Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving 2013!

Well folks, what a great short week it's been! Hopefully most of you are already on the way to Grandma's house, but for those of you still at work, here are a couple of items to discuss. We'll be back on Monday. Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

  • Judge Linda Bell finally (read: some 6 months later) ruled that OJ Simpson will not get a new trial. His legal team at Pitaro & Fumo and Palm Law Firm vow to continue the fight. [RJ; Las Vegas Sun]
  • Last week, we mentioned that some 2,900 people took advantage of Southern Nevada Project Homeless Connect. Looks like some people really took advantage of it and turned it into amnesty day. (Did no one really see that coming?) [8NewsNow]
  • Apparently, it can be quite difficult to get a speedy trial in Las Vegas. Do the judges grant too many continuances? [8NewsNow]
  • What do you think? Should Nevada be on the hook to pay for an inmate's genetic health condition when if she were on parole she would have private health insurance that would cover it? [RJ]
  • Clark County will be paying $38 million to a land-owning partnership for air rights and building height restrictions near the airport. Congrats to Robert Eisenberg who was at the helm for the win--but he and his clients still have to deal with prior counsel's claim to $14 million of that sum. [RJ]
  • Politician and lawyer Tick Segerblom has nobly offered to run against Brian Sandoval in next year's gubernatorial election "if no one else ran and people wanted me to run." [Las Vegas Sun]
  • The Supreme Court of Nevada is set to release seven opinions today, including a follow up on Carrigan v. Commission on Ethics which already made one detour to the US Supreme Court.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Job Tips: Office Gifting

Since it's already kind of dead out there thanks to Thanksgiving and everyone (especially our support staff) is checking out the Black Friday deals online, we thought this was a good opportunity to open up the floor to your tips on office gifting. What are your rules for office gifting? Does it all depend on your bonus? Do you get something for everyone or just a choice few? Do you participate in the gift exchanges the staff do? Have you ever gotten your boss a gift? Are you expected to do so? (By the way, the first tip we'll throw out there is that you don't need to gift up.)

What tips and rules do you have for office gifts during the holidays?

Monday, November 25, 2013

Piece By Piece

  • Another Nevada inmate died--bringing the total to seven inmate deaths in two months...[Las Vegas Sun]
  • The Supreme Court of Nevada refused to delay the disciplinary hearing of Judge Steven Jones, noting that he failed to show "irreparable or serious injury." The disciplinary hearing is set to go forward on December 2. [Las Vegas Sun; RJ]
  • More details are surfacing about the family court marshal drama and the allegations surrounding Steve Rushfield. [RJ]
  • It looks like the Harmon will not go down in a blaze of glory. Rather, it will be taken down piece by piece. When, exactly, will depend on when MGM's insurance carrier for construction of the building completes its investigation into CityCenter's $393.8 million claim for the hotel as a total loss. [RJ]
  • U.S. District Court Judge Jennifer Dorsey denied Google's request to squash a subpoena and now someone from Google will take the stand in a federal racketeering trial. [RJ]
  • Jim Crockett is officially running for Judge Bixler's seat on the bench in Department 24. [Las Vegas Sun]

Friday, November 22, 2013

Dogs & Cats Living Together--Mass Hysteria

  • Thanks to the Nevada Supreme Court, the "Shark Pimp," aka Laughlin Township Constable Jordan Ross, and his fellow constable in Henderson got a vote of confidence for continuing to offer their services in Las Vegas. The two were sued by lame duck Las Vegas Township Constable John Bonaventura. [RJ
  • Visit and you can donate to District Attorney Steve Wolfson's campaign for election; visit and you can sign a petition asking DA Wolfson to allow DNA testing Kirstin Blaise Lobato. Guess which site DA Wolfson mentioned in his campaign video? [Las Vegas Sun]
  • Another Nevada inmate has died--making this the sixth inmate death in the last two months...[Las Vegas Sun]
  • Family Court judges finalized 102 adoptions of foster children yesterday as part of National Adoption Day. [Fox5Vegas]
  • WHAT!?!?! The UNLV Rebels football team is bowl eligible. [Las Vegas Sun]
  • WHAT!?!?! It's raining. [8NewsNow]

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Great Expectations

With only a week until Thanksgiving and 33 days until Christmas, one thing is (un)certain for many lawyers this time of year: BONUSES! Although some of you may have already found out what kind of bonus you're getting this year, for many of us, that day is just around the corner and the anticipation is nearly unbearable. Here's your chance to weigh in with your expectations about what kind of Christmas you may be having this year. We'll check back later and see if your expectations were truly great.

