Justia Contracts Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Nevada
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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the district court granting summary judgment and awarding attorney fees and costs in favor of Zitting Brothers Construction, a subcontractor on a development project, on its breach of contract action against APCO Construction, Inc., the general contractor, holding that the pay-if-paid provision in construction contract here was void under Nev. Rev. Stat. 624.628(3).Provisions in the subcontract in this case conditioned payment on the general contractor receiving payment first and required the subcontractor to forgo its right to prompt payment under Nev. Rev. Stat. 624.624 when payment would otherwise be due. When the project failed, Zitting sued APCO seeking payment for work completed. APCO defended its nonpayment with the pay-if-paid provisions in the contract. The district court granted partial summary judgment in favor of Zitting on its breach of contract and mechanics' liens claims, concluding that the pay-if-paid provisions were void and unenforceable. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the pay-if-paid provisions in the parties' subcontract were void and unenforceable under section 624.628(3) because they limited Zitting's right to prompt payment under section 624.624(1). View "APCO Construction, Inc. v. Zitting Brothers Construction, Inc." on Justia Law

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In this case arising from a failed attempt to restore and reopen the historic Cal Neva Lodge, the Supreme Court affirmed the district court's decision to deny relief on the claims brought by Plaintiff, an investor, against the developers and others involved in setting up Plaintiff's investment on the project, but reversed the damages award for Defendants, holding that the record did not support upholding the damages award.Plaintiff sued Defendants for breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, negligence, conversion, and securities fraud. After a bench trial, the trial judge ordered judgment in favor of Defendants and sua sponte awarded Defendants damages, along with attorney fees and costs. The Supreme Court reversed in part and affirmed in part, holding (1) the district court erred in awarding damages to Defendants in the absence of an express or implied counterclaim; and (2) the record supported the district court's denial of relief on Plaintiff's claims. View "Yount v. Criswell Radovan, LLC" on Justia Law

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In this case involving the extent to which a judgment debtor's rights of action are subject to execution to satisfy a judgment the Supreme Court held that a judgment debtor's claims that are unassignable cannot be purchased at an execution sale.Respondents filed a motion to substitute themselves in place of Appellants and to voluntarily dismiss this appeal because they purchased Appellants' rights and interests in the underlying action at a judgment execution sale. The Supreme Court denied the motion in part and granted the motion in part, holding (1) because Appellants' claims for fraud and elder exploitation were personal in nature, they were not assignable and not subject to execution at a sheriff's sale, and therefore, Respondents did not purchase the rights to these claims at the execution sale; and (2) Appellants' claims of negligent misrepresentation and breach of contract were assignable and subject to execution, and therefore, this appeal is dismissed as to these claims. View "Reynolds v. Tufenkjian" on Justia Law

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In this case brought by Plaintiffs seeking to enforce a settlement agreement the Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the district court denying Defendants' motion to compel arbitration, holding that the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) preempts Nev. Rev. Stat. 597.995, which requires agreements that include an arbitration provision also to include a specific authorization for the arbitration provision showing that the parties affirmatively agreed to that provision.The parties in this case entered into a settlement agreement that referenced a licensing agreement that included an arbitration provision. When Plaintiffs sued to enforce the settlement agreement Defendants filed a motion to compel arbitration and dismiss the complaint because the settlement agreement incorporated the licensing agreement's arbitration clause. The district court concluded that the arbitration provision was unenforceable because it did not include the specific authorization required by section 597.995. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the statute did not void the arbitration clause; and (2) the claims in the underlying complaint were subject to arbitration. View "MMAWC, LLC v. Zion Wood Obi Wan Trust" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the order of the district court granting summary judgment for Respondents - Nevada Auto Dealership and its surety company, Corepointe Insurance Company - on Appellant's lawsuit brought under the Nevada Deceptive Trade Practices Act (NDTPA) and Nev. Rev. Stat. 41.600, holding that Appellant presented sufficient evidence to raise genuine issues of material fact under each of his claims.In his complaint, Appellant alleged that Nevada Auto knowingly failed to disclose material facts about a truck that it sold to him and misrepresented the truck's condition. The district court granted summary judgment for Respondents, concluding that Appellant's deceptive trade practices claims and equitable claims all failed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that genuine issues of material fact existed as to each of Appellant's statutory claims. View "Poole v. Nevada Auto Dealership Investments, LLC" on Justia Law

