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Legal Excellence Awards PG. 28

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I am extremely proud to present Vegas Legal Magazine’s first annual Legal Excellence Awards. The selection process was designed to

reach a collective consensus of opinion among the bench, leading attorneys, various legal organizations and professionals in our community. While many organizations issue awards to hundreds of attorneys in exchange for monetary value, we at Vegas Legal Magazine are committed to providing an honest nomination process to ensure only those who have actually garnered the support of their peers, contributed to the legal community, and achieved a level of legal excellence are recognized for the Legal Excellence Awards. Of the hundreds of nominees, only a select handful were chosen. I am pleased, honored, and humbled to present this year’s awards to the following winners of Vegas Legal Magazine’s 2016 Legal Excellence Awards:

Robert Eglet, Esq. Brett A. Carter, Esq. Christian Morris, Esq. Peter Bellon, Esq. Tisha Black, Esq. Vincent Mayo, Esq. Glenn Truitt, Esq. Stephen Yoken, Esq. Dominc Gentile, Esq. Special thanks to everyone who took the time to nominate a candidate. Without your thoughtful input, the winners of this year’s awards would not have received their much deserved recognition. To our sponsors, advertisers, readers, contributors, and supporters, I am forever grateful for your continued support. I wish all of you a happy, healthy, and prosperous new year.

Preston P. Rezaee, Esq.

Vegas Legal Magazine Winter 2017 | Pg. 5


LUXURY EXTENDED. When the Range Rover was introduced 45 years ago, it change the way the world went off-road. It embodied capability. It exemplified performance. Over the years, it has come to represent the very pinnacle of refinement and British craftsmanship. The current generation of Range Rover vehicles build on that legacy. And go even further. To experience the 2016 Range Rover for yourself, visit Land Rover Las Vegas for a test drive today.



Las Vegas will soon become a sports destination unlike any other city. Yes, it’s a bold statement considering we haven’t had our first pro-

fessional home game; however, we are soon taking to the ice and it seems inevitable the gridiron will follow. We are a city with a reputation of holding impressively staged events and if any city knows how to out-do everyone else in promotion and presentation, it’s Las Vegas. But, more importantly, professional sports will truly bring us together. Personally, I was excited to get a professional hockey team. As we further discussions for the hopeful welcoming of the Raiders, I can only be more thrilled. Las Vegas has been a great city to me and I look forward to its growth, but one space needing a little filling is in the area of community. Many of us have been transplanted here and consider Las Vegas a second home–especially on Sundays, when our bars are filled with a multitude of differing jerseys. Professional sports can change that. A sports team can help unite us so we share a common interest. It may sound a bit silly to some, but look at Chicago after the Cubs finally won the World Series: Everyone came together as one. It’s hard to believe anyone in Chicago or even Cleveland seemed too concerned with the current state of American politics when game seven was nearing an epic finale…and that’s the beauty of sports. It has a magical way of bringing cities together even in the worst of times. Aside from the unity we will all share in cheering for our home teams, we will also begin seeing positive change within our community. Professional sports teams foster growth in youth sports programs, and athletes tend to contribute directly to their team’s community through volunteer work and awareness…not to mention, we will get to enjoy bringing our children to games where they can watch their favorite athletes in person. I’m still nostalgic for my childhood, going to sporting events with my father in Miami. Now, I yearn for the chance to take him to a game in Las Vegas when he visits. So, whether you were in favor of the new stadium financing or you are terrified of the Raiders coming to town, the future will surely grow bright even if it’s shadowed in silver and black.

Tyler Morgan, Esq.

Vegas Legal Magazine Winter 2017 | Pg. 7


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or Not Daubert —Does it Make a Difference?

A Brief Discussion of Expert Testimony & Opinion Admissibility – By J. Malcolm DeVoy, Esq.

In Hallmark v. Eldridge, the Nevada Supreme Court reaffirmed

that Nevada had not adopted the standards for credentialing expert witnesses found in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (“Daubert”), but could be influenced by its logic. Although Nevada’s statute governing the admissibility of expert evidence in its courts closely tracks its federal counterpart, the similarities between the two are not binding. Despite the similarity between these statutes, the Nevada Supreme Court has endeavored to maintain its independence in interpreting the Nevada statute, and avoid it being swallowed whole by the body of federal jurisprudence interpreting—and extending—Daubert. Nevada law allows its courts to act as gatekeepers in admitting expert testimony. First, an expert must be qualified to testify in an expert capacity—testimony that is based on qualifications or experience in an area of specific, technical or other specialized knowledge. In making this determination, the Hallmark court directed courts to consider the following factors:

1) the witness’ formal schooling and academic degrees; 2) licensure, where appropriate; 3) employment experience; and, 4) practical experience and specialized training. Based on these qualifications, the court determines whether or not a witness may testify as an expert. If the court determines that he or she is not qualified, then expert testimony is not allowed—he or she can only testify to the information known firsthand, without drawing conclusions based on specialized training or qualifications. Even if the witness is allowed to testify as an expert, though, it is not the end of the court’s oversight of his or her testimony. Based on their special qualifications, expert witnesses render their opinions (appropriately known as “expert opinions”) about the facts and circumstances underlying a case. These opinions, however, must be relevant to the case and based on reliable methodology. Normally, both sides in a lawsuit hire separate experts to pick

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apart the other’s conclusions, explaining why they are inaccurate or flawed. This battle of the experts presupposes that their opinions are admissible, though. Where expert testimony is so flawed as to its methodology—or not based on recognized methodology at all—the court can exclude it. The Hallmark court provided specific factors for courts to consider when making these determinations. When evaluating an expert opinion based on a specific methodology, the court should analyze its reliability based on whether: 1) it is within a recognized field of expertise; 2) its method is testable and has been tested; 3) it is published and subjected to peer review; 4) it is generally accepted within the scientific community; and, 5) it is based more on particularized facts than assumptions, conjecture, or generalizations. Similarly, the Hallmark court cautioned that where expert opinions are based on the results of a technique, experiment or calculation, the court should delve into four non-exhaustive factors when determining its admissibility, including whether: 1) the technique, experiment, or calculation was controlled by known standards; 2) the testing conditions were similar to the conditions at the time of the incident; 3) the technique, experiment, or calculation had a known error rate; and, 4) it was developed by the proffered expert for the purposes of that lawsuit. In the Hallmark case, the Nevada Supreme Court was confronted with the specific question of whether inclusion of the defense biomechanical expert’s testimony created reversible error, requiring a new trial. A trial court’s determinations about the admissibility of evidence are reviewed by appellate courts for abuse of discretion, giving the trial court wide berth to manage the proceedings before it. Not all errors require reversal of the trial court’s decisions, though. For reversal to be appropriate, the appellate court must find the evidentiary ruling caused prejudice to the appealing party: “that, but for the error[s], a different result might reasonably have been expected.” The Nevada Supreme Court found that the trial court overstepped its discretion in the Hallmark case on numerous bases. While the Vegas Legal Magazine Winter 2017 | Pg. 14

expert witness properly was allowed to testify qua expert, the defense failed to produce evidence that the expert opinions could be replicated or tested; did not have experience relevant to the damages in the case; and were formed without knowing the underlying facts needed to make sound calculations. Additionally, the lack of evidence about how the expert’s testing was conducted, and whether it was reliable and replicable, doomed the expert’s testimony to inadmissibility on appeal. In short, there was no foundation in the record to support why the purported expert testimony was more valuable than lay opinion based on the experiences and expectations of a person with no specialized training or expertise. As is often the case in Nevada, though, the Supreme Court recently issued further guidance in applying the Hallmark decision. In March 2016, the Nevada Supreme Court rendered its opinion in Rish v. Simao that rolled back an over-reliance on Hallmark in certain cases. Specifically, the Nevada Supreme Court’s Rish decision cautioned that while the biomechanical opinions offered in Hallmark were inadmissible, that did not mean that biomechanical opinions were universally invalid. Instead, the issues in Hallmark arose largely from inadequate foundation and being “based more on supposition than science.” Despite the Hallmark decision finding that certain evidence in that case was erroneously admitted, the Supreme Court’s Rish decision specifically cautioned that testimony is “not necessarily precluded in every case.” Taken together, the Hallmark and Rish decisions offer critical guidance—and re-affirmation of its importance—in qualifying experts and their opinions in trial. Nevada still is not a Daubert jurisdiction, but the invisible hand of that decision and its progeny can be felt molding the State’s jurisprudence on expert testimony. By properly documenting an expert’s credentials and opinions, they stand a better chance of being properly admitted, and avoiding the delay and cost of a mulligan if their inclusion creates reversible error on appeal. J. Malcolm (“Jay”) DeVoy is the owner of DeVoy Law P.C. DeVoy focuses on providing representation in commercial disputes, serious personal matters, and advising medical professionals and practices about issues including HIPAA, the Stark Law, and the Anti-Kickback Statute.


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UNDERSTANDING SOFT TISSUE INJURIES – By Ray Wiegand, D.C.; Mark Studin DC, FASBE(C), DAAPM, DAAMLP; and Kenneth M. Bahoora DC –By: Kenneth M. Bahoora DC, PC

Editorial Note: The term “alteration of motion segment integrity” or

AOMSI, refers to the loss of range of motion between two vertebrae that is beyond what one would consider “normal limits.” In the following feature, the authors address AOMSI as a potential injury that the legal community may be faced with defending or explaining. Presented with a deep appreciation and understanding for the intricacies of their field, the article provides a professional, indepth look at the issue for our readers. ~VLM Alteration of motion segment integrity (AOMSI) is a biomechanical analysis. It’s all about numbers that have clinical meaning and significance. Threshold values have been determined that quantify without a doubt the patient has serious injury. It is a test of structural integrity of the ligaments interconnecting the motion segments. In this case, structural integrity has to do with the material properties of ligament tissue. Those properties include strength and flexibility. When a material is both strong and flexible, it’s called a semi-rigid material. Strength is related to the composition of the material. Strength might be thought of as load carrying capacity before failure. Ligament tissue has previously been bench tested to describe its physical characteristics of stress/strain. That is, given so much load (stress), how much elongation will occur (strain)? During normal physiologic loads, the ligament remains intact and recoils to its original length when the load is removed. If the load becomes too large, the materials (ligaments) begin to yield. They go past their elastic limit. When this happens, the (strained) ligament fibers will not return to their original shape. The ligament loses its restraining capacity to hold the joint in normal stabilization and hypermobility occurs.

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The ligaments, if sufficiently strained or avulsed, result in AOMSI. The following paragraphs illustrate that if AOMSI is found, there must be gross destruction or yielding of multiple ligaments. The White et al. work found that the motion segment stayed intact (i.e., less than 11 degrees’ rotation (angular motion) and less than 3.5 mm translation) until they transected over 50 percent of the ligaments from an anterior or posterior approach. And when they transected from either approach, the loss of stability was not linear but suddenly catastrophic. And they meant that suddenly, the two vertebrae totally separated in rotation or translation. In this case, “suddenly separated” means pulled apart—head off of body—with all neural components compromised. Paralysis. Keeping that in mind, what are the injuries of someone just under the threshold? Severe to very severe. They stand the possibility of a serious event with much less force. If AOMSI is detected, think about more than 50 percent of ligaments being transected. That will start to explain the seriousness of the finding. In a patient/child that demonstrates hypermobility everywhere, you take a statistical average of all segments and look at the aberrant statistical finding if it exists. There are clues to injury everywhere when you understand what the numbers mean in reference to stability and function. To diagnose ligament laxity, it is imperative that imaging be performed. A basic flexion-extension x-ray is all that is required. In today’s medical economy, advanced imaging like an MRI or CT scan, although accurate, becomes an unnecessary expenditure where an x-ray renders very accurate, demonstrative images to conclude a definitive diagnosis. In determining if there is impairment, it is

necessary to follow the AMA Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment as the 4th, 5th and 6th editions all render impairment for AOMSI as sequella to ligament laxity, which is damage to the ligament from trauma. This article is intended to serve as a simple explanation as to the severity of ligament damage and how to demonstrably diagnose the injury. It is also critical to remember that ligaments do “wound repair.” In normal physiology, ligaments grow during puberty from cells within the ligaments called fibroblasts. They produce both collagen (white) and elastin (yellow) tissue, which gives the ligaments both tensile and elastic strength. Upon puberty, the cells stop producing tissue and remain dormant. Upon injury, the fibroblast reactivates, but can only produce collage leaving the joint wound repaired in an aberrant juxtaposition (place) with poor movement abilities due to the lack of the requisite elastin. In turn, according to Hauser et al. (2013) this leads to permanent loss of function of the ligament and arthritis of the joint. This is not a speculative statement: it is based upon Wolff ’s Law that dates back to the late 1800s and has been a guiding principle in healthcare for more than a century. According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgery, “The most common soft tissues injured are muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Acute injuries are caused by a sudden trauma, such as a fall, twist, or blow to the body. Examples of an acute injury include sprains, strains, and contusions.” We must also not forget that there are other soft tissues that can get injured, and that the true definition of soft tissue is anything that is not bone. This includes the brain, lungs, heart, and any other organ in the body. However, in medicine soft-tissue injuries are commonly known to be limited to the muscles, ligaments and tendons. When we look at the type of structures that muscles, tendons and ligament are composed of, we realize that they are connective tissue. According to the National Institute of Health, “Connective tissue is the material inside your body that supports many of its parts. It is the ‘cellular glue’ that gives your tissues their shape and helps keep them strong. It also helps some of your tissues do their work. Unlike fracture repair where the bone is replaced and usually heals properly if aligned and rested, connective tissue disorders undergo a different type of wound repair that has aberrant tissue replacement as sequella to bodily injury and has subsequent abnormal permanent function.” If we focus on sprains or ligamentous injuries, according to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgery, there are three types of sprains, which are classified by severity:(1) • Grade 1 sprain (mild): Slight stretching and some damage to the fibers (fibrils) of the ligament. • Grade 2 sprain (moderate): Partial tearing of the ligament. There is abnormal looseness (laxity) in the joint when it is moved in certain ways. • Grade 3 sprain (severe): Complete tear of the ligament. This causes significant instability and makes the joint nonfunctional.

