Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Nevada

by
One party’s material breach of a contract releases the non-breaching party’s contractual obligation to a third-party beneficiary. The promisor in this case failed to fulfill its contractual obligations to Appellants under a settlement agreement. Appellants sued the promisor and six of its officers, including Respondents. Respondents, the third-party beneficiaries, claimed that the settlement agreement released them from liability for the promisor’s actions and precluded Appellants’ suit. The district court granted summary judgment to Respondents. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the promisor’s material breach of the settlement agreement released Appellants from their obligation under that agreement not to sue the promisor’s officers. Therefore, the Court reversed the district court’s grant of summary judgment and remanded the matter to the district court for further proceedings. View "Cain v. Price" on Justia Law

by
In this commercial dispute over an exclusive use clause in a lease for space in a shopping center, the Nevada Supreme Court held that the doctrine of claim preclusion did not prevent the tenant from suing its landlord for contract damages after having won an earlier suit against the landlord for declaratory judgment, where both suits concern the same underlying facts. The court explained that the preclusion doctrine makes an exception for declaratory judgment actions, which are designed to give parties an efficient way to obtain a judicial declaration of their legal rights before positions become entrenched and irreversible damage to relationships occurs. Furthermore, in a case involving a continuing or recurrent wrong, a party may sue separately for after-accruing damages. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment awarding contract damages to the tenant. View "Boca Park Marketplace Syndications Group, LLC v. Higco, Inc." on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court granted the Nevada Department of Transportation’s (NDOT) petition for a writ of mandamus, holding that the district court erred in denying NDOT’s motions for summary judgment on Landowner’s contract claims concerning a settlement agreement in a condemnation action. The court held that the district court erred in declining to grant summary judgment by interpreting the parties’ agreement to include a duty imposed outside the express terms of the agreement and allowing a claim for unilateral mistake to proceed even though Landowner’s claim was barred by the applicable statute of limitations. View "State Department of Transportation v. Eighth Judicial District Court" on Justia Law

by
The one-action rule, which generally requires a creditor seeking to recover debt secured by real property to proceed against the security prior to seeking recovery from the debtor personally, must be timely interposed as an affirmative defense in a party’s responsive pleadings or it is waived. Plaintiff contributed more than $2 million toward funding a loan that was secured by the personal residence of Defendant. When the borrower defaulted on the loan and Defendant refused to repay the loan under a personal guaranty agreement, Plaintiff filed a complaint to recover damages against Defendant. The jury entered a verdict in favor of Defendant. Thereafter, Plaintiff filed a motion for a new trial, which the district court granted based on Defendant’s failure to oppose the motion on the merits. Defendant moved to dismiss Plaintiff’s complaint, raising the one-action rule defense for the first time. The district court granted Defendant’s motion to dismiss based on the one-action rule. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that because Defendant failed to raise the one-action rule defense until prior to the commencement of the second trial in this case, Defendant failed timely to interpose the one-action rule defense. View "Hefetz v. Beavor" on Justia Law

by
A final order adjudicating a judgment debtor proceeding is appealable under Nev. R. App. P. 3A(b)(1), and such an appeal is generally a plain, speedy, and adequate remedy that precludes extraordinary writ relief. Petitioner filed this writ petition challenging the portion of the district court’s order that added her to a default judgment as a joint debtor. Petitioner failed to appeal the judgment. In challenging whether the challenged order was a final judgment from which she could have appealed, Petitioner argued that the order was interlocutory and that writ relief was appropriate because the order adding her to the default judgment was void on due process grounds. The Supreme Court denied the writ, holding (1) an order resolving a joint debtor proceeding is a final, appealable order, rendering extraordinary relief unavailable; and (2) extraordinary writ relief is not available when Petitioner View "Rawson v. Ninth Judicial District Court" on Justia Law

by
Mother and Father shared joint legal and physical custody of their two minor children as stated in a stipulated order. One provision of the order provided for “teenage discretion” in determining time spent with either parent when a child reaches the age of fourteen, and another provision conferred authority to resolve disputes to a “parenting coordinator” and authorized the district court to issue an order that defines the coordinator’s role. Father later filed a motion to modify the original stipulated child custody order, arguing that the two provisions at issue should be rendered void because they were against public policy. The district court denied modification. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that neither contractual provision was against the best interest of the children, which is the paramount public policy concern in child custody matters, and the parenting coordinator provision did not improperly delegate decision-making authority. View "Harrison v. Harrison" on Justia Law

