Nevada State Court Litigation Checklist: Get the Third Edition of this popular book that belongs in the library of every serious Nevada litigator. It has been called an “essential tool” in the arsenal of any attorney. This checklist is as comprehensive as possible so that any attorney or person representing themselves can use it as a resource to at least find the applicable rule or statute that governs most situations, but more importantly, to understand what it takes, “A to Z” to get a case ready for trial. I approach preparation for every lawsuit as if it will go to trial. Although a majority of cases settle, an advocate who prepares each case as though it is going to trial better understands his or her case, and is likely to craft better written discovery and to take better depositions. That litigant is ultimately better equipped to achieve a more favorable settlement than they otherwise would.
- 274 pages
- Includes the elements for almost 200 Nevada causes of action (including annotations to caselaw and statutory authority)
- New chapters on ADR and preparing witnesses to testify
A Litigator’s Guide to Nevada Evidence and Objections: While Nevada’s statutory rules of evidence generally follow the Federal Rules of Evidence, the Federal system is not adopted wholesale. Perhaps as important and confusing, Nevada does not follow the Federal numbering system, making it difficult to easily analogize to known Federal principals while in the heat of the battle in State court. This guide is designed to allow litigators in Nevada who are accustomed to the Federal rules to quickly cross reference with Nevada’s rules, and to serve as a general guide on the contents of our rules of evidence. The second section provides a handy guide to objections, prompting the user on how to lodge the objection, the source of law for the objection, and a short explanation of the objection.
Paperback Edition $44.99
Federal Court Civil Litigation Checklist: Get the Second Edition of this popular checklist. It is a comprehensive “A to Z” approach to coach you from client intake to the first day of trial. Although a majority of cases settle, a litigant who prepares each case as though it is going to trial better understands his or her case, and is likely to craft better written discovery and to take better depositions. That litigant is ultimately better equipped to achieve a more favorable settlement than they otherwise would.
Kindle Edition $49.99
A Litigator’s Guide to Federal Evidence and Objections: This pocket guide is designed to allow litigators to quickly reference to the Federal Rules of Evidence (“FRE”). It is presented in three parts. First is a quick reference guide to the FRE. Second is a guide to objections. It provides a tag line for the objection (i.e., “Objection! Assumes facts not in evidence”), followed rule(s) on which the objection relies and a short explanation of the rule/statute should you need additional support or rationale for the objection. Third, is a complete copy of the 2019 FRE.
I am a Nevada mediator, arbitrator, and litigator with experience resolving hundreds of disputes through ADR. This Mediation Toolbox is designed to assist those involved in mediation in Nevada or federally to navigate the process. Please feel free to reach out to me if there are resources that should be added to this Toolbox.
What is Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)?
Nevada Supreme Court Defines Mediation
Three Things Mediation is NOT
Mediate Instead of Filing That Lawsuit: Trying to Compromise Before Starting a Lawsuit
Preparing For Your Mediation (FAQ)
I am a Nevada arbitrator, mediator, and litigator with experience arbitrating hundreds of disputes. This Arbitration Toolbox is designed to assist those involved in arbitration in Nevada or federally to navigate the process. My aim is for this Toolbox to be a knowledge resource center for litigants and advocates who have a matter in arbitration, or for those trying to understand the arbitration process better. Please feel free to reach out to me if there are resources that should be added to this Toolbox.
What is Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)?
Nevada Supreme Court Defines Arbitration
Nevada Law Defines “Arbitrator”
Is My Arbitration Confidential?
What Are Your Alternative Dispute Resolution Options in Las Vegas, Nevada? (more…)
Relief From Final Judgment Under Rule 60
Rule 60 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides a standard by which the Court might reconsider its Order. This rule, governing relief from a judgment or order, provides in part:
(b) Grounds for Relief from a Final Judgment, Order, or Proceeding. On motion and just terms, the court may relieve a party or its legal representative from a final judgment, order, or proceeding for the following reasons:
(1) mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect;
(2) newly discovered evidence that, with reasonable diligence, could not have been discovered in time to move for a new trial under Rule 59(b);
(3) fraud (whether previously called intrinsic or extrinsic), misrepresentation, or misconduct by an opposing party;
(4) the judgment is void;
(5) the judgment has been satisfied, released or discharged; it is based on an earlier judgment that has been reversed or vacated; or applying it prospectively is no longer equitable; or
(6) any other reason that justifies relief.
The Ninth Circuit has distilled the grounds for reconsideration into three primary categories: (1) newly discovered evidence; (2) the need to correct clear error or prevent manifest injustice; and (3) an intervening change in controlling law. This Nevada District Court has recognized the same factors, while articulating a four-part test: “(1) the motion is necessary to correct manifest errors of law or fact upon which the judgment is based; (2) the moving party presents newly discovered or previously unavailable evidence; (3) the motion is necessary to prevent manifest injustice; or (4) there is an intervening change in controlling law.”
 Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b).
 School Dist. No. 1J v. AC&S, Inc., 5 F.3d at 1263 (as cited by Centeno v. Mortgage Elec. Registration Sys., Inc., 2:11-CV-02105-GMN, 2013 WL 2558262 (D. Nev. June 8, 2013), appeal dismissed (Nov. 7, 2013)).
 Turner v. High Desert State Prison, 2:13-CV-01752-GMN, 2014 WL 321070 (D. Nev. Jan. 29, 2014) (citing Turner v. Burlington Northern Santa Fe R. Co., 338 F.3d 1058 (9th Cir. 2003).
Join ARM Founder Abbas Kazerounian, Esq, as he discusses the unique characteristics of business mediation with ARM Neutrals Jay Young, Esq, and Kristine Kuzemka, Esq.
Can I File a Motion to Reconsider in Federal Court?
Although not mentioned in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, motions for reconsideration may be considered pursuant to Rules 59(e) and 60(b). In order to succeed on a motion to reconsider, a party must set forth facts or law of a strongly convincing nature to induce the court to reverse its prior decision. A motion for reconsideration is not, however, a mechanism for rearguing issues presented in the original filings, or for “advancing theories of the case that could have been presented earlier.”  Thus, Rule 59(e) and 60(b) and are not “intended to give an unhappy litigant one additional chance to sway the judge.”
 Hansen v. Liberty Mut. Fire Ins. Co., 2:11-CV-01519-GMN, 2013 WL 2322146 (D. Nev. May 28, 2013).
 Turner v. High Desert State Prison, 2:13-CV-01752-GMN, 2014 WL 321070 (D. Nev. Jan. 29, 2014) (citing Kern–Tulare Water Dist. v. City of Bakersfield, 634 F.Supp. 656, 665 (E.D. Cal. 1986), aff’d in part and rev’d in part on other grounds 828 F.2d 514 (9th Cir.1987)); see Frasure v. U.S., 256 F.Supp.2d 1180, 1183 (D. Nev. 2003) (citing All Haw. Tours Corp. v. Polynesian Cultural Ctr., 116 F.R.D. 645, 648–49 (D. Haw. 1987), rev’d on other grounds, 855 F.2d 860 (1988)).
 Hansen v. Liberty Mut. Fire Ins. Co., 2:11-CV-01519-GMN, 2013 WL 2322146 (D. Nev. May 28, 2013) (citing Backlund v. Barnhart, 778 F.2d 1386, 1388 (9th Cir.1985) and quoting Resolution Trust Corp. v. Holmes, 846 F.Supp. 1310, 1316 (S.D.Tex.1994) (footnotes omitted)).
 Id. (quoting Durkin v. Taylor, 444 F.Supp. 879, 889 (E.D.Va.1977)).
“Under Nevada law, ‘a settlement agreement[’s] construction and enforcement are governed by principles of contract law.’” “The essential elements of a valid contract include offer, acceptance, and bargained for consideration.” The creation of a contract requires that two parties mutually assent to the same bargain at the same time-an assent which is usually in the form of an offeree’s acceptance of a definite and certain offer by the offeror.
“The ‘ultimate goal is to effectuate the contracting parties’ intent.’” “Although an analysis of a settlement’s terms starts with the language of the agreement, ‘when that intent is not clearly expressed in the contractual language, [courts] may also consider the circumstances surrounding the agreement.’” For a contract to be enforceable, basic contract principles require an offer and acceptance, meeting of the minds, and consideration.
It is well settled that an offeror may revoke an offer at any time prior to acceptance, thereby terminating the offeree’s power to accept. This rule applies even when the offeror has agreed to keep the offer open for a certain period. Moreover, “the power to create a contract by acceptance of an offer terminates at the time specified in the offer, or, if no time is specified, at the end of a reasonable time.”
A settlement agreement is enforceable where the parties have agreed on the agreement’s material terms – even if the exact language of the agreement is not finalized until later. Thus, a party cannot back out on a deal by refusing to sign a finalized agreement, when the parties have already had a “meeting of the minds” as to the agreement’s material terms. Id.
The Nevada Supreme Court has also consistently enforced settlement agreements according to their plain language. To that extent, “a compromise agreement is a contract whereby the parties, in an effort to resolve their differences over a claim, agree to an amicable settlement based upon mutual concessions.”
The Supreme Court of Nevada has rejected a party’s attempt to retract a settlement agreement once made. In May, the court held that a party’s refusal to execute a settlement after previously agreeing to the settlement’s essential terms does not render the settlement invalid. Id. All parties had agreed to a settlement, which provided for the payment of $300,000.00 in exchange for a general release of all claims and a covenant not to sue. Id. Although two of the Plaintiffs had authorized their attorney to negotiate the agreement, they later refused to execute the documents memorializing the agreement. Id. at 668, 119 P.3d at1257. In rejecting the Plaintiffs’ arguments, the court held that the Plaintiff had already agreed on the settlement’s material terms because their attorney had accepted the offer of settlement which contained a release of all claims. Id. at 668,119 P.3d at 1258-9.
In deciding whether a settlement agreement has been reached, the court may consider the surrounding circumstances to determine the intention of the parties. If the intent of the parties is not clear from the contract itself the court may look to the surrounding circumstances to effectuate the intent of the parties. “Absent a fundamental defect in the agreement itself the terms are binding on the parties.”
Binding Settlement Agreement Was Reached Where Counsel Had Apparent Authority To Act On Client’s Behalf.
Where counsel has apparent or ostensible authority to act on his behalf the law is clear that a party is bound by the acts of his or her attorney within the scope of the latter’s authority . . . where the relation of attorney and client exists . . . and any limitations on the authority of the attorney may not be asserted by the client against one who had no knowledge of the limitation.
Additionally, a client can cloak his attorney with apparent authority to settle a case where the client “knowingly permits [her] attorney to exercise such authority.” Moreover, as a general rule, a presumption exists that an attorney has the authority to compromise and settle an action.
The Nevada Rules of Professional Conduct agree:
A lawyer may take such action on behalf of the client as is impliedly authorized to carry out the representation.
