Friday, May 31, 2013

Pay Attention To The ADKT

For those of you who are unaware, next Thursday, June 6, 2013, is a big day in the Las Vegas legal community. First, it is the day of the 23rd Annual Clark County Bar Association Meet Your Judges Mixer. Second, at 3:00 p.m. on the 17th floor of the RJC, the Supreme Court is holding a public hearing on ADKT 486 and ADKT 487. The ADKT (administrative docket) is the part of the Supreme Court that really affects you on a day to day basis---it is where they decide to change the rules. Specifically of interest this time is ADKT 487 which proposes amendments to NRCP 26, 30, and 34. We recommend that you take a look at it as these changes, which appear to be intended to bring the NRCP more in line with the FRCP, will impact all of us. Of note, one proposed change would limit depositions to one day of seven hours.

Has anyone looked at this? Are the proposed changes good or bad for business? Does anyone care? Also, are Meet Your Judges mixers really that good of an idea? Does anything good come out of them?

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Summer Hours

Well, folks, it's officially that time of year again where you can wear white without remorse and enjoy all the indoor activities that Las Vegas has to offer. Yes, it's summer. School is wrapping up and there will be less traffic for a few brief months on your morning commute. What a wonderful time of year!

The best thing about summer is that it always kicks off with a 4 day work week thanks to Memorial Day. From there on out, it is a challenge to keep associates and staff focused on Friday afternoons (partners aren't even in on Friday afternoon, natch). So, we want to know whether any of you have summer hours? Do you come in and leave earlier? Do you have an afternoon siesta? Free popsicles on Wednesday afternoons? Does your firm do anything to make the long hot summer more enjoyable?

Friday, May 24, 2013

The Money-Generating Merry-Go-Round Keeps On Turning

  • Bankruptcy attorney and tv advertiser, Randolph Goldberg, sentenced to two years in prison and $700,000 in restitution as part of a deal for tax evasion. He already voluntarily gave up his law license for two years. No word yet on whether that will become permanent. Does this mean more work for Anthony Deluca? [RJ]
  • Baseball player and admitted roid-head, Jose Canseco, is a suspect in a sexual assault in Vegas. He agreed to an interview with police, but meanwhile, is playing baseball in Texas. [CBS news]
  • The Boy Scouts of America voted to end its ban on gay youth, while simultaneously upholding its ban on gay leaders. The move is guaranteed to make nobody happy and, understandably, will likely result in costly litigation over the policy. [Al Jazeera]
  • The NV legislature approved a proposed constitutional amendment to end Nevada's ban on gay marriage. If it is approved again in 2015, it will go on the ballot for the voters to decide. [RJ]
  • Another Berkeley law student, Hazhir Kargaran, was charged and pleaded no contest to involvement in the death of Turk the bird at the Flamingo last fall. From Wolfson's comments in the article, it sounds like they have a pretty strong case against Texeira. [RJ]
  • A tipster has pointed out that both the Morris Law Group and Kemp, Jones, & Coulthard have "withdrawn as counsel" for MGM in the massive CityCenter litigation. As those two firms make their way to the bench, they join Jones Day who was apparently fired from the case last year, leaving Greenberg Traurig and Robertson & Associates on the field for MGM, with Alex Robertson IV as lead counsel according to his website. [A612676]
Be safe this Memorial Day weekend. Don't drink and drive and make sure your BBQ is fully cooked--you don't want to end up with a Firefly type situation on your hands!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

HOA Scandal Back In The News

It has long been rumored that the HOA scandal may end up with judges being indicted. However, when the big "final round" of indictments came out in January, it didn't go any higher than the local attorney level. Now one possible cause for the rumor has come to light. 

Yesterday, the RJ posted an article indicating that Leon Benzer claimed that none other than Nevada's attorney general, Catherine Cortez Masto, had approved of his actions. Masto acknowledged to the RJ that she met Benzer while running for office in 2006, but did not discuss or approve Benzer's HOA scheme. Benzer's claim, which came to light to the FBI a few years ago (and we all know how well they keep secrets), could explain some rumors, but doesn't explain it all since Masto was not a judge and is not implicated in the HOA scandal. 

Any thoughts or insight on where this is going? Are we still going to see more indictments? More "mysterious" deaths?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

"We Have No Guidelines When It Comes To Neck Holds"

The Clark County Family Court has, again, found itself under the scrutiny of the I-team at 8newsnow. The story involves marshals putting a 25 year old woman into a restraint chair and then one of them, Steve Rushfield, allegedly choking her. If the name Rushfield sounds familiar, it may be because he was involved in an earlier incident this year that resulted in him stepping down as a supervisor over family court marshals.