SOFT TISSUE INJURIES Regardless of the severity of the sprain, there is tissue damage or bodily injury, and the next step is to determine if there is healing or wound repair. According to Woo, Hildebrand, Watanabe, Fenwick, Papageorgiou and Wang (1999), “…as a result the combination of cell therapy with growth factor therapy may offer new avenues to improve the healing of ligament and tendon. Of course, specific recommendations regarding growth factor selection, and timing and method of application cannot be made at this time. Previous attempts at determining optimal doses of growth factors have provided contradictory results. Although growth factor treatment has been shown to improve the properties of healing ligaments and tendons, these properties do not reach the level of the uninjured tissue.” (p. s320) According to Dozer and Dupree (2005), “No treatment currently exists to restore an injured tendon or ligament to its normal condition.” (p. 231) According to Hauser, Dolan, Phillips, Newlin, Moore and Woldin (2013), “injured ligament structure is replaced with tissue that is grossly, histologically, biochemically and biomechanically similar to scar tissue. Fully remodeled scar tissue remains grossly, microscopically and functionally different from normal tissues” (p. 6), and “the persisting abnormalities present in the remodeled ligament matrix can have profound implications on joint biomechanics, depending on the functional demands placed on the tissue. Since remodeled ligament tissue is morphologically and mechanically inferior to normal ligament tissue, ligament laxity results, causing functional disability of the affected joints and a predisposing other soft tissues in and around the joints further damage.” (p.7) “Studies of healing ligaments have consistently shown that certain ligaments do not heal independently following rupture, and those that didn’t feel, do so characteristically inferior compositional properties compared with normal tissue. It is not uncommon for more than one ligament undergo injury during a single traumatic event.” (p.8) “Osteoarthritis for joint degeneration is one of the most common consequences of ligament laxity. Traditionally, the pathophysiology of osteoarthritis was thought to be due of aging and wear and tear on the joint, but more recent studies have shown that ligaments play a critical role in the development of osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis begins when one or more of ligaments become unstable or lax, and the bones began to track improperly and put pressure on different areas, resulting in the rubbing the bone on cartilage. This causes breakdown of cartilage and ultimately leads to deterioration, whereby the joint is reduced to bone on bone, a mechanical problem of the joint that leads to abnormality of the joints mechanics. Hypomobility and ligament laxity have become clear risk factors for the prevalence of osteoarthritis.” (p.9) Looking globally at the research over the last 16 years, in 1999, it was concluded that the most current treatments to repair or heal the injured ligament do not reach the level of the uninjured tissue. Vegas Legal Magazine Winter 2017 | Pg. 17

SOFT TISSUE INJURIES In 2005, it was concluded that no treatment currently exists to restore an injured tendon or ligament to its normal condition. In addition the current standard of ligament research, in 2013 it was concluded that ligaments do not feel independently, but damage ligaments are a direct cause of osteoarthritis and biomechanical dysfunction (abnormality of joint mechanics). The latest research has also concluded that ligament damage or sprains is the key element in osteoarthritis and not simply aging or wear and tear on the joint. Thus, it is now clear based upon the scientific evidence that a soft-tissue injury is a connective tissue disorder that has permanent negative sequella, and is the cause of future arthritis. This is no longer a debatable issue, and those in the medical legal forum who are still arguing “transient soft tissue injuries� are simply rendering rhetoric out of ignorance and a possible ulterior motive because the facts clearly delineate the negative sequella based upon decades of multiple scientific conclusions. The caveat to this argument is that although there is irrefutable bodily injury with clear permanent sequella, does it also cause permanent functional loss in every scenario? Those are two separate issues and as a result of the function of ligaments, which is to connect bones to bones the arbiter for normal vs. abnormal function is ranges of motion of the joint. That can be accomplished by either a two-piece inclinometer for the spine, which per the American Medical Association Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment, 5th Edition (p. 400), is the standard (and is still the medical standard as the 6th Edition refers to the 5th for Ranges of motion). The other diagnostic demonstrable evidence to conclude aberrant function is to conclude laxity of ligaments through x-ray digitizing. Both diagnostic tools confirm demonstrably loss of function of the spinal joints. References: 1. Sprains, Strains and Other Soft Tissue Injuries (2015) American Academy of Orthopedic Surgery, Retrieved from: 2. Connective Tissue Disorders (2015) National Institute of Health, Retrieved from: 3. Woo S, Hildebrand K., Watanabe N., Fenwick J., Papageorgiou C., Wang J. (1999) Tissue Engineering of Ligament and Tendon Healing, Clinical Orthopedics and Related Research 367S pgs. S312-S323 4.Tozer S., Duprez D. (2005) Tendon and Ligament: Development, Repair and Disease, Birth Defects Research (part C) 75:226-236 5. Hauser R., Dolan E., Phillips H., Newlin A., Moore R. and B. Woldin (2013) Ligament Injury and Healing: A Review of Current Clinical Diagnostics and Therapeutics, The Open Rehabilitation Journal (6) 1-20 6. Cocchiarella L., Anderson G., (2001) Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment, 5th Edition, Chicago IL, AMA Press 7. White et al. Clin Ortho Relat Res, 1975;(109):85-96 8. Hauser et al. Dolan, Phillips, Newlin, Moore Woldin, B.A.(2013) Ligament injury and healing: A review of current clinical diagnostics and therapeutics. The Open Rehabilitation Journal, 6,1-20.

Vegas Legal Magazine Winter 2017 | Pg. 18

Dr. Kenneth Bahoora has been a treating physician in Nevada and for 17 years. He graduated from Life University in Atlanta Georgia where he received his diploma as a doctor of chiropractic. He is credentialed and received specialized knowledge in accident reconstruction, spinal biomechanical engineering, spinal MRI interpretation, MRI physics, providing impairment ratings utilizing AMA Guides (5th & 6th Editions), examining and triaging the trauma patient and neurodiagnostic interpretation protocols. He lectures to doctors and the legal community on subjects including but not limited to trauma and injury protocols and crash dynamics and the trauma victim. He can be reached for further explanation at or at 702-204-4240. Dr. Mark Studin teaches at the doctoral level as an adjunct assistant professor of chiropractic at the University of Bridgeport, College of Chiropractic, and an adjunct assistant professor of clinical sciences at Texas Chiropractic College. He also teaches at the graduate medical level as a clinical presenter credentialed by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education in Joint Sponsorship with the State University of New York at Buffalo, School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences along with being credentialed nationally for chiropractic post-doctoral education in a broad range of clinical subjects. He can be reached at or at 631-786-4253.

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Next year is shaping up to be a very interesting one: Donald Trump will

be the president of the United States and marijuana will be legal (at some level) in many areas around the country. California, Massachusetts and Nevada recently passed laws to make marijuana legal for recreational purposes. Other states, including Florida, Arkansas and North Dakota, voted “yes” to make marijuana legal for medicinal purposes. While these laws generally provide comprehensive regulatory guidelines for, among other things, the production, use and sale of medical marijuana, most fail to provide guidance to employers as to their obligations to employees who are prescribed medical marijuana. Pennsylvania is one of only a handful of states that has addressed an employer’s obligations in its marijuana-related legislation. Specifically, Pennsylvania law expressly prohibits employment discrimination against employees who use medical marijuana. Other state regulations are not so developed yet. Because most medical marijuana laws were only recently implemented, there have been only a few lawsuits, which involve employment-related disputes. As a result, this is a developing area of the law and employers need to stay ahead of the curve before they become the “example” of what not to do. Whether your company currently operates in a state that permits the use of marijuana or it has employees who perform work in such states, it is important for you to understand your company’s legal obligations to employees who use medical marijuana. Employers should be aware of the following: Marijuana is still illegal under federal law. While the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (“ADA”) prohibits employers from discriminating against a qualified individual with a disability, the ADA does not protect individuals who use drugs which are unlawful under the Controlled Substances Act. The Controlled Substances Act currently designates marijuana as a Schedule I drug. Thus, although medical marijuana has been, or will be, legalized in virtually every state, its use is still considered illegal under the ADA. Employers may still be required to offer reasonable accommodations to certain employees who use marijuana to treat a disability. Notwithstanding its current illegality under federal law, an employee’s disclosed use of medical marijuana may still trigger an employer’s obligation to engage in the interactive process with a disabled employee (i.e., informal communications between the employer and employee whereby both parties determine the appropriate reasonable accommodation for the employee’s disability). The reason is because an employer is required to offer accommodations to all disabled employees so long as the accommodation does not result in an

Vegas Legal Magazine Winter 2017 | Pg. 20

undue hardship. Thus, while an employer is not required to accommodate a disabled employee by permitting use of medical marijuana, it must at the very least try to find other feasible accommodations for the employee. Be aware of states (like New York and Pennsylvania) that have adopted their own laws, which expressly prohibit employment discrimination based on an individual’s use of medical marijuana. In 2014, New York enacted the Compassionate Care Act (the “Act”), which legalizes the use of medical marijuana to treat certain serious health conditions. The Act also deems “Certified Patients” as being “disabled” for purposes of the New York State Human Rights Law (the state law equivalent to the ADA). Thus, New York employers cannot take any adverse employment action against an employee simply because of their medically authorized marijuana use. This does not mean that employees have free rein to use, possess, distribute or be impaired while performing job functions. Employers may terminate an employee (or take other adverse employment actions) against an employee who uses medical marijuana on the job. Thus, any employee who uses medical marijuana during work (or who is impaired by medical marijuana on the job) may still be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment. In light of the foregoing issues surrounding medical marijuana use, here are some best practices for employers to consider: • Consult with an attorney who is familiar with the latest changes (around the country) to the laws on cannabis use. Staying ahead of the curve can help you avoid a lawsuit. • Review your drug and alcohol policy to ensure safety for your workers and others, but assess if it is overly restrictive on the use of legally prescribed marijuana. Medical marijuana (like other prescription drugs) must be used in the method and manner prescribed. • Incorporate applicable anti-discrimination policies into your workplace. • Engage in the interactive process with all individuals who state that they have a need for medical marijuana for their disability (even if it is illegal under federal law). Greenspoon Marder is a full-service business law firm that caters to all client legal needs, including labor and employment and cannabis law. Greenspoon Marder is proud to announce the recent opening of its offices in Las Vegas, Denver, New York and San Diego. For more information about any of the information contained in this article, please contact Adam Kemper, Esq., and Alejandro Leiva, Esq., at 954-491-1120 or via email at and


To The Nevada Supreme Court & The Board Of Governors On The State Bar Of Nevada – By Robert T. Eglet, Esq.

The hypocrisy of not requiring Nevada attorneys in private practice

to carry professional liability insurance—or at a minimum, requiring attorneys in private practice who do not have professional liability insurance to disclose this fact, in writing, to all clients and potential clients—is beyond tragic. What follows are only two out of a dozen or more potential clients over the past 10 years I’ve met with who were the clear victims of legal malpractice in Las Vegas; where their attorneys had no malpractice insurance; and, where the attorneys had no assets, or had assets that were protected by trusts. All but one of those cases involved attorneys either failing to do the simple act of filing the complaint within the statute of limitations period, or failing to timely serve the complaint resulting in the injured victim’s complaint being dismissed. If this has been my personal experience, it begs the question: How many other victims of legal malpractice have there been in our state by attorneys who carry no professional liability insurance, and why do we as a profession that governs our own members allow this to happen? To open this discussion, I present two key stories.


In 2008, Client One, a young black man from California met me for an appointment in my office he scheduled two days before. The first thing I noticed about him were his strikingly goods looks. The second? That his left leg had been amputated just above his knee. For the next two hours he described in great detail the events that caused the loss of his leg. I observed that he was highly intelligent, articulate and blessed with the ability to tell his story in a succinct and chronological order rarely seen in most of my clients. He explained how he was injured in Las Vegas by no fault of his own and through a combination of clearly negligent actions of three separate tortfeasors. He also provided me with documents—accident and incident reports

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and photographs—that unquestionably supported his view that all three tortfeasors were equally to blame for his injury. He then showed me the insurance coverage information for each of the three tortfeasors. It was a combined liability coverage of $14 million. My mind drifted toward how to prepare this case, and I started to explain the litigation process in Nevada. He interrupted and said, “Mr. Eglet, I’m not done telling you my story.” I apologized, and he continued…. Client One had hired a California lawyer to represent him. Since she advertised as a competent and experienced personal injury lawyer, he met with her and signed a retainer agreement for her to represent him on a contingency fee basis. She explained that she would need local counsel in Nevada to work with her on his case, and that she knew of a very capable—“perfect”—Nevada attorney with whom she had worked on numerous occasions. He told me the name of the Nevada lawyer (I will refer to him as “Attorney A”). Later, Client One met with Attorney A and signed a retainer agreement with him, as well. He then handed me a copy of a civil complaint filed in the Eighth Judicial District Court of Nevada. (I immediately saw that the complaint was filed before the statute of limitations deadline and was relieved.) But the relief was short felt. He handed me an order from the district court judge dismissing his case for failing to timely serve the complaint on any of the defendants. Client One then handed me another district court order denying Attorney A’s motion for reconsideration of dismissal and request for enlargement of time to serve. I saw that the order was 12 months old and asked, “Did [Attorney A] appeal the denial of this second order?” I slump into my chair and exhale an audible sigh as Client One says “no.” Client One told me that he learned this information the day before, and that he tried and failed to get both his California attorney and

Attorney A to return his phone calls for over 6 months. He went to his California attorney’s office and found her office closed, with a notice that said, “Out of business.” He decided to go to Las Vegas to confront Attorney A about what was happening with his case. When he did, Attorney A presented him with two orders, saying, “There is nothing more I can do for you.” Sitting in my office, the young man was in distress. He looked at me and said, “Is there anything you can do to help me?” I told him that it appeared to be a clear case of legal malpractice and that it is highly unlikely that these two attorneys have anywhere near $14 million in malpractice insurance. Optimistically, however, I went on to tell him they probably have $1 million each. And I explained that I don’t usually accept legal malpractice cases against local attorneys, but under these circumstances I would make an exception. What I learned next, no one would imagine. I hired a private investigator to track down this California attorney. A week later he called to reveal that the reason Client One’s California attorney’s office had closed was because she had begun serving life in prison. Apparently, she settled several cases for clients for substantial amounts of money, then deposited their settlement checks into her client trust account before transferring the full amount into her own. Then, she hired a man to kill her clients. This would almost be humorous if it wasn’t true. The California attorney had no malpractice insurance. Nor did Attorney A. Further, an asset review of Attorney A revealed that he had no assets in his name, and what he did have was tied up in a vice-tight trust. When I told that to this nice young man who has been victimized by three negligent tortfeasors and then victimized again by two attorneys—one of whom shared and one who still shares my profession—I felt deeply ashamed of my profession.


Fast forward 7 years. Client Two, a woman in her early fifties, arrived at my office with an appointment to speak to me. As she began to share her story, it struck me that she was clearly distressed and feeling not only physical pain, but significant emotional pain, as well. Several years earlier, she was driving to work when a large commercial truck ran a stop sign and broadsided her in an intersection. The accident was severe, and she was taken by ambulance to UMC where she was treated for acute injuries to her spine and head. Ultimately, she underwent multiple spine surgeries that helped, but still left her with life-long disabilities and pain. Her past medical expenses are over $300k, and she will require medical treatment and care for the remainder of her life. As she began her next statement, I realized I was literally holding my breath as she spoke. She told me that she had been represented by the aforementioned Attorney A since within a couple of months of her accident, and that she’d been trying to speak with him for months about the status of her case but he wouldn’t return her phone calls. Nor would he book an appointment with her. After being frustrated for months, she showed up at his office a few days prior, demanding

EGLET’S CORNER that his staff give her a copy of her file after telling her he was not available to meet. I was still holding my breath as she handed me her file and quickly looked for a file stamped “complaint.” There is one. I then looked at the accident report and identified the date of the accident. It was more than 6 years ago. I saw that Attorney A filed the complaint only 2 days before the statute of limitations was to expire. My heart stopped for a beat or two as I read the court order dismissing her complaint for Attorney A’s failure to serve the complaint on defendants within 120 days; his failure to file a request to enlarge time to serve her complaint; and, his failure to do anything to move the case forward in any manner for more than 2 years after filing the complaint. Finding nothing to show that Attorney A filed either a motion to reconsider or an appeal of the district courts dismissal order, I used my computer to search whether anything has been filed. Nothing. I feel sick to my stomach as I turned back to Client Two to say that it appeared Attorney A didn’t timely serve her complaint. Her lawsuit was dismissed, and Attorney A didn’t file an appeal of the district court’s order in her case. Client Two said that for 2 years, every time she called Attorney A’s office for a status on her case he said he was waiting on an order from the Nevada Supreme Court on an issue… never telling her that her case had been dismissed. Instead, he led her to believe the case was active and everything was fine. At this point Client Two began to cry and asked me if there was anything I could do for her.I looked further at her file and saw that at least the first level of insurance coverage for the trucking company involved in her accident is well over $1 million. I explained what happened the last time I had a dealing with Attorney A and that I would try to help. Once again, however, Attorney A had no malpractice insurance or available assets. Nevertheless, I decided to accept the malpractice case against him this time out of pure principle. *****

The Importance and Purpose of Professional Liability Insurance: The History, An Argument, and a Request Professional liability insurance is important to professionals and clients alike: it can keep you in your profession and out of the poor house. For clients, a professional having liability insurance can be the difference between receiving nothing for their loss, to being compensated for the injury they have suffered because of the professionals’ negligence. Because many professions (prestigious or not) come with the risk of injuring the clients they serve, from pest control to the health industry, most states have numerous professional liability statutes; however, lawyers seem to be the exception. Law is a profession

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EGLET’S CORNER intertwined with nearly all other professions that serve clients and customers, and a lawyer’s negligence can be particularly destructive to clients, many of whom are likely already vulnerable (it’s why they have sought legal counsel in the first place, yes?). The question is why?

