Justia Labor & Employment Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Nevada Supreme Court
Thomas v. Nev. Yellow Cab Corp.
Appellants, two taxicab drivers, brought an action against Respondents, taxicab companies, claiming damages for unpaid wages pursuant to the Minimum Wage Amendment, a constitutional amendment that revised Nevada’s then-statutory minimum wage scheme. The district court granted Respondents’ motion to dismiss, concluding that the Minimum Wage Amendment did not repeal Nev. Rev. Stat. 608.250, which excepts taxicab drivers from Nevada’s minimum wage provisions, and that the statutory exceptions could be harmonized with the constitutional amendment. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the Minimum Wage Amendment, by clearly setting out some exceptions to the minimum wage law and not others, supersedes and supplants the taxicab driver exception set out in section 608.250(2). View "Thomas v. Nev. Yellow Cab Corp." on Justia Law
Jacobs v. Adelson
Steve Jacobs filed a wrongful termination complaint against Las Vegas Sands Corp. (LVSC) and Sands China Ltd. after he was fired as chief executive officer of the Sands China unit. Jacobs made several allegations in the complaint against Sheldon Adelson, the chief executive officer and majority shareholder of LVSC, personally. The case received widespread media attention, and after the Wall Street Journal published Adelson’s response to the allegations, Jacobs amended his complaint to add a claim for defamation per se against Adelson. The district court dismissed the defamation claim, determining that Adelson’s statements to the media were absolutely privileged communications relating to litigation. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that communications made to the media in an extrajudicial setting are not absolutely privileged when the media holds no more significant interest in the litigation than the general public. View "Jacobs v. Adelson" on Justia Law
Anderson v. State Employment Sec. Div.
In 2004, Appellant sustained a work injury and received temporary total disability (TTD) benefits. Appellant returned to work from 2006 until 2008, at which time his back problems recurred. Appellant received TTD benefits until 2010. Appellant was later medically released to return to work, but because he could not find a job, he filed for unemployment compensation. Nev. Rev. Stat. 612.344 allows an individual who cannot find work after a period of temporary disability the option of using his work history for the fifteen months preceding his disability leave to determine his unemployment compensation instead of the fifteen months preceding his application. To qualify for this option, the application must be filed “within 3 years after the initial period of disability begins.” The Employment Security Division denied Appellant’s claim, concluding that because Appellant received disability benefits for his back injury starting in 2004, he could not use section 612.344’s alternative-calculation option because the statute’s three-year window closed in 2007. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the alternative-calculation option in section 612.344 renews when a temporarily disabled worker recovers and returns long enough to reestablish himself in the unemployment compensation system. View "Anderson v. State Employment Sec. Div." on Justia Law
Las Vegas Sands Corp. v. Eighth Judicial Dist. Court
Steven Jacobs filed an action against Las Vegas Sands Corp. and related entities (collectively, “Sands”). During a hearing to consider sanctions as a result of Sands’s conduct in the discovery process, Sands attorney Justin Jones admitted that, prior to testifying, he had reviewed his billing records and e-mails from Jacobs that refreshed his memory as to the timing of events. Jacobs argued that the billing records and e-mails were openly discoverable because Nev. Rev. Stat. 50.125 requires a party to disclose any documents used to refresh a witness’s recollection. Sands objected based on the work product doctrine and the attorney-client privilege. Without deciding the discovery issue, the district court imposed sanctions on Sands. Two months later, Jacobs filed a motion to compel production of the disputed documents, which the district court granted. The Supreme Court granted Sands’s request for a writ of prohibition to halt the production of the purportedly privileged documents, holding that, under the circumstances of this case, where Jacobs failed to demand production, inspection, and admission of the documents at or near the sanctions hearing and waited until well after the district court had entered its order, Jacobs’s demand was untimely under section 50.125(1). View "Las Vegas Sands Corp. v. Eighth Judicial Dist. Court " on Justia Law
Liberty Mut. v. Thomasson
Respondent filed a workers’ compensation claim for an injury he received when slipping down a flight of stairs. Liberty Mutual, Respondent’s employer’s workers’ compensation insurer, denied the claim. A hearing officer with the Department of Administration affirmed, but an appeals officer reversed the claim denial. Liberty Mutual subsequently filed a petition for judicial review in the Second Judicial District Court. Respondent filed a motion to dismiss the petition because Liberty Mutual was not a resident of Washoe County, and therefore the petition did not comply with Nev. Rev. Stat. 233B.130(2)(b)’s residency requirement. The Second Judicial District Court transferred venue. The Supreme Court vacated the district court’s order transferring venue and remanded with directions to dismiss the petition for judicial review, holding that section 233.130(2)(b) is a mandatory jurisdictional requirement and because Liberty Mutual was not a resident of Washoe County, the Second Judicial District Court lacked jurisdiction to consider Liberty Mutual’s petition. View "Liberty Mut. v. Thomasson" on Justia Law
Taylor v. Dep’t of Health & Human Servs.
