Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy 150th Nevada!

It's Nevada's 150th birthday! For those of you who weren't so lucky to get the day off, here are a couple of news items:

  • In a very Nevada-like way, on the eve of Nevada Day, the Supreme Court of Nevada issued an opinion holding that the strip-dancers at Sapphire are employees--not independent contractors. [Terry v. Sapphire Gentlemen's Club; CBSNews]
  • The RJ has some of the juicy details about how Leon Benzer carried out the HOA scandal, including a $10,000 gift/bribe to his personal attorney Keith Gregory. The RJ intended to publish the article on Sunday, but Benzer filed a motion to quash and the RJ went ahead and published it already. Enjoy! [RJ]
  • Raymond James "Jim" Duensing, candidate for Clark County District Attorney, is currently playing the role of defendant in a trial against him being prosecuted by the office of that position. It is not expected to conclude before election day. [RJ]
  • Trick or treat? MGM Resorts International confirmed it is in talks with a group to bring an NHL team to Las Vegas. [Fox5Vegas]

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Thriller


  • Judge Herndon doesn't see the harm being caused by Uber and denies the TRO. Preliminary injunction hearing is set for November 14. [RJ]
  • One perspective on why the Laxalt/Miller race for attorney general is so competitive. [Las Vegas Sun]
  • Another candidate is ruled ineligible for not meeting the residency requirements. [RJ]
  • Do you have your Michael Davidson for District Court Judge chip clip? [Fox5Vegas]
  • Sneaky FBI agents dressed up like the Geek Squad to get access to rooms so they could get search warrants with regard to an illegal World Cup betting ring busted earlier this year. [Fox5Vegas; RJ]

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice


  • A woman sued her two former attorneys David Chesnoff and Richard Schonfeld in federal court for legal malpractice, breach of fiduciary duty, and not disclosing conflicts. [RJ
  • Judge Michael Villani denied a motion to overturn a conviction based on the prosecutor's partial disclosure of witness payments and the defendant's failure to follow up on it. [RJ]
  • A TRO against Uber was issued in Washoe County yesterday. Today Uber gets its chance in Clark County. [Las Vegas Sun]
  • We're still taking responses for our Magic Number survey here.  We've already received 22 responses, but still need information for the following firms:  Lewis & Roca; Hutchison Steffen; Payne & Fears; Greenberg Traurig; Fennemore Craig; Wood Smith; Wilson Elser; Thorndahl Armstrong; Snell & Wilmer; Richard Harris; CPK; McDonald Carano; Olson Cannon; Lionel Sawyer; Lincoln Gustafson; Lipson Neilson; Lee Hernandez; Koeller Nebeker; and Kolesar & Leatham among others. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Monster Mash


  • Judge Douglas Herndon will hear the State of Nevada/Taxicab Authority's Application for Temporary Restraining Order against Uber tomorrow morning. [Dist. Ct. Case No. A709002; RJ]
  • OJ Simpson's appeal is now before the Supreme Court of Nevada. [RJ]
  • Defense attorneys for the Metro officer accused of possessing and distributing child pornography found in his Google cloud are arguing that he doesn't know how it got there and the cloud is not under his control. [Fox5Vegas]
  • Bill Clinton will be at Springs Preserve at 3pm today to rally the troops. [8NewsNow; Las Vegas Sun]
  • Just in case you thought Nevada has a corner on the market, Pennsylvania's Supreme Court is in the news for an email scandal involving one of its justices. [WSJ Law Blog]

