) the district court did not err in denying Appellant’s special motion to dismiss because Appellant failed to demonstrate that the challenged claims arose from activity protected by Nev. Rev. Stat. 41.660. View "Coker v. Sassone" on Justia Law

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At issue was the correct interpretation of Nev. Rev. Stat. 616B.578, under which an employer may qualify for reimbursement on a workers’ compensation claim if the employer proves that it retained its employee after requiring knowledge of the employee’s permanent physical impairment and before a subsequent injury occurs. After noting that the statutory definition of a “permanent physical impairment” must support a rating of permanent impairment of six percent or more of the whole person the Supreme Court held (1) section 616B.578 requires an employer to prove that it had knowledge of a preexisting permanent physical impairment that would support a rating of at least six percent whole person impairment; (2) the statute cannot be reasonably interpreted to require knowledge of a specific medical diagnosis for an employer to successfully seek reimbursement; and (3) in the instant case, because it was unclear whether the employer knew of any permanent condition that hindered the employee’s employment and whether it could be fairly and reasonably inferred from the record that the employer knew of the employee’s preexisting physical impairment supporting a rating of at least six percent whole person impairment, this matter must be remanded for further proceedings. View "North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District v. Board of Administration of Subsequent Injury Account for Associations of Self-Insured Public or Private Employers" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court held that the district court did not err in denying Defendant’s special motion to dismiss Plaintiff’s complaint filed under Nev. Rev. Sta. 41.660(1), Nevada’s anti-SLAPP statute, holding that an attorney’s statement on a website summarizing a jury’s verdict was not a statement in direct connection with an issue under consideration by a judicial body. Under section 41.660(1), a defendant may file a special motion to dismiss a plaintiff’s complaint if the complaint is based on a defendant’s “good faith communication in furtherance of the right to petition or the right to free speech in direct connection with an issue of public concern,” including a “statement made in direct connection with an issue under consideration by a…judicial body.” Plaintiff brought an action asserting defamation per se for the attorney’s statement on a website. The district court denied Defendant’s special motion to dismiss. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the statement was not protected under section 41.660. View "Patin v. Lee" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury
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The Supreme Court affirmed a district court order denying a pro se plaintiff’s (Plaintiff) motion to set aside the judgment under Nev. R. Civ. P. 60(b) that was filed five months and three weeks after the court dismissed Plaintiff’s case, holding that the district court’s decision was not an abuse of discretion. Plaintiff sued Fiesta Palms, LLC (Defendant) for injuries he sustained at the Fiesta Palms sportsbook. Plaintiff appeared pro se at several hearings. The district court eventually granted Defendant’s motion to dismiss in an order stating that Defendant’s motion was unopposed and therefore deemed meritorious. Five months and three weeks later, Plaintiff moved to set aside the district court’s order of dismissal pursuant to Rule 60(b), recounting his efforts to obtain legal representation. The district court denied relief. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying relief to Plaintiff, an unrepresented litigant who knowingly neglected procedural requirements and then failed promptly to move for relief. View "Rodriguez v. Fiesta Palms, LLC" on Justia Law

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In this workers’ compensation case, the Supreme Court affirmed summary judgment in favor of Employer, holding that an injury arising from Employer’s failure to provide medical assistance to Employee suffering a stroke arose out of and in the course of the employment, and therefore, Employee’s sole remedy for the injury was workers’ compensation. Employee sued Employer for failure to aid him during the “golden window” of diagnostic and treatment opportunity when he was suffering a stroke. The district court granted summary judgment for Employer, concluding that Employee’s exclusive remedy was workers’ compensation. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Employee’s exclusive remedy against Employer was workers’ compensation because his injuries occurred in the course of his employment and arose out of his employment. View "Baiguen v. Harrah’s Las Vegas, LLC" on Justia Law