Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Top Ten Stories of 2014

As 2014 draws to a close, it's time to take a look back at the top ten stories that affected the Las Vegas legal community this year. Before we do, thanks again for reading, commenting, and offering your input because you are what makes this blog tick. As always, we're open to your suggestions on how we can improve the blog, so if you have any comments, criticisms, ideas, gossip, or want to volunteer to write a guest post, let us know. Here's wishing you a prosperous new year! (We'll be back next year!)

The top ten Las Vegas related legal stories of 2014 are:

Monday, December 29, 2014

Do You Want To Build A Snowman?

  • Here's a look at the City Center settlement with emphasis on how MGM, despite having paid out to Perini, might have been the real winner. [RJ]
  • In response to a lawsuit [A688898] filed by Adam Kutner, an anonymous blogger from the defunct Wild Wild Law blog has filed a motion to dismiss. Kutner is represented by Bradley L. Booke, while the blogger, Legal Eagle, is represented by Maggie McLetchie. [RJ
  • According to one study, American workers waste more than two hours a day at work. Surely this is higher at law firms, no? [Vegas Inc.]
  • Forecasters are predicting Las Vegas will get 1-3" of snow this week. Plan accordingly. [AccuWeather]

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Not Even A Mouse

Things should be pretty quiet around here the next few days. We don't expect too many creatures to be stirring. But if you are stirring, or shaking, make sure you don't drive! Have a safe and happy holiday! Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Feats of Strength

  • As many of you have already observed, more information has been coming out about Lionel Sawyer & Collins and Fennemore Craig. A press release yesterday indicates less than half of the attorneys currently at LSC are making the jump to FC. Among those not going to FC are LSC's current managing partner and most of LSC's associates. No word yet on where Paul Hejmanowski and the 30+ other attorneys not going to FC will land. [Vegas Inc.]
  • Compelling Discovery blogger Michael P. Lowry and Kenneth R. Lund are moving up the ladder at Thorndal. [Press Release]
  • Now the Regents will get to decide how to respond to the NSHE plagiarism. [RJ]
  • Next year's Nevada legislative session is already shaping up to be an interesting one with such topics as "bringing your dog to the bar" on the agenda. [RGJ]
  • Despite being ousted as Assembly majority leader and taxation chairwoman, Michele Fiore is still making headlines. [RJ]
  • Anyone know what is going on with replacing Bill Kephart in the Justice Court. Applications were due a couple of days ago, but we have yet to see anything on who applied....

Monday, December 22, 2014

Bonus Round 2014!!!

Time to talk bonuses! Last month, 44% of you indicated that you were not expecting a bonus this year. Did your expectation prove correct? Did you at least get a cost of living raise? Did you get made partner with no pay increase?

How much was your bonus this year?

Friday, December 19, 2014

2014 Annual Airing of Grievances

"The tradition of Festivus begins with the Airing of Grievances. I got a lot of problems with you people! And now, you're gonna hear about it." --Frank Costanza

Technically, Festivus is on December 23, but we just can't wait to get the festivities started!  Gather your family, friends, co-workers, enemies, judges, opposing counsel, etc. because it's time for the Airing of Grievances

For some of you, this is what you were born to do--this is your moment to shine. Your gift of complaining is finally welcomed and wanted on this one occasion. This is your chance to (civilly) whine and complain about your salary, your job, your boss, the courts, nepotism, the legislative Republicans, Lionel Sawyer & Collins, Wiznet, Lewis Roca Rothgerber, the Nevada bar, UNLV Boyd, this blog, etc. It's also your chance to provide some feedback about the way things are done in the Las Vegas legal community. If you want a refresher on what types of things you were disappointed in or complained about last year, here's a link to last year's post

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Jolly Old

  • Governor Sandoval announced that the three inaugural judges for the Court of Appeals will be Judge Jerome Tao, Judge Michael Gibbons, and Judge Abbi Silver. All three are sitting judges that were former prosecutors. They'll take the bench in early January. This means there will be two vacancies on the bench in the Eighth Judicial District. Who do you think will end up there? [RJ]
  • Based on SEC filings, it looks like Perini came out the net winner in the CityCenter settlement. Congratulations to George Ogilvie and his team at McDonald Carano Wilson. Wonder what kind of bonuses they'll be getting? [RJ]
  • The Las Vegas City Council voted to move forward on a soccer stadium that will only be built if the City is awarded a team from Major League Soccer. [8NewsNow]