We have to ask--what is going on at the family court? Is it complete anarchy over there? The article mentions that court administration would make no comment on the incident because it was a personnel matter. Really? Not even a comment about maintaing order and decorum in the courthouse? Court administration (we don't know who that is) also said they have no guidelines when it comes to neck holds. Seriously? Is one hand around a 110 pound woman's throat the kind of neck hold that needs a guideline?

Monday, May 20, 2013

Heller To Block Dorsey?

The Las Vegas Sun reported last Thursday that Jennie Dorsey's nomination to the federal bench was endorsed by the senate judiciary committee. That means to seal the deal she will need to be approved by 60 members of the senate, which is currently looking unlikely to happen. Senator Dean Heller, who was personally responsible for keeping Elissa Cadish from the federal bench, is now taking a position against Dorsey--specifically because of the campaign contribution issue we discussed previously here and here.

That's alright, federal court in Nevada is doing just fine, right?

Friday, May 17, 2013

Graduation Day 2013

  • Congratulations to the Boyd Class of 2013! Convocation is this morning at 10:00 a.m. Good luck with those hangovers.
  • If you need an idea for a law grad gift, Above the Law has a few suggestions.
  • Stanley Walton pleaded guilty to mortgage fraud and faces up to 30 years in prison. [8newsnow]
  • The OJ Simpson hearing could present an interesting case study for an article on attorneys as witnesses and/or attorney ethics. [RJ]
  • Apparently, there are/were rumors of partners and associates sleeping together at Alverson, Taylor, Mortensen, & Sanders. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

February 2013 Bar Exam Results

Lest we forget, the unofficial February 2013 bar exam results will be posted some time today on the State Bar of Nevada site.  Yes, someone who has a connection at the Supreme Court will know before you do, but even if they told you that you passed, would you believe them?

Last February's pass rate was a whopping 56%--the year before it was 63%. Any predictions on what it will be this time? Any words of wisdom for those that make up the unfortunate 40% or more who may be retaking it in July?

Ed.  The results are now up here.  The pass rate was 54%, with roughly 110 names on the list.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Look, Ma! One Hand!

  • A Clark County jury awarded Richard Suen $70 million against Sheldon Adelson and Las Vegas Sands. Naturally, it will be appealed and there is the possibility of a mistrial due to jury problems that happened Monday. One juror wanted to be separated from the others and had to be talked to by Judge Bare. [RJ]
  • The alleged ringleader of the HOA scandal, Leon Benzer, was indicted Tuesday by a federal grand jury on charges of tax evasion. He probably won't be back in his taxi any time soon. [RJ]
  • Justin Texeira, the Berkeley law student accused of killing Turk the bird at the Flamingo last fall pleaded not guilty; a jury trial is set for October 14, 2013. [LV Sun]
  • OJ Simpson is expected to testify today. Former DA David Roger testified yesterday and said he offered OJ a deal back in 2008 that would have given him 2 and a half years instead of the 9-33 years he is doing now. [8newsnow]
  • The big news out of OJ's hearing yesterday was that Judge Linda Bell let him have one hand free. Alas, worried about the possibility of a slow speed chase in a white Ford Bronco, Judge Bell required his other to remain shackled to his chair. [NBC News]

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Firm Spotlight: Alverson, Taylor, Mortensen, & Sanders

One of our readers recently asked for more information on Nevada's law firm, Alverson, Taylor, Mortensen,  & Sanders. ATMS, which began as a partnership between Bruce Alverson and Nevada's favorite senator, Harry Reid, was founded in 1977. According to its website, the firm specializes in civil litigation, medical malpractice, construction defects, and "numerous" other specialities.

Our predecessor devoted quite a bit of coverage to the happenings at ATMS, which is coincidentally among the first links to pop up when you search for Alverson and sweatshop. Is it really a sweatshop? Depends on who you ask. Is it a great place to work? Depends on who you ask. Who has worked there? A lot of people.

So, help out one of our readers by giving us an update on ATMS. Do they still do the summer associate program? Is the turnover rate better or worse than any other firm?

Monday, May 13, 2013

Fresh Squeezed Monday Morning

  • OJ Simpson is back in Court this week claiming his attorney Yale Galanter provided him poor representation and gave him bad advice when he signed off on OJ going to get back his stuff. [Fox News]
  • The Sands case against Richard Suen went to jury on Friday. [RJ]
  • Las Vegas to get its first official day of triple digits today? [LV Sun]
  • MGM's CEO James Murren says the construction problems MGM had at CityCenter were limited to one building that never opened [the Harmon]. [Hotel News Now]
Anyone have any further insight into the above stories?

