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)).