Monday, June 30, 2014

Slip'n Slide


  • The US Supreme Court has issued its Hobby Lobby decision and by a 5-4 majority held that a for-profit corporation can claim religious objections that allow them to opt out of providing certain contraceptives required under Obamacare. However, the Court made it clear that religious objections are not a valid basis for discrimination or not paying taxes. [NY Times]
  • Here's another aspect of the HOA scandal that hasn't gotten much attention--Nancy Quon's $10 million in life insurance. [RJ]
  • In the wake of recent escalating officer involved shootings, Sheriff Gillespie is back to asking for more cops. [8NewsNow]
  • It's hot out there. How hot? So hot that one local news channel is dispensing legal advice on renter's rights when the AC is broken. [8NewsNow]

Friday, June 27, 2014

Double Gulp


  • With our local institution of higher learning and the NCAA working together, records were "thoroughly reviewed" and some scores miraculously revised so that UNLV football achieved the minimum score to be unbanned from bowl games. [Las Vegas SunRJ]
  • Plaintiffs, represented by Andrew Rempfer, got class certification in an overtime lawsuit against Boyd Gaming. [RJ]
  • Meanwhile, the Supreme Court of Nevada held that taxi drivers must get minimum wage. [RJ]
  • 20 years later and OJ Simpson is still in the headlines. This time, some of his feuding lawyers have reached a settlement. [Las Vegas Sun]
  • New York's high court ruled that New York City can't ban super-sized soft drinks. [RJ]

Thursday, June 26, 2014

USA v. Germany


Also, the U.S. Supreme Court issued opinions limiting the presidential appointment power during congressional recesses and that opining that a Massachusetts law creating a 35 foot buffer around abortion clinics violates the First Amendment. [SCOTUSblog]

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Every Breath You Take


  • The US Supreme Court ruled today that police may not generally search a cell phone without getting a search warrant first. [Fox5Vegas; NY Times]
  • In another ruling issued today, the Supreme Court ruled that streaming television company Aereo cannot stream broadcast channels without paying the broadcasters first. [Fox5Vegas]
  • The Las Vegas Municipal Court officially launched a "Warrant Search" website yesterday. With a searchable database and wanted posters, this site will provide hours of fun as you search for your friends, loved ones, and colleagues. [RJ]
  • The Supreme Court of Nevada finally issued an order temporarily suspending attorney Brian Bloomfield's to allow a State Bar of Nevada disciplinary panel to decide what other sanctions to impose. Bloomfield pleaded guilty to a felony charge in December 2013, but has still been appearing in court and representing clients since then--which begs the question, why isn't there an automatic temporary suspension when you plead guilty to a felony charge? [RJ]

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Roar


  • Attorney Jeffrey Barr is turning the lawsuit against the Las Vegas Constable's Office for its fee collection practices into a class action suit that names John Bonaventura and each constable who collected the fees individually. [RJ]
  • Judge David Barker unsealed a letter from five Metro detectives who recommended the release of a convicted felon...a convicted felon who was later arrested on murder charges after he was released. [RJ]
  • Demolition of the Harmon Hotel has begun and is expected to take a year. Meanwhile, attorneys are gearing up for a fall trial related to the CityCenter project. [Fox5Vegas]
  • Cindy Jensen, a clerk at Las Vegas' US District Court, created a computerized indigent defense voucher system which is being adopted as the federal judiciary's standardized billing system for such cases across the country. Good work! [Las Vegas Sun]

Monday, June 23, 2014

Wide Awake


  • The first defendant sentenced in the HOA scandal was given a year and a day in prison. [RJ]
  • Back in March, Family Court Department S Judge Vincent Ochoa and his opponent for the bench, Jason Stoffel, had a little run-in at a bar at the Family Law Conference in Ely. That spat has resulted in Ochoa being disqualified from a case. [RJ]
  • With the recent federal ruling that "Redskins" is disparaging and the NFL team's trademarks should be cancelled, lots of questions crop up about what impact it will have. [Las Vegas Sun]
  • The ABA says its ethical for lawyers to look at potential juror's social media pages. [RJ]