Friday, May 10, 2013

One More BAM Before He Goes

As you may recall from a post earlier this year, Judge Bruce A. Markell, affectionately known as BAM, is resigning on July 10 to go teach in Florida. Judge Markell, never known to tread lightly, is not going out quietly. The RJ has an article on the recent benchslap he gave local attorney Anthony Deluca. Although we have not seen the order (if someone has it online, feel free to put the link in the comments), the RJ says it weighs in at 91 pages and lectures on bankruptcy code and the Rules of Professional Conduct.

Without having seen the full order, it's hard to determine how appropriate or inappropriate it was. What do you guys think? Do we like it when BAM gives us a good old fashioned benchslap? Did Deluca deserve it? (That answer is "no" according to a comment on the RJ article attributed to Anthony Deluca, and which mentions he has represented over 20,000 bankruptcy clients-unwittingly supporting the notion of a bankruptcy mill.) Is this judicial activism or a judicial technician at his finest? Will those poor law students even know what hit them?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

What's Up, Wednesday?

  • Above the Law has an article on the possible purchase of Jennie Dorsey's judicial nomination titled The High Price of the Federal Bench.
  • The trial of Dr. Depak Desai started up this week before Judge Valerie Adair and a jury of his peers. The RJ reports that Desai stared forward, not acknowledging the witness on the stand talking about how her husband's life has been ruined by Hep C. The RJ also suggests this trial could go on for two months. Time to earn your high union salaries, Clark County prosecutors!
  • Flavor Flav will be going to trial on domestic violence charges before Judge Carolyn Ellsworth on September 30, 2013. They're going to have to move her out of her small courtroom to accomodate all the intense media scrutiny this will likely draw.
  • Attorney/Assemblywoman Lucy Flores is in the spotlight again revisiting her comments in support of revamping sex education in Nevada. Flores, who is also very active on Twitter, was getting called out yesterday by Jon Ralston for not making time for his show.
  • The Sun/Vegas Inc. is reporting that over 45 people infected by Salmonella at Firefly have retained Bill Marler to represent them in their lawsuits against the restaurant. Looks like Craig Murphy is getting in on the action as local counsel. The article also reports that Ryan Osterholm has 20 clients of his own in this case. Talk about niche market lawyering. It's surprising that we don't have a specialist like this in our own market given the number of tasty buffets/petri dishes we claim.
Anything else going on?

Monday, May 6, 2013

More Money Than God

"He's got to be doing something right to having acres of tequila plants in Mexico, a private plane, a limousine, a house in Big Bear." He once had "more money than God."  

Friday, May 3, 2013

Justice Is Not Blind In Nevada

As if there was not already enough reason to poke fun at it, the Justice League of Nevada has a new website featuring a cartoon character Lady Justice with her blindfold lifted so that one eye can see. Was there ever a more fitting symbol of the Nevada legal system? The only thing it needs to make it even more true to life is a little money on one of her scales tipping it slightly to one side. Don't get us wrong, we applaud what the Justice League of Nevada is doing--it's just that name and the cartoon are not helping its case.

Speaking of blind justice, the power went out at the RJC yesterday. 8newsnow reports that trials that were going on continued, but no one else could be let in the building because of security issues. Seriously? This is an example of government employees at its best. Oh, the power is out, guess we better shut down for the day because there is no other way for people to get in the building if they don't pass through a metal detector first. Is anybody old enough to remember what they did before we had metal detectors?

Finally, don't forget that tonight there is a party at Rick Harris' firm. It is conveniently located downtown where First Friday is also happening tonight--making it a great opportunity to kill two birds with one stone. Make sure if you go that you get some good gossip to share with us. If you're not the partying type, Iron Man 3 comes out today. Also, Faith Lutheran High School presents "Legally Blonde" this weekend and next.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

May Day

Today is May Day, known in several countries as International Worker's Day, and in the U.S., also known as "Law Day." May 1 is a national holiday in some 80 countries, but naturally, any day designated as something to do with the law would not be a national holiday in the U.S. We hope you and your staff are enjoying International Worker's Day/Law Day by working harder than you did yesterday.

Speaking of working hard, that brings us to the issue of unions. Someone has asked for enlightenment on the Clark County District Attorney's Union. As you are well aware, there are not a lof of attorney's unions out there, but some 5 or 6 years ago, the Clark County DA's office managed to unionize. Can someone fill us is on how that works, worked, or doesn't work?

Can you imagine a construction defects attorney's union?