Nevada law specifically acknowledges the power of parties’ attorneys to resolve litigation through a Settlement Agreement. EDCR 7.50 states:
No agreement or stipulation between the parties or their attorneys will be effective unless the same shall, by consent, be entered in the minutes in the form of an order, or unless the same is in writing subscribed by the party against whom the same shall be alleged, or by the party’s attorney.
The local rules of the United States District Court as well as the Eighth Judicial District Court all recognize that attorneys have the power to resolve litigation of their clients. Local Rule 7-1 provides:
Stipulations relating to proceedings before the Court, except stipulations made in open Court that are noted in the Clerk’s minutes or Court reporters notes, shall be in writing, signed by the parties or counsel for the parties to be bound, and served on all the parties.
The purpose of language employed in Local Rule 7-1 and EDCR 7.50 is to provide the Court with an “efficient method for determining genuine settlements and enforcing them.” Resnick v. Valente, 97 Nev. 615,637 P2d.1205 (1981).
The law is clear that counsel has the authority to bind a party. See, e.g. Dixon v. Thatcher 103 Nev. 414, 417, 742, P.2d 1029, 1031 (1987) (stating that apparent authority is “that authority which a principal permits his agent] to exercise or represent himself as possessing under such circumstances as to estop the principal from denying its existence”); Great Am. Ins. v. General Builders, 113 Nev. 346, 352, 934, P.2d 257, 26I (1997) (noting that “[a] party claiming apparent authority of an agent as a basis for contract formation must show subjective belief and that the subjective belief was objectively reasonable”); RPC 1.2 (a) (providing that “[a] lawyer may take such action on behalf of the client as is impliedly authorized to carry out the representation”); Samland v. J. White Transp. Co., Inc., 675 S.W. 2d 92,96 (Mo. Ct. App. 1984) (noting that “the compromise of a pending suit by an attorney having apparent authority, will be binding upon his client, unless it be so unfair as to put the other party upon inquiry as to the authority, or imply fraud”); Arizona Title Ins. & Trust Co. v. Pace, 445, P.2d 47I,473-74 (Ariz. Ct. App. 1968) (stating that a client is bound by the acts of her attorney if she places the attorney in the position for third parties to reasonably assume that the attorney is acting within his authority).
The Lack of a Typewritten Document Does Not Invalidate a Settlement Agreement.
The failure to complete formal settlement papers does not indicate that a settlement agreement was not in fact reached. See May, 121 Nev. 668, 119 P.3d 1254; see also Sadighi v. Daghighfekr, 66 F. Supp.2d 752,763 (D.S.C. 1999) (citing U.S. v. Centex-Simpson Constr. Co., 34 F.Supp.2d 397,400 (N.D. W.Va. 1999)). Indeed, the agreement need not even be in writing. Nolte v. Southern Cal. Home Bldg. Co., 28 Cal.App .2d 532, 535, 82 P.2d 946 (1938). One Court has explained:
It may be conceded that where the minds of the parties have met respecting the terms and conditions of the more formal writing that is to be executed by them, and the agreed terms of the contract thereafter to be executed are certain in all respects definitely understood and agreed upon in advance, either orally or by informal writing, there is in such a case an obligatory contract dating from the making of the earlier agreement.
Moreover, a settlement agreement is not invalid because details are not worked out when those details are not essential to the proposal and do not change its terms or purpose.
“[A]n intent to memorialize a contract in a subsequent writing will not prevent a reviewing court from finding an enforceable contract so long as the parties intended to be bound by the earlier documents.”
Therefore, a Settlement Agreement is not invalidated because it is oral.
 Doud v. Yellow Cab of Reno, Inc., No. 3:13-CV-00664-WGC, 2015 WL 4874701, at *4 (D. Nev. Aug. 14, 2015) (citing May v. Anderson, 121 Nev. 668, 119 P.3d 1254, 1257 (2005)).
 D’Angelo v. Gardner, 819 P.2d 206 (Nev.1991).
 In re Mapes Enterprises, Inc., 15 B.R. 192, 194–95 (Bankr. D. Nev. 1981) (citing Restatement (Second) of Contracts § 1, (1979).
 Id.; (citing In re Amerco Derivative Litig., 252 P.3d 681, 693 (Nev.2011)).
 Id. (citing May v. Anderson, 121 Nev. 668, 672, 119 P.3d 1254, 1257 (2005)).
 Id. (citing Restatement (Second) of Contracts §§ 36, 42 (Am.Law.Ins.1981); see also Comment (a) to § 42; 1 Williston on Contracts § 5:8 (4th ed.)).
 Morrison v. Rayen Investments, Inc., 97 Nev. 58, 60, 624 P.2d 11, 12 (1981) (quoting Restatement of the Law of Contracts, § 40(1)).
 See May v. Anderson, 121 Nev. 668, 119 P.3d 1254, 1257 (2005).
 See Egert v. State Farm Mutual Insurance Co., 91 Nev. 240,
533 P.2d 1365 (1975) (holding that the Plaintiffs’ negotiated settlement with her own insurance
company released the insurance company from liability and barred Plaintiffs Complaint); see
also Chwialkowski v. Sachs, 108 Nev. 404, 834 P.2d 405 (1992).
 Johnson v. Utile, 86 Nev. 593, 596, 472 P.2d 335,337 (1970).
 May, 121 Nev. at 668, 119 P.3d at 1254.
 Mohr Park Manner. Inc. v. Mohr, 83 Nev. 107,424 P.2d 101 (1967).
 NGA#2 LLC v. Rains, 113 Nev. 1151, 946 P.2d 163 (1997).
 A.J. Industries. Inc. v. VerHalen, 75 Cal.App.3d 75l, 759,142 Cal.Rptr. 383 (1977).
 7 AmJur.2d Attorneys at Law § 147 (2007).
 7A C.J.S. Attorney & Client § 208 (2007).
 7A C.J.S. Attorney & Client § 208 (2007).
 NRPC Rule 1.2(a).
 Fly v. Cline, 49 Cal. App. 414, 425,193 Pac. 615 (1920).
 See Assoc.Fin. Serv. Co. of Hawaii, Inc. v. Mijo, 950 P.2d 1219, 1232 (Haw. 1998).
 Sadighi, 66 F.Supp.2d at 763 (citing Rennick v. O.P.T.I.O.N. Care. Inc., 77 F.3d 309, 313 (9thCir. 1996)); see also Domin8uez Estates Co. v. Los Angeles Turf Club. Inc., 259 P.2d 962 (Cal.Ct. App. 1953) (concluding that an oral settlement agreement was not invalid by the fact that a written agreement embodying the terms of the oral agreement was contemplated but was not signed by the defendant and a third-party).
Use of Perjured Testimony in Nevada Courts
It is well established that use of perjured testimony in any legal proceeding is fundamentally unfair. For example, a criminal conviction based on perjured testimony violates due process and must be set aside if there is any “reasonable likelihood” that the false testimony could have affected the judgment of the jury. See generally, Jimenez v. State, 112 Nev. 610, 918 P.2d 687 (1996) and Riley v. State, 93 Nev. 461, 567 P.2d 475 (1977). Similarly, a district judge in a civil case has the discretion to grant an injured party a new trial if a verdict is based on false testimony. See Antevski v. Vlokswagenwerk Aktiengesellschaft, 4 F.3d 537, 541 (7th Cir. 1993); see also Ahem v. Scholz, 85 F.3d 774 (1st Cir. 1996) (verdict may be set aside and new trial ordered when verdict is against clear weight of evidence, or based upon evidence which is false, or will result in clear miscarriage of justice). Although in Nevada a court may not weigh the sufficiency of the evidence as grounds for a new trial, a court may grant a new trial when there is plain error in the record, or if there is a showing of manifest Injustice. Frances v. Plaza Pac. Equities, 109 Nev. 91, 847 P.2d 722 (1993) (citing Price v. Sinnott, 85 Nev. 600, 460 P.2d 837 (1969)).
Barbara Ann Hollier Trust v. Shack, 2014 WL 10537341 *42-43 (Nev. 2014).
In Televideo Systems, Inc. v. Heidenthal, 826 F.2d 915 (9th Cir. 1987), a defendant gave certain deposition testimony, but he recanted his testimony on the first day of trial. The trial court sanctioned him by striking his answer. The Ninth Circuit affirmed, holding that the defendant’s “elaborate scheme involving perjury clearly qualifies as a willful deceit of the court.” Id. at 917. The court observed that the defendant’s recantation of his testimony was not motivated by a desire to repent and set the record straight; instead, he was motivated by a scheme to prevail at trial. Id. The defendant’s strategy was “orchestrated to reap a tactical advantage,” and therefore, permitting him to proceed to trial would have played into his hands and greatly disadvantaged the opposing parties who had planned their strategy and developed their case. Id.
Firefly Partners, LLC v. Reimann, 2016 WL 1276535 *17 (Nev. 2016).
Respondents also offer no legal authority to counter the authority cited by Appellants holding that a party is entitled to a new trial when the opposition has presented perjured testimony. See Antevski v. Vlokswagenwerk Aktiengesellschaft, 4 F.3d 537 (7th Cir. 1993) and NRCP 60(b).
Barbara Ann Hollier Trust v. Shack, 2014 WL 10537342 *39 (Nev. 2014).
“Rapoport’s in-court perjury, and perjury in his affidavits could land him in prison for one to four years. NRS 199.120.” Klein v. Rapoport, 2007 WL 9355268 *43 (Nev. 2007).
“It is uniformly held that the giving of false testimony is not civilly actionable. Radue v. Dill, 74 Wis.2d 239, 246 N.W.2d 507 (1976); Platts, Inc. v. Platts, 73 Wash.2d 434, 438 P.2d 867 (1968); Ginsburg v. Halpern, 383 Pa. 178, 118 A.2d 201 (1955); Kantor v. Kessler, 132 N.J.L. 336, 40 A.2d 607 (1945).” Eikelberger v. Tolotti, 96 Nev. 525, 531, 611 P.2d 1086, 1090 (1980).
Nevada Jury Instruction 2.07 reads:
The credibility or “believability” of a witness should be determined by his or her manner upon the stand, his or her relationship to the parties, his or her fears, motives, interests or feelings, his or her opportunity to have observed the matter to which he or she testified, the reasonableness of his or her statements and the strength or weakness of his or her recollections.
If you believe that a witness has lied about any material fact in the case, you may disregard the entire testimony of that witness or any portion of this testimony which is not proved by other evidence.
The Doctrine of Forum Non Conveniens in Nevada
The term “forum non conveniens” is Latin for “an inconvenient forum”. Under the circumstances discussed below, a court may grant a motion to dismiss a complaint that is filed in a court that is inconvenient to a defendant.
In Buckholt v. District Court, the Petitioners sued a Nevada corporation, seeking damages for injuries allegedly resulting from a single vehicle accident occurring near Cheyenne, Wyoming in 1976. The Nevada Supreme Court held the doctrine of forum non conveniens is inapposite where the defendant is a Nevada corporation and does business here.