Attorney Professional Liability Insurance: The States Tragically, an overwhelming majority of states do not mandate professional liability insurance for attorneys. In fact, only Oregon requires that attorneys carry professional liability insurance to practice law. The remaining states can be classified into four categories: (1) States with no law on disclosure of attorney professional liability insurance; (2) States considering some form of disclosure; (3) States requiring disclosure on the annual registration statement to the state bar; and (4) States requiring disclosure directly to the client. Here is a breakdown of what those categories look like. 1. States With No Law On Disclosure of Attorney Professional Liability Insurance A minority of states have no disclosure rule regarding attorney liability insurance and they include: Texas, Connecticut, Florida, Kentucky, and North Carolina. It should be noted that almost every state has some form of client reimbursement fund to repay clients who are victims of attorney malpractice. Many states have their own insurance companies that are managed by the state bar to ensure that professional insurance rates remain low. Nevada is not one of those states. 2. States Considering Some Form of Disclosure Several states-- Maine, New Jersey, New York, South Carolina, Utah, and Vermont--are considering adopting some form of disclosure. However, many of those states have other ways to encourage attorneys to carry professional liability insurance. For example, Maine requires professional liability insurance to participate in the state bar attorney referral program. The South Carolina legislature created a joint underwriting association to keep malpractice insurance premiums affordable to lawyers in high-risk areas of practice. 3. States Requiring Disclosure On The Annual Registration Statement to the State Bar Some 17 states mandate disclosure to the state bar if an attorney in private practice carries professional liability insurance. Nevada is one of these states.

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4. States That Require Disclosure Directly to the Client Seven states currently require disclosure directly to the client. They include: Alaska, California, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and South Dakota. These states chose to require mandatory disclosure for four main reasons: (1) Whether an attorney has malpractice insurance is a material fact clients should know when deciding who represents them; (2) Attorneys have a heightened duty as a fiduciary to their clients, and also to the legal profession; (3) Requiring disclosure encourages attorneys to obtain malpractice insurance; and (4) Disclosure gives the state bar better information about the current state of malpractice insurance coverage. This form of required disclosure is gaining steam because it significantly pressures attorneys in private practice to carry professional liability insurance, while giving attorneys in fields where it is unnecessary (government work) or low-risk (traffic tickets/misdemeanor criminal defense) the freedom not to carry insurance.

Oregon Stands Alone Oregon is the most progressive state bar in that it eschews a mandatory-disclosure rule in favor of mandatory malpractice coverage. In the 1970s, when faced with an alleged legal malpractice insurance crisis, many state bar associations formed their own insurance programs to compete against the insurance companies. Oregon, however, took the movement one step further by making its bar association’s insurance coverage both mandatory and exclusive. This strategy ensured that everyone participate, and thereby spread the risk. Oregon did this by first passing a statute at the legislature granting the Oregon state bar-- which is governed by the Oregon Supreme Court-the power to mandate liability insurance coverage, and the permission to establish an insurance company. This ensured that any issues regarding separation of powers due to the Oregon Supreme Court’s exclusive jurisdiction to govern the practice of law would be avoided. It should also be noted that mandatory legal professional liability insurance is currently being argued at the New Jersey legislature.

Professions in Nevada That Mandate Professional Liability Insurance There are numerous professions in Nevada that require professionals to carry professional liability insurance. The following is a snapshot of some that do. Fiduciary Professions As fiduciaries, asset managers and management companies are required to prove liability insurance or sufficient means to act as a self insurer prior to receiving their license (NRS 645H.490). This requirement is fairly new, and likely passed in response to the 2008 financial crisis. The minutes from the legislative hearings on Senate Bill 314 (NRS 684H.490) indicate that the legislation was passed to protect homeowners who were being forced out of their homes by banks without giving proper notice or following proper legal proceedings regarding foreclosure.

Exchange facilitators are similarly required to maintain liability insurance for errors and omissions (NRS 645G.330.) The minutes from the hearing regarding the passage of this statute show that it was passed to protect the public from financial loss, and to ensure that exchange facilitators meet experience and educational requirements for the job. Similarly, banks are required to prove having federal deposit insurance before beginning business operations (NRS 659.085). Financial planners and debt managers are required to carry liability coverage industry must carry proof of liability insurance as part of the medical or provide a surety bond for negligence in their duties as a fiduciary field (NV Ordinance Code Sec.6.95.090). (NRS 628A.030). Miscellaneous Non-Fiduciary Professions There is even quasi-professional liability insurance requirements for Even many non-fiduciary professions require some form of profes- professional competition contestants like boxers and mixed martial sional liability insurance as a prerequisite for licensure in Nevada. arts fighters to protect hospitals and doctors from non-payment for Before an individual can be granted a contractor’s license, they must medical procedures provided due to injuries sustained in participaprovide proof of industrial insurance. Nevada passed its Industrial tion in competition events (NRS 467.125). Insurance Act in 1913 under the premise of “economic efficiency and social justice.” This liability insurance covers persons injured on the Complications with Mandatory Malpractice Liability Insurance job due to known dangers of the profession (NRS  624.256). Addi- for Lawyers tionally, contractors that work for the county or state are required to carry additional insurance coverage. One of the complications with statutory mandated liability insurance for lawyers lies in the constitutional structure of state governments: Building inspectors and energy auditors must also provide proof of specifically, the principle of separation of powers. Most states, includliability insurance as a prerequisite to licensure (NRS 645D.190). A ing Nevada, grant the state supreme court “exclusive power to control review of the minutes from legislative hearings on Nev. AB 165 (NRS admissions to the professional bar of this state.” Bennett v. The State 645D.190) indicates that the regulation was needed because prior to Bar, 103 Nev. 519, 527, 746 P.2d 143, 148 (1987); citing Feldman v. the bill, it was a “totally unregulated field,” and “unqualified individ- State Board of Law Examiners, 438 F.2d 699 (8th Cir. 1971). uals performed tasks which they may not have been qualified to perform.” Individuals were presenting themselves as experts in construc- There are regulating and licensing powers of the judicial department that are within the province of the judicial function, i.e., licensing attorneys to practice law; prescribtion defect without any licenses or education.


Private investigators, private patrol officers, polygraph examiners, process servers, re-possessors, and dog handlers all must provide proof of liability insurance prior to receiving a license. To become licensed to engage in the business of insect, pest and weed control, liability insurance is also required (NRS 555.330). The wording of this statute shows that it was passed to protect the public from loss, injury or damage from spraying chemicals. Franchises, cable TV companies, video service providers, ambulance services and monorail transportation systems all require liability coverage (NV Ordinance Code Sec. 5.01.180). Finally, managers of common-interest communities must carry liability insurance for injuries to tenants (NRS 116A.620). The Medical Profession Finally, of course, is the medical profession, which has an all-encompassing malpractice insurance statute that mandates malpractice insurance for any provider of voluntary healthcare services (NRS 629.470). The board that oversees medical malpractice insurance can also require some nurses to maintain malpractice insurance (NRS 632.238). Chiropractors who do not carry malpractice insurance must provide written disclosure to their patients that they do not maintain coverage (NRS 634.1295). And, persons working in the medical marijuana

ing rules of professional conduct for attorneys and judges; disbarring attorneys; promulgating and prescribing any and all rules necessary or desirable to handle the business of the courts or their judicial functions. In short, everything is a proper subject of licensing, controlling and regulating when the authority asserted by the judiciary can logically and legitimately be traced back to, and is derived from, the judicial power. Galloway v. Truesdell, 83 Nev. 13, 422 P.2d 237, 1967 Nev. LEXIS 217 (Nev. 1967).

In Nevada Supreme Court Rule 39, inherent powers of courts provide the following: Attorneys being court officers and essential aids in the administration of justice, the government of the legal profession is a judicial function. Authority to admit to practice and to discipline is inherent and exclusive in the courts. The supreme court rules set forth in this Part III are the exclusive rules for the governing of the legal profession in Nevada.

A statute mandating liability insurance for lawyers could be argued as violating the separation of powers because it grants insurance companies the power to determine who can practice law. Basically, the second an attorney who is barred in Nevada cannot engage in private practice because insurance premiums are too high, or he is denied coverage, a challenge directly to the Nevada Supreme Court could be brought to invalidate the requirement. This is likely why Oregon created its own insurance company.

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EGLET’S CORNER The Argument Think about the hypocrisy of this for a moment. Doctors, many nurses, asset managers, exchange facilitators, banks, financial planners, debt managers, contractors, inspectors, energy auditors, private investigators, private patrol officers, polygraph examiners, process servers, re-possessors, dog handlers, pest controllers, weed controllers, franchises, cable TV companies, video service providers, ambulance services, monorail transportation systems, common interests community managers, and medical marijuana establishments—among many other professions in Nevada—are required to have liability insurance to protect the public from harm caused by these professionals. Yet, Nevada lawyers have no such requirement.

Second: Regarding mandatory malpractice insurance, I’m requesting on behalf of the legal consumers of Nevada and as a member of the state bar that the Nevada Supreme Court (with the support of the State Bar Board of Governors), create a committee or task force to begin exploring the creation of a not-for-profit professional liability insurance provider for Nevada attorneys to provide competitive lowcost malpractice insurance for its members.

One Final Thought For the 2017 Nevada legislative agenda, there is discussion about a potential bipartisan bill that may be introduced to increase the minimum liability insurance requirements for drivers in Nevada to $25,000 per person/$50,000 per incident from its current minimums of $15,000 per person/$30,000 per incident, where it has been since 1958. This legislation is long overdue. And yet, how can I or any other attorney in our state credibly testify before the state legislature in favor of such a bill when my profession not only does not require its members to carry professional liability insurance, but does not even require us to tell our clients that we carry no insurance?

Even chiropractors—who carry no malpractice insurance—are required to disclose that to a patient before they treat them. Yet, lawyers in Nevada are not. I believe that as attorneys, we have not only an ethical but a moral obligation to our clients (and to the public) to ensure that any harm caused to them by us—or any member of our state bar—does not go unmitigated. We expect our clients to put their trust in us to serve their best interests. How can we credibly expect them to do this while at the same time we are not doing everything possible to protect them from harm that can be caused by us or other members of our state bar? Lawyers, just like all professionals and all people, are not infallible. We make mistakes and will continue to do so. When those mistakes rise to the level of negligence—or cause harm to the consumers of our legal services—it is incumbent upon us to mitigate that harm as much as possible. The counter argument I’m about to propose may exclude some lawyers from practicing in Nevada because they may not be able to obtain malpractice insurance. However, if a lawyer’s record is so bad that they are unable to obtain malpractice insurance because the risk is too high for the insurer, is it not better that they are precluded from practicing law in Nevada than putting consumers at risk for their malpractice?

The Request First, mandatory disclosure directly to clients must be enforced. On behalf of the legal consumers of Nevada, I’m requesting that the Nevada Supreme Court (with the support of the Nevada State Bar Board of Governors), amend the Supreme Court Rules regarding Nevada Rules of Professional Conduct to require all attorneys in private practice in Nevada who do not have professional liability insurance in place to disclose that fact in their written retainer agreements with clients, and potential clients. The rule should also require that if an attorney, for any reason, no longer has professional liability insurance, that they shall provide all their clients with written notice that they no longer have professional liability insurance within no less than 10 days from the date they are uninsured. I would also suggest that attorneys practicing solely criminal defense and legal aid attorneys be exempted from this rule.

Robert Eglet has tried more than 120 civil jury trials to verdict, including some of the largest personal injury verdicts in the country in 2007, 2010, 2011, and 2013. Eglet was named National Trial Lawyer of the Year in 2013 by the National Trial Lawyers Association, and National Lawyer of the Year in 2010 by Lawyers USA. He has been honored twice by the Nevada Justice Association as Trial Lawyer of the Year (2005, 2012) and in 2013, Eglet received the National Thurgood Marshall Fighting for Justice Award. The National Law Journal has named Eglet’s firm as one the “12 Best Plaintiff ’s Law Firms in the Country” and one of the “50 Best Trial Firms in America.” Eglet lectures regularly on trial practice and innovation in the courtroom.


Vegas Legal Magazine is proud to award nine accomplished attorneys for their excellence in the field of law. These attorneys were in-

dependently nominated by their peers within the city’s law community—attorneys, judges and other related professionals—and then meticulously interviewed and reviewed by our publication’s in-house legal advisors based on their performance in their field and in the community. At Vegas Legal Magazine, we pride ourselves on our autonomy and unbiased reporting. In that vein, we’re proud that our honorees are being awarded based upon their own merit…merit that we, as a publication, are merely broadcasting. Merit that was hard earned from their peers. Congratulations to the following winners of the 2016 Vegas Legal Magazine Legal Excellence Awards. We hope your commitment and dedication to the field of law continues to serve and support your communities and the people in them for years to come.

Brett A. Carter, Esq. Bertoldo, Baker, Carter & Smith Personal Injury

When friends ask you to describe the type of law you practice, what do you tell them? For someone who wants a real, thoughtful explanation of what I do, I say that my team and I give a voice to those who can’t be heard in our community, and who have been wronged by someone or something dangerous that needs to be held accountable (and be fixed), so no one gets seriously hurt again. I am blessed to do good. My firm gives those who have been damaged a slingshot so Goliath can’t win. It starts with listening; followed by caring and knowing what to do; and working your tail off to make it happen. This might sound corny, but if you don’t believe it, you can’t live it. Looking back at your legal accomplishments in 2016, what case are you particularly proud of? I’m not going to lie: If you’re a competitive person, it’s really hard not to fight hard as hell until you feel there will be no regrets. That look from the client (and hopefully a hug) is why you undertook the oath to be a plaintiff ’s attorney. Our judicial system remains often unfair and court proceedings resemble theatre; but if you claw, scrape and battle for the right reasons, you’ve accomplished something grand. You’ve stood up. My clients are so incredibly brave. They have to be. This past year represented my 20th year of law practice, and from the little to the large, easy to the hard, this past year was special because the fire still burns hot. There’s not one case. There’s never one case. What are your hopes professionally and personally for 2017? Professionally, I hope to be at my clients’ sides through it all. Personally, I hope to be at my family’s side through it all. We’re all in this together.

Christian Morris, Esq. Nettles Law Firm Personal Injury

What made you decide to become an attorney? I watched too much Law & Order. (Laughter) Actually, I’m originally from Maine and I was working in politics in [Washington,] D.C., [when] I realized that everyone who wrote the law had a law degree. Those were the guys who really got things done. So I figured I’d go to law school and then go back into politics. But then, after law school, I realized I love being in the courtroom. Looking back at 2016, is there a highlight you’re particularly proud of? I had a lot of tough trials this year, so I think the highlight would be taking cases to trail where I knew I probably wasn’t going to have a great chance of winning. I won some and I lost some, but [in the process] I lost that insecurity that I need to win because that’s what makes me look good. I’m willing to go [to trial] because [my client] wants their day in court and I’m willing to give it to them. What are your goals moving forward as an attorney? My goals are to get more people in the courtroom. I think there are a lot of attorneys out there who don’t feel capable of trying cases, and I think everyone is capable of trying a case; it’s a matter of finding your stride. We have to have the guts to do it, and I want to be one of the people in the community who helps [mentor] other attorneys, and gets them in the courtroom.

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Peter Bellon, Esq. Bellon & Maningo, LTD. Family Law

You’re well known in Las Vegas as a family law attorney. Is that the bulk of your practice? Basically, I practice mostly family law right now, including divorce and child custody. I started as a criminal defense attorney and it just naturally rolled into this. It’s about 95 percent of my practice right now. Looking back at 2016, is there some work you are proud of in particular? It’s probably the pro bono work that I do. (I’ve gotten awards for it in the past.) It’s our way to give back. You find people who are desperately in need of an attorney. That’s always been the most rewarding part of the practice: the pro bono work. It’s because of those situations [where I can help people] that I’m not burned out and not thinking of retirement. Looking forward to 2017, is there anything different you’d like to do? [Retired Judge] Jackie Glass and her husband, District Attorney Steve Wolfson, are good friends of mine. I’ve talked with her about mediation. She’s been doing a lot of mediation lately and I think I might be useful in that capacity. I’d like to be a voice of reason in trying to settle things, instead of strictly arguing for one side. I’d like to take my practice to 50 percent resolution or mediation, and put my name out there for other attorneys to use me.