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In this breach of contract action the Supreme Court reversed the portion of the district court's judgment awarding attorney fees as special damages, holding that attorney fees incurred by a plaintiff in bringing a two-party breach-of-contract claim against a defendant do not constitute special damages under the limited exceptions recognized by the Court.While Nevada adheres to the American Rule of attorney fees, the Supreme Court has recognized a narrow and limited exception for attorney fees as special damages. In the instant case, Plaintiffs brought an action against Defendants alleging breach of contract, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and an accounting. The district court found in favor of Plaintiffs and awarded Plaintiffs attorney fees as special damages and because they were the prevailing parties pursuant to the contract. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding (1) attorney fees was properly awarded based on the parties' contractual prevailing party provision; but (2) the district court erred in awarding Plaintiffs attorney fees as special damages for the two-party breach-of-contract action. The Court remanded the matter because the prevailing parties may be entitled to additional attorney fees in light of this opinion. View "Pardee Homes of Nevada v. Wolfram" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court granting summary judgment in favor of Respondents, a real estate appraisal company and a professional real estate appraiser, as to Appellants' allegations that Respondents' negligence prevented them from refinancing their home loan, holding that Appellants' claims lacked evidentiary support and were based on little more than conclusory allegations and accusations.After purchasing a home, Appellants brought this action against Respondents asserting claims for professional negligence, negligent misrepresentation, breach of the statutory duty to disclose a material fact, and breach of contract as third-party beneficiaries. Specifically, Appellants alleged that Respondents negligently relied on inaccurate information in calculating the home's size and market value, which resulted in a misleading appraisal report and inflated purchase price. The district court granted summary judgment for Respondents. The Supreme Court affirmed and took the opportunity of this case to emphasize the important role of summary judgment in promoting sound judicial economy. View "Boesiger v. Desert Appraisals, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court in this contract action, holding that any failure by landlords to strictly comply with any contractual notice provisions when declaring a lease in default is excused when the allegedly defaulting party receives actual notice of the default despite noncompliance.Treasure Island, LLC and its prime tenant, Rose, LLC, entered into a lease for space inside of Treasure Island's hotel/casino that was subleased to Señor Frog's and used to operate a restaurant. Treasure Island declared the lease in default when Rose failed to make timely rent payments. Thereafter, Treasure Island sued Rose alleging breach of the lease agreement and seeking declaratory relief. Rose counterclaimed, alleging breach of contract and seeking declaratory relief, arguing (1) the district court erred in declaring the lease terminated because Treasure Island failed to give proper notice of the default, and (2) the judgment was void because Señor Frog's was a necessary party and was not joined in the action in violation of Nev. R. Civ. P. 19. The trial court entered judgment for Treasure Island. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Rose suffered no prejudice because it received actual notice of the default; and (2) Señor Frog's was not a necessary party to the litigation. View "Rose, LLC v. Treasure Island, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court held that the Labor Commissioner properly determined that the “repair” portion of a maintenance contract is a public work project under Nev. Rev. Stat. 338.010(15), even if the contract is predominantly for maintenance, and is thus not exempt from prevailing wage requirements.This case involved a maintenance contract for an airport shuttle system. The Labor Commissioner determined in this case that because a portion of the work under the contract in this case was repair work, that work was a “public work” project under the statute and thus subject to prevailing wage requirements. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the Labor Commissioner properly determined that twenty percent of the work involved repair rather than maintenance and was thus subject to the prevailing wage, and no exceptions applied that would allow Appellant to forego paying prevailing wages on that portion of the contract. View "Bombardier Transportation (Holdings) USA, Inc. v. Nevada Labor Commissioner" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court answered a certified question submitted by the United States District Court for the District of Nevada by holding that, under Nevada law, an insurer’s liability where it breaches its contractual duty to defend is not capped at the policy limits plus any costs incurred by the insured in mounting a defense. Instead, an insurer may be liable for any consequential damages caused by its breach. Further, good faith determinations are irrelevant for determining damages upon a breach of the duty to defend.Respondents filed suit against Appellant-insurer for breach of contract and other causes of action. The federal court concluded that Appellant did not act in bad faith but did breach its duty to defend. The federal court subsequently entered an order staying the proceedings until resolution of the certified question by the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court answered as set forth above, holding that an insured may recover any damages consequential to the insurer’s breach of its duty to defend, and therefore, an insurer’s liability for breach of that duty is not capped at the policy limits, even if the insurer did not act in bad faith. View "Century Surety Co. v. Andrew" on Justia Law