The Buckholt court suggests that although the location of a defendant corporation in this state is significant, and should weigh heavily against the granting of such a motion, the doctrine of forum non conveniens is not limited to a single factor. The doctrine involves a balancing approach using several other factors, including public and private interests, access to sources of proof, and the availability of a view of the premises, if necessary. If an adequate alternative forum does exist, the Court must then weigh public and private interest factors to determine whether dismissal is warranted.
Relevant public interest factors include the local interest in the case, the district court’s familiarity with applicable law, the burdens on local courts and jurors, court congestion, and the costs of resolving a dispute unrelated to the plaintiffs chosen forum.
Private interest factors favor dismissal for forum non conveniens. Relevant private interest factors may include the location of a defendant corporation, access to proof, the availability of compulsory process for unwilling witnesses, the cost of obtaining testimony from willing witnesses, and the enforceability of a judgment. The court should also consider whether failure to apply the doctrine would subject the defendant to harassment, oppression, vexatiousness, or inconvenience.
 The Law.com Dictionary.
 94 Nev. 631, 584 P.2d 672 (1978).
Lueck, 236 F.3d at 1147 (citing Piper Aircraft, 454 U.S. at 259-61).
 Lueck, 236 F.3d at 1145; see also Eaton, 96 Nev. at 774, 616 P.2d at 401; Gulf Oil Corp. v. Gilbert, 330 U.S. 501, 67 S. Ct. 839, 91 L. Ed. 1055 (1947).
 See Swisco, Inc. v. District Court, 79 Nev. 414, 385 P.2d 772 (1963).
Independent Contractors, Read How You Can Apply for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program
By: Robert L. Rosenthal, Esq. Guest Blogger
Have you heard about the new COVID-19 law for Nevadans that provides benefits similar to unemployment to independent contractors? It’s referred to as the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program (“PUA”), and provides up to 39 weeks of benefits. Payments are set to commence within the next week or so. Keep in mind that independent contractors remain ineligible for traditional unemployment benefits because they’re not employees. Below is an overview of the new PUA law.
In response to COVID-19, the Nevada Division of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (“DETR”) just implemented and launched a new filing system for Nevada residents who have been affected by the pandemic to receive benefits. This is completely separate from filing; for traditional unemployment insurance benefits. Please read the important information on this page before filing a PUA claim on the designated platform.
What is Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)?
PUA is a new temporary federal program that is part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act. The PUA program is available retroactive to February 2, 2020 through December 26, 2020 and provides up to 39 weeks of benefits to eligible individuals. PUA is separate from unemployment insurance and provides coverage only to individuals who are not eligible for regular unemployment insurance.
Who is Eligible for PUA?
PUA is available to Nevada workers who are unemployed, partially unemployed, unable to work or unavailable for work due to the COVID-19 pandemic and who are not eligible for unemployment insurance benefits. This includes many different groups of people:
- 1099 contract workers;
- Gig workers;
- Employees whose wages are not reported for unemployment insurance;
- Employees who have not earned enough wages or worked enough hours for regular unemployment benefits; and
- Individuals who were going to start work but could not due to COVID-19 pandemic.
What does it mean to be affected by COVID-19?
To be eligible for PUA, the individual’s ability or availability to work must be affected by COVID-19. There are several different ways this could happen:
- The person has been diagnosed with or are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and is seeking a medical diagnosis;
- A member of the household has been diagnosed with COVID-19;
- The person is providing care for a family member or a member of the household who has been diagnosed with COVID-19;
- The person’s child or other persons in the household for whom the person is the primary caregiver is unable to attend school or another facility that is closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and directly prevents the person from working;
- The person is unable to reach his/her place of employment because of a quarantine or stay-at-home order due to the COVID-19 pandemic;
- The person is unable to reach his/her place of employment because he/she has been advised by a health care provider to self-isolate or quarantine because he/she is positive for or may have had exposure to someone who has or is suspected of having COVID-19;
- The person was scheduled to start a new job and does not have an existing job or are unable to reach the job as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic;
- The person had to quit his/her job due to being diagnosed with COVID-19 and being unable to perform his/her work duties;
- The person’s place of employment is closed as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic; or
- The person is self-employed or an independent contractor and a slowdown in business due to COVID-19 has forced him/her to suspend operations.
Who is not eligible for PUA?
Eligibility for PUA requires that an individual be unemployed, partially unemployed, or unable or unavailable to work in Nevada due to COVID-19, and that the person not be eligible for any other unemployment insurance benefits. For example, an applicant is not eligible for PUA if:
- He/she is eligible for a regular UI claim, PEUC or SEB;
- He/she is I able to work remotely without reduced pay;
- He/she is receiving paid sick leave or other leave benefits;
- He/she is unemployed, but not due to COVID-19; or
- He/she was not working in Nevada at the time he/she became unemployed due to COVID-19 and do not have a bona fide job offer to work in Nevada that the person was unable to start due to COVID-19.
How to Apply for PUA
Those who wish to apply should visit Nevada’s Department of Employment, Training & Rehabilitation (“DETR”) website and fill out the required form, which can be found at:
DETR anticipates tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of applications being submitted and will take between 7-14 days to arrive. Payments for PUA weekly claims are scheduled to begin by the end of May.
Applicants must provide documents that show total income for the entire year such as tax documents are preferable, as these will allow a quicker review of total earnings. Acceptable documentation you can provide may include but is not limited to:
- W-2 or 1099 forms
- Tax returns
- Pay stubs
- Bank receipts
- Billing statements
Moving to Dismiss Under the First-to-File Rule
The first-to-file rule is a doctrine of comity providing that “where substantially identical actions are proceeding in different courts, the court of the later-filed action should defer to the jurisdiction of the court of the first-filed action by either dismissing, staying, or transferring the later filed suit.” The two actions need not be identical—only substantially similar. The first-to-file rule is “not a rigid or inflexible rule to be mechanically applied,” but is a matter of sound judicial administration and its application is left to the discretion of the trial court. The purpose of the rule is to promote efficiency and to avoid duplicative litigation, and, thus, it should not be lightly disregarded.
A doctrine of comity “is a principle of courtesy by which the courts of one jurisdiction may give effect to the laws and judicial decisions of another jurisdiction out of deference and respect.” Comity is appropriately invoked according to the sound discretion of the trial court, and may even be raised sua sponte.
When applying the first-to-file rule, courts look to three threshold factors: “(1) the chronology of the two actions; (2) the similarity of the parties, and (3) the similarity of the issues.” “[T]he first-to-file rule does not require strict identity of the parties, but rather substantial similarity.” Likewise, the sameness requirement does not mandate that the two actions be identical; it is satisfied if they are sufficiently similar.
 SAES Getters S.P.A. v. Aeronex, Inc., 219 F.Supp.2d 1081, 1089 (S.D. Cal. 2002).
 Inherent.com v. Martindale–Hubbell, 420 F.Supp.2d 1093, 1097 (N.D. Cal. 2006).
 Pacesetter Sys., Inc. v. Medtronic, Inc., 678 F.2d 93, 94–95 (9th Cir. 1982) (explaining that declining jurisdiction based on the first-to-file rule is discretionary, not mandatory, with the trial court).
 Alltrade, Inc. v. Uniweld Prod., Inc., 946 F.2d 622, 625 (9th Cir. 1991).
 Gonzales–Alpizar v. Griffith, 130 Nev. Adv. Op. 2, 317 P.3d 820, 826 (2014) (internal quotation omitted).
 Mianecki v. Second Judicial Dist. Court, 99 Nev. 93, 97–98, 658 P.2d 422, 424–25 (1983).
 See Stone v. City & County of San Francisco, 968 F.2d 850, 855 (9th Cir. 1992).
 Global Experience Specialists, Inc. v. Cunniffe, 2:14–cv–00421–JCM–NJK, 2014 WL 3748931, at *4 (D. Nev. July 30, 2014) (quoting Nesbit v. Fornaro, 2011 WL 1869917, at *2 (D. Nev. Mar. 31, 2011)).
 Id. (quoting Nesbit, 2011 WL 1869917, at *3).
By Jonathan Fountain, Esq.
Jonathan’s excellent article discusses the dangers of unilaterally declaring that a party will not appear at a deposition because counsel cannot agree to a mutually convenient date and time to hold the deposition.
This article was originally published in the May 2020 Nevada Lawyer, a publication of the Nevada State Bar.
Nevada’s Payday Loan Laws
By Michael Kind, Esq., Guest Blogger
With over two times as many payday loan stores than there are casinos, you’ll find a payday loan storefront at almost every major intersection in Las Vegas. The payday loan industry in Nevada is about a half a billion dollars a year. This post provides a general overview of the current version Nevada’s payday loan statute, NRS 604A.
Payday loans are intended to fill a short-term need. But because of the high interest rates, borrowers (more…)
Summary of the Amendments to the Local Civil Rules of the United States District Court for the District of Nevada
By Jonathan W. Fountain, Esq., Guest Blogger
On April 17, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada published its amended Local Civil Rules. A red lined document comparing the amendments to the prior version can be found at the bottom of this article. Guest Blogger Jonathan Fountain provides us with this summary of the changes. As always, a summary is no substitute for studying the rules yourself, but this one is sure to help you get a jump start on understanding the amendments. (more…)
How to Set Aside a Default Judgment
By Michael Kind, Esq., Guest Blogger
This post discusses the rules and caselaw relating to consumers filing a motion to set aside a default judgment in Las Vegas, Nevada. When a consumer has a default judgment entered against him or her, the company who got the judgment can try to collect the money judgment by garnishing wages, levying bank accounts, taking cars, among other methods of collecting the judgment.
The rule to set aside a default judgment applies regardless of whether the debt is for credit cards, car loan, HOA debt, payday loans, personal loans, or other debts. If a default judgment has been granted against you, there is still hope.
Applicable Rules of Civil Procedure
Rule 60(b) of the Nevada Rules of Civil Procedure (“NRCP”) and the Justice Court Rules of Civil Procedure (“JCRCP”) provides that, upon a motion to set aside, the court may relieve a party from a final judgment or order for the following reasons: “(1) mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect; . . . (3) fraud (whether heretofore denominated intrinsic or extrinsic), misrepresentation or other misconduct of an adverse party; (4) the judgment is void; or, (5) the judgment has been satisfied. . . .” The JCRCP apply in Nevada’s Justice Courts, while the NRCP apply in Nevada’s District Courts.