What are your expectations with regard to a bonus this year?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Thankful For Student Attorneys

  • Attorney Matthew Callister filed suit on Monday on behalf of eight plaintiffs affected by the tuberculosis at Summerlin Hospital Medical Center. [RJ]
  • The Clark County Commissioners are still considering increasing taxes for "More Cops"--although the matter was tabled at yesterday's meeting. [Fox5Vegas]
  • An estimated 2900 people took advantage of the Southern Nevada Project Homeless Connect at the Cashman Center yesterday. Among other essentials that were provided, bench warrants were quashed and fees totaling in the thousands were waived. [Las Vegas Sun
  • "Student attorneys" at Boyd's Immigration Clinic interviewed 29 immigration detainees at the Henderson Detention Center and report that 11 of those 29 were mistreated, called racial slurs, and/or denied access to their attorneys. [8NewsNow]
Ed. The RJ is reporting that a man that committed suicide at the Las Vegas LDS Temple last night is the son of 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Jay Bybee. Our condoleneces go out to Judge Bybee and his family.  More details at MyNews3.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Thankful For Logic

  • Three local mayors would like to increase your property tax faster than state law allows because "limits on how fast tax bills can increase relative to property values are hindering recovery from the recession." Really!?! For who!?! [RJ]
  • Suspended Family Court Judge Steven Jones is making more efforts to move the scheduled hearing before the Commission on Judicial Discipline from next month to some time after the election filing deadline in January. The concern voiced by his attorney, Jim Jimmerson, is that if the commission wrongly proceeds with the hearing, the commission would have the ability to bar Jones from running for reelection. Isn't that a possibility if they rightly proceed as well? The commission's special counsel, Kathleen Paustian, said the commission has to move forward "so as not to impact the reputation of the judiciary and public confidence in the judiciary and the commission." Nice thought, but we may have passed that point a year ago. [RJ]
  • According to Jon Ralston, attorney/assemblywoman @LucyFlores has a national pollster checking on her chances as a potential candidate for lieutenant governor. Flores made national headlines earlier this year with her impassioned pleas for sex education reform. [Ralston Reports]
Finally, as most of you know, next week is Thanksgiving. For a number of reasons, local food banks are facing shortages with more requests for food and less available to give out to those in need. We encourage you to take those feelings of gratitude you've been expressing of late on Facebook and put them to action. Please consider helping those in need by donating food and/or money to local charities/food banks.

Monday, November 18, 2013

You Make The Call: The Right To Counsel

Attorney Stephen Stubbs found himself in the headlines again Friday after getting arrested for obstructing an officer while trying to represent a biker client who had been stopped for a traffic infraction. Stubbs, who is a tax lawyer, also represents several members of biker groups (like the Mongols) and was in the news earlier this year after a biker rally in Boulder City when he filed suit on their behalf against Metro. (He is also one of the parties in a Nevada Supreme Court opinion, Stubbs v. Strickland, from earlier this year on Anti-SLAPP filings.) The comments section to the article includes a video of his arrest.

So, what brilliant legal analysis do you have to offer? Was he within his legal rights? Does the procedure for handling your right to counsel differ when the attorney happens to be standing right there? Are the results different if he hadn't filed suit against Metro earlier this year?

Friday, November 15, 2013

French Renaissance Style

  • DA Steve Wolfson has called for an audit of payments made to witnesses--a practice he recently ended when it came to the attention of the media and public. The Sun is reporting that their own investigation into the payments is turning up a lot of potential problems including payments for hotel and airfare for people who didn't even testify. [Las Vegas Sun]
  • The DA decided not to charge the owner of a gun that killed a teenage girl when it was accidentally discharged by one of her friends. [Fox5Vegas]
  • The Clark County School District got sued in the Western District of Kentucky for copyright infringement because a book was scanned and put on the web. [RJ]
  • U.S. District Judge Jennifer Dorsey appointed a defendant's fifth counsel in a case. [RJ
  • Last month we had a post about the nicest office in town and we may have the winner after the jump....