Robert Eglet, Esq. Eglet Prince Mass Tort

This past year went by so quickly. Is there a professional accomplishment of yours that stands out? Last year we filed two class-action lawsuits involving Xerox and the Affordable Care Act in Nevada representing thousands of consumers and about a thousand brokers. We were able to get those successfully resolved. I was very pleased with how those turned out for the consumers. I was especially pleased with how attorneys on both sides worked together to try to make sure that people were taken care of properly and that that was the top priority. You’ve been politically active since college. Was politics a big focus of your life this past year? This year, I spent a great deal of time trying to help legislators and future legislators get elected [and deepen their] understanding of the issues that lawyers and consumers face in Nevada. I’m a Democrat, but I tend to be very bipartisan on a lot of issues. I will support good Republicans (including one of my partners) and I will support people who are willing to work together, whatever their political affiliation. When I was in college I worked on Senator Howard Cannon’s re-election campaign walking door to door. Now that I’m in a position to be able to spend more time and resources on candidates, I will continue to host events for candidates from both parties. What are your goals in the year ahead as a working attorney? We are going to continue to work very hard in the courtroom and try cases. That’s what we do here: We try cases. I’ve been speaking to various trial groups around the country about an article I wrote for Vegas Legal Magazine about the alarming disappearance of jury trials, not just in Nevada but also around the country. The diminishing number of jury trials has grave ramifications for our justice system in America. I intend to speak more about that, write more about that and engage more about that.

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Tisha Black, Esq. Black & LoBello Real Estate & Corporate Law

You were involved in a case that led to a news series (“Desert Underwater” by George Knapp of KLASTV, Channel 8) that won a national Peabody Award. How did that happen? Wells Fargo foreclosed on [a client’s] house, and they did it improperly. I discovered all these weird things that not only Wells Fargo, but also other banks were doing to foreclose on houses. That’s when we discovered all the “robo signing.” Long story short, we went to [then Attorney General of Nevada, now Senator-Elect] Catherine Cortez Masto and helped her with the settlement that we did with the banks. Was 2016 a good year for you? I’m happy that our economy is picking up. My clientele is based on entrepreneurs, developers [and] people starting new businesses, so I’m very happy to see what I believe is healthy upward movement in the real estate market. There are people out there [again] creating jobs and commerce. The [medical marijuana industry] began in 2014 and that’s been fascinating. Speaking of marijuana, is it true that you were one of the first attorneys to “untangle the weed situation,” so to speak, and figure out a blueprint for businesses to proceed in the medical marijuana business? Well, a lot of my clients were developers, so they understood location, they understood building and zoning, they understood business licenses and regulated commerce, and they also have a certain tolerance for risk that a lot of people don’t have. Because there was [going to be] a finite number of licenses, I worked with just one client to avoid conflicts. We were successful with everything we filed. I like the challenge of it. It’s like being a lawyer in prohibition.

Vincent Mayo, Esq. Abrams & Mayo Law Firm Family Law

What type of law you practice and why did you gravitate toward it? I specialize in Family Law, which includes everything from divorces and premarital contracts to custody matters and guardianship cases. I first got into family law when I accepted a position as a law clerk to then Judge O’Malley at Family Court. However, my love for family law really grew from the dynamic aspects of family law. Being a domestic relations attorney offers me the opportunity to represent clients in court, draft martial contracts, provide mediation services, etc. As a result, being a family law practitioner is always challenging. I also enjoy helping people through what is often the most difficult times of their lives. Do you have a personal code or goal as a practicing attorney? I would say that my code is to provide leadership to clients while ensuring my services are goal oriented. Litigants going through divorces or custody cases are often wrecked with emotions that can cause them to become lost psychologically and forget what’s important. I want to provide every client my best advice, and manage client expectations in order to help lead them through the uncertainty and confusion that comes with divorces and custody disputes. At the same time, I’m equally committed though to avoiding unnecessary litigation and fees by focusing on the most efficient way to accomplish my client’s goals…thereby not losing the forest for the trees. Is there a recent case that was especially challenging or rewarding? A recent challenging but rewarding case involved a high net worth divorce. The client was concerned that his wife’s animosity toward him would result in the case dragging on for years, destroying his business in the process. However, I was able to quickly discuss the matter with the opposing counsel, minimize the emotional turmoil that existed between the parties and work out a favorable settlement for my client

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Glenn Truitt, Esq. iDeal Business Partners Health Care Law

What makes your law firm different from others? We have a substantial non-legal component. We are a law firm, a financial firm and a strategy firm. So, by taking a comprehensive approach to health care, we’re able to service local health care professionals in a way that a lot of other firms can’t. It’s holistic. We take those [various professional disciplines] and smash them together and do something that’s creative and innovative. What was your professional highlight of 2016? We undertook an effort with a local surgery center. It was a rescue operation. n late 2015, we got it and we jumped in. We were not only able to save [the surgery center] from bankruptcy but we also generated a 25 percent overall increase. We helped professionalize the operation and demonstrate what my firm is capable of doing with the largest surgery center in the valley, which was exciting. What is the most common advice you give to clients or potential clients? Just like doctors say, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” It’s really true in health care and medicine. I’d like to help more doctors plan for the future, instead of playing cleanup. It’s getting harder every year to be a successful physician, so it’s important [for all of us] that we protect and encourage our physicians to do well. Part of that is teaching them how to be good at business. What sort of professional changes do you anticipate in 2017? I think Medicare will expand and continue to expand. That means doctors who participate in Medicare are really going to have to ramp up their compliance effort. I really want to reach out to the medical community and impress upon them the importance of compliance with big rules. Even if these things don’t seem like they touch your life yet, they’re about to. I’d like to do more proactive work for physicians.

Stephen Yoken, Esq. Snell & Wilmer Real Estate Law

What made you want to become an attorney? In all honesty, I was a philosophy major and at some point I figured out I needed to make a living. (Laughs) Since I was good with words, argument and analysis, law school was kind of a natural fit. What were the professional challenges in 2016? My practice is in commercial real estate transactions. [Snell & Wilmer] represents investors, lenders, owners of property, and a variety of other businesses. We also represent some local banks as well as major national and international clients. In general, were still recovering from the recession in Las Vegas. The main issue for my clients is just the economic climate. It’s been kind of a roller coaster because we were the biggest boom town, and then we were the biggest recession town, so I think just navigating that has been difficult. What are some of your goals for 2017? My goals are really to just continue providing the best service to my clients, both in terms of the quality of legal work, and the promptness of the service and getting things done. In my mind, that’s every bit as important as the high-quality work we perform: giving good service. Are there unique challenges to practicing law in Las Vegas? One thing that distinguishes Nevada from places like California is that we often don’t have as much legal authority [to reference], so a lot of times we have to guess what the court will do. If you’re practicing in California or New York, you can just do some research and you’ll usually find something that’s a similar case that was already decided before. The good news is, we have a lot of opportunities for creativity.

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Dominic Gentile, Esq. Gentile, Cristalli, Miller, Armeni, Savarese Criminal Defense

What are you most proud of in your years of practice? Is there a recent case that was especially challenging or rewarding? I’m most proud of the lawyers to whom I’ve contributed what little I could as a mentor. That has given me the most satisfaction. I’ve had the privilege of working with great young talent. As for rewarding cases, there have been so many that it defies singling any out. The Kathy Augustine impeachment that I did with John Arrascada was a great experience, especially because there hadn’t been one before in Nevada. Also, the Grady Sanders and Louis Peraino cases stand out, as does the term limits case in which I represented Commisioner Steve Sisolak. Those are the ones that received media attention. In many respects, though, the one that is closest to my heart was the representation of Joshua Nichols and the prevention of the government from calling him as a witness against his father, Terry Nichols, in the Oklahoma federal building bombing case. The thought that government can force a child to testify against a parent is revolting to me, as it is contrary to my belief that the family is the fundamental unit of society and impervious to government invasion in all but the rarest of circumstances. How has the legal profession changed here in the valley since you began practicing law? Prior to moving here in 1979 I had been practicing in Chicago and in federal courts throughout the country. The caliber of my opponents in those cases was very high, with everything being fully briefed before being filed. When I arrived in Las Vegas I found that, for the most part, the practitioners were not as thorough as those to which I had been exposed. It was a “scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” culture….Since that time, the overall quality of the work being done by lawyers has improved immensely, especially since the creation of William S. Boyd School of Law. Today, I’d rank the quality of lawyers in Las Vegas equal to the best one can find anywhere in this country. And our Public Defender system, both State and Federal, is outstanding. What are your goals and hopes heading into 2017? Well, first, is to keep breathing. If I’m successful at that then I’d like to continue to provide a resistance to what I perceive as inequities in our system of what is called “justice.” I’ve been practicing law for 45 years and I’m still not sure what that term means. I think that Justice Potter Stewart’s reluctance to attempt to define obscenity and instead saying “I know it when I see it” is equally applicable to any attempt to define “justice.”


ECOMONIC DAMAGES: What Is A Wife Worth? A Comprehensive View. –By Stan V. Smith, PhD

The full value of what a wife is worth is indeed a provocative and

difficult question, and one that often arises in Nevada courts. Many women are effectively the chief executive officer of a complex organization known as a household, in addition to whatever work they may perform at an outside job. When a woman is injured or killed, in addition to lost income, the household loses a large variety of irreplaceable household family management services, not just the execution of physical chores. Juries are asked to place a value on these services in personal injury and wrongful death claims…but how can they possibly do that? Further, what guidance can an economist give them?

Evaluating Physical vs. Nonphysical Chores While most think of household services in terms of physical chores such as housecleaning, cooking, laundry, etc., what makes the wife’s CEO job complex is that women also provide tangible advice, counsel and accompaniment services akin to that provided by coaches, advisors, home aides, or companions to the elderly. Economists have traditionally only valued the physical chores and have ignored the non-physical duties and responsibilities, yet these, too, can be valued based on comparable market alternatives (obviously, exclusive of love and affection). For an injured woman in her 30s (including those fatally injured) who can no longer provide such services, the loss of housekeeping alone typically exceeds $1 million; however, the loss of advice and accompaniment typically exceeds that amount to the husband alone. Advice and accompaniment is also lost to children, siblings, parents, etc., thus this value can quickly multiply and eclipse the loss of the value of physical chores as well as income. For full and fair recovery to claimants,

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these additional components of household services must also be valued. The methods I and other economists use to value the loss of the intangible love and affection component of society and companionship, or consortium, was discussed in my the last article for Vegas Legal Magazine (VLM). (The loss of quality or enjoyment of life to the injured person is another separate component, to be discussed in a forthcoming article.) Courts have long recognized claims for the value of tangible household family services as an element of damages in personal injury and wrongful death cases. However, women are not the only ones to provide such services: so do men, and to some degree, children, as well. These services are provided without charge or cost. The family members who may receive such services can include spouses, children, parents, or siblings. (Such family members do not necessarily have to reside in the same household to receive such services.) Economists and courts have also long recognized that an appropriate method in valuing such tangible services is to look at market equivalents from which an economic standard can be established. This approach was set forth in the 1913 U.S. Supreme Court Decision, Michigan Central Railroad Company v. Vreeland, 227 U.S. 59 (1913). The Supreme Court’s suggesting in valuing compensable services in Vreeland is a standard that is not rigid, but actually rather general: “[The] pecuniary loss or damage must be one which can be measured by some standard....Compensation for such loss manifestly does not include damages by way of recompense for grief or wounded feelings.” Examples of lost household services that used to be performed by persons (whether fatally or non-fatally injured) include physical chores such as mowing the lawn, painting the house, cleaning the windows, doing the laundry, washing and repairing the car, preparing

the meals and doing the dishes, among others. But since economists recognize that in addition to the physical chores, “tangible services” to family members include services well beyond the physical housekeeping chores, it is important that a complete analysis of all services performed by family members include much more than the physical housekeeping chores. This supported by my own research and that of others that is published in peer-reviewed, scientific, economic journal articles that I, and others, have authored.

The Human Factor Every family member acts as a companion to other family members. And it is common for family members to act as counselors for one another. Women typically provide advice and counsel on important personal, family, medical, financial, career or other issues. The marketplace can and does value such items of loss. If the person cannot provide these services, or does so at a reduced capacity or rate, there is a distinct and definite loss to the other family members. These losses have a definite and easily measurable pecuniary value. Vreeland requires only that a “reasonable expectation” of loss of services be proven, and that such loss be valued by some standard—presumably a reasonably based economic standard—to allow recovery. The economic literature on recovery of loss of services discusses an estimated, market-oriented valuation cost method to assess the pecuniary value advice, guidance and counsel services, as well as the loss of accompaniment services that family members provide to one another, within a broadly defined scope of household family management services. According to Chief Justice Robert Wilentz of the Supreme Court of New Jersey, in Green v. Bittner, 85 NJ 1, 1980, pp. 12, accompaniment services, to be compensable, must be that which would have provided services substantially equivalent to those provided by the home companions often hired today by the aged or infirm, or substantially equivalent to services provided by home health aides; and their value must be confined to what the marketplace would pay a stranger with similar qualifications to spend social time with another for performing such services. Both the U.S. and the New Jersey Supreme Courts discuss looking at labor markets for the equivalent value of such services…an identical methodology to the traditional approach that economists have been using for over four decades that uses market rates paid to housekeepers; child care providers; waitstaff; private household cooks; laundry and dry cleaning workers; maids and housekeepers, etc., which averages approximately $20 an hour. The number of hours expended can depend on family size. While standard tables provide such hours, and interviews with family members can also establish estimates, at three hours a day (a typical measure), the value exceeds $20,000 per year, which for a young wife can exceed $1 million over a lifetime.

hour. Again, the number of hours expended can depend on family size, but at one hour per day for the husband (a typical measure), the value exceeds $12,000 per year, which for a young wife can exceed $500,000. Children, siblings and parents who receive such services often lose in aggregate an amount equal to or exceeding this figure. The value of accompaniment, or social time spent with family members, is again measured using market rates paid to home companions which averages approximately $15 an hour. On average, at three hours per day for the husband, the value exceeds $15,000 per year, which for a young wife can also exceed $500,000. When added together, the injury to a wife can result in household family management services that can be a multiple of the traditional housekeeping chores alone. (And, naturally, the same approach outlined above can be used when measuring the loss of husbands.) Regardless of which parent is no longer a part of the family, when such testimony is provided to a jury through family members and an economist, a full and fair recovery can be achieved. Stan V. Smith, Ph. D., is president of Smith Economics Group, Ltd. Trained at the University of Chicago (one of the world’s pre-eminent institutions for the study of economics and the home of the law and economics movement), Smith has also taught at the university and co-authored the first textbook on the topic of economic damages. A nationally renowned expert in economics who has testified nationwide in personal injury, wrongful death and commercial damages cases, Smith has assisted thousands of law firms in successful results for both plaintiffs and defendants, including the U.S. Department of Justice. To that end, Smith also developed the first course in forensic economics at DePaul University, and pioneered the concept of “hedonic damages,” testifying about the topic it in landmark cases. His work has been featured in the ABA Journal, National Law Journal, and on the front page of The Wall Street Journal. Smith Economics Group, Ltd., is located at 1165 N. Clark Street, Suite 600, Chicago, IL 60610. Dr. Smith may be reached at 312-943-1551 and at

- Stan V. Smith, Ph.D. 1165 N. Clark Street, Suite 600 Chicago, IL 60610 Phone: 312-943-1551 | Fax: 312-943-1016 Email:

The Emotional Factor The value of advice and counsel services is also measured using market rates paid to people who work as family counselors, social workers, clergy, coaches, teachers, etc., which averages approximately $35 an

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Vegas Legal Magazine Spring 2015 | Pg. 23


INCUMBENT – Judge Elissa F. Cadish In this edition of Meet the Incumbent, VLM interviews Judge Elissa F. Cadish, a judge in the Nevada Sixth Judicial Court.