Friday, June 20, 2014

This Is How We Do


  • Some of you have been asking what is going on with John Cotton's firm. We still don't know, but we do know he is representing Summerlin Hospital in a defamation suit (A702709) against Robert Cottle, individually, and against his firm for comments Cottle made related to the tuberculosis outbreak at the hospital. The complaint alleges that Cottle's defamation of Summerlin Hospital stems from the following comment he made during a press conference, "There may have been a motivation to find a cause for her condition other than tuberculosis. If the cause was some other infection, they wouldn't need the state government in there to investigate...a tuberculosis diagnosis invites oversight and opens up a can of worms." The hospital claims, in part, that individual physicians, not the hospital were responsible for diagnosis and thus Cottle's statement is false. Please feel free to fill us in below on details about Cotton's firm or the merits of this case. [RJ]
  • A Clark County jury awarded $5 million to the Plaintiffs in the case where judicial candidate Jacob Hafter raised the issue of anti-Semitism because Judge Valorie Vega would not go dark for the Jewish holiday of Shavuot. Hafter had associates handle the trial on those two days where Vega refused to go dark. Appeal anyone? [RJ]
  • Attorney Marjorie Hauf is representing a client in a suit against Clark County Family Services of psychological and physical injuries to two children due to neglect at the hands of their foster parents. [RJ]
  • Attorney Matt Callister is trying to get the Silver State Exchange to provide immediate health coverage to patients in life or death situations and who were unable to successfully enroll in the exchange. [KTNV; 8NewsNow]

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Waking Up In Vegas


  • The Las Vegas City Council ensured future work for some lucky lawyers by banning glass and aluminum liquor containers on Fremont Street. [RJ]
  • The wife of convicted attorney Brian Bloomfield avoided a prison sentence for her role in destruction of evidence in the counseling scheme. [RJ]
  • Federal Judge Andrew Gordon ruled against Constable Bonaventura's office and in favor of a Utah woman by issuing a preliminary injunction preventing the constable's office from collecting its $100 collection fee. [RJ]
  • The seizure of documents from Bonaventura's office was related to his surreptitiously recorded conversation with Commissioner Tom Collins. [KTNV]
  • The Nevada Association of Court Executives awarded a Star Award to the Supreme Court of Nevada, Administrative Office of Courts ("AOC"). “The Star Award not only recognizes bench performance, but also the hard work that goes on outside the courtroom that keeps a court operating efficiently,” stated Steve Tuttle, President of NACE. In the last year, the AOC redesigned the Supreme Court website and released Supreme Court apps that are available on both on iTunes App Store and Google Play. [Supreme Court of Nevada]

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Big Laws Vegas

It's a slow news week. If you want to discuss the searches of the home and office of Las Vegas Township Constable John Bonaventura or Clark County's decision to issue an unlimited of number of medical marijuana growing permits, feel free.

One of our readers recently asked a question about their chances of getting into "Biglaw" as a Boyd grad. That begs another question--is there any legitimate Biglaw in Las Vegas? Do national firms that would be considered Biglaw in New York still count as such here or is the culture so different that you can't even claim that it is the same beast. What are the chances of a Boyd grad getting into a Biglaw firm? What counts as Biglaw--is it the salary, the work, the size of firm? Enlighten us, please.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Las Vegas Lawyer Advertising

Between the thousands of judicial election signs and the hundreds of personal injury firm billboards, it's hard to go a day in Vegas without being exposed to lawyer advertising. You can rarely make it through a single commercial break on a local channel without seeing at least two commercials (we're looking at you Glen, Adam, and Ed).

What are your thoughts on local lawyer advertising? Is it too much? Is it the way things should be? Is further "reform" needed? Who has the best ad? What do you think about Ed's beard in his new commercials? Have you noticed the small print on the Brian Padgett billboard on I-15 that says it was donated by Ad America on behalf of property owners? What does that even mean? Does Rick Harris already have all the single digit 725 numbers locked up so he doesn't have to change his advertising?

Also, what about another form of advertising? As a commenter mentioned, the Super (yawn) Lawyers 2014 list is out. Why is this list so different from the legal elite? As far as advertising goes, what do you think is the best bang for your buck?

