Hot topics were covered at the April Civil Bench Bar meeting including: rules against perpetuities. As a result of the Nevada Supreme Court decision on Bullion Monarch Mining, Inc. v. Barrick Goldstrike Mines, Inc., 131 Nev.Ad.Op. 13 (March 26, 2015)(7-0): Nevada’s common-law Rule Against Perpetuities (RAP) does not extend to area-of-interest royalties created by commercial mining agreements.
A recommendation was made to put on the record any discussion that occurs on breaks during depositions. That reminder comes in the wake of discussion of Nevada Supreme Court decision on Coyote Springs Investment, LLC v. District Court, 131 Nev.Ad.Op. 18 (April 2, 2015)(3-0): Petition for Writ challenged district court order requiring plaintiff’s witness to disclose substance of communications that took place between witness and plaintiff’s counsel during break in deposition. Question came up regarding whether private communication between lawyer and witness is entitled to protection from discovery under attorney-client privilege. It was noted that attorneys may confer with witnesses during requested recesses only to determine whether to assert a privilege. For attorney-client privilege to apply, counsel must state on deposition record (1) the fact a conference took place, (2) substance of conference and (3) result of conference. Plaintiff’s counsel failed to make a sufficient, contemporaneous record of privileged communication and petition denied.
Another point of interest came up regarding Nevada Supreme Court decision on Cadle Company v. Woods Erickson, 131 Nev.Ad.Op. 15 (March 26, 2015)(7-0): Nevada, like the majority of jurisdictions, does not recognize accessory liability for fraudulent transfers. District Court’s judgment in favor of the law firm affirmed. However, District Court abused discretion in awarding costs as there was insufficient evidence showing each cost was reasonable, necessary and actually incurred. The takeaway was that thorough documentation of expenses must be provided to recover costs incurred.
Also discussed: Hohenstein v. NV ESD, 131 Nev.Ad.Op 17 (April 2, 2015)(3-0): A guilty plea made per NRS 453.3363 may not be used as the basis for denying unemployment benefits. NRS 453.3363 affords certain first-time drug offenders the opportunity to avoid criminal conviction if the offender pleads guilty and then successfully completes a probationary period. Upon successfully completing probation, the offender is discharged and charges are dismissed.
Other topics of interest that came up were the potential for rules changes on the short trial program and legislative changes on small claims and Justice Court limits.
The next Civil Bench Bar meeting is May 12 at noon in courtroom 15D. The meetings are a great way to learn about rules and procedure changes, trends and other happenings at the court. They are also a way to improve civil practice by getting a judicial perspective while enjoying a complimentary lunch.