The Nevada Supreme Court has ruled Nevada’s public policy requires cases be adjudicated on their merits where possible. E.g., Kahn v. Orme, 108 Nev. 510, 516, 835 P.2d 790, 794 (1992). “The salutary purpose of Rule 60(b) is to redress any injustices that may have resulted because of excusable neglect or the wrongs of the opposing party. Rule 60 should be liberally construed to effectuate that purpose.” Nev. Indus. Dev. v. Benedetti, 103 Nev. 360, 364, 741 P.2d 802, 805 (1987) (citing Mendenhall v. Kingston, 610 P.2d 1287, 1289 (Utah 1980)).
Setting aside a judgment rests within the sound discretion of the district court. Bennett v. Fid. & Deposit Co., 396 F.2d 909, 911 (9th Cir. 1968) (citing Smith v. Stone, 308 F.2d 15, 17-18 (9th Cir. 1962)); Cicerchia v. Cicerchia, 77 Nev. 158, 161, 360 P.2d 839, 841 (1961); Bryant v. Gibbs, 69 Nev. 167, 243 P.2d 1050.
Consumers do not Need to Show a Winning Case to Have a Judgment Set Aside
In some states, a consumer who is trying to have a judgment set aside must show that they have a meritorious case. That means that the consumer needs to show that once the judgment is set aside, she will be able to present a defense on the merits in the case (for example, “it’s not my debt” or “I already paid the credit card bill”). In Nevada, a consumer does not need to make such a showing. “[A] party need not show a meritorious defense in order to have a court set aside a default judgment.” Epstein v. Epstein, 113 Nev. 1401, 1405, 950 P.2d 771, 773 (1997).
Judgments Should be Set Aside When the Default is Not the Consumer’s Fault
The court may set aside the default judgment if the consumer can show that the default judgment was not her fault. Cicerchia v. Cicerchia, 77 Nev. 158, 160, 360 P.2d 839, 840 (1961) (finding the court’s setting aside of default judgment was proper when the default was not the fault of the defendant); Velasco v. Mis Amigos Meat Mkt., Inc., 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20604, at *6 (E.D. Cal. Mar. 16, 2009) (setting aside default since it was “clear that defendants intend to proceed in the defense of this action, thus promoting the overriding public policy that cases be decided on their merits.”); see also Velasco v. Mis Amigos Meat Mkt., Inc., 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20604, at *14 (E.D. Cal. Mar. 16, 2009) (“Even a final judgment of default may be successfully challenged based upon a showing of the defaulting party’s ‘mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect.’”).
Plaintiffs are Generally Not Prejudiced (Harmed) by a Short Delay
When the case involves a breach of contract claim based on a defaulted debt, courts have found those matters not time sensitive. See Velasco v. Mis Amigos Meat Mkt., Inc., 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20604, at *16 (E.D. Cal. Mar. 16, 2009) (“[A] mere delay in satisfying plaintiff’s claim, if he should ultimately succeed at trial, is not sufficient prejudice to require denial of a motion to set aside default.”).
For more information regarding setting aside a default in a consumer debt matter, contact Mike.
The Rule 30(b)(6) Deposition in Nevada
The law recognizes a legal fiction—that a corporation or other legal entity is a separate “person” who acts independent of the owners of the entity. Because the entity is a separate person, the law also allows a deposition of the entity under Rule 30(b)(6), which reads:
(b) Notice of the Deposition; Other Formal Requirements.
(6) Notice or Subpoena Directed to an Organization. In its notice or subpoena, a party may name as the deponent a public or private corporation, a partnership, an association, a governmental agency, or other entity and must describe with reasonable particularity the matters for examination. The named organization must then designate one or more officers, directors, or managing agents, or designate other persons who consent to testify on its behalf; and it may set out the matters on which each person designated will testify. A subpoena must advise a nonparty organization of its duty to make this designation. The persons designated must testify about information known or reasonably available to the organization. This paragraph (6) does not preclude a deposition by any other procedure allowed by these rules.
Some practitioners inaccurately refer to a Rule 30(b)(6) entity deposition as a deposition of the “PMK” or “Person Most Knowledgeable”.
The law under Rule 30 does not require the entity to provide the person with the “most” knowledge on any particular topic. It only requires the entity to provide a spokesperson whose testimony on a designated topic will bind the company. The company could present its janitor to testify if it educates the janitor on the topics and “represents the knowledge of the corporation, not the individual deponent’s.” Great Am. Ins, Co. of N.Y. v. Vegas Const. Co., 251 F.R.D. 534, 538 (D. Nev. 2008) (Rule 30(b)(6) designee binds company regardless of designee’s personal knowledge on the subject).
As a practical matter, the party wishing to take the deposition uses Rule 30(b)(6) to name the company (not an individual) as a witness whose testimony it desires. The deposing party must designate (as part of the deposition notice), with “reasonable particularity”, the subject matters of the deposition. There is no limit to the number of subjects. Wise practitioners keep the topics broad enough to allow them to follow where the topic leads during the deposition, but specific enough to reasonably put the company on notice that it may expect questions about that topic.
Objections; Protective Orders
The company may object to topics outlined in a Rule 30(b)(6) notice, but some authorities suggest the company must also seek a protective order from the court before going forward with the deposition. U.S. E.E.O.C. v. Caesars Entm’t, Inc., 237 F.R.D. 428, 436 (D. Nev. 2006) (discussing the circumstances under which a protective order to Rule 30(b)(6) topics may be appropriate); Beach Mart, Inc. v. L & L Wings, Inc., 302 F.R.D. 396, 406 (E.D. N.C. 2014) (“The proper procedure to object to a Rule 30(b)(6) deposition notice is not to serve objections on the opposing party, but to move for a protective order.”). Moreover, the filing of a motion does not relieve a deponent from appearing at a deposition—that obligation is only relieved by a protective order. Nationstar Mortg., LLC v. Flamingo Trails No. 7 Landscape Maint. Ass’n, 316 F.R.D. 327, 336–37 (D. Nev. 2016) (citing Pioche Mines Consol., Inc. v. Dolman, 333 F.2d 257, 269 (9th Cir. 1964) (“unless [the movant] has obtained a court order that postpones or dispenses with his duty to appear, that duty remains”); see also In re Toys “R” Us–Delaware, Inc. Fair & Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) Litig., No. ML 08–1980 MMM (FMOx), 2010 WL 4942645, at *3 & n. 2 (C.D.Cal. July 29, 2010) (collecting cases, and finding failure to attend *337 deposition was unexcused despite the pendency of a motion for protective order)).
Magistrate Judge Leen explains the obligation to prepare a witness to testify:
The duty to prepare a Rule 30(b)(6) designee goes beyond matters personally known to the witness or to matters in which the designated witness was personally involved. Buycks-Roberson v. Citibank Federal Savs. Bank, 162 F.R.D. 338, 343 (N.D. Ill.1995); Securities and Exchange Commission v. Morelli, 143 F.R.D. 42, 45 (S.D. N.Y.1992). The duty to produce a prepared witness on designated topics extends to matters not only within the personal knowledge of the witness but on matters reasonably known by the responding party. Alexander v. Federal Bureau of Investigation, 186 F.R.D. 137, 141 (D. D.C.1998). By its very nature, a Rule 30(b)(6) deposition notice requires the responding party to prepare a designated representative so that he or she can testify on matters not only within his or her personal knowledge, but also on matters reasonably known by the responding entity.” Alliance v. District of Columbia, 437 F.Supp.2d 32, 37 (D.D.C.2006), citing Alexander, supra, at 141.
Great Am. Ins., 251 F.R.D. at 539.
Matters Outside the Pleadings are Allowed on a Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction and Forum Non Conveniens.
A motion to dismiss a complaint for lack of personal jurisdiction and forum non conveniens may properly attach matters outside the pleadings. The Ninth Circuit has long held that for the purposes of considering a motion to dismiss on the grounds of subject matter jurisdiction, a court may consider matters outside the pleadings. See generally Association of American Medical Colleges v. U.S., 217 F.3d 770, 778 (9th Cir. 2000). “There never has been any serious doubt as to the availability of extra-pleading material on these motions.” Michel v. Am. Capital Enterprises, Inc., 884 F.2d 582 (9th Cir. 1989) (quoting 5 C. Wright & A. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure: Civil § 1366, at 676 (1969) (footnote omitted)).
That fact does not allow the Court to thereafter consider those same documents on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, however. The Court may similarly entertain a motion for injunctive relief and thereafter consider a Rule 12(b)(6) without considering the matters once before the Court. See Santa Monica Community College v. Mason, 952 F.2d 407, 1991 WL 270727, *3 (9th Cir. 1991) (concluding that the submission of declarations and exhibits from a motion for preliminary injunction to the court on a motion to dismiss constitutes submission of matters outside the pleadings).
In fact, several courts have entertained such motions at the same time (motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction and for failure to state a claim) and have allowed the outside documents for the jurisdictional analysis, but refused to allow them for the Rule 12(b)(6) purposes. U.S. E.E.O.C. v. Pioneer Hotel, Inc., No. 2:11-CV-1588-LRH-RJJ, 2013 WL 129390, at *2 (D. Nev. Jan. 9, 2013) reconsideration denied, No. 2:11-CV-1588-LRH-GWF, 2013 WL 3353389 (D. Nev. July 2, 2013) (considered matters outside pleadings when determining Motion to Dismiss for lack of jurisdiction, but refused to consider regarding Rule 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted); Osborn v. United States, 918 F.2d 724, 729 (8th Cir. 1990); Stewart v. Screen Gems-EMI Music, Inc., 81 F. Supp. 3d 938, 951 (N.D. Cal. 2015) (citing Righthaven, LLC v. Va. Citizens Def. League, Inc., No. 1:10–cv–01783–GMN, 2011 WL 2550627, at *6 & n. 1 (D. Nev. June 23, 2011) (considering a declaration in the context of determining personal jurisdiction but not to determine the sufficiency of the complaint); High v. Choice Mfg. Co., No. C–11–5478– EMC, 2012 WL 3025922, at *4–6 (N.D. Cal. July 24, 2012) (where both personal jurisdiction and the sufficiency of the complaint both turned on the question of alter ego, considering extra-pleading evidence with respect to the 12(b)(2) challenge but excluding the extra-pleading evidence from the 12(b)(6) analysis); Abosakem v. Royal Indian Raj Int’l Corp., No. C–1001781 MMC, 2011 WL 635222, at *10 n. 7 (N.D. Cal. Feb. 11, 2011) (considering a declaration in the context of determining personal jurisdiction but not to determine the sufficiency of the complaint)).
Considering Matters Outside the Pleadings
on a Motion to Dismiss
Rule 12(d) requires that if
matters outside the pleadings are presented to and not excluded by the court, the motion must be treated as one for summary judgment under Rule 56. All parties must be given a reasonable opportunity to present all the material that is pertinent to the motion.
As a rule, a court may not consider matters outside the challenged pleading on a motion to dismiss. As is noted by leading commentators, Wright & Miller:
Most federal courts… have viewed the words “matters outside the pleading” as including any written or oral evidence introduced in support of or in opposition to the motion challenging the pleading that provides some substantiation for and does not merely reiterate what is said in the pleadings.
