Six Advance Opinions from 4-18-24

2 months 4 weeks ago #246 by Joseph Allan Tommasino

In re D.C., Jr.,

140 Nev. Adv. Op. No. 25

April 18, 2024

Appeal from a district court order certifying a juvenile for criminal proceedings as an adult. Eighth Judicial District Court, Family Division, Clark County; William O. Voy, Judge.

Vacated and remanded with instructions.


By the Court, PICKERING, J.:


“The juvenile court certified D.C., Jr., for prosecution as an adult on charges of murder, attempted murder, and robbery.  D.C. has an IQ of 66 and was 14 years old when the events giving rise to the charges occurred. Through counsel, D.C. requested a competency determination before proceeding to the certification hearing. After an initial finding of incompetency followed by competency-restoration sessions, the juvenile court declared D.C. competent to proceed. In declaring D.C. competent, the juvenile court did not expressly address the conflicting and equivocal expert testimony as to D.C.'s understanding of the proceedings and ability to assist counsel. It also appears to have applied juvenile-court-specific competency standards, emphasizing, for example, that there is no right to a jury trial in a juvenile delinquency adjudication.”

Brief Answer:

“This was error.

A juvenile who faces the possibility of prosecution as an adult on serious criminal charges as a result of a certification proceeding
must meet the adult criminal court standard for competence.

Because the juvenile court appears to have applied an incorrect standard and did not support its determination with adequate findings, we vacate the certification order and the competency determination and remand for the juvenile court to reassess D.C.'s competency.”


Ene v. Graham,

140 Nev. Adv. Op. No. 26

April 18, 2024

Appeal from a district court judgment on a jury verdict in a personal injury action. Eighth Judicial District Court, Clark County; Linda Marie Bell, Judge.

Reversed and remanded.


By the Court, LEE, J.


“Generally, a limited liability company's members and managers are not liable for the debts and liabilities of the company. Here, however, the district court found that a limited liability company's sole member and manager was the alter ego of the company and thus held him personally liable for injuries sustained on company property.”

Brief Answer:

“We issue this opinion to clarify that the alter ego analysis for a limited liability company is the same as the analysis that is applied to
determine whether an alter ego relationship exists with respect to a corporation.

As with the alter ego analysis for a corporation, a district court must make specific findings as to influence over and governance of the company, the unity of interest and ownership between the alleged alter ego and the company, and whether adherence to the notion of separate entities would sanction fraud or promote injustice.

Reviewing the district court's findings under this analysis, we conclude that substantial evidence does not support the district court's alter ego determination.

Accordingly, we reverse the district court's judgment as to its alter ego determination and remand for further proceedings.”


Jones v. Ghadiri,

140 Nev. Adv. Op. No. 27

April 18, 2024

Appeal from a district court summary judgment in a real property dispute. Eighth Judicial District Court, Clark County; Crystal Eller, Judge.



By the Court, STIGLICH. J.:


“Long before the parties acquired ownership of their respective properties, a block wall was erected to divide the neighboring lots. When respondent discovered that the wall did not follow the property line and, consequently, that he was being denied the use of his property, he sought to remove the wall and build a new one on the property line. In response, appellants filed a complaint in the district court for, among other things, a prescriptive easement or adverse possession. The district court found that appellants could not prevail on their claim for adverse possession because they did not pay the property taxes on the disputed property. The district court further found that a prescriptive easement was unavailable because it would result in respondent's complete exclusion from the subject property. Accordingly, the district court granted summary judgment for respondent, determining that appellants are not entitled to a prescriptive easement or adverse possession as a matter of law.”

Brief Answers:

“We take this opportunity to distinguish the two concepts, as they are fundamentally different and give rise to distinct relief.

As Nevada law does not concretely declare whether we recognize comprehensive prescriptive easements, easements that result in the complete exclusion of the servient estate from the subject property, we examine the approaches taken by sister jurisdictions.

While several states have categorically rejected comprehensive prescriptive easements, California has adopted the view that exceptional circumstances may give rise to such easements.

Considering both our caselaw and California caselaw, we are persuaded that exceptional circumstances may warrant comprehensive prescriptive easements.

However, we stress that such relief is rare.

As appellants have not demonstrated exceptional circumstances, we affirm the district court's order granting summary judgment in favor of respondent.”


Nevadans for Reprod. Freedom v. Washington,

140 Nev. Adv. Op. No. 28

April 18, 2024

Appeal from a district court order granting injunctive relief preventing the Secretary of State from placing an initiative petition on the ballot. First Judicial District Court, Carson City; James Todd Russell, Judge.



