Articles Posted in Personal Injury

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At issue was whether seven managers of an LLC were subject to suit for personal negligence as individual tortfeasors or under an alter ego theory of liability. Petitioners brought a negligence suit against an LLC and its two LLC managing members (the member LLCs). Petitioners subsequently moved for leave to amend their complaint to add as individual defendants seven persons who had an ownership interest in, or managed, the member LLCs. Petitioners sought to assert direct claims for negligence against the managers in their individual capacities and sought to plead allegations supporting an alter ego theory of liability. The district court denied Petitioners’ motion, concluding that amendment would be futile because Nev. Rev. Stat. 86.371 protected the managers from any liabilities insured by the various LLCs, and Nevada’s LLC statues contained no alter ego exception to that statutory protection. The Supreme Court granted writ relief for Petitioners and directed that Petitioners be allowed to amend their complaint, holding (1) section 86.371 is not intended to shield members or managers of an LLC for liability for personal negligence; and (2) the corporate alter ego doctrine applies to LLCs. View "Gardner v. Eighth Judicial District Court" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment on a jury’s negligence verdict awarding past and future medical damages to a former middle school student who sustained an eye injury during his physical education class. On appeal, Appellant-school district argued that the judgment should be reversed because (1) the implied assumption of risk doctrine barred Respondent’s claims; (2) Respondent’s claims should have been dismissed under the discretionary-function immunity doctrine; and (3) the evidence did not support a finding of proximate cause. The Supreme Court held (1) the implied assumption of risk doctrine did not apply in this case; (2) the doctrine of discretionary-function immunity applied to the school district’s decisions to add floor hockey as a unit of the physical education curriculum and to not provide safety equipment, but the school district was not immune for liability for allegedly negligent administration, instruction and supervision of the floor hockey class; and (3) Respondent failed, as a matter of law, to provide sufficient evidence to support the jury’s finding of proximate cause, and therefore, his negligence claim failed. View "Clark County School District v. Payo" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded a district court order dismissing a complaint against a medical treatment center for failure to attach a medical expert affidavit pursuant to Nev. Rev. Stat. 41A.071. On appeal, Appellant argued that the district court erred in dismissing his complaint because his claims were based in ordinary negligence and not medical malpractice, as determined by the district court, and therefore, an affidavit was not required. The Supreme Court held (1) Appellant’s claims for negligence, malpractice, gross negligence, negligence per se, and negligent hiring, training, and supervision were not for medical malpractice and should not have been dismissed for failure to attach the section 41A.071 affidavit; and (2) Appellant’s claim for professional negligence sounded in medical malpractice and was properly dismissed for failure to attach a medical expert affidavit. View "Szymborski v. Spring Mountain Treatment Center" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the district court’s order granting summary judgment in favor of Respondent-casino, holding that the district court’s foreseeability analysis under Nev. Rev. Stat. 651.015 was too restrictive. Appellants sued Respondent for injuries they suffered during an altercation with another patron on Respondent’s casino floor. The district court concluded that Respondent did not owe a duty to Appellants under section 651.015 because Respondent had no “notice or knowledge” the other patron would assault Appellants. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded this matter for further proceedings, holding that the district court failed properly to consider section 651.015(3)(b) - which requires a case-by-case analysis of similar wrongful acts, including the level of violence, location of the attack, and security concerns implicated - and that the record showed Respondent’s knowledge of similar on-premises wrongful acts. View "Humphries v. New York-New York Hotel & Casino" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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The Supreme Court accepted two questions of law certified to it by the United States Court of Appeals, answering (1) a hyperlink to source material about a judicial proceeding may suffice as a report within the common law fair report privilege; and (2) Delucchi v. Singer, 396 P.3d 826, 830 (Nev. 2017), explains that application of Nevada’s anti-SLAPP statute, prior to the most recent amendments in 2013, is not limited to communication addressed to a government agency but includes speech “aimed at procuring any governmental or electoral action.” Plaintiff in this case filed a defamation action against Respondents, who posted an online petition to pressure presidential candidate Mitt Romney to reject Appellant’s campaign contributions, alleging that the petition was false and defamatory. The federal district court concluded that Nevada law governed the controversy and dismissed Appellant’s complaint, ruling that the state’s anti-SLAPP statutes applied. On appeal, the court of appeals certified two questions of law to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court answered the questions and held (1) the fair report privilege immunizes Respondents from civil liability; and (2) communications with either the government or the public that are intended to influence an electoral result potentially fall under Nev. Rev. Stat. 41.637(1). View "Adelson v. Harris" on Justia Law