Only materials which are a part of the complaint may be considered on a motion to dismiss. When matters outside the challenged document are presented, the Court must either: 1) exclude the additional material and decide the matter based on the Complaint alone; or 2) convert the matter to a motion for summary judgment under Rule 56 and afford Plaintiff the opportunity to present supporting materials.
The court may consider matters of public record, orders, items present in the record of the case when ruling on a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Further, the court may consider any exhibits attached to the complaint.
Additionally, “if the documents are not physically attached to the complaint, they may be considered if the documents’ authenticity is not contested and the plaintiff’s complaint necessarily relies on them.” This rule applies to documents that form the basis of a plaintiff’s case or documents that are quoted extensively in the complaint, on the theory that these documents are not truly “outside” the complaint.
Note: These holdings do not apply to a motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction.
 Wright & Miller Federal Practice & Procedure, § 1366 (3d Ed.) (citations omitted).
 See Branch v. Tunnell, 14 F.3d 449, 453 (9th Cir. 1994) (overruled on other grounds by Galbraith v. Santa Clara, 307 F.3d 119 (9th Cir. 2002)); see also Gibb v. Scott, 958 F.2d 814, 816 (8th Cir. 1992) (any written or oral evidence in support of or in opposition to the pleading that provides some substantiation for and does not merely reiterate what is said in the pleadings constituted matters outside the pleadings); MacArthur v. San Juan, 309 F.3d 1216, 1221 (10th Cir. 2002) (court should not look beyond the confines of the complaint itself in deciding motion to dismiss); Schmitz v. Mars. Inc., 261 F.Supp.2d 1226, 1229 (D. Or. 2003) (citing Cooper v. Pickett, 137 F.3d 616, 622 (9th Cir. 1997) for the proposition that a Court must limit its review of the contents of the complaint itself on a motion to dismiss); Biospherics, Inc. v. Forbes, Inc., 989 F.Supp. 748, 749 (D. Md. 1997) (generally, when documents not appended to the complaint are submitted to the court, the documents are either stricken or the motion is converted to summary judgment with proper notice given); Schoolhouse, Inc. v. Anderson, 2001 WL 1640081, 6 (D. Minn).
 Friedl v. New York, 210 F.3d 79, 84 (2d Cir. 2000); see also Wright & Miller Federal Practice & Procedure, § 1366 (3d Ed.).
 See Gray v. Receivables Performance Mgmt., 2:10-CV-01240-GMN, 2011 WL 2433812 (D. Nev. June 13, 2011) (Under Fed. R. Evid. 201, a court may take judicial notice of “matters of public record.” (quoting Mack v. South Bay Beer Distrib., 798 F.2d 1279, 1282 (9th Cir.1986)); See also Williston Basin Interstate Pipeline Co. v. An Exclusive Gas Storage Leasehold and Easement in the Cloverly Subterranean Geological Formation, 524 F.3d 1090, 1096 (9th Cir. 2008).
 Breliant v. Preferred Equities Corp., 109 Nev. 842, 847, 858 P.2d 1258, 1260 (1993) (citing 5A Charles A. Wright & Arthur R. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure, Civil 2D § 1357 (2d ed. 1990); see also Barron v. Reich, 13 F.3d 1370, 1377 (9th Cir. 1994); MGIC Indem. Corp. v. Weisman, 803 F.2d 500, 504 (9th Cir.1986); Ferring B.V. v. Watson Laboratories, Inc. – (FL), 3:11-CV-00481-RCJ, 2012 WL 607539 (D. Nev. Feb. 24, 2012) order clarified, 3:11-CV-00481-RCJ, 2012 WL 3231005 (D. Nev. Aug. 3, 2012).
 See Durning v. First Boston Corp., 815 F.2d 1265, 1267 (9th Cir.), cert. denied, 484 U.S. 944, 108 S.Ct. 330, 98 L.Ed.2d 358 (1987).
 Lee v. City of Los Angeles, 250 F.3d 668, 688 (9th Cir. 2001).
 Branch v. Tunnell, 14 F.3d 449, 453 (9th Cir. 1994). See also Hollymatic Corp. v. Holly Sys., Inc., 620 F.Supp. 1366, 1367 (D. III. 1985) (considering contract attached to complaint and admissions in answer and in reply to counterclaim); Berk v. Ascott Inv. Corp., 759 F.Supp. 245, 249 (D. Pa. 1991) (determining court may consider document incorporated by reference into the complaint).
Litigators, Is it Time (Yes, Even As You Are Practicing Social Distancing) to Add Video Conference Mediations to Your Practice?
Last Friday I mediated a matter involving 8 parties, with two attorneys in New York, one in California, and four in Nevada. Not even one of them came to my office. We held the entire mediation remotely via video conference. We held joint sessions with all participants, attorneys-only sessions, and we held caucuses in virtual “rooms” for each group of parties or individual and their counsel. I did my normal thing, shuffling ideas, reality testing, and communicating demands and offers throughout the day. While I was in another “room”, those in a virtual room had their privacy and were able to speak among themselves securely, knowing that neither I nor the other parties could hear their deliberations. Some participated with video and others only through audio.
With today’s video-conferencing capability, anyone with a smart phone can participate in a mediation remotely. I held a mediation last month with two parties in Moscow and others in my office. The world is shrinking, and we can use technology to conduct resolve disputes even as we are working from home during the COVID-19 shutdown. Think about the cases on your docket right now that could be resolved while everyone is at home. Put those smart phones to work and let’s get resolving your cases! Call me to find out more.
Force Majeure Clauses and the COVID-19 Pandemic
The term “force majeure” translates literally from French as superior force. Black’s Law Dictionary defines force majeure as “[a]n event or effect that can be neither anticipated nor controlled.” In the law, it is the term for a contract provision that allocates the risk of specified events including natural and man-made events. If that unlikely event occurs, the impacted party is excused from performance.  The events can include acts of God, floods, fires, earthquakes, tornadoes, etc., war, terrorism, government orders, embargoes, organized labor strikes, etc.
A force majeure clause relieves a party from performing contractual obligations when certain circumstances beyond their control arise, making performance inadvisable, commercially impracticable, illegal, or impossible. While the economic recession in 2008 was found not to be a force majeure event, government orders to shut down non-essential businesses in favor of social distancing due to the COVID-19 pandemic may constitute force majeure.
As is so often the case in the law, the answer will depend on the language in your contract. If your contract does not have a force majeure clause, you have not bargained for its protection, and the argument will be much harder to make. If you do have the language in your contract, a judge will have to determine whether this event fits the parameters you bargained for and wrote in your contract. Nevada courts have held that when a party makes a contract and reduces it to writing, he must abide by its terms as plainly stated therein. If the clause is clear and unambiguous, the court must construe it from the language therein.
Please contact one of our attorneys to review your contract if it contains a force majeure clause. You may be excused from performance.
 https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/force%20majeure, accessed March 19, 2020.
 https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=e44183ab-74cf-4f2d-906a-7d7850427953, accessed March 19, 2020.
 One World Trade Ctr., LLC v. Cantor Fitzgerald Sec., 789 N.Y.S.2d 652, 655 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 2004).
 https://www.venable.com/insights/publications/2011/02/understanding-force-majeure-clauses, accessed March 19, 2020.
 See Elavon, Inc. v. Wachovia Bank, Nat’l Ass’n, 841 F. Supp. 2d 1298 (N.D. Ga. 2011).
 See Chiquita Mining Co. V. Fairbanks, Morse & Co., 60 Nev. 142, 104 P.2d 191 (1940); Ellison v. California State Auto Ass’n, 106 Nev. 601, 797 P.2d 975 (1990).
 Southern Trust Mortg. Co. v. K&B Door Co., Inc., 104 Nev. 564, 763 P.2d 353 (1988).
Using Offers of Judgment in Family Court
By: Jay Young and Guest Blogger Rock Rocheleu
A reader asked me about the use of Offers of Judgment in family court disputes. Since I rarely darken the halls of our family courts, I have enlisted the help of my friend and family law attorney Rock Rocheleau to assist with this blog post.
What is an Offer of Judgment?
An offer of judgment, sometimes called an OOJ, is a tool to help settle litigation providing a strong economic incentive for the receiving party to accept the offer. It allows a litigant to share an offer to settle the entire case on terms outlined in the offer. If the offer is accepted, the case is resolved by the offer either being paid or being reduced to judgment. If the offer is rejected and the offering party later obtains a better result than the offer, the party who rejected the offer may be required to pay the attorney fees and costs incurred by the party making the offer.
Those fees and costs are calculated from the date the offer was made. In other words, an offer effectively says, “either take this offer or when I get a better result at trial, you will have to pay my fees and costs incurred from today until the end of this dispute.” A wise party will analyze the strengths and weaknesses of its own case against the value of the offer before rejecting an offer that may subject them to penalties. Since many parties and their attorneys suffer from overconfidence bias, this is a good opportunity to take stock of the dispute.
The rule at the same time provides a strong economic incentive for the offering party to make an attractive offer. If the offer is outside the practical realm of possible outcomes at trial, the other side will not accept the offer, and the penalty of having to pay attorney fees and costs will not be triggered. An offer must be close enough to a possible result at trial to place the other side in fear of the penalty. Therefore, the rule serves to encourage both a reasonable offer and a reasonable acceptance.
Offers of Judgement for Family Law
Nevada Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 68 and newly enacted Nevada Revised Statutes (“NRS”) 17.117 generally govern offers of judgment. Nevada’s legislature has also carved out special procedures for offers of judgment in specific areas of law. For example, an OOJ in a construction defect case is controlled by NRS 40.665. The statute allows, for example, a contractor may settle a claim by repurchasing the claimant’s residence. The statutory offer is considered an OOJ if it includes specific language required by the statute.
For family law cases, our Nevada Supreme Court found NRCP 68 inapplicable to divorce proceedings. “To hold NRCP 68 applicable to divorce matters would be incompatible with the pattern and policy of our law, for several reasons.” Leeming v. Leeming, 87 Nev. 530, 533, 490 P.2d 342, 344, 345 (1971). There are several social considerations supporting this holding. For one, there is an overarching public policy that the best interest of the child is paramount to all custody matters. If a parent becomes too concerned about the possibility of paying the other parent’s attorney fees, it may deter a parent’s good faith claim. The rule could have a chilling effect on determining what is in the interest of the child.
In response, our legislature created NRS 125.141 to specifically allow a different type of offer of judgment in a divorce case. The law allows an offer of judgement in a divorce matter to be made as long as terms regarding child custody, child support, and alimony are not included in the offer. This mechanism provides each parties the opportunity to settlement asset and debt issues. The receiving party has ten days to accept the offer. The NRS 125.141 offer of judgment carries the same potential penalty for rejecting an offer as is found in NRCP 68 and NRS 17.117. NRS 125.141(4)(c).