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Judicial Wish List

With only 40 days until Christmas and the official news yesterday that Judge Earl will retire after next year, its time to start talking about your judicial wish list. With a January 17, 2014, deadline for judicial candidate registration, now is the time to be convincing your peers to step up to the plate to sit on the bench. We all know how difficult it is to get our best and brightest to run, but maybe a little anonymous peer pressure on the Internet will get them to at least consider the possibility.

Who do you think should be running for district court judge or the Nevada Supreme Court next year?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Evading Service

  • Speaking of people who can't stay out of the news, Constable John Bonaventura, whose office was recently sued for sexual harassment, is apparently evading service. Ralston Reports has an email exchange between Bonaventura's attorney, Robert Pool, and opposing counsel Andrew Rempfer
  • Bringing up the Mormon question about Judge Doug Smith and Mark Hutchison seemed to help the case of some plaintiffs suing Health Plan of Nevada. Judge Elissa Cadish, who got the case after Smith withdrew, denied HPN's motion to dismiss. [RJ]
  • The formal investiture ceremony for U.S. District Judge Jennifer Dorsey was held yesterday at the Smith Center. Did anyone go?
  • A Coronado high school student was diagnosed with pulmonary tuberculosis...any relation to the TB outbreak at Summerlin Hospital Medical Center earlier this year? [MyNews3]
  • The gathering of one of our community's greatest brain trusts, the construction defects sweeps status hearings, start today. If anything exciting happens, let us know.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Probably Inappropriate

  • After getting caught with their proverbial "hand in the cookie jar," the DA's office is ending the practice of paying trial witnesses more than the $25 courthouse appearance fee and gas reimbursement to which they're entitled. DA Steve Wolfson's comment, "I will tell you that practice is probably inappropriate." [8NewsNow I-team]
  • Here's a puff piece on Dean Dan Hamilton. One of his more interesting comments, "Boyd is a great success story that is known in academia." [RJ]
  • In the hepatitis case against the Health Plan of Nevada, Gerald Gillock, attorney for two plaintiffs suing HPN, filed a motion to disqualify Judge Doug Smith. The basis for disqualification being that Mark Hutchison, who had joined the HPN legal team two months prior, was in a leadership position over Judge Smith in the Mormon church thereby creating a situation in which, allegedly, Smith's impartiality could be reasonably questioned. Both Smith and Hutchison subsequently withdrew from the case and the Supreme Court of Nevada refused to intervene upon HPN's request to reinstate Smith. Judge Smith, who has had a difficult time staying out of the news lately, is rumored to be retiring next year. [RJ]

Monday, November 11, 2013

Veteran's Day 2013

We begin today by taking a moment to recognize those who have served in the Armed Forces. Thank you for your service and dedication to our great country.

Both federal and state courts are closed today, but on the chance that some of you are working, here is some news:
  • U.S. Magistrate George Foley, Jr. declined to dismiss the federal indictment against Judge Steven Jones. As pointed out by our commenters, judicial candidate Lisa Willardsen makes an appearance in the comments. [RJ]
  • Speaking of Ms. Willardsen, according to her Facebook page, Nevada Judicial Watch has changed its name to Nevada Judicial Guardian due to trademark concerns. 
  • Like the beginning of a mystery novel, another Nevada inmate died recently, bringing the total to six over the last two months...[RJ]
  • We already have our first set of contestants for the 2014 judicial election. Both Richard Scotti and Phung Jefferson have announced their campaign for the Department 2 bench being vacated by Valorie Vega.
  • From the Veterans in Politics Talk Show schedule we've learned that Jim Crockett and Amy Chelini are likely candidates for district court in 2014. Rumor has it that Crockett may be running for the seat on the bench being vacated by Judge James Bixler in Department 24.
  • Anyone else have any word on newly announced or about-to-announce candidates?

Friday, November 8, 2013

Surprise, Judge!