Monday, October 27, 2014

Uber My Dead Body


  • The Nevada legal battle over ride-sharing service Uber has begun. The attorney general's office managed to get a temporary restraining order issued in Carson City, but was unable to get one in Clark County. Uber is being represented by Don Campbell, who says that that Catherine Cortez Masto and her office sought to get ex parte TROs, even though she was aware Mr. Campbell was involved. [RJ]
  • Meanwhile, the Nevada Taxicab Authority has a new public relations problem on its hands as it fights the future. [RJ]
  • The Clark County District Attorney's office is still dealing with the fallout of undisclosed witness payments. In the latest case to be brought up again (after the RJ showed an attorney information about the payment), prosecutors claim to have disclosed the payment, while the defense maintains the disclosure was not enough. [RJ]
  • The CityCenter Harmon Hotel trial, which is supposed to last at least a year, starts jury selection this week and has required modification to Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez's courtroom. [RJ]
  • According to Ralston Reports, early voting turnout favors Republicans. Will this affect your favorite judicial races? 
  • We've already had 15 responses in our magic number survey. If you haven't taken it yet, you can do so here

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Magic Number Survey

You asked for it and here it begins. The Magic Number survey. For those of you not familiar, go visit the old Wild Wild Law blog and you'll see what we're talking about. We want to know what first year associates at your firm are making, as well as their billable hour requirement. These two pieces of information combined give us the salary per billable hour (or Magic Number) that is sometimes used by naive associates trying to determine where to work. (Of course, you know better, don't you....)

You can take our short survey by clicking here. You can take it multiple times if you have information about more than one firm. Do your best to be accurate. The great thing about this survey is that if we get conflicting information, we can just average it.

For those of you nervous about taking the survey, please know we value your privacy and anonymity. The survey results will tell us your answers, how long you took to answer the questions, and your IP address. We're only going to disclose your answers. If you're paranoid about your IP address disclosing too much about yourself, feel free to use an anonymizer or proxy server if you can figure that out.

Doing What Comes Naturally


  • The July bar results came out yesterday and were pretty dismal with only a 57% pass rate.  [Nevada Bar]
  • Governor Sandoval says Nevada will oppose en banc rehearing of the gay marriage case. [Fox5Vegas]
  • Did you ever wonder which Avvo highly rated lawyers were also Boyd grads? Wonder no more
  • Family Court Judge William Potter is getting some negative attention prior to the election due to a ruling on what happens to a child when his gay mother is deployed and his father is in another state. [RJ]
  • An assembly candidate who was ruled ineligible to run, but remains on the ballot because of the timing of the ruling, could still potentially be appointed if she gets more votes than her opponent. [RJ]
  • Here are some judicial endorsements from the Las Vegas Tribune.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

800,000


  • Judge Abbi Silver set bail at $1 million for a pimp accused of torturing a prostitute. [RJ]
  • Will overpopulation in county jails lead to less bookings? It already has. [RJ]
  • Ride-sharing app Uber is getting ready to launch in Las Vegas. [8NewsNow]
  • Meanwhile, the Nevada Taxicab Authority approved an 8% increase in cab fares. [Fox5Vegas]
  • The Life is Beautiful festival is affecting downtown with road closures. [KNPRnews]
Sometime in the last day we hit 800,000 page views. We just want to say thanks for reading and contributing. As always, if you have any suggestions, let us know. (Unless it's the idea about looking at magic numbers--we're already working on that.)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

No Business Like Show Business


  • Something about Clark County government just makes people want to be on tv. District Attorney Steve Wolfson will be presenting a proposal he has been working for six months to County Commissioners. He hopes to get you excited by suggesting you might be able to recreate your role for tv! [RJ]
  • Justice of the Peace Melanie Andress-Tobiasson is embroiled in a same-sex divorce case where she granted an order for which she didn't have jurisdiction. Uh-oh! [8NewsNow]
  • Can anybody offer any insight into what is going on with the new Justice Court e-file site and Wiznet?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Super Seal


  • Federal prosecutors got in trouble with US Magistrate Cam Ferenbach over their use of "super seal" to seize assets without giving notice. [RJ]
  • Can you get a summons through email? [8NewsNow]
  • The Miller v. Laxalt race for Attorney General is heating up. [RGJ]

