Monday, March 31, 2014

Time After Time

  • The State Bar of Nevada recently sent out a letter to some bar exam applicants to let them know a criminal broke into a records storage facility and stole confidential records from those applicants. For those of you who don't recall, bar exam applications are lengthy and contain just about every detail imaginable and usually include a credit card number to pay the fees. No word yet on how extensively applicants were impacted or if prior applicants were impacted (i.e. you). The bad thing is that according to, Metro informed one of the applicants that his information was compromised and that the perpetrator had so much information that he already had fake ids with his information TWO MONTHS AGO. The State Bar of Nevada sent a letter out about the breach on March 17, 2014! Granted, this is Nevada, but we should expect more from the State Bar with regard to protection of confidential records and efforts to alert people whose information may have been impacted. Maybe some of you have time to give the Bar a call and find out what happened and why the delay. [Above the Law]
  • Speaking of losing track of time, defense attorney Chris Rasmussen in pulling out the old "illegal search and seizure" defense for a client who had a $35,000 Rolex removed from her vagina. [RJ]
  • Are college football players the next big union? [RJ]
  • Medical marijuana is promising to create all kinds of business, including more work for family lawyers with regard to its use in relation to parental rights. It appears that Family Court Judge Gayle Nathan is out in front on this one and deciding what is the "best interest of the child." [Las Vegas Tribune]

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Time Flies When You're Billing

One thing that very few graduating law students have a grasp on is something they will likely be introduced to on their first day on the job: the billable hour. For some reason or another, this form of billing has stuck around and refuses to die, remaining the bane of many a lawyer's existence. Not only is it a burdensome task, but it can present virtuous young first years with their first real ethical dilemma. But, if you want to eat, you got to get paid, and if you want to get paid, you've got to do the time.

Here's your opportunity to pass on some of your wisdom regarding the billable hour to up and coming attorneys. Or maybe just a chance to complain. We want your thoughts on billing time. Do you enter your time daily, weekly, or monthly? Do you keep in a day planner and have a secretary enter it? Do you bill as you go? Do you bill .1 for lots of items or do you block bill? Do you automatically bill a certain amount for certain tasks regardless of how long they take? Any tips on how to make this burden more bearable?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Funnel Cakes

  • The Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline is moving forward on another complaint against suspended Judge Steven Jones. As you may recall, the Supreme Court of Nevada recently issued a decision allowing this investigation (which includes allegations regarding intimate relations with an intern, failure to disclose that relationship when she later appeared before him in court, and certain evidence going up in smoke) to go forward. [RJ]
  • UNLV's football team, which finally seemed to be showing signs of improvement last season, may lose a future bowl appearance for failing to keep their grades up. [RJ]
  • The RJ and National Review had to sue the Nevada Division of Insurance to get information Obamacare navigators. Turns out at least eight of them had criminal pasts. [National Review]

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Cotton Candy

  • DA Steve Wolfson wants a centralized database of Legal 2000 psychiatric hold information. [RJ]
  • A Nevada Supreme Court ruling earlier this year held that time served on a city council counted toward term limits for mayors. Now, the runner up in last year's Henderson mayoral primary is trying to get Mayor Andy Hafen to step down. [RJ]
  • What do you know about renter's rights? [8NewsNow]
  • Today the US Supreme Court will hear oral argument in the Conestoga Wood and Hobby Lobby cases focusing on the Affordable Care Act, RFRA, and the religious beliefs of corporations (if such a thing actually exists). The Washington Post has a good primer on the cases to get you up to speed so you can sound smart at the water cooler.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Hot Dogs And Lemonade

Too often we only see stories about the negative aspects of the law. Today, we have two focusing on positive outcomes:

  • Thanks to Judge Cory's decision to take a no-nonsense approach to the case, the "Arson Puppies" are back up for adoption via raffle. After getting told to work things out, the parties came together and split the "Arson Puppies" so to speak. An editorial in the RJ is lauding Judge Cory for his efforts on this case. [Fox5Vegas]
  • Former Henderson City Attorney, Elizabeth Quillin, who resigned after a very public DUI incident three years ago, has bounced back and is working as a DUI defense attorney. She's also talking about what went wrong and helping others on the road to recovery. Good for her! [Las Vegas Sun]