Some background—some very impressive background about Judge Cadish… She graduated magna cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania in 1986, with a Bachelor’s of Arts (with honors) in political science, and she received her law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1989, where she was a member of the Virginia Law Review and was awarded the Order of the Coif. In 1991, Cadish moved to Las Vegas and clerked for 2 years for Hon. Philip M. Pro in the United States District Court for the District of Nevada. Private practice followed, where she focused on commercial litigation and employment law, and from 1995-2007 she practiced at Hale Lane Peek Dennison & Howard where she became a shareholder in 2000. In July 2007, Cadish was appointed by Governor Jim Gibbons to fill the District Judge vacancy left by Judge Joseph Bonaventure’s retirement, assuming the position of District Judge in Department 6 one month later. It’s a seat for which she’s run and won ever since. An impressive list of accolades rounds out Cadish’s contributions to the Las Vegas legal community and the local community, at large…a community you’ll soon read she appreciates for its size that allows attorneys and judges to work together more consistently than in large metro areas where paths rarely cross twice. Catering to a love of law that dates to her tween years, for the last 20 years she’s lent her time as a judge in the We the People competition among high school students regarding knowledge of the U.S. Constitution, and she now chairs the Nevada Bar’s Law Related Education Committee which oversees the We the People program as well as other educational programs. Judge Cadish has also volunteered to serve as a judge for the very successful Trial by Peers program run by the Clark County Law Foundation. Cadish is an active member of the Southern Nevada Association of Women Attorneys after having served as its president from 2004-2006.

She is also an active member of Congregation Ner Tamid, where she was on the Sisterhood Board of Directors from 2006-2014, serving as its Parliamentarian. Recognized by Congregation Ner Tamid as a Woman of Valor in November 2011, she’s a life member of Hadassah, and joined the board of the Jewish Family Service Agency in Las Vegas in January 2014. In February 2012, she was nominated by President Barack Obama to be a United States District Judge for the District of Nevada. And in May of 2016, she was a recipient of the Liberty Bell Award given out by the Clark County Law Foundation. Vegas Legal Magazine: What in your childhood or young adulthood could you look back on as a sign of what was ahead for you in your law career? Did you have a moment when you knew what you wanted to do? Judge Cadish: I have known I wanted to be a lawyer since I was 10 or 11 years old. When I was in high school, I joined and became president of a local Law Explorers group. I have always enjoyed the law and legal analysis. I went to college as a political science major and then straight to law school. Once I clerked for Judge Pro, I decided I wanted to eventually be a judge. I applied to fill an open seat in the District Court in 2007, and ultimately was appointed by Governor Gibbons to Department 6. VLM: What do you love most about being involved in the law community in Las Vegas? Does it differ from practicing law or sitting on the bench elsewhere? JC: I really enjoy that this is still a small enough legal community that it is easy to get to know most lawyers and judges. As an attorney, you get to appear in front of the same judges multiple times and often interact with a small group of attorneys in your particular area of practice. It is more pleasant to work with folks who you know and who get to know you. It also promotes more civility when you know that the person you are dealing with on this case will also be involved on

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MEET THE INCUMBENT future cases with you, and deters rude or unprofessional conduct. It is different than larger cities like Los Angeles and New York where you may never see the same judge or lawyer twice. VLM: What is the most memorable case you tried as an attorney before taking the bench? Please share why. JC: I was involved in a major patent case in the United States District Court before Judge Pro, which was tried from November 2002 through January 2003. This case involved important legal issues about the patent application process and intentional delays by an applicant, and their effect on the ability of the patent holder to seek damages for alleged infringement by others who create a product while the application was pending. I was part of a large team of lawyers working on this case, and learned a lot about managing a complex trial.

rather than to each other, and to focus on the merits of the case rather than actions of counsel. I emphasize that actions of counsel are not going to change my application of the facts and the law. Most of the time, this type of reminder is sufficient to avoid this behavior continuing. VLM: Biggest pet peeve triggered by attorneys that appear in your courtroom? JC: My pet peeve is attorneys who do not respect the formality of the courtroom. I expect attorneys to dress appropriately in court (pro tip: jeans and a sport jacket are not appropriate dress). I also expect an attorney during a trial to ask [permission] each time before approaching the bench, the clerk or the witness. An occasional joke can be acceptable to break the tension, but the courtroom warrants the respect of appropriate professional conduct.

VLM: What is the most memorable case you have presided over as a judge…and why?

VLM: What is your best piece of advice for litigants and/or attorneys that appear in your courtroom?

JC: I have presided over several capital murder trials, and any case where there is a possibility of a death being ordered is memorable. I have had some great lawyers involved in those cases, who raise interesting and challenging issues. Ultimately, nothing gives me pause and emphasizes the importance of ensuring a fair trial like signing a death warrant.

JC: All attorneys should know what they are asking the court to do and be prepared to address the other side’s arguments. Too often, attorneys don’t seem to know what claims or parties would be resolved by their motion, or haven’t thought through the implications of what they are asking for. Attorneys also should listen and respond to questions from the judge. After all, that is the person you are trying to persuade!

VLM: What is the most challenging thing about sitting on the bench versus trying cases as an attorney? And was there something in your transition that took some getting used to?

VLM: Knowing what you now know about your work, what advice would you go back and give your younger self about practicing law, or sitting on the bench?

JC: The most challenging part is the sheer volume of cases that we deal with on a weekly basis. In a given week, it is not unusual to rule on more than 50 criminal matters and more than 10 civil matters just on my regular morning calendars. This does not count rulings made throughout any trials I preside over. I read every brief for every case, so this takes quite a bit of time. However, it is important to do so in order to ensure the correct decisions are made.

JC: I would tell my younger self to work harder at developing relationships with my fellow attorneys and clients. This would have helped to develop a more robust book of business for myself as a practicing attorney. I also would tell my younger self to be more confident in making recommendations and giving advice to clients.

VLM: Describe a situation where you had to support a legal position that conflicted with your personal beliefs, and how you handled it.

JC: I absolutely love being a judge! I enjoy being the neutral party to listen to all sides and make the best decision under the facts and the law. I also feel that by working hard and being prepared to make the best possible decision, I am contributing to the community as a whole. It is very satisfying to feel that I am helping to inspire confidence in the judicial system on the part of lawyers, parties, and jurors.

JC: As a judge, it is my job to follow the law regardless of my personal beliefs. If there is a binding statute or case law, I apply it to the facts as I find them, absent any concern about its constitutionality. If changes in the law are needed, the legislature is the place to address them. VLM: Describe a court situation that tested the limits of your patience. How did you respond? And in hindsight, would you have done anything different? JC: I have had multiple situations where attorneys on a case did not get along, and their arguments degraded into personal attacks on each other. I always redirect them to address their remarks to the court

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VLM: What has being a judge meant to you?




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ARENA Leonard Fink, Esq. Affirming View No two words in civil litigation are more divisive than “tort re-

form.” While you can always point to outliers, generally, plaintiff attorneys

and consumer lobby groups advocate a hands-free approach to litigation emphasizing that if someone has caused another person harm, the offender should pay for it. And while the defense industry generally agrees that an injured party should be compensated, there need to be limits in place so that commerce and free enterprise are not choked out by runaway jury verdicts. The risk is very real that without tort reform, unlimited damages awards can burden businesses with liabilities they cannot afford to pay and, consequently, there will not be any affordable insurance available for businesses or individuals to compensate injured parties. While this argument has always struck me as somewhat reptilian, in and of itself, it is compelling when we consider what can happen without adequate safeguards. To avoid this scenario, every potential plaintiff (which is all of us) must be willing to take a step back, take a society-wide view, and agree that reasonable limits must be put in place on what they are legally entitled to recover. As the price for insurance rises, so does the cost of doing business as a whole. In order to continue making a profit and thus preserve their existence (because without profits there is no business), businesses are forced to push those increased costs to their customers. In the end, therefore, it is the consumer that pays, and the consumer, after all, is all of us, even injured plaintiffs. So, for every multi-million dollar verdict that a jury awards, there are costs that we all must pay. Taking this scenario further, once a few multi-million dollar judgments begin to pile up, we can see the real possibility that the cost to insure an individual or business can become so outrageous (because even insurance companies have to make a profit), the individual or business can no longer afford it. When that happens, we lose necessary service providers… even good ones. This was exactly the situation that Nevada faced in 2002 concerning the rising cost of malpractice insurance for OBGYNs. Due in no small part to litigation and increasingly large damages awards, in 2002, many insurers began to charge unaffordable skyrocketing premiums (or

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declined to continue to write medical malpractice insurance altogether). As a result, many OBGYNs considered leaving the state, which would have created a public health crisis: If expectant mothers were suddenly unable to get proper treatment during their pregnancies, no doubt the number of birth complications would rise, placing further stress on health insurance and other tangential businesses in addition to the personal costs that would be incurred by the women, children, and families negatively impacted by a correctable problem. Ultimately, reason won the day and the Nevada Legislature passed an emergency bill to address these concerns, including instituting the 2004 caps on medical malpractice damages awards, largely averting the crisis. Nothing is ever perfect! Even when insurance remains available and a business or individual can afford the increased premiums, sometimes the insurance product or coverage is not as great as it was before. In the construction defect industry, we saw many insurers leave Nevada in the mid-2000s, with others coming in and writing policies that offered much less coverage than what was previously available, leaving contractors unprotected. Consequently, a homeowner might not be able to recover any damages for real issues, especially when an insured business ceased operations and there are no remaining assets to look to for compensation other than that insurance policy. Although I certainly agree that an aggrieved party should be entitled to be compensated by the person that harmed them, that must not come without risk or the willingness to compromise. Without tort reform, the first plaintiffs will get all, and maybe more than they otherwise deserve, but at the expense of society at large (including future plaintiffs). While I do not claim to know the best answer to achieve an appropriate balance between a party’s ability to be compensated without overburdening commerce, I do know that tort reform is necessary to a healthy economy and that it will take the concerted efforts of a lot of people to look past their seemingly different agendas to come up with a compromise that compensates fairly but does not put the overall system in crisis. Leonard T. Fink, is a founding partner of Springel & Fink, LLC in Las Vegas, Nev., and has been practicing law for more than 20 years. Licensed in Nevada, California, Arizona, Washington, and Idaho, Fink represents a variety of different clients in all types of civil and business-related litigation matters. He is a frequent speaker at MCLE events and, at times, a guest lecturer at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Fink received his Juris Doctor degree from the University Of San Diego School Of Law and received his bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University.

Glenn Truitt, Esq. Dissenting View Tort Reform. The name alone represents a successful reframing-by-re-

naming effort on the part of the insurance lobby. What “tort reform” really means is medical malpractice reform. After all, medical malpractice only represents a small fraction of the overall tort legal market, and yet, when reform is called for, they simply assume the mantle. The reform is nothing more than a contemplated effot to capping payouts. An effort that is inherently flawed. In 2015, nearly four billion dollars were paid from Medical Malpractice actions, and Nevada represented the second largest growth in payouts, increasing 73% over the previous year. Medical malpractice payouts declined for a decade from 2003 to 2012, before again rising in 2013 and every year since. Whatever we thought might be working is not, and now, with awards on the rise, and the associated insurance premiums rising with them, the calls have resumed for “tort reform.” The stakes for physicians are, quite literally, life and death. As a result of the unique and important part that healthcare plays in human life, the economy that has evolved around medicine is both mature and sophisticated in dealing with the risks associated with it. Malpractice jurisprudence serves important public policy objectives: holding physicians accountable for a recognized standard of care and punishing failures to meet that standard which result in substantial and often permanent harm (including death). What’s more, the malpractice insurance market has developed to help physicians manage and quantify the risk associated with potential malpractice. By employing extraordinary amounts of data and actuarial analysis, malpractice carriers pool the economic risk of malpractice across populations of physicians, at a fraction of the cost to the offending practitioner that he/ she would have otherwise been liable for. These carriers constantly warn of the dangers of increasing awards and payouts, noting that they will be forced to pass along these costs on to clients in the form of increase premiums, dropped clients and perhaps ceasing operations altogether. Further, many physicians decry the increasing cost of malpractice insurance premiums, noting that the concurrent downward pressure on reimbursement makes private practice all but impossible. Of course, insurance carriers are not public utilities. They are profit-seeking enterprises who seek to benefit handsomely if the insurance company can lower its expenditures (e.g. payouts) without a corresponding reduction in premiums. However, the proposed “tort reform” (i.e. capping payouts) is a profoundly reductive and myopic solution – placing the burden on the parties least capable of bearing it: the actual victims of negligence and malpractice. There certainly is reform needed, after all, no one wants private practitioners to be priced out of the market before they’re even in it. However, addressing compensation is a derivative concern; the real reform needed is in the practice of medicine, itself. Initial American medical licensure is widely-considered to be the most challenging in the world. The course of study, performance and testing required to become a medical doctor in the U.S. is rigorous, demanding and prohibitively lengthy and expensive. Unfortunately, continuing licensure

Opposing Attorneys Take On Tort Reform for domestic medical doctors is woefully asymmetrical to its academic counterpart. Dazed attendance at CME (Continuing Medical Education), administrative form filling and nominal annual fee payments are nearly all that’s required to maintain a medical license. Little, if any, actual testing is required. Nevertheless, we expect a physician’s training to endure so substantially as to never require refreshment until retirement. Further, as physicians mature in their careers, most rely less and less on team-based medicine, and are increasingly expected to have superior judgment based almost wholly on experience. This approach ignores the value of both continued instruction and, more importantly, innovation, which becomes all but inaccessible to aging practitioners. One study showed that by the age of 65 years, 75% of physicians in low-risk specialties and 99% of those in high-risk specialties were projected to face a malpractice claim. So, if we all agree that the astronomical amounts of money spent on medical malpractice payouts deserve reform, we should all be able to similarly agree that there are at least two ways to address this problem: reducing the amount paid per claim (the “traditional tort reform” solution) or reducing the number of claims. Addressing the root cause, rather than a secondary outcome, is economically and ethically preferable. The good news about this approach is not having to tell the victims of medical malpractice or their families, to make due with less money, despite the horrors inflicted upon them, and rather, focuses on avoiding those circumstances in greater numbers. The even better news is that many of these reform efforts are already underway with leadership from the insurance industry. Public and private payors are increasingly turning to outcome-based reimbursement models to provide economic incentives to practitioners to undertake the best possible treatments for their patients and not simply the most valuable ones. As government payors seek innovative tools to manage their costs and ensure their survival as a matter of vital public importance, they have aggressively pursued data analysis, information technology and coordination of care to make this model not only possible but practical. It is estimated that implementation of these structures could reach fifty percent in the next two to three years, and result in an overall cost savings of more than ten percent. Tort reform? That’s a special interest trope. We’ve got plenty of reform taking place in healthcare already, and it will undoubtedly result, in the near term, in lowered total Medical Malpractice payouts because it will result in fewer actionable outcomes. The only difference is we won’t be handing those gains over solely to insurance carriers. Glenn H. Truitt, Esq. is a founding and managing partner of iDeal Business Partners in Las Vegas, NV, and has been practicing law for over 11 years. Licensed in Nevada and California, Glenn represents healthcare clients in a wide variety of transactional, business and compliance matters. He is a frequent contributor to local scholarship regarding healthcare law and policy and consults with industry leaders nationwide. Glenn his bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD, and following submarine service aboard the USS Tennessee (B), received his Juris Doctorate from Stanford Law School in Palo Alto, CA.