Additionally, the family court judge is given discretion when determining an award based on the rejection of an offer of judgment. The family court judge may consider, inter alia: 1) whether each party had an attorney; 2) whether the offer was made or rejected in good faith; and 3) whether the rejecting party increased the costs of litigation. NRS 125.141(5).
Awarding Attorney Fees
The effective purpose of an OOJ is to deter unreasonable litigation. In our American system of justice, attorney fees are not awarded to the prevailing party unless required by contract or statute. Moreover, judges have discretion when awarding fees to the prevailing party under contract or statute.
NRS 18.010 provides an award of attorney fees to a prevailing party, and NRS 7.085, provides for an award of attorney fees when a party takes an unreasonable legal position. Family law motions even have a rule for awarding attorney fees if a motion was filed without first attempting to resolve the issue with the other party. EDCR 5.501. Each allows for judge discretion when answering the questions of “who prevailed?” or “was the position unreasonable?” A NRS 125.141 OOJ is more binary and does not allow as much discretion. With a NRS 125.141 OOJ, the question is simple–“Were you awarded more assets than the offer provided?” If the answer is no, then you may owe attorney fees.
Under NRS 18.010 analysis, the court may decide both parties prevailed, and thus refuse to award attorney fees. The Supreme Court has stated that a party faced with the offer of judgment penalty provisions cannot recover any attorney fees based upon some other statute. Albios v. Horizon Communities, Inc., 122 Nev. 409, 418, 132 P.3d 1022, 1028 (2006).
An offer of judgement is a valuable tool used by skilled divorce attorneys. The next time you need leverage to settle the assets and debts portion of your case, think about sending an OOJ. If you need further assistance, please contact Rock.
How to get a free copy of your credit reports (once a year)
By Michael Kind, Esq., Guest Blogger
A quick guide on how to get a free copy of your consumer report.
AnnualCreditReport.com is a website maintained by the three biggest credit reporting agencies– Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. The site was created in order to comply with their obligations under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) to provide a way for people to receive their free credit reports once per year.
Can I Sue Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act?
By Michael Kind, Esq., Guest Blogger
Many people are scared of debt collectors. And for good reason: debt collectors are often accused of using unfair and deceptive tactics. These tactics may include making improper threats or harassing people who allegedly owe money.
Effects of Unfair Debt Collection Practices
In the 1970s, the U.S. government conducted a study about debt collection throughout the country. It was determined that abusive debt collection practices contribute to bankruptcies, marital instability, the loss of jobs, invasions of peoples’ privacy, and other unwanted results.
Congress enacted the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) to eliminate abusive debt collection practices by debt collectors. The FDCPA creates guidelines under which debt collectors may conduct business, defines the rights of consumers involved with debt collectors, and prescribes penalties and remedies for violations of the rules.
Prohibited acts under the FDCPA
The FDCPA generally prohibits unfair and deceptive collection practices, restricts communication by debt collectors, and requires transparency through disclosures. For example:
- a debt collector is not allowed to communicate with someone when the collector knows that the person is represented by an attorney. 15 U.S. Code Section 1692c(a)(2)
- a debt collector’s ability to communicate with a debtor who disputes the debt is restricted. Section 1692c(c)
- a debt collector may not use any false, deceptive, or misleading representation or means in connection with the collection of any debt. Section 1692e
- a collector may not falsely represented the amount or the legal status of a debt. Section 1692e(2)
- a collector cannot threaten to take action against a person which could not be legally taken (arrests, etc.). Section 1692e(5)
- a collector may not use any false representation or deceptive means to collect or attempt to collect any debt. Section 1692e(10)
- the false representation or implication that documents are not legal process forms or do not require action by the consumer is prohibited. Section 1692e(15)
- a debt collector may not use unfair or unconscionable means to collect or attempt to collect any debt. Section 1692f
- a collector may not collect or attempt to collect an amount not expressly authorized by the agreement creating the debt or permitted by law. Section 1692f(1)
- debt collectors must provide certain disclosures when attempting to collect debt from people. Section 1692g
What is considered a “misleading” statement under the FDCPA?
The FDCPA’s prohibition on misleading statements poses the question, “Misleading to whom?” Does the answer depend on whether the collector meant for the statement to be misleading? Does the answer lie in whether the person was actually misled? Does it matter if that person happens to be extra gullible or uniquely sophisticated about debt collection issues? Or does the judge look to see if the person could have been misled? This approach isn’t easy because some people are more easily tricked than others.
In Nevada (which is in the Ninth Circuit), courts use the third approach: they evaluate the tendency of language to deceive. That means, courts don’t assess whether the person was actually deceived but whether she could have been misled. The test used is whether the least sophisticated reader would be misled or deceived by the language. Gonzales v. Arrow Fin. Servs., LLC, 660 F.3d 1055, 1061-62 (9th Cir. 2011) (The standard is designed to protect consumers of below average sophistication or intelligence, or those who are uninformed or naive; “The ‘least sophisticated debtor’ standard is lower than simply examining whether particular language would deceive or mislead a reasonable debtor”).
The FDCPA is a strict liability statute
Is the debt collection company excused if they can prove that the violation was a mistake?
No. The FDCPA is a strict liability law, meaning that a plaintiff does not need to prove that an FDCPA violation was intentional in order to prevail. E.g., Reichert v. Nat’l Credit Sys., 531 F.3d 1002, 1004 (9th Cir. 2008); Clark v. Capital Credit & Collection Servs., Inc., 460 F.3d 1162 (9th Cir. 2006)); McCollough v. Johnson, Rodenburg & Lauinger, LLC, 637 F.3d 939, 948 (9th Cir. 2011).
Under the FDCPA, a victim of unfair to deceptive collection practices may recover any damages proven, up to $1,000, plus reasonable attorney’s fees and costs.
For more information about FDCPA claims, contact Mike.
The Rules of the Game: Comprehensive Amendments to the Nevada Rules of Civil Procedure
The Changes Coming to the Nevada Rules of Civil Procedure: An Overview
Deadlines and Due Dates Under the 2019 Nevada Rules of Civil Procedure
What Can Nevada State Court Attorneys Learn About Proportionality From Federal Court Decisions?
NRCP 26 – GENERAL PROVISIONS GOVERNING DISCOVERY
NRCP 29 – STIPULATIONS ABOUT DISCOVERY PROCEDURE
NRCP 35 – PHYSICAL AND MENTAL EXAMINATIONS
NRCP 37 – FAILURE TO MAKE DISCLOSURE OR TO COOPERATE IN DISCOVERY; SANCTIONS (more…)
Commercial (Business) Litigation Causes of Action
While not exhaustive, the following is a list of possible claims/remedies that you may consider making in your commercial litigation matters, linked to the elements for each claim.
Abuse of Process
Accounting, a Remedy
Appointment Of A Receiver
Breach of Contract
Breach of Duty of Loyalty
Breach of Express Warranty
Breach of Fiduciary Duty
Breach of Fiduciary Duty; Aiding and Abetting Another’s
Breach of Fiduciary Duty; Breach of the Duty of Loyalty; Usurpation of Corporate Opportunity; the Corporate Opportunity Doctrine
Breach of Implied Warranty of Habitability
Breach of Implied Warranty of Merchantability
Breach of the Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing—Contract
Breach of the Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing—Tort
Breach of the Covenant Not To Compete; Anti-Competition Covenant; Restrictive Covenant
Breach of Warranty of Fitness for a Particular Purpose
Civil Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO)
Defamation; Business Disparagement
Defamation by Libel
Defamation by Slander
False Advertising; Lanham Act Violation; Unfair Competition
False Designation of Origin, Description, and Dilution; Lanham Act Violation; Unfair Competition
False Light, Disclosure of; Invasion of Privacy
Fraud (Intentional Misrepresentation)
Fraud; Promise Without Intent To Perform
Fraud In The Inducement
Interference With Contractual Relations
Interference With Prospective Economic Advantage or Prospective Contractual Relationship
Misappropriation of Trade Secrets; Uniform Trade Secrets Act Violation; NRS Chapter 600A
Prima Facie Tort
Promissory Estoppel; Equitable Estoppel
Quantum Meruit; Quasi Contract; Unjust Enrichment
Receiver, Appointment of
Nevada State Forms
The elements of the prima facie tort are:
- an intentional, otherwise lawful act by the defendant;
- an intent to injure the plaintiff;
- injury to the plaintiff;
- action does not give rise to any other recognized tort;
- absence of justification, or insufficient justification for the defendant’s actions;
- causation; and
Compelling Identification of Previously Bates Stamped Documents in Response to Discovery Requests
Opposing counsel responded to my interrogatories and requests for production of documents by stating that the responsive documents are among “all documents filed thus far in this case, and bates stamped 0001-3974.” Unfortunately, even after an effort to meet and confer (including sharing with counsel the law included in this article), counsel refused to identify which of the bates stamped documents related to each individual interrogatory response, etc. I was forced to file a motion and seek sanctions for having to do so. This article contains the caselaw included in that persuasive motion.
The Rules of Civil Procedure provide a means by which a party can seek an order compelling answers to interrogatories or production of documents that an opposing party has failed to disclose in response to timely discovery requests. Rule 37(a)(3)(B). Further, “an evasive or incomplete disclosure, answer or response is to be treated as a failure to disclose, answer or respond.” Rule 37(a)(4).
NRCP 37(a) authorizes the Court to issue orders compelling discovery when a party fails to respond to a request for production of documents submitted under NRCP 34. See Fire Ins. Exchange v. Zenith Radio Corp., 103 Nev. 648, 650, 747 P.2d 911, 913 (1987). NRCP 34 is limited to matters within the scope of NRCP 26(b), which permits the discovery of non-privileged material relevant to the claim or defense of any party. See NRCP 26(b) and 34(a); State ex rel. Tidvall v. Eighth Judicial Dist. Court, 91 Nev. 520, 527, 539 P.2d 456, 460 (1975).
Under EDCR 7.60(b)(4), the Court may impose “any and all sanctions which may, under the facts of the case, be reasonable, including the imposition of fines, costs or attorney’s fees when an attorney or a party without just cause . . . [f]ails or refuses to comply with these rules.” Moreover, NRCP 37(a)(4) requires the offending party to reimburse reasonable attorney fees and other expenses incurred in bringing a motion to compel, since the wrongful conduct (failure to respond and/or failure to completely and accurately respond to discovery requests) necessitated the expenditure of fees. One can only avoid such payment only if she can show that her failure was “substantially justified or that other circumstances make an award of expenses unjust.” NRCP 37(a)(4).