by
Sumona Islam entered into an agreement with her employer, Atlantis Casino Resort Spa (Atlantis), to refrain from employment or association with any other gaming establishment within 150 miles for one year following the end of her employment. After Islam resigned from Atlantis and began working as a casino host at Grand Sierra Resort (GSR), she entered altered and copied gaming customers’ information from Atlantis’ computer management system into GSR’s computer management system. GSR used this and other information conveyed by Islam to market to those customers without knowing the information was wrongfully obtained. Atlantis filed a complaint against both Islam and GSR, alleging tort and contract claims. All three parties appealed the district court’s decision. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court (1) correctly found that the noncompete agreement was unreasonable and unenforceable; (2) properly denied Atlantis’ conversion claim based on Islam’s alteration of the electronic information; and (3) properly found that GSR did not misappropriate Atlantis’s trade secrets. View "Golden Road Motor Inn v. Islam" on Justia Law

by
Grupo Famsa, S.A. de C.V. (Grupo), a Mexican company, agreed to guarantee a commercial lease entered into between Famsa, Inc. (Famsa) and Uno LLC (Uno). When Famsa failed to comply with the terms of the lease, Uno filed a complaint against Famsa and Grupo for breach of the commercial lease and guaranty. Uno served Grupo through the procedures outlined in the Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters (Hague Convention). The Mexican Central Authority issued a certificate of proof of international service of process upon Grupo. Grupo filed a motion to quash service of process, arguing that service of process was constitutionally deficient. The district court denied Grupo’s motion to quash. Grupo subsequently petitioned the Supreme Court for a writ of prohibition seeking to prohibit the district court from exercising jurisdiction over Grupo. The Supreme Court granted the petition in part, holding (1) service of process on a foreign company pursuant to the Hague Convention does not satisfy constitutional due process when service depends solely upon a certificate of compliance issued by the foreign nation’s central authority; and (2) the district court failed to conduct the necessary fact-finding to determine whether service was constitutionally sufficient in this case. View "Grupo Famsa, S.A. de C.V. v. Eighth Judicial Dist. Court" on Justia Law

by
Respondent, a contractor, and Appellant, a homeowner, entered into a contract under which Respondent agreed to install automation, sound, surveillance, and landscaping systems in Appellant’s residence. Respondent did not have an electrical contractor’s license when it bid the contract and began the work but did receive a license before it completed the work. When the parties disagreed on the performance of the contract, Appellant refused to tender further payment to Respondent, and Respondent filed a notice of lien against Appellant’s residence. Respondent filed a complaint alleging breach of contract, breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, foreclosure of notice of lien, and declaratory relief, alleging that an electrical license was not required for the work performed on Appellant’s residence and that its lien was proper and perfected. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Respondent. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that genuine issues of material fact existed regarding whether Respondent’s work on Appellant’s residence required a license and whether Respondent completed the contract in a workmanlike manner, thereby possibly negating Appellant’s obligation to make final payment under the contract. Remanded. View "Tom v. Innovative Home Sys." on Justia Law

by
MB America, Inc. (MBA) and Alaska Pacific Leasing Company entered into an agreement whereby Alaska Pacific agreed to become a dealer for MBA’s line of products. A dispute later arose between the parties, and MBA sued Alaska Pacific in the district court. Alaska Pacific filed a motion for summary judgment alleging that MBA had prematurely filed its complaint because it had not complied with a prelitigation mediation provision in the agreement. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Alaska Pacific. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the prelitigation provision in the parties’ contract was a condition precedent to litigation; (2) MBA did not initiate mediation as required under the agreement; and (3) therefore, the district court correctly granted Alaska Pacific’s motion for summary judgment and did not err in granting attorney fees to Alaska Pacific. View "MB America, Inc. v. Alaska Pacific Leasing Co." on Justia Law