Justia Labor & Employment Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Nevada
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In this appeal regarding the scope of the law-enforcement exception to the "going and coming rule" in workers' compensation matters the Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court reversing the decision of the appeals officer, holding that the appeals officer's decision was arbitrary and capricious in light of the totality of the circumstances surrounding the officer's accident.Plaintiff, a police officer, was struck by another vehicle during his drive home from work. Plaintiff filed a workers' compensation claim for the injuries he sustained in the accident. His claim was denied. On appeal, the appeals officer also denied the claim, concluding that Plaintiff's injury did not arise out of and in the course and scope of his employment. The district court granted Plaintiff's petition for judicial review and concluded that Plaintiff's accident indeed arose out of and in the course of his employment. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) a court must look to the totality of the circumstances on a case-by-case basis in determining whether the law-enforcement exception to the going and coming rule applies; and (2) Plaintiff qualified for the law-enforcement exception under the totality of the circumstances test. View "Cannon Cochran Management Services, Inc. v. Figueroa" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court held that service of a petition for judicial review of an agency's decision does not require personal service under Nev. R. Civ. P. 4.2(a) because a petition for judicial review is best construed as a post-complaint filing so an alternative method of service under Nev. R. Civ. P. 5(b) will suffice.After Patricia DeRosa was fired by the Nevada Department of Corrections (NDOC), DeRosa requested a hearing. The hearing officer reversed the NDOC's decision. NDOC filed a petition for judicial review and served the petition on DeRosa by mailing it to her counsel under Rule 5(b). DeRosa moved to dismiss the petition for lack of personal service. The district court granted the motion, concluding that personal service was necessary under Nev. Rev. Stat. 233B.130(5). The Supreme Court reversed, holding that a petition for judicial review is best construed as a post-complaint pleading and that personal service is unnecessary and an alternative method of service under Rule 5(b) will instead suffice. View "State, Department of Corrections v. DeRosa" on Justia Law

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In this workers' compensation appeal, the Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court reversing the decision of the appeals officer denying benefits to Respondent, holding that the plain language of Nev. Rev. Stat. 617.366(1) did not exclude the possibility of benefits for hearing loss when at least part of Respondent's current hearing disability was attributable to some level of hearing loss before he began his job that made the hearing loss worse.While serving as a police officer for the City of Henderson, Respondent suffered progressive hearing loss to the point where he was assigned to desk duty. Respondent sought compensation under Nev. Rev. Stat. 617.430 and .440, which entitle employees to workers' compensation benefits if they suffer a disability caused by an "occupational disease." Because Respondent already had some level of hearing loss, perhaps genetically induced, before his employment as a police officer, the appeals officer denied benefits. The district court reversed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the appeals officer applied the relevant statutes incorrectly as a matter of law. View "City of Henderson v. Spangler" on Justia Law

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In this case involving workers' compensation for "traveling" employees the Supreme Court vacated the order of the district court denying Appellants' petition for judicial review of the denial of their request for workers' compensation benefits, holding that the appeals officer failed to apply Nev. Rev. Stat. 616B.612(3).Jason Buma died in an ATV accident while on a required business trip for Respondent, his employer. Appellants, Buma's wife and daughter, filed a workers' compensation claim for workers' compensation benefits. Respondent denied the claim. The hearing officer affirmed, concluding that Buma's death occurred during an activity that was not part of his work duties. The appeals officer affirmed the denial, and the district court denied judicial review. The Supreme Court vacated the district court's order, holding (1) under section 616B.612(3), a traveling employee is under his employer's control for the duration of his business trip; and (2) because the appeals officer failed to apply the statute the case is remanded for reevaluation under the correct standards. View "Buma v. Providence Corp. Development" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the order of the district court awarding attorney fees in a wrongful termination suit, holding that because Plaintiff's wrongful termination claim rested on a novel yet arguable construction of the limitations period the district court should not have awarded attorney fees pursuant to Nev. Rev. Stat. 18.010(2)(b).Plaintiff filed her complaint alleging wrongful termination more than two years after she was terminated. Defendant filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the two-year statute of limitations under Nev. Rev. Stat. 11.190(4)(e) applied and that the wrongful termination period had expired. The district court granted the motion to dismiss and awarded Defendant attorney fees and costs. The Supreme Court reversed in part, holding (1) the district court properly dismissed the complaint as time-barred; but (2) because this Court has not previously addressed the appropriate limitations period for a wrongful termination claim, Plaintiff's argument presented a matter of first impression, and therefore, the district court should not have awarded attorney fees on the basis that Plaintiff's claim was untimely filed and thus groundless under Nev. Rev. Stat. 18.010(2)(b). View "Patush v. Las Vegas Bistro" on Justia Law