Friday, October 17, 2014

Early Voting Begins

It's finally time to start voting. After a long 10 months of anticipation, early voting opens tomorrow. Regardless of whether you think you should wait until Election Day in the unlikely event of an October surprise, people will start voting tomorrow. Now is your chance to step up and influence the votes of your friends and family. If you feel strongly that certain candidates should or should not be elected, let others know. The most frustrating thing about Nevada's elected judiciary is that uniformed voters don't know who to choose and some, instead of leaving it blank, just pick a name. Remember that every vote counts. We've covered all of the Eighth Judicial District Court races. If someone asks you who should I vote for or who should be elected to the bench, offer them some resources like Vote411, edjudicateclarkcounty.com, or {shudder} even our unscientific polls and anonymous comments.

If you're not comfortable suggesting candidates others should vote for, we suggest you consider making a recommendation to others to vote YES on Ballot Question 1 regarding the creation of a court of appeals in Nevada. If you need more information on that, start here.

Finally, remember that your vote doesn't count if you don't vote. Make sure you go vote!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Job Tips: When You've Been Unemployed

One of our readers wants to know your recommendations for the best way to deal with a period of unemployment on your resume. Whether you took a year off to travel the world or were unceremoniously fired for failing to meet expectations, how do you explain those gaps to future employers? Do you leave it off the resume and explain it if they ask? Do you put an explanation on the resume? If you were fired, how do you explain it in a way that doesn't just make you or your previous employer look bad?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

So Stipulated


  • David Olson, the Boulder City city attorney who was designated as an expert witness for his son in a suit against the City for unlawful arrest, entered into a stipulated agreement with the Nevada Commission on Ethics listing out all the things he did wrong and fining him $1500. [Nevada Commission on Ethics]
  • Here are more details on that office building shooting in Vegas the other day where the victim was a hearing advocate for a law firm. Attorney Jason Mills expressed concern about security in and round the building which houses the Nevada Department of Administrative Hearings. [RJ; Fox5Vegas; KTNV
  • Upgrades at the Clark County Detention Center means in about six months they'll start offering HD video visitation of inmates, among other things. [RJ]
  • A reality show pilot about the Clark County Coroner's office premieres tonight. [8NewsNow]

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Nevada Attorney General Election Guide 2014

There is one statewide race on this fall's general election ballot that readers of this blog can offer some insight on:  attorney general. Unlike the races for the bench, this is a partisan office and may very well affect the outcome, but we thought we'd give you a chance to weigh in on the qualifications of the candidates and tell us who should be elected as Nevada's top state attorney. The three candidates are: Jonathan J. Hansen (IAP); Adam Paul Laxalt (REP); and Ross Miller (DEM). Although there are three candidates, this race is primarily between Laxalt and Miller--both legacy candidates who are following in the footsteps of previously elected Nevada politicians with the same last (and/or middle) names.

Ralston Reports has a lengthy piece up on the recent debate between Laxalt and Miller which brings us to three specific questions we'd like your input on below:

  • How should the leak of the Lewis & Roca review of Laxalt affect this race--does his performance at a law firm indicate how he will perform as AG?
  • How does Laxalt's military career and prosecution of terrorists in Iraq affect this race?
  • How does Miller's (disclosed) acceptance of gifts affect this race?

Who should be elected as Nevada's Attorney General?

Monday, October 13, 2014

Columbus Day

Federal courts are closed today in honor of uh, um, yeah, Columbus day. However state courts are open, as are most firms, so we figured a small post dedicated to the working men and women of Las Vegas legal practices was in order.

Here's to you, legal field employee stuck in an office on a beautiful fall Columbus day. Here's hoping that your billable hours are plentiful and your problematic clients are off today!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Playing Hooky

As if she heard your cries from the comments of this blog, the RJ's Carri Geer Thevenot (@CarriGeer) has delivered an article called "Questions raised about judges choosing campaign over court."

In it, we learn that Judge Kenneth Pollock has been out on medical leave from the bench since August, but has still managed to make several campaign events. When asked about his health, he says, "I really don't think my medical condition is relevant." Really, Judge? You're unable to perform your elected duties for  a couple of months and yet your health is not relevant as voters are making up there minds whether to reelect you?