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Santa Claus Is Watchin' You

  • A very happy Judge Betsy Gonzalez and 20 jurors were pleased to learn that the CityCenter litigation settled yesterday morning. The exact terms are unclear, but it looks like hundreds of millions of dollars are being shuffled between the parties with Judge Jennifer Togliatti getting some credit for helping get the parties to a settlement. [RJ]
  • Seems like the RJ has had to report on itself a lot lately. The paper is in the headlines today for suing District Attorney Steve Wolfson for hindering the newspaper in its investigation into the DA's practice of undisclosed witness payments. The RJ is being represented by attorney Maggie McLetchie. [RJ]
  • In case you worried about outgoing Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto finding a job, you can rest easy. She's being hired by the NSHE Regents. [Fox5Vegas]
  • Looks like the NSHE may need her sooner than later in the wake of the plagiarism scandal. If you want to hear Chancellor Dan Klaich explain away the situation, there is an interview at KNPR. [RJ]
  • Taxationally challenged Assemblywoman Michelle Fiore, who is also presently set to be majority leader and tax committee chairwoman next year, has an explanation for her tax liens. [RJ]

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Eight Crazy Nights

  • An FBI agent involved in busting the World Cup betting ring at Caesars acknowledged that he did not tell US Magistrate Judge Nancy Koppe that the FBI had already secretly entered the villas before asking for a warrant. [RJ]
  • Unfortunate timing for a motion to dismiss brought by the family of a 13-year old girl who committed suicide last year. [RJ]
  • We'll get a decision by the end of the year on whether the HOA scandal trial will be moved out of Las Vegas due to excessive media coverage by the RJ. [RJ]
  • The Nevada Supreme Court, Administrative Office of the Courts released its 2014 Annual Report of the Nevada Judiciary. Anyone catch anything interesting in it?
  • Opening arguments are supposed to begin today in the anticipated year-long CityCenter trial after six weeks of jury selection. [KTVN] ed. Lucky jurors dodged a bullet--it settled. [8NewsNow]
  • In case you have forgotten the joys of law school exams, here's a look at a recent UCLA law question that sparked outrage over its timing and content. [Above the Law Redline]

Monday, December 15, 2014

Copy That

  • According to managing partner Paul Hejmanoskwi, Lionel Sawyer is in a "state of transition." [8NewsNow]
  • The Nevada System of Higher Education incorporated portions of an unpublished Brookings report into a competitive grant application and didn't bother to cite the original report in its first draft.  The final draft had an asterisk at the end mentioning the report, but did not put quotation marks around the parts lifted directly from the report. You can get more details in the article by intrepid reporter Bethany Barnes. One of the money quotes comes from NSHE Chancellor (and active Nevada attorney) who said, "You don't plagiarize when you identify the author."  Meanwhile, UNLV political science professor David Damore said that "it is common knowledge that using whole phrases and large chunks of text requires quotation marks." Lawyers tend to do a lot of copying and pasting, so they should know what plagiarism is, right? So, was this plagiarism?

Friday, December 12, 2014

Give Toys

  • Since some of you are already discussing it, here's the link to the article on Attorney General-Elect Adam Laxalt's pick for Solicitor General. [RJ]
  • Galina Kilova, the woman who waited until after the Thanksgiving holiday to turn herself in to police in connection with a hit-and-run that killed a grandpa, was taken into custody by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers. [Fox5Vegas]
  • Were photos of injuries to victims being destroyed in Las Vegas Justice Courts? Can anyone shed some light? [Las Vegas Tribune]
  • It's not just retailers like Target and Home Depot getting hit by cyber attacks. Details are emerging about an Iranian cyber attack on Las Vegas Sands Corp. back in February of this year. It's a long read, but something you should probably know.  [Business Week]
Finally, we just want to take a moment and encourage your generosity in supporting one of the many charitable projects going on right now. Many community organizations, including some sections of the bar, are helping brighten the holidays for some families who need a little help. Please give a little time or money to one of these organizations and make a difference in a child's life. It may not mean much to you, but it could mean the world to someone else. 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Hours of Operation 2014

We recently had some commenters discussing the fact that some judges are off the bench quite a bit more than you might expect. That's not to say that they might not be justified--you have to remember that they are government employees with certain benefits. Yes, some of them did have to campaign to keep their jobs. And by all means, Judge Bell should definitely take time to recover after getting hit by a car. But excuses aside, are our judges generally spending enough time in the courtroom? Which judges should be spending a little more time on the bench? Is there a minimum standard? Which judges make the best use of your time?

Do Clark County judges spend enough time in the courtroom?