Friday, March 21, 2014

Spring 2014

  • Henderson police released the 911 call and redacted report into the death of Lisa Willardson, including some newly disclosed details about how Suspended Judge Steven Jones found her and waited 35 minutes before calling 911. You can listen to a recording of the call obtained by the RJ here. Henderson police found no signs of foul play and Willardson's death was ruled an accidental overdose. [RJ]
  • Jury selection is under way in a trial related to a $9 million personal injury suit brought by comedian George Wallace against the Bellagio. Wallace is represented by Dominic Gentile and Bellagio is represented by Paul Haire. Judge Ron Israel, who drew two challengers in a bid to retain his seat on the bench, is presiding over the trial. [Las Vegas Sun]
  • The Nevada Gaming Commission approved the $500,000 fine to Mandalay Bay relating to employees of the Foundation Room selling drugs and sex. No word on whether any criminal charges will happen--anyone know whether they are forthcoming or does the fine absolve the employees? [RJ]
  • Are any of you still in the running for a billion dollars? If so, congrats on picking Dayton, Harvard, and North Dakota State.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Puppies, Pot, & A Personal Injury Palace

  • Judge Ken Cory, who did not draw a challenger for the election this fall, might have demonstrated why yesterday. Fed up with the squabbling over the "Arson Puppies," he ordered the parties to a settlement conference within 45 days and put a gag order on them in the meantime. He also suggested that the whole matter of deciding who gets to place the pups was probably not the best use of taxpayer resources when there are thousands of homeless people in our community. What do you think, was he right? [RJ; Las Vegas Sun]
  • Whether you're a US Senator, a Nevada Supreme Court justice, or the most successful plaintiff attorney in Las Vegas, the place to be last night was the ribbon cutting for the Robert T. Eglet Advocacy Center. (We did a post on the new digs last fall with pictures.) In addition to Eglet's firm, the building's tenants will include Vannah & Vannah; Ralph Schwartz; Robert Lawson Investigations; and, eventually, Pisanelli Bice will leave Hughes Center to join the French Renaissance. [RJ]
  • The Clark County Commissioners approved an ordinance allowing medical marijuana dispensaries to go forward. The City of Las Vegas also took steps toward allowing dispensaries to open. [RJ; Las Vegas SunFox5Vegas]
  • Since Lucy Flores is running for lieutenant governor, her seat in the assembly for district 28 is up for grabs. Turns out that only one person filed to replace her, Boyd grad Edgar Flores (no relation). The article says he passed the bar exam last year, but his name doesn't come up on the State Bar site and there is no word on if he is practicing. [RJ]
  • It's the time of year where the media focuses on the loss of workplace productivity due to the beginning of March Madness. But the Washington Post cites a survey of national office managers where only 11% of those surveyed said the tournament has a negative impact on productivity. Is the tournament a drain on productivity in your office? 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

State Bar of Nevada Ethics Hotline

Today we turn to the polls to ask whether you've ever called the State Bar of Nevada ethics hotline. What was your experience? Was bar counsel wise and helpful or did they seem clueless and unconcerned? Did you resolve your ethical dilemma? Was it uncomfortable when they asked for your bar number? Would you recommend it to your colleagues?

Have you ever called the State Bar of Nevada ethics hotline?

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


  • Oh, Clark County! Never one to disappoint when it comes to legal-related headlines, it turns out our newly announced challenger for district attorney, Raymond James "Jim" Duensing, Jr., was not only the subject of an officer shooting a few years back, but is set to be prosecuted by the current district attorney's office for unlawful possession of a firearm and carrying a concealed weapon related at a trial set for October 28, 2014, mere days before the election. [RJ]
  • Former US Ambassador to the United Nations will be at attorney general candidate Adam Laxalt's fundraiser next week here in Las Vegas at Kolesar & Leatham. [Ralston Reports]
  • How does your salary stack up to the $41,400 salary of the average Las Vegan? [Las Vegas Sun]
Finally, as you may have noticed from the heading, sometime today we're going to hit the 500,000 page view mark. To the 100 of you who have each visited 5,000 times, we thank you. This blog is only successful with your participation. If you have an idea on how we can improve or would like to do a guest post, drop us a line.

Speaking of ideas, we would especially like your suggestions with regard to upcoming judicial election. We're thinking about preparing a questionnaire that candidates can respond to and have posted here on the blog. If we do, what questions should we ask? Any other bright ideas on how to make the most of the upcoming elections?