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In this case, the Supreme Court declined to adopt a risk-utility test for strict product liability design defect claims and confirmed that claims of design defect grounded on strict product liability in Nevada will continue to be governed by the consumer-expectation test. Respondent brought this suit against Ford Motor Company, alleging a design defect in the roof of the Ford Excursion and seeking damages based on theories of strict products liability and common law negligence. The case proceeded to trial on the strict products liability theory, and the jury returned a special verdict in favor of Respondent. The district court entered judgment on the jury’s $4.5 million damages award. On appeal, Ford urged the Supreme Court to adopt the risk-utility test for claims of strict product liability design defect, as set forth in the Restatement (Third) of Torts: Products Liability (Third Restatement). The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) this court declines to adopt the risk-utility test; (2) the jury was properly instructed on the consumer-expectation test; and (3) Respondent presented sufficient evidence to support the verdict. View "Ford Motor Co. v. Trejo" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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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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Pursuant to Nev. Rev. Stat. 86.371 and 86.381, a member of a limited limitability company (LLC) cannot be personally responsible for the LLC’s liabilities solely by virtue of being a member. Plaintiffs filed suit against an LLC (the water park) and two of its managing members (the member-LLCs) claiming that the negligence of the water park and member-LLCs contributed to their son’s injuries because of the water parks’ inadequate staffing of lifeguards. The district court granted summary judgment for the member-LLCs and dismissed the member-LLCs as improper parties pursuant to section 36.381. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err in dismissing the member-LLCs as improper defendants as a matter of law. View "Gardner v. Henderson Water Park, LLC" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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Portions of the 2013 amendments to Nevada’s anti-SLAPP statutes clarified existing law such that they apply retroactively, but the remaining applicable portions of the 2013 amendments effected a substantive change in the prior anti-SLAPP legislation such that those portions are not applicable retroactively. Based on the findings found in a report prepared by Pat Songer, the Town of Pahrump terminated Appellants’ employment. Appellants filed a complaint against Songer alleging defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Songer filed a special motion to dismiss pursuant to Nevada’s anti-SLAPP statutes. The district court applied the 2013 statutory amendments retroactively in deciding Songer’s special motion to dismiss. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the district court (1) properly applied the 2013 clarifying portions of the amendments in determining that Songer’s communication was potentially protected, but (2) erred in applying the remaining substantive portions of the 2013 amendments retroactively in determining that Appellants failed to meet the burden set forth in the 2013 amendments of establishing a probability of prevailing on their claims. View "Delucchi v. Songer" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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The Barton doctrine is extended to a court-appointed accountant in the capacity of a special master, thus requiring an individual to seek leave of the appointing court prior to filing suit in a non-appointing court against a court-appointed special master for actions taken in the scope of his court-derived authority. Larry Bertsch and his accounting firm (collectively, Bertsch) were appointed as special master in a lawsuit between Vion Operations, LLC and Jay Bloom (the Lion litigation). The district court later discharged Bertsch from his duties as special master. When the Vion litigation was dismissed, Bloom filed the underlying complaint against Bertsch alleging, inter alia, gross negligence and fraudulent concealment based on Bertsch’s allegedly wrongful actions in the Vion litigation. Bertsch filed a motion to dismiss, which the district court denied. Bertsch petitioned for a writ of mandamus arguing, in part, that Bloom’s complaint was jurisdictionally improper because Bloom did not first seek leave of the appointing court before instituting the underlying action. The Supreme Court granted the motion, holding that Bloom must first have filed a motion with the appointing court in order to sue Bertsch personally. View "Bertsch v. Eighth Judicial District Court" on Justia Law