Vegas Legal Magazine Winter 2017 | Pg. 45


‘Day In The Life’ Videos Often Tell Stories Better Than You –By Mark Fierro

So, your personal injury client realizes they’ve been wronged and no one is willing to step up to the plate. That usually results in a call that says, “We’re going to sue.”

such negligence or bad acting that you and your client have decided there is no alternative—there are times when you and your client must fight.

Insurance companies have elaborate mechanisms and formulas that can take a terrible human condition resulting from their insured’s negligence—something that caused con-siderable emotional suffering—and reduce damages to a cold, calculated settlement offer. Loss of a limb: this much. Two limbs? That much. Those amounts are aimed at not only compensating the injured, but also at convincing the law firm of the injured to forego the work and time and simply settle.

When a law firm decides to push back and push back hard, one of the tools they can create to potentially influence an insurance adjuster or the jury is a “Day in the Life” video. These videos are often produced for personal injury, family law cases, cases involving complex business issues, and even in administrative cases where professionals find themselves under attack. The goal is to weave in and present the survivor’s human emotion and pain to the viewer in a very focused, strategic manner.

Yes, there are times for settlement. But when the circumstances surrounding injuries or death are so egregious—resulting from

A good “Day in the Life” video boils down many of a case’s salient elements, but what it truly focuses on is the emotion that could

Vegas Legal Magazine Winter 2017 | Pg. 46


“A ‘Day in the Life’ video fills in the spaces between the facts and gives the case life. ” -Richard Harris, Esq.

be brought into the courtroom…emotion that the defendants will find themselves up against. It will also give the perspective of the plaintiff ’s life prior to the event. It will lay out the arc of their life. What kind of person they were…where they were in their career. And, it will show the devastation that resulted from the negligence of the defendant. Richard Harris, Esq., of Richard Harris Law Firm is one attorney who has benefited from arguing cases using “Day in the Life” videos. “The facts are the facts,” says Harris, a personal injury attorney in Las Vegas, Nev., for more than 35 years. “As a lawyer, you can talk about the facts. But a ‘Day in the Life’ video fills in the spaces between the facts and gives the case life.” “It is said that all important decisions are rooted in emotion,” he continues, “whether it’s [making] a major purchase; choosing a profession; being on a jury; or, as an adjuster, giving authority for settlement of a particular claim. It’s all rooted in emotion. So the idea of a ‘Day in the Life’ video is to take the elements of the case and present them so that [they] yield a response from an adjuster, from a juror, from a defense attorney….When they watch the video, they’re going to say, ‘Wow, that moved me, and I’m the cynic. Imagine what’s going to happen with the jury?’ “ [A video] allows for an assessment of a claim in a very real way. It causes things to happen.” Showing a “Day in the Life” video that illustrates how an incident or injury profoundly changed and damaged an individual’s life can pack a potent punch, according to Harris.

“You can talk about it in the abstract,” Harris says. “But when you have a video that shows the person before the accident, going about their activities in their happy life, and compare it [to] how their life is now and all the difficulty they are going through…that is very powerful stuff. It’s the same thing with a wrongful death case. When you don’t have your client there, you can show the value of their life, the vacuum that exists in the survivors’ lives, the great loss, [and] how life will never be the same for their loved ones. “That’s the essence of these ‘Day in the Life’ videos,” he adds. “It’s to tell the story. And the story cannot be told in any better way than through video.” It is important to note the major differences between a standard legal videographer and an expert in the field of creating “Day in the Life” videos, according to Harris. A professional with a rich background in producing “Day in the Life” videos who understands journalism, and the necessary balance of tension and storytelling found in well-reported news, will make the presentation much more compelling and achieve results you need to support your position as you fight for your client. Fierro Communications, Inc., is a full-service public relations and marketing firm with video production assets and a wealth of media contacts in Southern Nevada and throughout the United States. The firm specializes in providing “Day in the Life” videos; op-ed pieces; books; and press materials, among other pieces, for the legal community across the country. Owner/Founder Mark Fierro is the author of two books and has appeared on national news broadcasts including CNN, Entertainment Tonight and ABC’s 20/20. Initial consultations for litigation support are always free of charge.

Vegas Legal Magazine Winter 2017 | Pg. 47

a katz /

Gino Santa Maria /



In His Own Words: Senate Minority Leader Looks Back – and Looks Forward

ARRY REID —By Valerie Miller

Editorial Note: As the Nov. 8 general election ap-

elections and I have never seen anything like the reacproached, Senate Minority Leader and Nevada native tion to the election completed [Nov. 8]. The election of son, Harry Reid, shared his thoughts on the then-up- Donald Trump has emboldened the forces of hate and coming race for the presidency, and the race to fill the bigotry in America.” retiring senator’s seat. In the days after Reid responded to Vegas Legal Magazine’s questions, Democrat (and What follows are some of Reid’s thoughts leading up former Nevada Attorney General) Catherine Cor- to the historic 2016 election. ~VLM tez Masto defeated Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., for Reid’s soon-to-be-vacant seat, while Republican presidential Vegas Legal Magazine: What do you think your legacy will be, nominee Donald J. Trump pulled off a historic upset and what do you think are the key accomplishments by which history will likely judge you? against heavily favored Democratic opponent, Hillary Rodham Clinton. Harry Reid: I don’t like talking myself up or going on about what After Trump’s stunning victory, Reid made headlines yet again in his three decades of public service, saying this in a statement about the new president-elect: “I have personally been on the ballot in Nevada for 26

I’ve done—someone else will have to do all that. But throughout my 34 years in Congress, one thing I am proud of is I have always told it like it is. Many people want to be remembered for the bills they passed or the speeches they gave, but I hope I’m remembered by people—no matter their politics—as a guy who stood for something and never wavered. Vegas Legal Magazine Winter 2017 | Pg. 49

HARRY REID VLM: What will you be doing after retirement? What issues will you continue to be involved with? HR: I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Congress. I wish I could stay here forever, but I’ve still got a couple of months left that can be used to do some work for Nevada and the American people. After all of this is over, I hope to spend more time in Nevada. I have repeatedly said I will never be a lobbyist, and I never will. I would like to do something that benefits our country. I don’t know what that is yet. All I know is I’m sure not going to be hanging around the Senate cloakroom. I’m not going to try to run the Senate from afar. VLM: Do you think any of your children will eventually follow in your footsteps to the U.S. Senate? HR: All my children and grandchildren are extremely hard working and able. I will leave it up to them whether or not they want to pursue a career in politics. For me, I have loved every single political job I ever had. You can help people, you can express your views and make a difference. I just want my children to love what they do as much as I have. VLM: What do you think about the current gridlock in Congress? Is there any solution that could bring Democrats and Republicans together? HR: I consider all my senators as friends and even part of a family. I value every member of the Democratic caucus. But Republicans have certainly worked to hurt collegiality in Congress. Republicans spent the past eight years trying to block everything and anything that President Obama did. They degraded this institution—weakened it to play politics. Democrats have always tried to get something done, but Republicans just won’t have it. Republicans need to stop trying to appease the right wing of their party and actually work to get something done for the country. VLM: Why do you feel that Catherine Cortez Masto would be the best replacement for you in the U.S. Senate? And, what do you think would happen if Masto was defeated by Republican Rep. Joe Heck? HR: I have known Catherine for a long time and I think she will be an outstanding senator. She has worked for years to improve the lives of Nevadans. She is a woman of integrity. She is the polar opposite of Joe Heck. Her opponent is a carbon copy of Donald Trump. Joe Heck acts like he cares about the Hispanic community—but he voted against DREAMERs and opposed immigration reform. He says he is for the middle class, but he does the bidding of the suVegas Legal Magazine Winter 2017 | Pg. 50

per-rich. Joe Heck is a fraud bought and sold by the Koch brothers. If he goes to Washington, he will act on Trump’s hateful agenda. So, I predict that Joe Heck is going to lose and we’re going to send the first Latina woman to the Senate this November. I think she will be very successful there. VLM: You have been highly critical of Donald Trump, but what specifically are your biggest concerns about him, should he become president? HR: Again and again, Donald Trump has proven himself unfit for the presidency. This man has bragged about sexually assaulting women. He is a racist demagogue with anti-American stances against Muslims, African-Americans, women, Latinos, people with disabilities, immigrants, veterans, and others. He won’t release his taxes; stiffs American workers; and acts like Putin’s puppet. Trump has learned the worst of politics from congressional Republicans. I can’t think of anyone more dangerous to the future of this country than Donald Trump. And congressional Republicans have fed his rise and been with him every step of the way. VLM: What are your views on Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s many controversies? The private email server investigation, the Benghazi attack and the Clinton Foundation’s business dealing while she was secretary of state? HR: For the past 30 years, Republicans and right-wing organizations have spent millions of dollars denigrating Hillary Clinton. Republicans have been obsessed with it. Right-wing interests are determined to do everything they can to keep her out of the White House. The Kochs don’t want her to be president because she wouldn’t be their lackey. They have spent tens of millions this year

COVER STORY Ronald Reagan was full of optimism and charm. George H.W. Bush was a good man and both Bushes served their country dutifully for decades. Bill Clinton was beloved by the country and now Hillary Clinton is running. She will be a fantastic president. President Obama and I have had a great bond these past eight years. Republicans tried their hardest to block everything we tried to do together. I think books will be written about his presidency and the Republican’s unyielding obstructionism. VLM: What kind of challenges do you think gaming in the Silver State will face in the future? HR: Nevada’s number one industry is gaming and I have always fought for it. But what I don’t want to see is the spread of sports betting without any regulatory means. I have no doubt the Silver State’s gaming industry will continue to survive and thrive. I will do all that I can to keep fighting for the hundreds of thousands of Nevadans who work in gaming. alone working against Hillary, Catherine [Cortez Masto], and supporting opponents who do [their] bidding. Hillary is committed to advancing middle-class priorities and working for all Americans, and that drives the right wing crazy. VLM: What are your thoughts about the present state (and the future of) the Affordable Car Act (Obamacare), which you fought so hard to pass? Do you see it eventually being replaced with a single-payer system, like Canada’s? HR: No one has ever said that Obamacare is perfect, but it has helped millions of Americans. More than 20 million people now have insurance who didn’t have it before. People with pre-existing conditions are now covered. Still, Republicans have tried dozens and dozens of times to repeal it. And they have no alternative. When Republicans are done having their tantrums, I hope they will come to the table and help us make the law better. We can’t just repeal it and go back to a time when insurance companies controlled everything. Healthcare is a necessity and we must do everything we can to make sure all Americans have access to affordable, quality healthcare. VLM: You have served in Congress for 30 years, spanning the presidencies of Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Can you share some thoughts on working with each of those presidents?

VLM: Your positions on various issues, including illegal immigration, have changed during your time in Congress. What caused your views on some of these issues to evolve? HR: Immigration is an issue that is very close to me and I have spent more time on the Senate floor on this than any other issue. I heard stories from DREAMers that broke my heart and helped me understand what is at stake for all those who leave their home in hopes for the American Dream. My friend, DREAMer Astrid Silva, wrote me letters about her struggle and other people’s struggles. I felt an obligation to try and do everything I could and I did. I have been in Congress for a long time and times change, [and] people learn and grow. There are things that I said and did before that I would approach differently now. VLM: The defeat of the Yucca Mountain project will likely be remembered as one of your most successful battles on behalf of Nevada. Do you think the project will be revived after you leave office? HR: The fate of the Yucca Mountain project has never been clearer: It is dead and always will be dead. It’s a flawed plan that Nevadans of all political stripes adamantly oppose, and I am glad that we were able to put a stop to it. Nevadans have made clear they don’t want nuclear waste shoved down our throats, and the Yucca Mountain project will never happen.

HR: It has certainly been interesting working with all those different presidents. They have all loved their country immensely and have worked to make things better—but they had different ways of going about that. Vegas Legal Magazine Winter 2017 | Pg. 51


It turns out that Harry Reid’s political life story had

chine” of Chicago Mayor Richard Daley Sr., in the 1960s and 1970s. “He uses a lot of data analytics,” says Nevada Democratic political consultant Dan Hart. “Reid is a trailblazer.”

one more chapter to add. The Democratic senate minority leader pulled off another victory on Election Day 2016, and this time, he wasn’t even on the ballot. But it wasn’t always that way. Hart says Reid created his Nevada Nevada’s election night results on Nov. 8 proved to be a fitting sendoff for the soon-to-retire senate minority leader. The powerful “Reid Machine” had been in overdrive during election season, and propelled a “blue” wave of victories across the Silver State to cap a historic 30-year career in Congress. As a result, Democrats held on to Reid’s soon-to-be-vacated senate seat; picked up another seat in the House of Representatives; and grabbed control of the Nevada Legislature. But the success of Harry Reid, in delivering Nevada was a rare bright spot for Democrats in an otherwise bleak election night that spilled into the following morning. As we’re well aware of now, dark horse Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump—a billionaire businessman with no political experience—stunned the world by beating Clinton and providing big coattails to keep Republicans in control of both houses of Congress. In retrospect, Trump’s win made Reid’s accomplishments in the battleground state of Nevada all the more impressive. It prompted even critics of Reid and his liberal policies to offer up due praise for the man who managed to buck the “red” tide sweeping the country. “We should learn how to do what Reid did,” radio talk show host Alan Stock said on his program, post-election. Stock advised Nevada Republicans to take notes on Reid’s success in turning out Democrats in early voting, because it resulted in an uphill climb for Nevada Republicans who traditionally get more Election Day voters. Today, as Reid, 76, looks toward a quieter but no less fulfilling post-political life in Henderson—back here in his home state— there’s much to reflect on, ending this chapter of his life’s story with a victory in an election when he wasn’t even on the ballot. Talk about winning against the odds.

The Making of the “Machine” This Election Day, the biggest prize of all for Reid was, no doubt, the election of a Democrat – former Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto – to fill his seat come January. Cortez Masto defeated Congressman Joe Heck, R-Nev. To a certain extent, Heck did it to himself: he slipped in the polls after pulling his support from Trump in the wake of the October 2016 release of the Access Hollywood tape showing Trump using lewd language. But it was a battle for Heck, nonetheless, to go up against the “Reid Machine”…a force compared by some to the legendary “Daley Ma-

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Democratic apparatus after the senator’s razor-thin margin of victory in 1998 over then-Rep. John Ensign, R-Nev. “Reid only won re-election by 409 votes, and he thought he should have won by a lot more,” explains Hart, who is also a friend of the Reid family. “After that, he began to really ‘professionalize’ his approach. That was the turning to point where he went from being a candidate to an expert politician.” Hart further contends that Reid’s post-1998, re-election self-analysis has a lot to do with the massive Democratic gains in Nevada. “(Reid) also saw the need for an effective Democratic Party.” Before that 1998 campaign’s outcome, some of Reid’s top campaign staff dated back to his days at Basic High School in Henderson, Nev. At Basic, the teenage Harry Reid also met a young teacher— and a decorated Korean War veteran—who would become one of the most influential people in his life: Mike O’Callaghan. That future Nevada governor would become a political mentor and a sort of a surrogate father to Reid, and the two shared an unbreakable loyalty. That loyalty is not surprising, as Reid never disowned his humble Nevada roots. He was born into a family with practically nothing, in the mining boomtown-gone-bust of Searchlight. That he went on to become the most powerful person in the U.S. Senate is amazing to even those who oppose his policies and political views. “You know, he achieved great things and you got to give him hatsoff and respect for the great things the guy achieved who was just a boxer and hard-scrapple kid from Searchlight,” says conservative-libertarian radio host Wayne Allyn Root.