Monday, March 17, 2014

St. Patrick's Day 2014

  • The filing deadline for non-judicial candidates came on Friday afternoon. Steve Wolfson drew an opponent for district attorney in Raymond James "Jim" Duensing, Jr.
  • Also of note from the filings that came in on Friday, it looks like Las Vegas Township Constable John Bonaventura may have a plan to try and take over the Clark County Commissioners.  He, constable's office spokesman Lou Toomin, and Bonaventura's (ex-wife?) Susan Bonaventura are each running for one of the three seats on the County Commissioner that are up for election. Also, the Supreme Court of Nevada rejected his bid to file for constable before the Friday deadline, ruling he has to go through the lower Clark County District Court first. [RJ]
  • Former judge Elizabeth LaMacchia (formerly Halverson) passed away earlier this month at age 56. [RJ]
  • Do less citations from Metro really mean less money for specialty courts? [Las Vegas Sun]
  • The news racks are back in the news. Clark County Commissioners will consider a proposal to take control of all the news racks on the strip. They may also take the next step on medical marijuana dispensaries. [Las Vegas Sun]
  • Although we know all of you are too smart to drink and drive, please be smart and aware. Speaking of aware, Metro will be operating some sobriety checkpoints tonight. [8NewsNow]

Friday, March 14, 2014

Firm Spotlight: Thorndal Armstrong Delk Balkenbush & Eisinger

Today we throw the firm spotlight on Thorndal Armstrong Delk Balkenbush & Eisinger, a Nevada firm that started in Las Vegas over 40 years ago with 2 attorneys and which now employs 26 attorneys in three offices (including Reno and Elko). The firm deals with all types of civil matters from litigation to appellate work across a variety of practice areas, but has a strong background in insurance defense work.

Among the firm's employees is Michael P. Lowry, blogger/author at Compelling Discovery, one of the ABA's 7th Annual Blawg 100 Honorees. If you haven't seen the blog, it is a useful resource focusing on discovery (like this post on depositions in light of the recent amendments to NRCP 30 as a result of ADKT 487).

What do you know about the firm? Is it a good place to work? Do they pay well? Have you had any cases against them?

Thursday, March 13, 2014

There Ain't No Such Thing As Free Parking

  • In what might be our first fun class action possibility of the year, Las Vegas Motor Speedway parking attendants, backed up by Metro and State Police (unclear if they were all on- or off-duty), kept thousands of people who parked in the free parking for Sunday's Nascar Kobalt 400 race confined in the parking lot until an hour after the race ended. This included people who tried to leave an hour before the race was over and an elderly couple who needed to attend a medical appointment. LVMS President Chris Powell blamed it on a communication breakdown. Plaintiffs' lawyers across the valley responded by revving their engines. [RJ; MyNews3]
  • The State Bar of Nevada:  working hard to make sure you don't lose your license for advising clients on medical marijuana issues (with a proposed change to the Rules of Professional Conduct). [RJ]
  • Metro is being sued by a woman who suffered third-degree burns on her legs when she was forced on to hot pavement after a car accident. [8NewsNow I-Team]
  • Fines are being levied pursuant to a stipulation signed by Mandalay Bay COO after Gaming Control Board undercover officers were able to get drugs and sex at the House of Blues Foundation Room. [RJ; Las Vegas Sun]

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

US District Court Judge Richard F. Boulware II

The confrimation hearing for Richard F. Boulware II took place this morning and it looks like we have our newest federal judge.

Ed.  The RJ has pictures and more details--not confirmed yet, but on his way.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

UNLV Boyd School of Law Drops In The Rankings

The US News and World Report 2015 Best Law School Rankings came out today and UNLV's William S. Boyd School of Law was ranked down 15 places in a 4-way tie at number 83. Last year Boyd had its highest rating ever with an 8-way tie for 68th. What happened/didn't happen over the last year to affect the rating? Did the new dean have an impact? Is it the tuition (US News says in-state is now $26,437, while out-of-state is $37,189 per year)? What do you think?

Since we haven't focused on Boyd in a while--what else is going on over there at our beloved local law school?