By the Court, STIGLICH, J.:


“Appellant Nevadans for Reproductive Freedom (NRF) intends to place an initiative petition on the ballot that would establish a constitutional right to reproductive freedom. The initiative petition would grant every individual a right to make their own decisions regarding all matters related to a pregnancy, including prenatal care, childbirth, postpartum care, birth control, vasectomy, tubal ligation, abortion, abortion care, management of a miscarriage, and infertility care. Respondents Donna Washington and Coalition for Parents and Children (collectively Washington) filed a complaint in district court challenging the petition. They alleged that the petition failed to meet statutory and constitutional requirements and sought to enjoin respondent the Secretary of State from placing the initiative on the ballot. Specifically, Washington asserted that the initiative petition violated the single-subject requirement because it considered multiple medical procedures, instead of being limited to only pregnancy or abortion. The district court granted the injunction, finding the initiative petition invalid for three reasons:

(1) it does not contain a single subject,

(2) its description of effect is misleading, and

(3) it requires an expenditure of money without raising the necessary revenue.”

Brief Answers:

“We conclude the district court erred.

First, all the medical procedures considered in the initiative petition concern reproduction. To assert that they could not all be addressed together because they are separate procedures is improper. Each medical procedure relates to human reproduction, and they are germane to each other and the initiative's single subject of establishing a right to reproductive freedom.

We further conclude that the description of effect was legally sufficient and the initiative petition does not require an expenditure of funds.

Accordingly, we reverse.”


City of Las Vegas v. 180 Land Co., LLC,

140 Nev. Adv. Op. No. 29

April 18, 2024

Consolidated appeals and cross-appeal from a district court judgment and post-judgment order in an inverse condemnation action. Eighth Judicial District Court, Clark County; Timothy C. Williams, Judge.



By the Court, HERNDON, J.:


“Our constitutional takings jurisprudence has long recognized that regulatory agency decisions that deprive a landowner of all economically beneficial use of their property--a per se regulatory taking--require just compensation to the landowner under both the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution and Article 1, § 8(3) of the Nevada Constitution. In this matter, the City of Las Vegas challenges the district court's determination that a per se regulatory taking occurred and its $48 million award to the landowner, 180 Land Co., LLC. In its separate appeal, 180 Land challenges the district court's award of prejudgment interest.”

Brief Answers:

“The totality of the circumstances surrounding the City's handling of 180 Land's attempts to develop the 35 acres at issue, demonstrated through 180 Land's applications to develop the property, the official actions of the city council, and statements and actions of City representatives and employees, evinces the futility of 180 Land's past and future development efforts on the property.

With any efforts to develop the property rendered futile, the district court did not err in determining that a per se regulatory taking occurred.

The district court also did not err in relying on 180 Land's expert's valuation of the property to determine just compensation, especially as the City neither challenged the valuation nor provided alternative valuations.

Finally, both parties' challenges to other aspects of the district court's damages award fail to present a basis for reversal.

Accordingly, we wholly affirm the district court.”  


Sisolak v. Polymer80, Inc.,

140 Nev. Adv. Op. No. 30

April 18, 2024

Appeal from a district court order declaring unconstitutional and granting a permanent injunction against the enforcement of several statutes regulating unfinished firearms.    Third Judicial District Court, Lyon County; John Schlegelmilch, Judge.



By the Court, STIGLICH, J.:


“This appeal involves a facial challenge to the constitutionality of several statutes regulating so-called ‘ghost guns.’

Except for transactions between firearms importers and manufacturers and where imprinted with a serial number, NRS 202.3625 generally criminalizes the sale or transfer of an unfinished firearm frame or receiver, and NRS 202.363(1) generally criminalizes the possession, purchase, transport, or receipt of an unfinished frame or receiver.

Respondent argues that the definition of ‘unfinished frame or receiver’ in NRS 202.253(9) is impermissibly vague, rendering it, NRS 202.3625, and NRS 202.363(1) unconstitutional.

The district court agreed and concluded that the definition did not explain key terms or notify ordinary individuals precisely when raw materials would become an unfinished frame or receiver.

The district court also concluded that the definition enabled arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement.”

Brief Answer:

“We disagree and reverse.

The terms used to define ‘unfinished frame or receiver’ have ordinary meanings that provide sufficient notice of what the statutes proscribe, such that it cannot be said that vagueness pervades their texts.

We further conclude that the statutes are general intent statutes that do not lack a scienter requirement and do not pose a risk of arbitrary or discriminatory enforcement.

The district court thus erred in declaring that the statutes are unconstitutionally vague and enjoining them.”

Joe T.

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