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In this claim for workers' compensation benefits the Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the decision of the district court affirming the appeals officer's decisions as to compensability and liability and reversing as to the award amount, holding that the liability determination and award amount determination were improper.Plaintiff sought benefits after her husband died as a result of heart disease. The decedent's former employer and its former insurer denied benefits. The appeals officer reversed, concluding that the decedent's death was caused by a compensable occupational heart disease, that his employer was liable as the self-insurer, and that the amount of the claim was based on the decedent's income from his private employer at the time of death. The district court reversed in part, concluding that the award should be based on the decedent's wages on the date of disablement, or death, which were zero. The Supreme Court reversed in part, holding (1) the last injurious exposure rule determines the liable insurer for an occupational disease claim that arose out of and in the course of employment even if the employee no longer works for that employer; and (2) death benefits should have been based on the decedent's wages at the time he last worked for the employer. View "Demaranville v. Employers Insurance Co. of Nevada" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court granted the City of Mesquite's petition and issued a writ of mandamus instructing the district court to vacate its order denying the City's motion to dismiss a local government employee's complaint alleging both that the employer breached a collective bargaining agreement and that the union breached its duty of fair representation, holding that there was not basis to allow the employee to proceed on the fair-representation claim in the district court.In denying the City's motion to dismiss the district court applied the six-year statute of limitations for contract claims. The City appealed, arguing that the claims were subject to a six-month limitations period under Nevada's Local Government Employee-Management Relations Act (EMRA) and federal labor law. The Supreme Court granted the City's petition for a writ of mandamus without reaching the statute of limitations questions, holding that there is no private cause of action to enforce a claim against a union for breach of the duty of fair representation in the first instance, but rather, the EMRA affords a local government employee an administrative process to bring such a claim. View "City of Mesquite v. Eighth Judicial District Court" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the order of the district court granting judicial review of the decision of the Nevada Occupational Safety and Health Administration Review Board to overturn a workplace safety citation on the basis that Employer lacked knowledge of the violative conduct, holding that the Review Board properly overturned the citation for lack of Employer knowledge.Employer challenged a citation issued for a workplace safety violation based on violative conduct of a supervisor, arguing that Employer did not have actual knowledge of the violative conduct or that the supervisor's violative conduct was foreseeable under the circumstances presented. The Review Board held a hearing on Employer's complaint and concluded that Respondent, Nevada's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (NOSHA), failed to demonstrate a violation of OSHA law. The district court reversed the order, holding that the Review Board lacked sufficient evidence to support its factual findings and legal conclusions. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that substantial evidence supported the Review Board's conclusion that NOSHA failed to demonstrate Employer's knowledge of the violative conduct at issue in this case. View "Original Roofing Co. v. Chief Administrative Officer of Occupational Safety & Health Administration" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the district court's denial of the petition filed by the Nevada Department of Corrections (NDOC) seeking judicial review of a hearing officer's decision to reinstate Brian Ludwick's employment after NDOC terminated Ludwick for a first-time offense, holding that the hearing officer committed legal error in relying on an invalid regulation to set aside Ludwick's termination.The Supreme Court remanded the case, holding (1) the hearing officer erred in relying on a regulation that the State Personnel Commission had not approved as statutorily required; and (2) in light of O'Keefe v. State, Department of Motor Vehicles, 431 P.3d 350 (Nev. 2018), the hearing officer did not properly consider whether Ludwick's actions constituted violations of the valid regulations NDOC charged him with violating and, if so, whether those violations warranted termination as a first-time disciplinary measure. View "State, Department of Corrections v. Ludwick" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the district court's denial of the City of Reno's petition for judicial review of an appeals officer's decision that the City was not entitled to reduce Respondent's lump sum permanent partial disability (PPD) payment, holding that there is no legal basis to justify a workers' compensation insurer's reduction of the twenty-five-percent lump sum payment limit for an employee's PPD award.An injured employee may elect to receive a lump sum payment for a PPD award, but if the employee's PPD rating exceeds a twenty-five percent whole person impairment (WPI), the employee may only elect to receive a lump sum payment for up to twenty-five percent of the rating. Respondent suffered three industrial injuries. With respect to Respondent's third PPD payment, the City offered Respondent an eighteen-percent lump sum payment, believing it could deduct Respondent's two previous PPD lump sum payments from the twenty-five percent limit. A hearing officer found that the City erred. An appeals officer affirmed and district court affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the appeals officer correctly determined that Respondent was entitled to a lump sum payment for the first twenty-five percent of her most recent WPI rating and PPD award with the remaining eight percent to be paid in installments. View "City of Reno v. Yturbide" on Justia Law