Monday, June 16, 2014

Last Friday Night


  • The first of the defendants to be sentenced in the HOA scandal (who is the only who pleaded guilty without a deal from the government) will be sentenced on Friday. Prosecutors are asking for a 15-month prison term. [RJ]
  • Richard Velotta has an article in the RJ about F. Christopher Austin and his exciting trademark infringement practice. This article comes less than a year after a similar article by Velotta was published in Vegas Inc.
  • Judicial candidate John Glenn Watkins was not the only candidate that was the subject of anonymous mailers and/or robocalls. [RJ]
  • Any gossip from the Annual Meet Your Judges Mixer? Sightings of the Shark Pimp? Drunk judges? Desperate candidates? 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Triskaidekaphobia


  • Attorney Stanley Walton, who pleaded guilty to one felony count of conspiracy to commit bank, wire, and mail fraud, has been disbarred. [RJ]
  • John Glenn Watkins, the candidate with the second most votes in the primary for Department 2, has filed a complaint with the Secretary of State over a mailer that attacked him. The mailer did not identify a candidate to vote for instead of Watkins, but he thinks that it came from Richard Scotti's camp (Scotti has denied involvement) and specifically mentions Tony Dane and Dave Thomas in the complaint. [RJ]
  • Did you know Judge Kathleen Delaney was a prosecution witness in the original OJ Simpson trial back in 1995? [8NewsNow]

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Getting Social

Tomorrow night is the Clark County Bar Association's 24th Annual Meet Your Judges Mixer at the Four Seasons Las Vegas. It's still not too late to get your tickets if you order online here. We know some of you would never miss it, while others would never go, but why? Where do you stand on professional social events like this one? Any advantages or disadvantages to getting your drink on with a few of your favorite judges? Anyone have good stories from past Mixers?

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

2014 Judicial Primary Results

The Las Vegas "mainstream" media has all the results from the big races covered if you are interested in those (I'm sure we'll be hearing from them endlessly about Hutchison vs. Flores for the coveted position of lieutenant governor). We're here to talk about the results of the Clark County judicial races!

Dept. 2
Richard Scotti easily made it into the general election while a mere 1500 votes pushed John Glenn Watkins in ahead of Bill Skupa.

Dept. 22
Judge Susan Johnson dominated her competition to give herself a chance to remain on the bench, while Jacob Hafter's recent publicity may have helped his cause with name familiarity since he beat Bruce Gale by roughly 1500 votes.

Dept. 24
Jim Crockett and Joe Hardy, Jr. made it clear they are the top two contenders for this seat on the bench. This promises to be a hard fought battle this fall.

Dept. 28
Although it wasn't a particularly strong showing, Judge Ron Israel is moving on to the fall election with contender Susan Bush.

Dept. B
To quote NewlyMintedAttorney, this Department is a cluster, but Linda Marquis and Joseph A. Scalia, II garnered enough votes to pull away from the pack.

Dept. C
Rebecca Burton made a strong showing and will face off against John Hall "Jack" Howard, Jr. this fall.

Dept. J
In what was surely a surprise for Judge Kenneth Pollock, he got enough votes to make into the general election behind Rena Hughes. This will be an interesting race to watch this fall, but Hughes will definitely have some momentum.

Dept. L
Despite the campaign against Judge Jennifer Elliot that started last fall with the announcement of Lisa Willardson's candidacy, she managed to secure a spot in the general election facing off against Paul "Mitch" Gaudet.

Dept. P
Judge Sandra Pomerenze will be facing off against Nathan Gibbs this fall in what is another potential race for a sitting judge to lose her seat.

Dept. T
In this department, we finally got our first upset of the night. Judge Gayle Nathan failed to get enough votes to put her ahead of her opponents, so she will be a lame duck judge this fall while Lisa M. Brown (a former judge known as Lisa Kent who was ousted with a very low performance rating) faces off against Maria Maskall.

What do you think? Any of these outcomes surprise you? Are all these races a toss-up (no) or are there some candidates who are almost guaranteed wins (yes-Johnson, Marquis, etc)? Did we learn anything from this primary that should be noted for next time (yes, don't run in a department against 7 other candidates if you want a good shot at winning)? Any explanations for the vote tallies for the unopposed judges (Judge Togliatti got the most votes, followed by Judge Bell)?

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Primary Election Day

The moment of truth has finally arrived: it's Primary Election Day! Polls are already open and will be until 7 p.m. tonight. A little over 10% of registered voters voted in early voting which may not sound like much, because it isn't. With record low turnout a possibility, every vote counts.

If you need to find out where to vote, click here. If you're still asking which judges you should vote for or which judicial candidates you should avoid, type "primer" in the search box on the right and see our posts about all the contested judicial races in Clark County today. You can also check out edjudicateclarkcounty.com and ournevadajudges.com for more information.