In the article, we also learn that on October 2, a campaign event in Henderson drew 60 candidates between the business hours of 10 am to 2 pm. Two of those candidates were Judge William Gonzalez and Judge Kerry Earley, who both opted to have senior judges cover their calendar while they were out pressing the flesh. Gonzalez had the senior judge scheduled that day because he was sick--he was under the weather while he attended the campaign event and only did so because it was important. Earley used a vacation day that day and handled all but three matters scheduled to be heard that day in advance.

Now let us be clear, just because these three judges were singled out in this article does not mean they're always playing hooky. As state employees, judges get four weeks of paid vacation a year and work public employee hours. Also, because our citizens don't want to have judges appointed, the judges (who can't afford the services of David Thomas) may have no choice but to hit the campaign trail or be out of a job. Thus, it is understandable that a judge might use one of those vacation days for an important campaign event (you're excused, Judge Earley). It's also possible that a judge who had taken ill and was on antibiotics may have coincidentally been ill on the day of an important campaign event--but the fact that he was taking those antibiotics for more than a week prior leads one to wonder if that judge couldn't have used a vacation day and re-calendared hearings for that day instead of having a senior judge fill in at taxpayer expense (this one needs more investigation). It's also possible that a judge could have a doctor's note that says you are not to work, but are free to attend limited campaign events provided you get lots of rest. Yes, certainly possible. However, when taken in context, an extended medical leave that coincides with campaign season, attendance at out of town campaign events, and believing that the medical condition of such a judge is not relevant during an election--well, that's harder to excuse.

All of this begs a follow-up question, if this is the kind of use of senior judges we're seeing on just one day during campaign season, then how are the 26 senior judges being used the other 6 years of our judges' terms. We've heard some of you complain in the comments that this is a more widespread problem. In what departments are you frequently seeing the senior judges? Do you think it's a problem or just a good use of resources? Anyone want to go down to the RJC and request to look at all the senior judge requests and let us know more facts?

Finally, if you're going to be at one of the parties tonight, please drink responsibly and don't endanger yourself and others by getting behind the wheel drunk!




Thursday, October 9, 2014

Justice Court Department 12 Election Guide

This year there is only Justice Court department up for grabs in the general election. We know that not all of you have much to do with Justice Court, but that is just all the more reason why we should open the the Department 12 race for discussion. In the incumbent's corner we have Judge Diana L. Sullivan and in the challenger's corner we have Marian Kahoiwai Kamalani. If you have any insight as to why one is a better choice than the other, please share it below.

Who should be elected in Justice Court Department 12?

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Same Love


  • Yesterday a three judge panel at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that Nevada's constitutional and statutory bans on gay marriage violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution meaning the State has to begin recognizing gay marriages. [RJ]
  • Clark County will begin issuing same-sex marriage licenses today at 2 pm. ed. US Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy issued an order temporarily staying the decision. [Las Vegas Sun] Then the race is on to be the first wedding chapel to legally perform a same-sex ceremony! [RJ]
  • The I-team confirms what we already know:  the bulk of money raised by judicial candidates for elections comes from the lawyers practicing before them.  What we didn't know:  $3.4 million so far this election cycle. [8NewsNow]
  • Here's a nightmare--squatters staying in your vacant house and claiming they were scammed. [8NewsNow]
  • For all you party people out there:  it's that time of year again! The CPK party invite is below. Everyone is welcome. For you elitists, we hear there is a Judge Earl retirement party going on Friday night in direct competition to this party, but aren't privy to the details...

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Departments 28, 30, & 32 Election Guide

Today we look at the last three races in District Court Departments 28, 30, & 32, each of which features one of our newer judges seeking to get reelected.  In Department 28, Judge Ron Israel seeks to keep his spot on the bench against challenger Susan Bush. In Department 30, Jeffrey S. Rugg is taking on Judge Jerry A. Wiese. Finally, in Department 32, Judge Rob Bare is up for reelection against Randall Tindall (who made news earlier this year for calling out political consultant David Thomas).