Appellant was terminated from his position as a group supervisor at a youth center after an incident involving Appellant and one of the youths. Appellant, who was a classified employee with the State Department of Health and Human Services in the Division of Child and Family Services (DCFS), administratively appealed his dismissal. A State Personnel Commission hearing officer set aside Appellant’s dismissal and remanded to DCFS to determine the appropriate level of discipline for Appellant’s infraction. Appellant subsequently sought judicial review to have a district court decide the issue of whether the hearing officer, as opposed to the employer, should determine the appropriate level of discipline for Appellant’s situation. The district court denied Appellant’s petition, concluding that hearing officers, after finding that dismissal was unreasonable, are not required to determine the appropriate level of discipline. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that only appointing authorities, and not hearing officers, have the power to prescribe the actual discipline imposed on permanent classified state employees. View "Taylor v. Dep't of Health & Human Servs." on Justia Law
Elizondo v. Hood Machine, Inc.
While employed by Employer, Appellant sustained an injury. Appellant filed an industrial injury claim. Employer's insurer (Insurer) partly accepted the claim but later closed Appellant's claim. After unsuccessfully filing three requests to reopen his claim, Appellant filed a fourth request, which was again denied by Insurer. A hearing officer affirmed the denial. Appellant administratively appealed. Insurer moved to dismiss, arguing that Appellant was precluded from reopening his claim under the doctrine of res judicata. The appeals officer granted Insurer's motion. The district court denied Appellant's petition for judicial review, concluding that Apellant failed to state a new cause of action that could withstand the application of res judicata. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that because the district court failed to provide any findings of fact or conclusions of law, the court could not properly review the appeals officer's determination that there was no change of circumstances warranting reopening under Nev. Rev. Stat. 616C.390. Remanded. View "Elizondo v. Hood Machine, Inc." on Justia Law
Wynn Las Vegas, LLC v. Baldonado
After Appellant, the Wynn Las Vegas, restructured its table-games department, it implemented a new tip-pooling policy for its table-games employees. Under the new policy, all tips were gathered and divided among the dealers, boxpersons, and casino service team leads. Respondents, several dealers, filed a class-action complaint with the Labor Commissioner claiming that Appellant's restructured tip-pooling policy violated laws governing compensation and employment practices because it required the dealers to share their tips with employees of different ranks. The Commissioner determined that Appellant's new tip-pooling policy did not violate Nevada law. The district court set aside the Commissioner's decision, determining that the new policy violated Nev. Rev. Stat. 608.160 because the policy directly benefited Appellant. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the district court erred in overturning the Commissioner's decision because Appellant did not keep any of the tips from the pool but, rather, distributed the money among its employees. View "Wynn Las Vegas, LLC v. Baldonado" on Justia Law
Nev. Pub. Employees Ret. Bd. v. Smith
Respondent, a sitting justice of the peace with twenty-three years of creditable Public Employees' Retirement System (PERS) service, retired as justice of the peace and took office as a district court judge. As a district court judge, Respondent was employed by a PERS-eligible employer when he applied for retirement benefits. PERS staff determined that, consistent with Nev. Rev. Stat. 286.541(2), Respondent could not retire from PERS while employed in a PERS-eligible position and therefore denied Respondent's application. The PERS Board denied Respondent's appeal. The district court reversed and ordered PERS to pay Respondent retirement payments, concluding that PERS could and should have equitably excused Respondent's noncompliance with section 286.541 and allowed him to reverse his eventual election to transfer from PERS to the Judicial Retirement System. The Supreme Court reversed and reinstated the PERS Board's determination, holding that the district court erred in its interpretation of the controlling statutes and in reviewing the PERS Board's decision de novo, rather than deferentially. View "Nev. Pub. Employees Ret. Bd. v. Smith" on Justia Law
Williams v. United Parcel Servs.
Employee was injured during the course of his employment with Employer. Employer subsequently issued a notice of claim acceptance to Employee. Two years after his claim's closure, Employee unsuccessfully asked Employer to reopen his claim. An appeals officer affirmed. At issue on appeal was Nev. Rev. Stat. 616C.390, which bars an employee from applying to reopen his workers' compensation claim after a year from its closure if the employee was "not off work as a result of the injury." The appeals officer interpreted the statute as requiring that an injured employee miss at least five days of work as a result of the injury to be considered "off work." The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) section 616.390 does not bar an employee from applying to reopen his claim after a year from its closure if the employee missed time from work as a result of his injury; (2) the appeals officer erred in reading a minimum-time-off-work requirement into the statute; and (3) because Employee missed the remainder of his shift on the day of his injury, he was "off work" as a result of his injury and was not therefore subject to the one-year limit on the reopening of his claims. View "Williams v. United Parcel Servs." on Justia Law