Monday, March 10, 2014

Down With Daylight Saving Time

  • A diabetes drug trial starts today, giving Robert Eglet a chance to claim the four highest personal injury jury verdict awards in Nevada. (Yes, Will Kemp has a plaintiff too.) Presiding over this trial is Judge Kerry Earley who is up for election this fall against challenger Steve Smith. [RJ]
  • It always important to hire reliable experts--if only for the reason that they might have to go before a judge at some point... [Las Vegas Sun]
  • Congrats to Chelsie Campbell, an NV Energy governmental affairs attorney; Karl O. Riley, an associate at Snell & Wilmer; and, David Stoft, an associate at McDonald Carano & Wilson, all of whom made the Las Vegas Business Press' List of Rising Stars of Business 2014. [RJ]
  • $500,000 of ads from a national group targeting attorney general candidate Ross Miller start airing today. [RJ]
  • Surprise! Harry Reid will be helping Lucy Flores raise money in Washington, D.C. [Ralston Reports]
  • A last minute injunction by a pet store co-owner put a halt to the raffle of the "arson puppies." [RJ]

Friday, March 7, 2014

Be Excellent To Each Other.

  • James J. Jackson, who was an attorney at Thorndal, Armstrong, Delker, Balkenbush, & Eisinger, passed away unexpectedly in his sleep last week. Our condolences go out to his family and friends. A memorial service is being held tomorrow, March 8, 2014, at Palm Mortuary downtown. Details here.
  • Thanks to a commenter yesterday, we learned that the Supreme Court of Nevada issued ADKT 0492 adopting new language in the attorney's oath regarding civility. The additional language states, "I will conduct myself in a civil and professional manner, whether dealing with clients, opposing parties and counsel, judicial officers or the general public, and will promote the administration of justice..." Thoughts? [See also RJ]
  • Beware of the jury service scam. [Fox5VegasRJ]
  • Another family court headline. A retired clerk hired to redact some confidential juvenile files lost the usb with the unredacted files. A "good samaritan" found the usb and called asking for a reward. Eventually the usb ended up back at the DA's office. No word on how many times it was uploaded to the internet before then...[RJ]
  • The DA's office decided officers involved in the death of an inmate last year will not face charges. In other news, DA Wolfson still has not drawn a challenger. [RJ]

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Rumble At The RJC?

  • A Californian man is suing the Downtown Grand after losing $500,000 the weekend of the Superbowl. He claims they allowed him to play while he was blackout drunk. [RJ]
  • A "brawl" broke out in the courtroom hallway after the sentencing of Amy Bessey for attempted murder. [KTNV-video]
  • The "arson puppies" are being raffled off. Don't worry, the Gaming Control Board has reviewed it and it's not a lottery. [RJ]
  • Clark County Commissioners are still trying to figure out how to deal with medical marijuana. [Fox5Vegas]

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Like A Wrecking Ball

  • Nevada Secretary of State and candidate for attorney general, Ross Miller, is cracking down on notary publics/notarios who prepare legal documents for the unaware. [RJ]
  • The Supreme Court of Nevada heard oral argument on the requirements for ballot initiatives. [RJ]
  • In (attorney) candidate filing news, Teresa Lowry made official her campaign bid for the state senate against incumbent Michael Roberson.  Justin Jones drew an opponent for his seat, but no opponent has materialized yet for DA Steve Wolfson.
  • Demolition of the old Courthouse continues.  [Photo by Bethany Barnes of the Las Vegas Sun
  • Another inmate in the custody of Nevada died... [RJ]

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Should He Stay Or Should He Go?

With open registration for non-judicial candidates ongoing until March 14 (you can see who has filed here) we thought we'd see what you think about the performance of District Attorney Steve Wolfson. Since he was selected by the Clark County Commissioners a little over two years ago, Wolfson has offered plenty of reasons to like or dislike him. So which is it? If you think he needs to be replaced, who is the person for the job?

Should District Attorney Steve Wolfson be retained this fall?

Monday, March 3, 2014

Run, Flores, Run.

  • Steve Rushfield, the family court marshal supervisor accused of covering up a groping incident (among other things) who then stepped down as supervisor to be a regular marshal for family court Judge Frank Sullivan serving at the behest of the judge, is no longer employed by the Court. [RJ]
  • Judge Michael Villani will not have to campaign for his seat this year as his challenge against the qualifications for candidacy of Ross Smillie was successful. [RJ]
  • Cirque du Soleil and OSHA reportedly reached a settlement regarding the death of one of the Ka performers. [Las Vegas Sun]
  • State Assemblywoman and attorney Lucy Flores has officially announced her candidacy for lieutenant governor. [8NewsNow]
  • Meanwhile, candidate filing for non-judicial offices opens today and runs through March 14. Will we see more of our colleagues stepping up? 
  • Finally, this story has nothing to do with Las Vegas, but is an excellent warning about confidentiality agreements and your client's children... [Above the Law]