Finally, feel free to make a last minute pitch for your favorite candidates below.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Everybody Was Kung Fu Fighting


  • Our condolences go out to all those affected by the shooting yesterday, especially the families of the two Metro officers. [8NewsNow]
  • More details have emerged about how the HOA scandal was run, but no new details on the involvement of the attorneys. [RJ]
  • Clark County named the 18 winners of medical marijuana licenses on Friday. There will likely be law suits about the process including whether the open meeting law was violated and/or whether commissioners improperly took contributions from applicants prior to the hearing. [8NewsNow; RalstonReports]
  • Is the rise in Nevada attorneys being prosecuted a surprising trend, a factor of the bad economy, or par for the courts course? [RJ]

Friday, June 6, 2014

70th Anniversary of D-Day


  • If you want some insight on becoming a respected and well-liked lawyer, check out these articles on Bob Faiss, "the nicest man I ever met." A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. on June 13 at the Fifth Street School. [RJ]
  • Harvey Whittemore is ordered to report to prison on August 6. [RJ]
  • Judge Rob Bare ruled in favor of Clark County, dashing one of John Bonaventura's attempt to undo the abolition of the Las Vegas Township Constable position. [8NewsNow; RJ]
  • Among the local tv personalities attorneys involved in the Green Rush for medical marijuana licenses are Rory Reid and Ed Bernstein. [Fox5Vegas]
  • An arrest warrant was issued for the son of Judge Matthew Harter, who continues to deny asserting any influence on the process even though other juveniles were already arrested related to the crime which took place back in October 2013. [RJ]
  • Today is the last day for early voting. Primary day is on Tuesday, June 10, 2014.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

School's Out Forever


  • Longtime gaming attorney Bob Faiss has passed away. RIP. [RJ]
  • This wasn't the first time Attorney/Judicial Candidate Jacob Hafter has made claims of anti-semitism against a judge. Oh, and his mom is, like, totally not voting for him. [RJ]
  • Attorney William Errico, who was arrested last week on felony charges, apparently had a stroke less than a month ago and has posted the $100K to get out on bail. [RJ; @JGermanRJ]
  • It shouldn't be news that an attorney that pleaded guilty to felony charges faces potential disbarment, but in Las Vegas you never know...[RJ]
  • The Green Rush is under way as Clark County Commissioners hold three days of hearings to determine which lucky 18 applicants will the golden tickets to dispense medical marijuana here. [8NewsNow]
  • In light of yesterdays comments on passing the bar, we present the following poll question:
Ed. Sorry, it looks like the poll isn't working. 

How many times did you take the Nevada bar exam before you passed?


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

600,000


  • Attorney/Assemblywoman/Boyd Grad/Candidate for Lieutenant Governor, Lucy Flores, has released a short video on her life story to get her campaign rolling now that she is days away from finding out who her Republican opponent will be. [Ralston Reports]
  • Surprisingly not a Nevada related story, but this legal related news includes a video of the confrontation leading up to a Florida judge inviting a public defender to go outside where they proceed to fight. [WFTV]
  • Here's a little insight into what judicial candidates pay political consultant Dave Thomas for his services. [Las Vegas Tribune]
  • Yesterday afternoon the page visit meter rolled over to 600,000 page views. We want to say thanks for visiting and participating in this discussion about the Las Vegas legal community. Your comments, tips, and insight are what make this blog. As always, if you have any suggestions or tips, ideas for posts, or even want to do a guest column, let us know. 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Are You Elite?


  • Here's Nevada's Legal Elite 2014 edition. Yes, we know it's a marketing ploy. No, lawyers with 2 years experience are not really elite at this point. Yes, we're not on it either. No, we don't care.
  • Judicial candidate Jacob Hafter is in the news (no such thing as bad publicity?) after posting on his Facebook page that Judge Vega won't allow a trial to go dark for two days for a Jewish holiday and implying that she is racist and anti-Semite. [RJ]

Monday, June 2, 2014

The Attorney Accused


  • Attorney William K. Errico was arrested on Friday for felony charges of exploitation of the elderly and exploitation of a vulnerable person related to the theft of almost $500,000 from two of his clients. [RJ]
  • Here's an article on the State Bar of Nevada's ability to discipline lawyers in response to felony convictions. The article stems from attorney Brian Bloomfield, who pleaded guilty in December to felony charges, still practicing law and Judge Jessie Walsh recently giving him his passport back so he can go on an out of country vacation. [RJ]