Where a party has already disclosed documents and Bates stamped them, courts have routinely rejected the notion that they may simply list in their interrogatory answer, the bates stamped range of all previously-disclosed documents. Such a response constitutes an evasive and incomplete response which is treated as a failure to respond to a valid discovery request. Buchanan v. Las Vegas Metro. Police Dep’t, 2012 WL 1640516, *1 (D. Nev. May 9, 2012) (citing USF Ins. Co. v. Smith’s Food and Drug Center, Inc., 2011 WL 2457655 at *3 (D. Nev. 2011)). A discovering party is “entitled to know which documents are responsive to which responses.” Queensridge Towers, LLC v. Allianz Glob. Risks US Ins. Co., 2014 WL 496952, *6 (D. Nev. Feb. 4, 2014). Accordingly, courts require parties to “supplement [her] responses to indicate which of the previously disclosed documents are responsive to each request for production.” Buchanan, 2012 WL 1640516 at *1; see also Wilson v. Greater Las Vegas Ass’n of Realtors, No. 214CV00362APGNJK, 2016 WL 1734082, at *3–4 (D. Nev. May 2, 2016); Koninklijke Philips Elecs. N.V. v. KXD Tech., Inc., No. 2:05CV01532RLH-GWF, 2007 WL 879683, at *4 (D. Nev. Mar. 20, 2007).
An account stated is “a writing which exhibits the state of account between parties and the balance owing from one to the other, and when it assented to… becomes the new contract.” See Gardner v. Watson, 170 cal. 570, 574 (1915).
An account stated claim has three elements:
- previous transactions between the parties establishing the relationship of debtor and creditor;
- an agreement between the parties, express or implied, on the amount due from the debtor to the creditor; and
- a promise by the debtor, express or implied, to pay the amount due.
Good news! The Nevada Supreme Court has finally approved the amendments to the Eighth Judicial District Court Rules (“EDCR”). The proposed amendments were sent to the Court on July 12, 2019 and approved on November 27, 2019 by the Order. The Order is effective January 1, 2020.
While all practitioners should carefully read the rules and their amendments, here are some of the highlights from the amendments:
Deadlines regarding motion practice are as follows:
- 2.20(d) – Joinders must be filed within 7 days after service of a motion
- 2.20(e) – An Opposition or Notice of Nonopposition must be filed within 14 days after service of the motion or 5 days after service of a joinder
- 2.20(g) – a Reply may be filed no later than 7 days before the matter is set for hearing, or 7 days after service of an opposition if a hearing has not been requested or set by the court
EDCR 1.90 Caseflow Management
- 1.90(b)(3) – District Court Judges, not the Discovery Commissioner, issue scheduling orders
- 1.90(b)(4) – Cases must be set for trial no later than 6 months after the close of discovery
EDCR 2.20 Motions; Contents; responses and replies; calendaring a fully briefed matter
- all motions must include the designation “Hearing Requested” or “Hearing Not Requested” in the caption of the first page “directly below the Case Number and Department Number.”
- Motions filed with the designation “Hearing Not Requested” will be set for a decision on the court’s “Chambers” calendar unless the court orders or an adverse party makes a request for a hearing. And adverse party may make such a request by including the designation “Hearing Requested” in the caption on the first page of the opposition “directly below the Case Number and Department Number.”
- Motions to be heard by a Discovery Commissioner must include the designation “Discovery Hearing Requested” in the caption of the first page of the motion “directly below the Case Number and Department Number.”
EDCR 2.20(h) – A courtesy copy of the motion, all related briefing, affidavits, and exhibits shall be delivered “to the appropriate department” by “the movant” for any contested matter at least 7 days prior to the date of the hearing
- If no hearing is set, the materials must be delivered “after the time for filing of the last briefing paper has run.” No other deadline is provided, but the logical conclusion is that the matter will not be decided until the courtesy copy is delivered
- The rule does not require the parties opposing the matter to provide briefing, leading to a possible interpretation that the movant is responsible to provide the above-required material for all of the parties
- Further, since a Reply brief may be due 7 days prior to a hearing, the courtesy copy must be delivered on that same date, meaning parties must be careful not to file a reply after hours if they cannot deliver a copy at the same time
EDCR 2.34 Discovery disputes; conferences; motions; stays.
- 2.34(f)(1) – A party may object to a commissioner’s report and recommendation within 14 days after being served with a report
- 2.34(f)(1) – Points and authorities are not required for filing an objection to a commissioner’s report and recommendation but may be filed
- 2.34(f)(1) – If a party files points and authorities, any other party may file and serve responding points and authorities within 7 days after being served with the objections
- 2.34(f)(2) – Upon receipt of a commissioner’s report, any objections, and any response, the District Court shall: (1) affirm, reverse, or modify the ruling without a hearing; (2) set the matter for a hearing; or (3) remand the matter to the commissioner for reconsideration or further action
- 2.34(g) – A party submitting matters for in camera review by the commissioner must provide a copy of the same without redactions and a set with proposed redactions
EDCR 7.20(d) – any document filed after the complaint shall refer to the first party on each side and may refer generally to the other parties.
|ABC, LLC, et. al.
FBH, Inc. et. al.
| Case No.:
|And related matters|
- Present the court with competent witness (witness has the mental capacity, and the ability to perceive, remember, and testify in an understandable manner)
- The witness must testify from his or her personal knowledge
- Mark the desired Exhibit with the clerk. “Your Honor, may I have permission to approach the Clerk for the purpose of marking this document as proposed Exhibit 12?”
- Provide a copy to opposing counsel (unless pre-marked and agreed to, which you should always attempt) “Your Honor, may the record reflect that I am handing a copy of proposed Exhibit 12 to Defense Counsel?”
- Ask for permission to approach the witness, “Your Honor, may I approach the witness?”
- Record the fact that the witness has the proposed exhibit, “Your honor, may the record reflect that I have handed the witness what has been marked as Exhibit 12 for identification purposes?”;
- Have the witness identify the document
- “Do you recognize Exhibit 12?”
- “What is it?”
- “Is that your signature on the 4th page of Exhibit 12?
- Ask the court to admit the evidence. “Your honor, we move for the admission of Exhibit 12 into evidence”
- Now that the document has been admitted, seek relevant testimony about the document. “Now, turning to the second paragraph on page one of Exhibit 12, why did . . . ”
Does it meet the test?
- Competent witness (FRE 602; NRS 50.025)
- Relevant evidence (FRE 401; NRS 48.015): tendency to make a fact more or less probable
- Admissible evidence (FRE 402; NRS 48.025): personal knowledge and the witness saw, felt, touched, or experienced it
- Tested for hearsay? (FRE 801-805; NRS 51.045-51.096)
- Authentication (FRE 901/902; NRS 52.015-52.165)
There are few circumstances in which the law requires that a party must file a complaint under oath. The requirement is called “verification.” NRS 15.010 requires that where verification is required, a pleading shall contain “the affidavit of the party shall state that the same is true of the party’s own knowledge, except as to the matters which are therein stated on the party’s information and belief, and as to those matters that the party believes it to be true.” The affidavit may be in substantially the following form and need not be subscribed before a notary public:
Under penalties of perjury, the undersigned declares that he or she is the ………………………….. (plaintiff, defendant) named in the foregoing ………………………….. (complaint, answer) and knows the contents thereof; that the pleading is true of his or her own knowledge, except as to those matters stated on information and belief, and that as to such matters he or she believes it to be true.
The law requires a verified complaint in the following circumstances:
- A derivative action by a shareholder against a corporate entity. NRCP 23.1
- A petition to perpetuate testimony prior to filing a suit. NRCP 27(a)(1)
- A petition for an ex parte temporary restraining order. NRCP 65(b)(1)
- Petition for eminent domain, or public taking. NRS 37.060
- Complaint for adverse possession. NRS 40.090
- Quiet Title. NRS 40.090; 40.091
- Eviction. NRS 40.370
- Petition to establish the termination of a life estate. NRS 40.515
- Petition for the termination of the interest of a deceased person in real property. NRS 40.525
- Compromise the claim of a minor. NRS 41.200
- Petition to determine and establish facts relative to vital statistics. NRS 41.220
- Petition for a name change. NRS 41.270
- Emancipation of a minor. NRS 41.295
- Complaint by shareholder against corporation or association to enforce secondary rights. NRS 41.520
- Divorce. NRS 125.020
- Expedited relief for unlawful removal or exclusion of tenant from premises. NRS 118A.390
A motion in limine (Latin: [ɪn ˈliːmɪˌne]; “at the start”, literally, “on the threshold”) is a motion filed for the purpose of making an evidentiary decision outside the presence of the jury and before trial begins. There are generally two types of motions in limine in a civil setting. The first is to procure a definitive ruling on the admissibility of certain evidence, often on the basis that the evidence is prejudicial, irrelevant, or otherwise inadmissible. Born v. Eisenman, 114 Nev. 854, 962 P.2d 1227 (1998). The second is a prophylactic Motion that seeks to prevent counsel for the other party from mentioning inadmissible evidence or limiting the use of the evidence. NRS 47.080.
The use of a motion in limine is not specifically authorized by NRCP, but it is authorized by EDCR 2.47 after counsel has made a good faith effort to “meet and confer” and resolve the matter prior to filing the motion. Further, the Nevada Supreme Court approved the practice in State ex. Rel. Dept. of Highways v. Nevada Aggregates & Asphalt Co., 92 Nev. 370, 551 P.2d 1095 (1976). Trial judges are authorized to rule on motions in limine pursuant to their inherent authority to manage trials. See Luce v. U.S., 469 U.S. 38, 41 n.4 (1984) (citing Fed. R. Evid. 103(c) (providing that trial should be conducted so as to “prevent inadmissible evidence from being suggested to the jury by any means”)) (as cited by Demaree, Lindsay and Hostetler, Jennifer K., Making the Most of Motions In Limine, COMMUNIQUÉ (April 2014, Vol. 35, No. 4).
Consider filing a motion in limine to exclude certain testimony or witness, to exclude evidence, publicity, obtain approval of demonstrative exhibits, PowerPoint presentations, to declare a witness unavailable, and to determine which portions of testimony are to be read to the jury, etc.
The Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”), which has been the law in the United States since 1925, preempts any state law that disfavors the ability of two parties to contractually bind themselves to arbitrate a dispute. Since 2013, Nevada law has required that any contract containing an arbitration provision must include a “specific authorization for the provision which indicates that the person has affirmatively agreed to the provision”. Not surprisingly, the Nevada Supreme Court recently held that the Nevada law is preempted by the FAA. (For an overview of the FAA, see this post)
MMAWC (then doing business as the World Series of Fighting) and its affiliates (collectively “MMAWC”), together with the Zion Wood Obi Wan Trust and its affiliates (collectively “Zion Wood”), were involved in litigation that resolved by negotiated settlement agreement. That settlement agreement incorporated and restated portions of two other agreements, including a requirement that any dispute between the parties be resolved by litigation. Zion Wood alleged that MMAWC breached the settlement agreement and sued. MMAWC, LLC v. Zion Wood Obiu Wan Trust, 135 Nev. Adv. Op. 38, __ P.3d __ (Sep. 5, 2019).
