Nevada Supreme Court issues opinions

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The Nevada Supreme Court has issued its third and fourth opinions of the year.  One opinion addresses a child support issue and the other addresses the law-of-the-case doctrine in the context of an insurance action and also addresses a choice-of-law issue.

Fernandez v. Fernandez - "This is an appeal by the father of minor children from an order denying a motion to modify child support under NRS 125B.145.  The trial court held that it was "not bound" by NRS 125B.145 because the parties "previously agreed in a stipulation and order modifying the Decree of Divorce that neither party [would] seek modification of child support."  In the trial court's view, this made the child support order nonmodifiable, so long as the father had "sufficient means (assets and/or income) to meet the agreed upon child support obligations."

            The motion to modify alleged that the father's monthly gross income had dropped more than 80 percent, to the point his child support obligation exceeded it.  The mother's circumstances, meanwhile, had improved to the extent that her assets and gross monthly income equaled or outmatched his.  Declining to apply NRS Chapter 125B's modification provisions to these facts was error.  Stipulated or not, the obligation the father sought to modify was incorporated and merged into the decree as an enforceable child support order.  State and federal statutes give child support orders super-legal reach.  Because children's needs and parents' circumstances can change unpredictably over the life of a child support order, NRS Chapter 125B provides for their periodic review and modification--up or down--as changed circumstances dictate.  The statutory scheme does not admit a child support order that cannot be modified based on a material change in circumstances.

            The father's motion presented facts that, if true, qualified for relief.  He did not need to wait until he was missing court-ordered child support payments or in financial peril before being heard under NRS 125B.145 and its related statutes, NRS 125B.070 and NRS 125B.080.  We therefore reverse and remand."

Dictor v. Creative Management -  " In this appeal, we consider two legal doctrines: first, the application of the law-of-the-case doctrine, and second, the proper choice-of-law analysis for defenses to the subrogation of underlying tort claims.

            When an appellate court explicitly or by necessary implication determines an issue, the law-of-the-case doctrine provides that the determination governs the same issue in subsequent proceedings in the same case.  Because our unpublished order in a previous appeal involving these same parties and stemming from the same lower court case narrowly addressed a single issue, we conclude that the district court did not violate the law-of-the-case doctrine and the district court was not precluded from applying the Missouri Property and Casualty Insurance Guaranty Association Act, Missouri Revised Statute section 375.772 (Mo. Rev. Stat. ยง 375.772), and other alternate legal defenses on remand.  We also affirm the district court's choice-of-law conclusion, that the Missouri statute barring tort claims against an insured of an insolvent insurer precludes appellant CPCI's subrogation claims." 


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This page contains a single entry by JoNell published on February 4, 2010 9:28 AM.

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