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Island of Misfit Toys

  • A little birdie tells us that Fennemore Craig is indeed the destination for many partners of the soon-to-be former Lionel Sawyer & Collins. It looks like LSC will be dissolving and FC (the firm that took in Jones Vargas) is picking and choosing which pieces to pick up. Supposedly, Sam Lionel will be going downstairs as a figurehead. (Actually, we haven't heard yet if FC is moving upstairs or LSC is moving downstairs-anyone know? Also, we haven't heard what will become of the Reno office.) We also hear rumor that the entire transactional department is making the move. As for the litigation and gaming law departments--well, you've already seen that they are scrambling. We suspect you'll probably see a lot of the more established golf-playing partners make the move while younger partners are given the old heave-ho. The buzz has this all taking place officially in the near future, but we have yet to hear a date certain. We'll continue to follow this breaking news story...
  • For those LSC refugees looking to hang a shingle and who want to stay downtown at minimum cost, consider checking out this new co-working space on the 2nd floor of the Fed-Ex building. [www.theoffice.vegas]
  • Lots of plea deals in the World Cup betting scheme the FBI uncovered this summer. [RJ]
  • Preparations are under way for the Court of Appeals and Governor Sandoval could announce his appointed judges before the end of the week. [Fox5Vegas]
  • The US Supreme Court ruled that Amazon employees don't have to be compensated for the time it takes them to get through security checks. [Las Vegas Sun]

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

You Better Not Cry

  • Blake Griffin's local attorney for a misdemeanor battery case, Richard Schonfeld, says prosecutors need to see the results of defense investigation into the allegations. Griffin has a status check set for January 12, 2015. [MyNews3]
  • Legal costs are mounting for the State of Nevada as it defends itself against a class action lawsuit with regard to its practices of buying mental health patients a bus ticket out of town. Unfortunately, those legal fees are headed out of state to the California office of Bingham McCutchen. Why aren't they using a Nevada firm? Well, according to a spokeswoman for the Nevada Attorney General's office, they need a California licensed attorney to fight the case in that state. Too bad we don't have any of those here... [Las Vegas Sun]
  • Former judge Steven Jones was finally disbarred last week. [RJ]
  • Petitions for background checks and recreational marijuana were certified by the outgoing Secretary of State, meaning that if the legislature doesn't act on them next year, we'll be seeing those issues on the ballot in 2016. [RJ]
  • Michelle Fiore (R), Nevada's new Assembly majority leader, has had a lot of IRS tax liens levied against her. [Ralston Reports]
  • A bench-bar meeting is scheduled for noon today in courtroom 15D where they plan to discuss recent Supreme Court decisions. Rumor has it lunch is being provided. [eighthjdcourt blog]

Monday, December 8, 2014

You Better Watch Out

  • Here's a piece on Nevada's new attorney general Adam Laxalt and his priorities for the job--but, be warned Jon Ralston says this article doesn't have a "scintilla of news." [RJ]
  • KTNV got fined $115,000 by the FCC for running "Special Reports" that were really just ads for car dealerships. [RJ]
  • In light of the recent NY grand jury decision relating to the chokehold related death of Eric Garner, here's a look at Metro's chokehold policy. [8NewsNow]
  • We missed this one a few weeks ago when it first ran, but Cal Potter is representing a clerk with the DA's office who is suing Clark County over daily searches upon entering the courthouse. [8NewsNow]
  • Based on your comments, something is definitely going on at LSC, but no one has quite said what yet...

Friday, December 5, 2014

Too Dainty To Shoot

  • The Nevada Commission on Judicial Selection narrowed down the field of 36 applicants seeking to be appointed to one of the 3 departments on the Nevada Court of Appeals. [Press release] Here is the list of the 9 finalists from which Governor Brian Sandoval (R) must make his appointments: 
  • Court of Appeals - Department 1
    • David A. Hardy, 50, District Court Judge, Second Judicial District
    • Kirby J. Smith, 57, Attorney, Lionel Sawyer & Collins
    • Jerome T. Tao, 46, District Court Judge, Eighth Judicial District
    Court of Appeals - Department 2
    • Thomas D. Beatty, III, 72, Attorney, Law Offices of Thomas D. Beatty
    • Michael Patrick Gibbons, 58, District Court Judge, Ninth Judicial District
    • Susan Holland Johnson, 55, District Court Judge, Eighth Judicial District
    Court of Appeals - Department 3
    • Allan Ray Earl, 73, District Court Judge, Eighth Judicial District
    • Abbi Silver, 50, District Court Judge, Eighth Judicial District
    • Joan Chisholm Wright, 62, Attorney, Allison Mackenzie Pavlakis Wright & Fagan
  • Based on the increasing rumors flying around town and in the comments over the last few months, something is definitely going on at Lionel Sawyer & Collins. Depending on who you believe, either everything is fine or they'll be closed by the end of the year.... What information do you have on what's happening?
  • A former Las Vegas Justice Court worker was sentenced to 18-48 months in prison for embezzlement. [RJ]
  • Attorney David Lee Phillips, who made headlines earlier this year over grievances filed by the State Bar, has sued the State Bar of Nevada and two of its bar counsel in US District Court. 2:14 cv 2031 Mahan (Las Vegas). 
  • Here's a profile on attorney/Boyd grad Karissa Neff--one of the owners of Nevada's first and only female-owned firearms training company. [Vegas Inc.]

