Nevada Judges: December 2009 Archives

The Nevada Supreme Court will hold en banc oral arguments on Monday, January 4 in Carson City.

Betsinger (Steven) v. D.R. Horton, Inc.,

Docket No. 50510

Carson City - 10:00 a.m. - Full court

This case involves allegations of fraud and deceptive trade practices with respect to a deposit that was not returned when a mortgage loan was canceled.  In March 2003, Steve Betsinger signed a purchase contract with DHI Mortgage for a home in Las Vegas and paid an earnest deposit of $4,900.  When the parties disagreed about the applicable interest rate on the loan, Betsinger canceled the purchase contract.  The deposit was not returned.  Although the purchase contract provided that the earnest money would not be returned in the event of a cancellation, Betsinger testified that three DHI employees informed him that it would be returned.  Betsinger sued DHI and some of its employees for fraud and deceptive trade practices.  A jury awarded Betsinger approximately $58,000 in compensatory damages and $1.5 million in punitive damages. The district court later reduced the punitive damages to $300,000 pursuant to NRS 42.005, which caps the amount of punitive damages.  Both Betsinger and DHI have appealed the judgment.  ISSUES:  Is the cap on punitive damages constitutional?  Was it proper to award moving expenses to Betsinger?  Did the district court properly instruct the jury? 

Humboldt County Public Defender v. Dist. Ct. (Steve Cochran,

Docket No. 53460

Carson City - 11:30 a.m. - Full court

This is an original petition for a writ of mandamus and prohibition challenging the actions of District Judge Richard Wagner in the appointment of defense attorneys for criminal defendants.  Judge Wagner entered an order recusing himself in all cases involving Humboldt County Public Defender Matt Stermitz.  A few days later, Judge Wagner entered a second order removing Stermitz from certain criminal cases and appointing other defense counsel.  During the next few days, Judge Wagner reassigned three criminal cases from Stermitz to Steve Cochran, a Pershing County-based attorney.  Stermitz filed this writ petition, challenging Judge Wagner's orders.  ISSUE:  Were Judge Wagner's orders proper? 

PacifiCare of Nevada v. Griffiths (Alynne),

Docket No. 53789

Carson City - 1:30 p.m. - Full court

This case challenges a district court decision denying a motion to compel arbitration in a medical tort action.  Alynne Griffiths sued her health care provider, PacifiCare of Nevada, after she contracted Hepatitis C following treatment in a clinic recommended by PacifiCare.  PacifiCare filed a motion to compel arbitration, which the district court in Clark County denied. PacifiCare is now appealing that decision. ISSUE:  Did the district court properly deny the motion to compel arbitration?

The Silver Pinyon Journal reports that the Nevada Supreme Court will hear argument in January concerning a dispute between Humboldt County Public Defender Matt Stermitz and 6th Judicial District Court Judge Richard Wagner.  The article indicates that the PD has accused the judge of improperly interfering with the PD's Office by improperly assigning to the office cases involving termination of parental rights and then removing the office from all cases assigned to the judge. 

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Nevada Judges category from December 2009.

Nevada Judges: September 2009 is the previous archive.

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