  • Robert Cottle, Matthew Minucci, and Ryan Dennett are representing a man who lost his wife and infant twin daughters after the Summerlin Hospital Medical Center failed to test for tuberculosis. [RJ; 8NewsNow]
  • The Nevada Supreme Court upheld a $250,000 award to the family of a man who was killed when a Metro officer ran a red light. [RJ; LVMPD v. Yeghiazarian]
  • Nearly monopolistic NV Energy announced that it plans to join a California energy sharing network that could reduce your power bills next year. [Vegas Inc.]
  • The I-Team reports that Nevada's Department of Administration failed to file state employee tax forms correctly for the last 27 years and now the IRS wants that money. This means that some local judges have been getting emails from Carson City telling them, "Surprise, you owe several thousand dollars in back taxes!" [8NewsNow]

Thursday, November 7, 2013


Today's topic is simple, have you (not your client) ever been sanctioned? Did you deserve it? Where is the law library that benefits from all those sanctions?

Have you ever been sanctioned?

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The News Racks Are Safe For Now...

  • The Clark County Commissioners took no action on banning Strip news racks. One of the opponents of the proposed ban is attorney Dominic Gentile, who also publishes an Italian-American newspaper. [Fox5Vegas]
  • The City of Henderson has given its City Attorney, Josh Reid, a three-year contract extension and a $6,000 raise. [RJ]
  • Attorneys Don Campbell and Dan Carvalho shared the media spotlight before the Supreme Court yesterday in oral arguments for the Crazy Horse II case. [RJ]
  • The Northern Nevada Correctional Center had four inmates die last month and they aren't releasing the causes of death, drawing the attention of civil rights activists. [Las Vegas Sun
  • Not surprisingly, the unarmed man who was shot by a Metro officer at a 7-11 last month has decided to sue.  Even less surprising, he is represented by attorneys Cal Potter and Joseph Reiff. [Las Vegas Sun]

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Job Tips: Performance Evaluations

It's that time of year again when many of you will be given an opportunity to "self-evaluate" your performance over the last year. While the approach you take to doing these evaluations will largely depend on your specific situation, we imagine that most of you know better than to evaluate yourself as above average in all categories. Likewise, you know better than to score yourself low across the board. What tips or tricks do you have for successfully navigating the tricky waters of self-evaluations? What kind of impact do these types of reviews have on you? Do you have any horror stories or words of wisdom for those facing their first review?

Also, what advice do you have for another aspect of performance evaluations:  doing them for other attorneys, paralegals, or secretaries who work under you? Is there ever a better opportunity to make friends? Or can you score more points by attacking them or building them up through constructive criticism?

Monday, November 4, 2013

Firm Spotlight: Smith Larsen & Wixom

Since the Las Vegas Business Press decided to do an article on one of their partners, Mike Wixom, we thought we'd start off the week by putting the firm spotlight on Smith Larsen & Wixom. With nine attorneys, this firm focuses on both litigation and transactional work, with emphasis on: banking, business, commercial, contracts, personal injury/product liability, and appellate law.

So, what can you tell us about SLW? Ever worked with them or for them? Any idea on pay/billable hours? Are bowties a required part of the dress code?

Friday, November 1, 2013

Sweet November

Family Court Judge Cynthia Giuliani dressed up like a fairy godmother yesterday to finalize eight adoptions. While it never hurts to get a little free publicity leading up to a election year, it's also nice to see a story about something good happening in our courts. Far too often we focus solely on the antics of the few and neglect to mention when good things are happening. Hopefully, there is far more good going on than we hear about in the press.

Today is November which means the year is starting to wind down. In the coming weeks, we'll be looking at end-of-the-year reviews, the best and worst holiday parties, and talking about raises and BONUSES! For those of you who recently passed the bar and are looking for work, keep looking (here's a resource for finding legal jobs in Las Vegas--hiring will slow down a little around the holidays, but will pick up again in January). For those of you who are thinking about running for judge, judicial candidate pre-registration is open. Finally, for those of you who aspire to something more, Above the Law has a piece on the lawyers/law grads who made the Forbes list of the World's Most Powerful People.