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Holiday Party Post 2014

It's that time of year again where tradition dictates that firms have a holiday party to make everyone uncomfortable, or not. What is your firm doing this year in terms of a holiday party? Will it be at Sage again? A dinner cruise on Lake Mead? An awkward soiree at one of the partner's homes in Anthem? Will there be gifts? Are you required to show up? Will you already have your bonus or will Santa deliver your lump of coal at the party? Will it be a potluck in the office with a white elephant gift exchange? What is Eglet doing (and has it already happened)? Will there be an open bar? Will there be hook-ups? And most importantly, will there be photos?

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Academically Inclined

  • We're now being told that Judge Linda Bell's injuries from getting hit by a car are much more extensive that originally reported...[RJ]
  • HOA scandal defense attorney Daniel Albregts is trying to determine if the RJ legally obtained documents it printed last month or whether something more nefarious is afoot. [RJ]
  • The woman who turned herself in as someone who may be the suspect that hit the pedestrian grandfather who died last week, surprise, has a history of DUI and driving without a license. [Las Vegas Sun]
  • The University of Alabama-Birmingham announced yesterday that it is eliminating its football program. [ESPN] Some people think UNLV should follow suit--with one commenter suggesting UNLV has no business having a football team or law school. [RJ]

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Protect Yourself

  • Interviews of the applicants for the Court of Appeals are being live-streamed on the Nevada Supreme Court's website. Anyone catching anything interesting?
  • There will be a public hearing on Thursday regarding the proposed Rules of Appellate Procedure for Supreme Court and Court of Appeals. You can read the proposal here. Your thoughts?
  • We're at that time of year again where lots of Nevada inmates begin dying in rapid succession. According to intrepid reporter Bethany Barnes, there have been 8 inmate deaths in the last month. [RJ]
  • After being hit by a car, Judge Linda Bell is still out and not expected to return to the bench until later this month. Wishing her a speedy recovery! [RJ]
  • Last week a hit and run driver fled the scene of an accident that left a grandfather dead and injured an 18-month old girl. Herb Sachs, who is representing the as-of-yet unidentified driver talked to police last week and told them the driver would turn herself in today (after the Thanksgiving holiday). Understandably, this has caused some consternation for the public who don't understand attorney/client privilege or why she got to wait until after the holiday to turn herself in. Can some of you criminal attorneys enlighten us on the pros/cons of waiting to turn herself in (other than allowing enough time to pass a blood alcohol level test)? [8NewsNow]

Monday, December 1, 2014

Serial Protectionism

  • One of our commenters has asked for a post on Serial, a serial podcast exploring a murder case from the makers of This American Life. Are any of you listening? (If this is the first you're hearing of it, here is a NY Times article on the phenomenon.)
  • Abortion law in Nevada will likely get some scrutiny from the Republican controlled Nevada legislature. [RJ]
  • Uber has temporarily suspended service in Nevada due to the recent ruling. [Las Vegas Sun] Is Uber the victim of protectionism in Nevada? [RJ]
  • Speaking of protectionism, Nevada has the strongest anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation) in the nation. According to First Amendment attorney Marc Randazza, one of the things that puts it above other states is its positive action provision. Under the anti-SLAPP provisions of states like WA, OR, and CA, if you win, the case is over. Not so here. In Nevada, if you're so inclined, you can file an anti-SLAPP cause of action against the person who filed the SLAPP. Randazza recently emphasized this point on behalf of his client Opinion Corp. (who runs the website pissedconsumer.com by asserting an NRS 41.670 cause of action against Nevada Corporate Headquarters, Inc. ("NCH"). Opinion Corp. was sued by NCH in Justice Court and successfully got the action dismissed, but was not awarded attorney's fees. Opinion Corp. offered NCH a chance to pay their attorney fees, but NCH declined, and litigation ensued.  Last week, Opinion Corp. got summary judgment from Judge Jerry Wiese, proving the power of Nevada's anti-SLAPP statutes. You can read the pleadings in Eighth Judicial District Court case number A-14-698267-C. [If you want to read some of Randazza's latest thoughts and opinions, check out the Legal Satyricon.]