A Rags to Riches Story Reid hitchhiked to high school in Henderson from Searchlight. He relied on the kindness of those around him while growing up, and as a young man, Reid recalled his rough-and-tumble upbringing in his 2008 autobiography, The Good Fight: Hard Lessons from Searchlight to Washington. “It’s an inspiring story, coming up from poverty, with the help of friends and hard work,” says Nevada historian Michael Green. Young Harry Reid boxed as an amateur, and married his high school sweetheart Landra Gould. Together they had five children: Lana, Rory, Leif, Josh, and Key. Reid started out as Henderson’s city attorney and, by age 30 in 1970, became the youngest lieutenant

COVER STORY governor in Nevada history. (O’Callaghan would be elected governor at that time, too, but Nevada elects its governor and lieutenant governor separately.) O’Callaghan later appointed Reid as the chairman of the Nevada Gaming Commission. In that post, in the late 1970s and 1980s, Reid dealt with the last vestiges of the mob control in Las Vegas, eliciting, among other traumas, a bomb being placed in his car. It was defective and didn’t detonate; but another event of equal soul-shaking magnitude happened in Searchlight during Reid’s rise in 1972, when his father and namesake, Harry, committed suicide. The elder Reid had battled alcohol use for most of his life but was sober before shooting himself. The tragic death of his father would later move Sen. Harry Reid to support legislation to help prevent suicide, and aid survivors and their families.

How History Will Remember Harry Reid

Party as the senate majority leader, the Democratic Party came into the forefront and Nevada became the background.” But Hart sees it differently. “Reid was a loyal Democrat. If the president needed somebody to do something, [Reid] did it. He knew how to play ball.” Root, an avid Donald Trump supporter and the author of the new book Angry White Male, thinks that’s not a good thing. “[Reid] started out as a conservative Democrat, a very pro-gun conservative Democrat from Nevada. He was very different than other Democrats, and he wound up being the guy who carried the water for the most-liberal president in the history of America [Barack Obama],” says Root. “Now, I think he wound up doing terrible things to America. But, I know in [Reid’s] mind he was doing the best he could for Nevada. And I respect him for that.”

One of Reid’s greatest victories for Nevada was preventing nuclear waste transportation to the Yucca Mountain repository. Reid joined forces with his former rival (and by then U.S. Senator) John Ensign to fight the administration of President George W. Bush and its efforts to establish the nuclear waste dump about 90 miles from Las Vegas. Reid is also credited with boosting Nevada’s solar and renewal-energy sector.

Hart says Reid truly believes in the policies he promotes. “I think he will be remembered as a fierce fighter for the principles and policies he believes in.”

“He is the most powerful [political] person in the history of Nevada,” praises Nevada historian Michael Green, who is also a professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Creating Great Basin Nation Park in 1986, and his protection of the mining industry have been among Reid’s other achievements on behalf of the Silver State.

Green, however, does see some similarities in how Reid’s and McCarran’s legacies will be judged. He gives this basis for comparison: “McCarran put a lot of young men through law school, and got them elected [to public office]. Reid’s [legacy] depends on the Cortez Masto election and if he built a political organization in the [Nevada Democratic] party that survives him.”

The Reid legacy will endure, Hart adds. “I don’t think there is any match for him in the Nevada I know. I don’t think there are many who can compare to him nationally. He’s a national treasure.”

But Reid’s natural fighting instinct wasn’t relegated to only Nevada. Nationally, Green reminds, Reid successfully fought back against a Republican amendment to cut Social Security benefits. “Overall, Reid and [former Senator] Pat McCarran are the most powerful people to represent Nevada in Washington.” Nonetheless, Reid’s legacy gets mixed reviews from some Nevadans. Progressive Democrats and liberals give him higher marks while conservatives, Republicans and even some moderate “blue dog” Democrats have disapproved with the retiring senator’s more recent voting record. This is especially evident when talking about the then-senate majority leader’s role in getting so much of President Barack Obama’s agenda passed. Supporters and critics agree that the passage of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, would not have been possible without Reid. One such critic is the “Alan Stock Show” host and namesake, who argues that Reid’s drive to represent Nevada’s best interests shifted as he gained power. “When he became the head of the Democratic

Valerie Miller is an award-winning journalist based in Las Vegas. She can be reached at

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“If You Really Look Closely, Most Overnight Successes Took a Long Time.” –Steve Jobs


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Real Hot


Seasonal temps are finally upon us, but the economic forecast for

Las Vegas is far from cooling off. In fact, our local economy and housing markets are stabilizing, which gives us increasing reasons to be optimistic as we round out an amazing 2016. Las Vegas is pressing forward, with consumer spending and tourism leading the way. Tourism has also helped in attracting out-ofstate capital…the fuel for Las Vegas’s job growth. Construction, as well as leisure and hospitality, were once the driving factors for our

fine city. While construction vastly whittled away after the crash of the housing market, I’m proud to announce to you, my fellow Las Vegans, that we are back! Can I get a drum roll, please? Strength In Numbers New home sales are up over 35 percent from September 2015-September 2016, with over 660 new home closings in September 2016 alone. “With our mortgage rates as low as 3.75 percent—less than half of what they would be in a normal economy—and home prices

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REAL HOT REAL ESTATE at around 60 percent of what we experienced prior to 2007, investing in a home could be one of the most secure investments of a lifetime,” said Mark Fradella, corporate broker for American West Homes. The median sales price of existing single-family homes sold during September 2016 was up 6.1 percent from September 2015. Las Vegas has also experienced a 3-percent rise in job creation from last year, and roughly one out of three jobs being created is in the leisure and hospitality sector. Tourism is the driving factor of our local economy, with visitor volume up over 1.4 million in 2015 from 2014. According to Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, numbers are looking great as we round out 2016. Additionally, the Nevada Gaming Control Board reports that gaming revenue for fiscal year 2016 is up 2.46 percent.

A Lagoon Amid The Desert Sands? No, it’s not a mirage. Tentatively named Paradise Park, this is a proposed Wynn Resorts expansion at its Strip property. Uniquely designed around a 38-acre lagoon that would host water skiing, paddle boarding, parasailing, and evening fireworks, the expansion would include 1,000 additional rooms and add 260,000 square feet of meeting space. With a $1.5 billion price tag, this massive project is set open in 2020 if work begins later this year, as planned. Paradise Park will be built on the 130-acre, 18-hole Wynn Golf Club. Resorts World: May The Flop Be With You! This over-the-top $7 billion project, spearheaded by the Genting Group, will include four hotel towers with a total of 6,583 hotel rooms; 175,000 square feet of casino floor; a 4,000-seat theater; and an aquarium, movie theater, ice skating rink, water park, panda exhibit and more. Although this Strip development has experienced several delays, with logistics and financing rumored to be the cause, Resorts World is set to be completed in 2019.

‘STRIP’ Happens I’m sure we’re all tired of the cliché, “What happens in Vegas…and you know the rest.” But in actuality, what is happening are plenty of proposed, large-scale Strip projects. Exciting improvements are coming to the northern section of the Strip, which will help bridge the gap heading into Downtown and Symphony Park…an area where growth and smaller-scale developments have been aplenty in recent years. Excited for the new look? You should be…because it’s not just housewives that are getting some work done! The “Construction Doctors” have clearly been called since the Strip is getting a makeover. Here’s a peek.... Luck Be A…Dragon? The Asian-themed casino, Lucky Dragon, located next door to the Allure high-rise residential tower on Sahara and Las Vegas Boulevard South, will be open before the end of the year. Comprising 9 stories and 204 hotel rooms (of which 24 are suites), it will entice players with 27,500 square feet of casino space, an Emerald Room High-Limit area, and VIP gaming parlor. The property will also include a spa, an indoor-outdoor tea garden and several Asian-inspired restaurants. Alon: Don’t Fold Just Yet! Alon has experienced some delays due to financing, but execs claim it will move forward, forecasting a 2019 completion. The $2 billion hotel is slated to include 1,100 rooms amid 2 towers, and will sit on the old Frontier casino’s 34-acre site. Heading up this project are billionaire James Packer and Andrew Pascal, CEO of Alon Las Vegas. Vegas Legal Magazine Winter 2017 | Pg. 58

Synergy Sotheby’s International Realty member Camille Fagan has been a licensed Realtor in Nevada for 15 years. Fagan specializes in the Las Vegas high-rise market and luxury residential properties, priding herself on having a focused and confident approach to real estate, coupled with a strong ability to relate to people. Her warmth, compassion and dedication to the client —paired with out-of-the-box thinking and stellar negotiating skills—have kept Fagan at the top of her trade.

Give the gift of unconditional love this holiday season!

Adopt a furry friend from The Animal Foundation. Visit to find your new best friend.

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Thanksgiving has passed and the holiday season is in full swing.

With the end of the year fast approaching, it is an ideal time to review tax planning opportunities. Charitable contributions are a popular choice; it is a critical fundraising time for charities and a time for generous taxpayers to leverage tax benefits. This article reviews common rules and tips as you report itemized taxable deductions on Schedule A of your income tax return. (Note: it is assumed that you are making personal donations rather than donations from a business.) Charitable deductions must be made to qualified organizations. Charities usually post their IRS determination letter as well as copies of their Form 990 income tax return on its website. If this information isn’t available on the charity’s website, check Be wary of donating to an entity whose charitable status can not be verified. To substantiate cash and non cash gifts over $250, you must receive a letter from the organization. It should include your name, the amount donated and the date of the donation. The letter may include an adjustment for any value of goods or services that you received. That adjustment typically serves to reduce the amount of your deduction because you received something for your donation (perhaps a meal or a raffle item). Substantiation can also be achieved with a cancelled check or detailed credit card activity for amounts under $250. You should keep your documentation with the rest of your tax work papers for the year; it is not required to be attached or filed with your tax return.

Non cash items such as coins, stamp collections, artwork and common household items and clothing are typically deducted at its fair market value. A document with detailed descriptions of each item should be prepared and matched with a letter or receipt from the receiving charity. For amounts in excess of $500 you will need to prepare IRS Form 8283. If you are claiming a non cash donation in excess of $5,000 you will need to have an appraisal completed by a qualified appraiser. This appraisal does not need to be attached to the tax return but you’ll need to provide a copy to the IRS should the deduction be questioned during an audit. Appreciated stock owned for at least one year can be donated to a charity and deducted at its fair market value. This is a fantastic option since capital gains tax can also be avoided by donating the stock instead of selling it. Tax benefits are great incentives to donate. Many charities operate on minimal budgets and need your generosity to continue providing critical services to our community. If you work with a CPA and your donations are higher than what you usually give, contact him or her to discuss a tax projection. Depending on other tax attributes for the year, it may be more beneficial to wait until next year to make the donation. Additional information on charitable contributions can be found in IRS Publication 526. Donovan Thiessen, CPA has worked with Gerety & Associates in Las Vegas, Nev., for 9 years, focusing on business, trust and individual taxation for small business owners. He received his B.A. in economics from the University of Iowa and is an active supporter of several local charities. You may reach

Thiessen at, and 702-933-2213.

Vegas Legal Magazine Winter 2017 | Pg. 61

Conservative Savings… or Lifetime Retirement Income?

In uncertain times, sound financial decisions matter more than

ever. When it comes to securing guaranteed retirement income, it’s important to base your decisions on a clear understanding of available products. Since many people turn to both deferred fixed annuities and certificates of deposit (CDs) for stable returns, it’s helpful to know the differences between the two. First and foremost, a deferred fixed annuity is a conservative retirement vehicle, while a CD is designed to be a savings vehicle. Deferred fixed annuities can help you accumulate and protect assets until you are ready to receive them as guaranteed income during retirement–and many offer the option of guaranteeing retirement income for your lifetime. CDs, by contrast, offer a conservative way to save and preserve assets when your investment horizon (the amount of time you expect assets to be invested) is relatively short. CDs do not offer a guaranteed lifetime income option. While both vehicles are considered conservative, they reduce risk in different ways. CDs are generally backed by banks and currently are insured for up to $250,000 for each depositor by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) or the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA).

ing insurance company. They are not FDIC insured. Be sure to ask your financial professional about an insurance company’s financial strength ratings if you plan to purchase an annuity, because payment of lifetime income is contingent upon the claims-paying ability of the issuing company or companies. There are other important differences as well, involving income tax treatment, early withdrawal options, and other important factors. The best way to make a good decision when planning for retirement is to work with a trained, trusted financial professional to choose products that best meet your retirement income objectives and investment needs. © 2015 Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company 01111-0001 Annuity products are issued by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) and C.M. Life Insurance Company. C.M. Life Insurance Company, Enfield, CT 06082, is non-admitted in New York and is a subsidiary of MassMutual, Springfield, MA 01111-0001. Insurance products issued by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), Springfield, MA 01111-0001 and its subsidiaries C.M. Life Insurance Company and MML Bay State Life Insurance Company, Enfield, CT 06082.

Fixed annuities are guaranteed–with no maximum–by the issu-

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Off The Road, and On

When you hear “all-wheel drive,” you typically think of an off-

road vehicle battling extreme off-road conditions. While this is a reasonable conclusion in many cases, the vast majority of vehicles with all-wheel drive systems use it more often on road than one would think. The reason? When road conditions change, your vehicle should be up to the task to change, as well. And while most vehicles can adapt to basic road condition variations, Jaguar takes it a lot farther. Consider the Jaguar XJ Sedan, for instance. Its patented, continuously variable Instinctive All Wheel Drive system senses driver inputs, vehicle speed, steering angle, and braking, to maximize traction and driver control. And for even higher performance, the system

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is rear-wheel drive biased, which means it keeps the feel of true sports sedan handling in everyday normal road conditions. Whether you are going to the desert in the morning and to the slopes in the afternoon (or merely staying on the roads of your neighborhood), you can do it with confidence and comfort in a Jaguar. The Jaguar XJ Sedan is available for test drives at Jaguar Land Rover in Las Vegas, located at 5255 West Sahara Ave. For more information you may always visit the dealership online at


– By Sabrina S. Siracusa Image Courtesy of Manica Architecture

The possibility of the Oakland Raiders relocating from California to Nevada is one of the most exciting projects since the new T-Mobile Arena. As the city of Las Vegas continues to expand, capturing a professional sports team would put it on the map with other major metropolitan cities as an established city‒not just a temporary playground for adults. After all, almost every major city has a football team to call its own.

What might have started as just talk has become serious consideration for two cities. Will the Raiders leave the Bay Area for the desert? What do fans have to say about potentially losing their team? And is this really the best bet for the city of Las Vegas?

The Journey Toward Las Vegas

In October 2016, the Nevada state Senate voted 16-to-5 to approve a plan to use $750 million in public funds to build a new 65,000-seat domed stadium for the Oakland Raiders in Las Vegas. Nevada’s Governor Brian Sandoval signed the bill that put money from hotel taxes toward construction. But with a total cost of about $2 billion, private money would need to be used to fill in the gap. These funds would come from a tax hike (0.88 of a percentage point) on hotel rooms in Clark County, where Las Vegas resides. Supporters of the Raiders’ relocation say that Las Vegas should not turn down this opportunity, since a move would mean the chance to create construction jobs. Additionally, the $620 million in predicted economic activity created by the stadium would be too much to pass up. But the move is not being cheered on by everyone in Nevada. Opponents say the economic study used to support the Raiders’ possible move is relying too heavily on the probability that Las Vegas tourists will purchase one-third of the tickets. And according to reports in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, opponents are also not supportive of a plan where billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson would com-

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mit $650 million of his own money, and Raiders’ owner Mark Davis would personally pitch in $500 million. Additionally, Nevada is facing financial issues of its own, including a potential $400 million budget shortfall. Critics say Nevada has more pressing needs for its tax dollars, such as education and human services. Nonetheless, the team is making definitive moves toward Las Vegas. According to an article on by Darren Rovell, ESPN senior writer, the Oakland Raiders have filed for three trademarks to the phrase “Las Vegas Raiders,” which Rovell saw as perhaps the next step in a move from Oakland to Sin City. “The trademarks seek to give the team the exclusive right to use the name for sporting events,” wrote Rovell, “and to sell the phrase on everything from helmets to swimsuits to earmuffs.”