MMAWC filed a motion to dismiss the suit and to compel arbitration pursuant to the incorporated arbitration clause. The Honorable Nancy L. Allf denied the motion on the basis that the arbitration clause failed to include the “specific authorization” required by NRS 597.995 and was therefore unenforceable. MMAWC appealed.
In coming to its decision, the Nevada Supreme Court relied heavily on Doctor’s Associates, Inc. v. Casarotto, 517 U.S. 681, 683, 687, 116 S.Ct. 1652, 134 L.Ed.2d 902 (1996), which explained “that under the FAA. courts may not ‘invalidate arbitration agreements under state laws applicable only to arbitration provisions,’ as Congress has ‘precluded [s]tates from singling out arbitration provisions for suspect status’ and requires arbitration provisions to be placed on ‘the same footing as other contracts.’” The Court concluded that NRS 597.995 similarly imposes a special requirement on arbitration clauses that is not applicable to other contracts, “it singles out arbitration provisions as suspect and violates the FAA.” The Court therefore held the FAA preempts NRS 597.995.
For some history on this statute, see Is Your Arbitration Agreement Enforceable in Nevada? and Is Your Arbitration Agreement Void, or Enforceable in Nevada?
What is a Notice of Breach and Opportunity to Cure?
Many contracts contain a clause requiring a notice of default and opportunity to cure prior to filing suit or demanding arbitration. For a contract with such a clause, before an action can be taken, the party claiming the other has breached an agreement must: 1) send a notice describing the way(s) in which the party is in default of the agreement; 2) provide an opportunity to cure the default; 3) wait the ascribed period of time for the defaulted party to cure; and 4) file suit or demanding arbitration only if the other party fails to cure its default.
“The common meaning of ‘cure’ is to remedy, restore, remove, or rectify … and as the term relates to defaults, ‘cure’ means to restore matters to the status quo ante.” The object of a notice of breach and opportunity to ‘cure’ is to give a party another chance to perform substantially and a second chance to perform according to the contract. The cure requires performance to the level of substantial performance under the contract.
Fairness dictates that the opportunity to “cure” be more than illusory. A party must be given time and a real opportunity to cure prior to termination. “The right of a breaching party to be given an opportunity to cure its alleged material breach is an ancient equitable principle intended to: (1) prevent forfeiture by termination; (2) allow the breaching party to mitigate damages, (3) avoid similar future deficiencies in performance, and (4) promote the informal settlement of disputes.” In fact, where a party is not given more than an illusory opportunity to cure, there is no breach.
In a contract with a cure requirement, the opportunity to actually cure the default is essential to the contract. Therefore, when one party prevents another from performing an essential task under an Agreement—like the cure—the other party is excused from performing. The opportunity to cure becomes illusory and unattainable, and the complaining party may not maintain an action for breach for its own failure to allow the other to perform.
 Matter of Clark, 738 F.2d 869, 871 (7th Cir. 1984).
 8 Catherine M.A. McCauliff, Corbin on Contracts, § 36.7 at 349 (1999).
 See Restatement Second, Contracts § 241; II Farnsworth on Contracts §§ 8.17, 8.18 (2d ed 1998).
 5 Bruner & O’Connor Construction Law § 18:15 Principle Of Cure And Its Implications Upon Materiality (June 2016).
 Burras v. Canal Const. and Design Co., 470 N.E.2d 1362, 1367 (Ind. Ct. App. 1st Dist. 1984) (because the subcontractor “was not given an opportunity to remedy any alleged defects, any incidence of defective performance did not constitute a breach of the construction contract”).
 Chamani v. Mackay, 124 Nev. 1457, 238 P.3d 800 (2008) (citing Cladianos v. Friedhoff, 69 Nev. 41, 45–46, 240 P.2d 208, 210 (1952)).
Jay Young has published the third edition of his popular Nevada State Court Litigation Checklist. The third edition not only reflects recent changes to the Nevada Rules of Civil Procedure, but also includes a new chapter on Alternative Dispute Resolution, as well as the elements of hundreds of causes of action, defenses, and remedies. The book contains over 275 pages of helpful practice hints for new and seasoned attorneys alike. Many claim that Young’s Checklist belongs in every litigator’s library. A sneak peak at its contents is included below.
Some praise for the checklist includes:
“An essential guide to state court practice for the newly admitted Nevada lawyer, and insight of traps-for-the-unwary for all other lawyers, Jay Young’s new checklist for state court litigation goes beyond expectations by offering helpful examples of the documents a lawyer needs to create the client relationship through the conclusion of a litigation matter,”
Von Heinz, Esq.
“Jay Young’s Litigation Checklist is an invaluable tool for any litigator. What might otherwise take a careful practitioner many years of trial and error to learn and master, Jay has managed to simplify in an easy-to- understand “soup to nuts” checklist. Not only does this checklist significantly shorten the learning curve for young litigators, it will also help even experienced lawyers avoid costly mistakes. This ideal combination of practical and technical advice will tremendously aid litigation partners in training associates. Jay’s checklist will be a must-read for the litigators in our firm.”
Nicholas Santoro, Esq.
“Mr. Young’s Guide to Nevada Rules of Evidence; Guide to Nevada Evidentiary Objections; and Nevada State Court Litigation Check List are geared specifically to Nevada practitioners and are useful books to anyone who is litigating or trying cases in Nevada state courts, I would recommend that anyone who is trying cases in Nevada state courts have these materials in his library.”
Steven M. Burris, Esq.
Frustration of Purpose Defense
The doctrine of commercial frustration applies to discharge a party’s contractual obligation when “[p]erformance remains possible but the expected value of performance to the party seeking to be excused has been destroyed by a fortuitous event, which supervenes to cause an actual but not literal failure of consideration.” Graham v. Kim, 111 Nev. 1039, 899 P.2d 1122 (1995) (quoting Lloyd v. Murphy, 25 Cal.2d 48, 153 P.2d 47, 50 (1944)). The doctrine of commercial frustration does not apply to relieve party of contractual obligation, where contingency affecting expected value of party’s performance is one which party should have foreseen, and for which he should have provided. Id.
Impossibility of Performance
Impossibility of performance is a defense to breach of contract or excuse of non-performance for events that occur after a contract is entered into. Mere unexpected difficulty, expense, or hardship involved in the performance of a contract does not excuse performance. Where the difficulty or obstacle does not make performance objectively impossible, and the personal inability of a promisor to perform (frequently designated as subjective impossibility, being impossibility which is personal to the promisor and does not inhere in the nature of the act to be performed) does not excuse nonperformance of the contractual obligation. 84 A.L.R.2d 12, Modern Status of the Rules Regarding Impossibility of Performance as Defense in Action for Breach of Contract (2005).
In Nebaco, Inc. v. Riverview Realty Co., the Nevada Supreme Court determined that one who contracts to render a performance for which government approval is required, assumed duty of obtaining such approval and risk of its refusal is on him. 87 Nev. 55, 57-58, 482 P.2d 305, 307. Nebaco sought to set aside its obligations under a lease executed with Riverview Realty on the ground that performance became impossible because improvement contingent upon approval by a bank authority was denied. The lease specified that Nebaco would have a period of time to obtain interim or long-term financing for the improvements. If Nebaco failed to terminate the lease prior to the deadline or when it obtained financing the lease termination option expired. The Court concluded that termination of the lease rested upon the inability to obtain the required permission of the banking authority, not upon failure to obtain financing. The doctrine of impossibility becomes unavailable because the contingency which arose should have been foreseen.
Generally, the defense of impossibility of performance is available to promisor where his performance is made impossible or highly impractical by occurrence of unforeseen contingencies, but if the unforeseen contingency is one which the promisor should have foreseen, and for which he should have provided, the defense is unavailable to him. Id. at 57. Although, the Court did qualify that if the foreseeable consequence is provided for in the contract, its occurrence does provide an excuse for non-performance. Id. at 57 (citing Williston on Contracts sec. 1968 (1938)). The distinction here involved the fact that the lease specified financing as a contingency and not approval by the banking authority. Id. at 57.
Impossibility is a doctrine of contract interpretation. W.R. Grace and Co. v. Local Union 759, Intern. Union of United Rubber, Cork, Linoleum and Plastic Workers of America, 103 S.Ct. 2177 (1983). Foreseeability of impossibility of performance is generally a relevant but not dispositive factor in determining applicability of impossibility defense. There is no reason to look further when risk was foreseen to be more than minimally likely, goes to the central purpose of the contract, and can easily be allocated in different manner had parties chosen to do so. U.S. v. Winstar Corp., 116 S.Ct. 2432 (1996).
In the linked blog post below, Howard & Howard‘s Mike Braun explains a recent decision where a court denied an employer’s request for a preliminary injunction against the company’s former President and its IT manager who took flash drives with company information (containing the company’s vendors and suppliers list, sales data, pricing and cost information, and profit margins), then went to work for a competitor.
The Court found that the employer failed to take adequate steps to protect its supposed trade secrets and was therefore not entitled to protection under the law. According to Braun, the case acts as “a virtual checklist of the steps a company should consider if it wants its important information to be treated as a trade secret.”
As this article suggests, if you want others to treat your information as a trade secret, you have to treat it like a trade secret, by:
- Using a confidentiality agreement;
- Clearly identify confidential information;
- Train your employees to treat the information as confidential;
- Restrict access to confidential information; and
- Address confidential information when employees terminate employment
What Constitutes a Material Breach of Contract?
In Nevada, to prevail on a claim for breach of contract action must show (1) the existence of a valid contract, (2) a breach by the defendant, and (3) damage as a result of the breach. For a breach of contract to be material, it must go to the root or essence of the agreement between the parties, or be one which touches the fundamental purpose of the contract.
Stated another way, it is a breach which is so substantial or fundamental as to defeat the object or purpose of the entire transaction, or make it impossible for the other party to perform under the contract. In Nevada, material breach of contract “depends on the nature and effect of the violation in light of how the particular contract was viewed, bargained for, entered into, and performed by the parties” (more…)
Most questions regarding the enforceability of arbitration obligations begin with the Federal Arbitration Act, 9 U.S.C. §1 et seq. (the “FAA”), which governs the enforcement of arbitration agreements. 9 U.S.C. §§ 1-2; Prima Paint Corp. v. Flood & Conklin Mfg. Co., 398 U.S. 395, 402 (1967). The FAA was signed into law in 1925 and governs the enforcement of arbitration agreements, but does not require that the parties or the arbitrator hold the matter in confidence.
Nevada Revised Statutes, Chapter 38 is Nevada’s version of the Uniform Arbitration Act of 2000. While it allows an arbitrator to issue a protective order against the disclosure of confidential and trade secret information (NRS 38.233(5)), it is silent on the issue of whether the parties to an arbitration or their arbitrator must keep the fact of the arbitration or its result a secret. (more…)