Justia Government & Administrative Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Nevada
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The Supreme Court affirmed in part, reversed in part, vacated in part, and remanded the grants of dismissal and summary judgment as to claims of improper actions taken by the Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County (RTC) during the completion of a construction project on Appellants' party following condemnation proceedings, holding that the district court erred in part.Specifically, the Supreme Court held that the district court (1) did not err in dismissing Appellants' claim for waste; (2) did not err in dismissing Appellants' separate cause of action for injunctive relief; (3) did not err in granting the RTC's motion for summary judgment as to Appellants' contract-based claims; and (4) erred in granting summary judgment in favor of the RTC as to Appellants' trespass claim and their request for declaratory relief. The Court vacated the order awarding RTC attorney fees and costs because, after remand, the RTC might not be the prevailing party. View "Iliescu v. Regional Transportation Comm'n" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court held that the federal Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) prohibits disclosure, under the Nevada Public Records Act (NPRA), of documents from pharmaceutical companies and pharmacy benefit managers collected under S.B. 539.The Nevada Independent (TNI) filed a petition with the district court seeking an order directing the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to release the documents at issue. The district court concluded that the documents were not subject to disclosure under the NPRA because the information contained in them comprised trade secrets protected under the DTSA. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) because the DTSA classifies the requested documents, obtained pursuant to S.B. 539, as confidential trade secrets, the documents were exempt from disclosure under the NPRA; and (2) TNI's remaining allegations of error were without merit. View "Nevada Independent v. Whitley" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court denying judicial review from the determination of the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada (PUC) denying Southwest Gas Corporation's (SWG) request for reimbursement and setting a return on equity lower than what the utility had requested, holding that the PUC's decision was neither clearly erroneous nor constitutionally infirm.SWG attempted to recover its expenses and sought an increased rate of return on equity (ROE). The PUC ultimately determined that the utility did not justify the expenses it was seeker to recover, thus denying SWG's requests. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) utilities to not enjoy a presumption of prudence with respect to their incurred expenses but must show that the expenses were prudently incurred; (2) this Court declines to adopt the constitutional fact doctrine; (3) the PUC's rate-setting procedures met due process requirements and the ROE the PUC selected was not a confiscatory taking; and (4) the PUC's decision to disallow the SWG to recover certain project expenses and additional pension expenses was supported by substantial evidence in the record. View "Southwest Gas Corp. v. Public Utilities Commission of Nevada" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court and appeals officer that Employee was incapacitated from earning "full wages" and therefore denying Employer and its insurer's petition for judicial review, holding that there was no error.At issue was whether Employee's inability to earn overtime due to his industrial injury amounted to being incapacitated from earning "full wages" such that he could seek to reopen his claim more than one year after its closing. The appeals officer concluded (1) Employee was incapacitated from earning full wages for the time specified under Nev. Rev. Stat. 616C.400(1); (2) that Employee had satisfied the statute's period of incapacitation; and (3) therefore, Nev. Rev. Stat. 616C.390(5) permitted Employee to submit an application to reopen his claim more than one year after it had closed. The district court affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the term "full wages" as used in section 616C.400(1) may include payments for overtime; and (2) substantial evidence supported the appeals officer's findings in this case. View "City of Henderson v. Wolfgram" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court granted the petition for a writ of mandamus sought by the City of Henderson seeking to strike a petition for judicial review of an administrative zoning decision, holding that the district court erred in denying the City's motion to strike the petition for judicial review.Solid State Properties, LLC sued petitioner city of Henderson seeking damages and other forms of civil relief related to the nonenforcement of a zoning decision. After later developments to the zoning decision, Solid State filed an "Amended Petition for Judicial Review" challenging the zoning decision. The City filed a motion to strike the document, arguing that it was an improper attempt to file a new action within an existing matter. Specifically, the City argued that the civil action could not properly be coupled with a new action for judicial review of an administrative decision. The district court denied the City's motion and allowed the amended petition to proceed as part of the existing civil action. The City subsequently filed its petition for a writ of mandamus. The Supreme Court granted writ relief, holding that Solid State could not initiate judicial review proceedings within the existing civil action against the City, and the district court erred in denying the City's motion to strike the amended petition. View "City of Henderson v. District Court" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed in part the order of the district court denying Petitioner's petition for judicial review of an order of the Nevada Division of Insurance, holding that remand was required with the instruction that the district court grant judicial review in part.Choice Home Warranty (CHW) marketed and sold Home Warranty Administrator of Nevada, Inc. (HWAN)'s home warranty service contracts, in which HWAN was the obligor. The Department of Business and Industry, Division of Insurance filed a complaint alleging that HWAN, dba CHW, made false entries by answering no to a question in certificate-of-registration renewal applications, conducted business in an unsuitable manner, and failed to make records available to the Division. A hearing officer found that HWAN committed all of the alleged violations. The district court denied HWAN's petition for judicial review. The Supreme Court reversed in part, holding (1) under Nev. Rev. Stat. 690C.150, a provider of home warranty services is not simply an entity that issues, sells, or offers for sale service contracts but the obligor in those contracts; (2) CHW was not an obligor so it was not a provider and need not have held a certificate of registration; and (3) HWAN did not act improperly by selling its contracts through an unregistered entity. View "Home Warranty Administrator of Nevada, Inc. v. State, Department of Business & Industry" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reaffirmed in this case that undocumented aliens who are injured while working for a Nevada employer may be eligible for monetary disability benefits, holding that these monetary benefits, paid by the insurer, do not conflict with federal law or undermine the Legislature's intent.Respondent, an undocumented Nevadan, was severely injured while working for High Point Construction and applied for permanent total disability (PTD) status. Associated Risk Management (ARM), High Point's insurance administrator, denied the request. An appeals officer reversed and granted Respondent PTD status pursuant to the "odd-lot doctrine." ARM petitioned for judicial review, arguing that the appeals officer committed legal error by granting PTD to an undocumented alien. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) undocumented aliens are not precluded from receiving disability benefits under Nevada's workers' compensation laws; (2) although federal law prohibits employers from knowingly employing an undocumented alien, it does not prohibit insurers from compensating undocumented aliens for injuries they sustain while working; and (3) the appeals officer's decision was based on substantial evidence. View "Associated Risk Management, Inc. v. Ibanez" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court denying the petition for judicial review filed by Silverwing Development challenging the fine imposed upon it by the Nevada State Contractors Board for improperly entering into contracts with contractors that exceeded the contractors' license limits in conjunction with Silverwing's condominium development projects, holding that the term "subdivision site" in Nev. Rev. Stat. 624.220(2) is not unconstitutionally vague.Section 624.220(2) requires the Board to impose a monetary license limit on the amount a contractor can bid on a project and calculates the limit with respect to "one or more construction contracts on a single construction site or subdivision site for a single client." In fining Silverwing, the hearing officer determined that the term "subdivision site" refers to the general location of a subdivision rather than a particular location within a subdivision. The Supreme Court affirmed the district court's denial of Silverwing's petition for judicial review, holding that "subdivision site" in section 624.220(2) plainly refers to the general physical location of a subdivision and that the statute provides an adequate standard to preclude the Board from enforcing it discriminatorily. View "Silverwing Development v. Nevada State Contractors" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court held that NAC 281.305(1)(a) is a jurisdictional rule that exceeds the rulemaking authority of the Nevada Department of Administration's Personnel Commission.NAC 281.305(1)(a) provides that a state officer or employee claiming whistleblower protection must file a whistleblower appeal within ten workdays of the alleged retaliation or reprisal. The Personnel Commission promulgated the rule under Nev. Rev. Stat. 281.641(5), which provides that the Personnel Commission may adopt procedural rules for whistleblower appeal hearings. Approximately eight months after the Nevada Department of Transportation's (NDOT) fired him, John Bronder filed a whistleblower appeal alleging that his termination was retaliation for whistleblower activity. NDOT filed a motion to dismiss on the grounds that Bronder's appeal was untimely by several months. The hearing officer concluded that the ten-day rule is invalid and ordered NDOT to reinstate Bronder's probationary employment. The district court denied NDOT's petition for judicial review. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that NAC 281.305(1)(a) is a jurisdictional, rather than a procedural, rule and is thus invalid. View "State, Department of Transportation v. Bronder" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court denying Clark County's petition for judicial review of the decision of an appeals officer reversing Clark County's denial of a retiree's claim for ongoing partial disability benefits, holding that the appeals officer correctly found that the retiree was entitled to benefits based on the wages he was earning at the time he retired.Brent Bean worked as a Clark County firefighter and retired in 2011. In 2014, Bean was diagnosed with prostate cancer and had part of his prostate removed. Clark County rejected Bean's claim for occupational disease benefits insofar as it sought ongoing permanent partial disability benefits, concluding that because Bean was retired at the time he became permanently partially disabled, he was not earning wages upon which to base a permanent partial disability benefits award. The appeals officer reversed, and the district court rejected Clark County's petition for judicial review. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the appeals officer correctly found that compensation for Bean's permanent partial disability rating must be based on the wages he was earning at the time of his retirement. View "Clark County v. Bean" on Justia Law