Who should be elected in Department 28?


Who should be elected in Department 30?


Who should be elected in Department 32?

Monday, October 6, 2014

Departments N, P, S, & T Election Guide

Today we finish up our Family Court polling by taking a look at the last four departments.  In Department N, we have Judge Matthew Harter (who got press earlier this for losing an endorsement because of his son's involvement in a burglary) seeking reelection against Monti Jordana Levy. In Department P, Nathan Gibbs is challenging Judge Sandra L. Pomrenze (in the 2013 RJ Judicial Evaluation, 53% said she should not be retained). For Department S, Judge Vincent Ochoa is defending his spot on the bench against Jason Patrick Stoffel. Finally, Department T features a contest between Maria Maskall and former-Judge Lisa Kent who changed her name and is running as Lisa M. Brown (she has run under both names previously).  The polls are below--you know the drill.

Also, as the discussion in the comments recently indicated, it seems that some judges might be taking advantage of the senior judges program to get a few days off to campaign. If you have specific information about this, please let us know.

Who should be elected in Department N?


Who should be elected in Department P?


Who should be elected in Department S?


Who should be elected in Department T?

Friday, October 3, 2014

Departments 23, 24, & 25

Over in District Court Department 23, Judge Stefany A. Miley is seeking reelection against Craig Friedberg. Vying for the open bench in District Court Department 24 are Jim Crockett and Joe Hardy, Jr. (Why are these two running against each other? What do you think about a system where judicial candidates are all in a pool and it says vote for 10 or however many open seats there are with top vote getters taking the bench--too crazy?) And in District Court Department 25, Sean P. Connell is challenging Judge Kathleen Delaney.

Who should be elected in Department 23?


Who should be elected in Department 24?


Who should be elected in Department 25?

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Departments J, L, & M Election Guide

In Family Court Department J we have Rena G. Hughes challenging Judge Kenneth E. Pollock (who only had 40% of respondents recommend retaining in the RJ 2013 Judicial Performance Evaluation). In Family Court Department L, Judge Jennifer L. Elliot (who was the target of the late Lisa Willardson's judicial ambition for her absenteeism) is seeking keep her spot on the bench against Paul "Mitch" Gaudet. In Department M, Judge William Potter is up against James Stuart (who was recently suspended from appearing in bankruptcy court).

Who should be elected in Family Court Department J?



Who should be elected in Family Court Department L?


Who should be elected in Family Court Department M?

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Downtown Demise


  • Yesterday there was a lot of news about the Downtown Project. First, it turns out Tony Hsieh stepped down as leader of the Downtown Project with his lawyer, Millie Chou, stepping into that role (the RJ says Hsieh did not step down). Then, it was announced that 30 people would be laid off from the project. What does this mean for the future of downtown? Is the project a failure? Can downtown never be revitalized? Does it affect you? Do you care? [KNPRRe/code]
  • Pro-tip:  If you're running for judge, try not to get reprimanded by the State Bar for problems with your trust account (ahem, Joseph A. Scalia, II). [RJ]
  • Ebola made it to Dallas. Wash your hands. [Fox5Vegas]
  • Prosecutors got a win in the jury trial against the two men accused of dressing up like Mormon missionaries to commit a robbery. Let's just hope they didn't pay any of the witnesses' rent payments. [RJ]
  • Here's one look at the Nevada Supreme Court's recent HOA ruling. [Las Vegas Sun]
  • Federal Judges Andrew Gordon and Jennifer Dorsey are getting creative and having a joint evidentiary hearing to save costs. [RJ]
  • The Las Vegas City Council is supposed to decide today whether to move forward on the proposed soccer stadium. [RJ]
*Don't worry, we'll continue our look at the judicial election tomorrow.