What Fans Think

At a recent Raiders game, USA Today Sports reported that Ray Perez Jr.—dressed as his Raiders super-fan alter ego “Dr. Death”—handed out dozens of signs with “Stay in Oakland” printed on one side, and on the other, “Las Vegas, If you build it we won’t come,” until they decorated nearly every tailgate party. Unfurling a larger banner with the same anti-Las Vegas message, he then pointed to the sky where a plane circled the stadium pulling an even larger banner with a clear message: If Raiders owner Mark Davis moves his team to Las Vegas, the most die-hard of Raiders fans won’t be going with him. But that is just one side of the story. With such tremendous loyalty, Raiders fans more than likely they will follow their team, and the Raiders will pick up countless new fans in Sin City. Additionally, the move to Vegas may finally allow the Raiders to get out from under the shadow of California’s more successful football team, the San Francisco 49ers. As long as they stay in Oakland, they will likely always be upstaged.

VEGAS RAIDED? What The Move Means To Las Vegas

No other city in the United States can compete with the entertainment venues that Las Vegas offers. The only thing that is missing is a professional football team. For years, the NFL has sidestepped Las Vegas because of its association with sports gambling and fears that game fixing would be too tempting. But as with everything, time changes all. The owners have warmed up to the idea of having a team in Las Vegas, which has become more of an entertainment and family destination. The fact that West Coast fans could easily get here (and that Raiders fans nationwide could visit Vegas as a weekend getaway to watch a game) definitely adds to the appeal. From a financial point of view, a professional sports team and a new stadium means a tax hike for the city, and could mean more jobs and a potential spike in the economy due to additional tourists in town for home games.

What Needs To Happen Next

According to an article on, the NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the owners could see a formal proposal from the Raiders as early as the next owners’ meeting in December 2016, but that it would more than likely be sometime after that. In the same article,

it was reported that Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said she would not enter a bidding war against Las Vegas to hold on to the team. As the league continues to research the move, the Raiders would need 24 of 32 owners to approve relocation. The league and the team would also need to determine whether Las Vegas has a sufficient number of fans, as well as the corporate support needed by the team. Relocation to Las Vegas would allow the Raiders to expand its West Coast market further east, with Vegas as the ideal end point. Although it is a slim chance, it is important to not overlook the chance that the Raiders could somehow find a way to make things work with a new stadium in Oakland despite California civic leaders pledging that they won’t use public money to fund a new stadium. With that in mind, the odds seem favorable for Vegas to finally get its own football team. Sabrina Siracusa is Las Vegas-based freelance copywriter. With an undergraduate degree in psychology and an ABA Paralegal Certificate, Siracusa’s specialty is crafting SEO-filled content for legal-, medical- and career-based websites. Learn more about Siracusa and her work at

Vegas Legal Magazine Winter 2017 | Pg. 67

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Art Appeal FINE ART... Invaluable At Any Price

Fine art decorates way more than the walls in your home: its emo-

tional power and visual splendor literally decorate your life. At Martin Lawrence Galleries, Las Vegas’ preeminent retailer of fine art and things of beauty and import are available for everyone to acquire, regardless of their budget. From long-term collectors to first-time buyers—whether you are spending $500 for a limited-edition print or $5 million for a unique, oil-painting masterpiece (or anything in between!)—you will find exactly what you love within Martin Lawrence Galleries’ palatial 26,000 square-foot retail location at Caesar’s famed Forum Shops. Martin Lawrence Galleries is a showcase of 20th and 21st century works. It proudly offers paintings, prints and sculptures from over two dozen of the finest and most famous artists of the past 100 years…names including Chagall, Picasso, Dali, Erte, Warhol, Kostabi, Kondakova, Murakami, Deyber, Hallam, Mas, and many more. On any given day, a visit to the gallery (located near the Atlantis Fountain) will reveal art-world wonders like the largest Salvador Dali painting in history, standing over 63-feet wide and over 17-feet tall, as well as many one-of-a-kind, museum-level masterpieces. It’s all there for you to admire…and all there for you to acquire. Every work is offered in superb condition, with its authenticity 100 percent guaranteed by the most prominent name in the fine art sector, by a company with 40 years’ experience, that is owned and run by a world-class art collector himself. The beauty and power of fine art does not stop with its imagery. It resonates with its observer and becomes part of your life, encouraging you to share it proudly with friends and expose the children in your life to the culture, history and values that have defined and sustained civilization for centuries. Vegas Legal Magazine Winter 2017 | Pg. 76

-Reigning Cats and Dogs By Robert Deyber

At Martin Lawrence Galleries, we believe that an appreciation in art is one that can pass from generation to generation. That’s why shopping with us means price will never be a barrier between you and fine art because the breadth of our collection is tailored to fit any taste, any desire, any emotion, and any budget. Visit us today, and begin a journey that will last you—and your family—a lifetime. Martin Lawrence Galleries…where the appreciation grows from one generation to the next. Martin Lawrence Galleries is located at the Forum Shops at Caesars. It is open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., and weekends from 10 a.m. to 12 a.m. For more information about the gallery’s artwork, or to inquire about hosting an event inside the gallery, please call 702.991.5990. Other locations include La Jolla, Costa Mesa and San Francisco, Calif; Maui, Dallas, New York City (Soho), Chicago, New Orleans, and Boston. You may also find us at


Robert Deyber, Two Pear VII, acrylic on canvas, 48 x 48 inches

Warhol, Picasso, Chagall, Dalí, Miró, Erté, Murakami, Lichtenstein

Martin•Lawrence Galleries The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace

Celebrating Years of Fine Art • V E GForty A S @ M A R T I N L AW R E N C E .C O M • ( 702) 9 9 1- 59 9 0


Bar Review

Rose. Rabbit. Lie. A Supper Club For the Modern Diner – By Jen Chase

Back in the 30s and 40s, some smooth cat could’ve joked that booking a two-top at a supper club was the lazy date planner’s easy way out. Serving up drinks, dinner and entertainment in one place, supper clubs negated the need to traipse to three addresses when one was all you needed for a bang up night. Fast-forward about 70 years and lo, the appeal still holds even if the slang didn’t. And while supper clubs still dot major cities across the globe, when it opened in early 2014, Rose. Rabbit. Lie. at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas became our local home to the concept…only this one was turned on its ear. Back in the day, traditional supper clubs were known for more familiar fare that appealed to the masses. Today, Rose. Rabbit. Lie. has become an adventurous Vegas destination dining experience as much as for what you’ll eat and drink as what you’ll watch while you do. Eat. Me. Drink. Me. Yeah, there’s a solid dose of Alice and Wonderland here. The receiving area is in front of a door (or is it two?) and you’re not real sure where you’re headed until you’re lead. Maybe to The Study, which looks not so vaguely like a library? Or maybe the dining room, with its magical colored lights that glow even amid the dark and sexy ambience…ambience that at times feels more like being backstage at a theatre than at a table ready to eat. Note that you can eat a full meal in The Study, too…and you might want to if you just can’t stand the awesomeness of mid-dinner entertainment unfolding around you. More on that in a sec. No Really: Drink Me. Wherever you’re seated, the food and drink are the main event. Cocktails that come through The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas’s libation program are historically, deliciously complex and contain multiple ingredients, many of which are made in-house (think bitters, mixers and the like). And since any Rose. Rabbit. Lie. cocktail is a good cocktail, we can’t even suggest one. It would be too much like admitting our favorite child (cough, the One Night In Amsterdam). There. We did it.

And…Eat Me. No matter how hard your server tries selling that chocolate sculpture under a dome, skip it and fill up on Caviar Tacos. Everyone talks about these things for a reason. The caviar comes in a crispy potato chip-like shell with a little yellowtail and lots of flavor. Plus, they’re perfectly sized—no feeling like a bunch of fishy boba are popping in your mouth. You will, however, walk away with a sumptuous flavor memory you’ll savor long after you swallow. Definitely worth your stomach’s real estate. See Me. In true supper-club fashion, there’s music and dance at intervals throughout the night featuring everything from a young buck who jazzily breakdances on the bar and tabletops with the help of the live band, to the gorgeous crooning of former American Idol contestant and prime Las Vegas performer Mikalah Gordon. Acts get up close and personal with tables. Diners can sometimes feel like they’re a part of the show whether they intended to or not. Verdict Truth? It’s cliché to say there’s something for everyone at Rose. Rabbit. Lie., but there is. Yes, the adventurous menu might intimidate meat-and-potatoes diners, but that’s only until they realize the menu’s meat and potatoes’ offerings will deliciously satisfy while leaving enough intrigue elsewhere on its pages to make any foodie swoon. And, thanks to it being a supper club and all, and one that’s actually in a hotel, when your drinks, dinner and entertainment have plum worn you out, rest and relaxation is only a short stroll away.

LOCATED INSIDE THE COSMOPOLITAN 3708 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109

Vegas Legal Magazine Winter 2017 | Pg. 79


In the heart of our city, there’s a place that’s celebrated around the world. It’s our city’s heart of beauty and creativity. It’s the heart of learning and inspiration. The heart of magic. And it was built just for you. Experience it and let your life be changed in brilliant new ways. 361 Symphony Park Avenue, Las Vegas, NV 89106 | 702.749.2000 | TTY: 800.326.6868 or dial 711

The Smith Center Making Better Artists, Lawyers and Veterinarians – By Myron Martin

Education has always been at the heart of what we do at The Smith Center. I like to say that education is in our DNA: it’s what we do and it is who we are.

Las Vegas was the fourth city in America to be invited to participate in a new initiative from the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. Called “Ensuring the Arts for Any Given Child,” the program was designed to assist communities with creating strategic plans that ensure access to quality arts education for local students. This initiative has now celebrated its fifth year in Southern Nevada. The original Community Arts Team that launched the initiative here included representatives from local government as well as numerous community arts and education organizations. It is thanks to these extraordinary groups that this program exists today (in fact, it is the largest such program in the country), and because of it, kids are being inspired to learn. Whether local children are studying science, technology, engineering, or math, this program has helped integrate the arts into their lessons. The same is true for language arts and social studies. The arts help to frame a discussion and allow kids to visualize the topic at hand. Smith Center programs like Camp Broadway, Disney Musicals in Schools and the Nevada High School Musical Theater Awards also give our kids a chance to learn through the arts. The truth is that most kids who come to The Smith Center for a performance, a workshop or a camp may not choose to make this their occupation. But I like to think that by being exposed to the arts, we are creating well-rounded citizens. My hope is that teachers use the power of the arts to create better students, and that our kids become better people thanks to a level of engagement that only the arts can bring. We have great teachers living here in Las Vegas. The Smith Center was proud to create The Heart of Education Awards last year, which honored 800 of our best educators and awarded 20 of them with cash gifts totaling $100k. Thanks to The Rogers Foundation, this program

will continue for many years. By coming together and supporting our teachers, our community sent a message that we care about our schools, our kids and the people we trust to teach them. If you or your firm didn’t get involved last year, please join us this spring and see for yourself how our teachers are going above and beyond for our students. By thanking our teachers and giving them tools they need to be successful, we can make a big difference. I thank the Kennedy Center for its leadership, and I thank the many groups that come together every year to make programs like Any Given Child work so successfully. One day we will look back and realize that we created a new level of artist, and in the process we also created a new level of citizens who were inspired by the arts. Here’s to the next class of artists, lawyers and veterinarians! Myron G. Martin is president and chief executive officer of The Smith Center. Martin earned a bachelors degree in music from the University of North Texas, and an MBA from Golden Gate University. A proud Las Vegan, Martin calls Henderson home with his wife Dana Rogers Martin and daughter Molly.

Vegas Legal Magazine Winter 2017 | Pg. 81


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Stay Up When Temps Cool Down:

Maintaining Your Spine Health During Winter In The Desert – By Andrew M. Cash, MD

Although Las Vegas meteorologists are not likely predicting

freezing temperatures even as of the publication of this article, winter is quickly approaching much of the western United States. Many of us enjoy vacationing in snow-laden areas for the luxury and relaxation of ski slopes, and fortunately, most seasonal Winter-Sports Warriors only suffer the aches and pains in muscles that have not been used in a while. However, there are serious injuries that can result from negligent or sometimes cautious winter-related recreational activities. Since knowledge is power, it can be helpful to pre-empt outdoor wintertime activity with a realistic self-reminder of what can happen if we’re not careful to ease back slowly into our seasonal hobbies.

Skiing and Snowboarding: An Inconvenient Truth Often, skiers and snowboarders suffer from sprains, fractures, cartilage injuries, or dislocations of a variety of body parts.

Vegas Legal Magazine Winter 2017 | Pg. 84

Ankles: When it comes to ankles, treatments can involve rest, ice, compression, and elevation; protecting the amount of weight bearing down on a foot or ankle with a boot; or potentially surgery. There are also fractures, which can be associated with dislocations and, if involved with a joint, can result in accelerated degeneration of the joint requiring future care such as surgical interventions. Knees: The spectrum of injuries that can occur in one or both knees includes tendon sprains or strains; ligamentous sprains grades 1-3; fractures; and/or dislocations. Some knee fractures are associated with a high incidence of neurologic injury causing reduced sensation and paralysis in the ankle and foot. Other knee fractures are associated with vascular injury and essential limb-threatening disasters requiring emergent operative intervention. Hips: As we move up the lower extremities, hip fractures and/or dislocations can occur, but are much less likely than the others I’ve described. Depending on the severity, operative intervention might involve screws and plates or even an immediate hip replacement. Prolonged rehabilitation often involves wheelchairs and walkers.

Upper extremities: The most likely serious injuries in the arms include wrist sprains and fractures, and occasional elbow or shoulder dislocations or fractures. Sprains can take longer than fractures to heal, and at a minimum they serve as distractors during work and play. Surgical intervention is followed by immobilization with slings or casts; then, by prolonged range of motion and strengthening exercises. Head and Spinal Cord: Closed-head injuries—wherein a skier might strike his or her head into an immovable object such as a tree, a barrier or ice—can be catastrophic. Epidural and subdural hematomas require emergent evaluation and potentially a decompressive, life-saving surgical procedure. Equally catastrophic are spinal cord injuries to the neck or mid-back. The complete paralysis is often permanent if the spinal cord is functionally severed at the neck, resulting in the inability to feel or move the upper and lower extremities. (That was the bleak Christopher Reeve injury, wherein he fell off a horse.) Mid-back spinal cord injuries are often associated with the inability to feel or move the lower extremities. Lifetime wheelchair dependence is among the many disheartening complications. Low-back fractures and dislocations are often associated with nerve injuries and not total paralysis unless the fractures or dislocations occur high in the low back. Permanent leg pain, burning and numbness are combatted by partially effective medications, while footdrop requires a leg brace for successful ambulation.

Snowmobiles: Second Verse, Same As The First…. Snowmobiles are fraught with some similar injuries as skiing and snowboarding, should a collision occur or a driver or passenger be thrown from the vehicle. Personally, this activity was my favorite of the three. However, the calming effect of slow-falling snow against a backdrop of glistening white and reflective sunshine disengages the rider’s cognition from the alarming danger of unrestrained bodily speeds in excess of 90 miles per hour.

Expert Advice: Use Common Sense If nothing else, this article is an eye-opener to the potential dangers of the wintertime recreational activities many of us enjoy during our hard-earned down time. The best advice medical professionals can offer is simple, tried and true: Safety first. Listen to your body, and do what you feel you can…not what you may want to do. There’s always tomorrow. If you exercise mindful caution while trying to enjoy yourself as much as possible, your wintertime recreational season will last from first snowflake to last, and each snowfall in between. Andrew M. Cash, M.D., is a board certified orthopedic spine surgeon specializing in neck and back care with a focus on minimally invasive operative treatments. His practice—Desert Institute of Spine Care—is located at 9339 West Sunset Rd., Suite #100, Las Vegas, NV 89148. For more information, visit or call 702.630.3472.

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‘Tis The


To Be Drinking (Wine, That Is) – By Matt Clancy

The holidays are a time for celebration and cheers! Here is a selection of wines for both the casual and sophisticated palate that will wow the friends and pair well with good times.

2014 Waypoint Hudson Vineyard Chardonnay Carneros $50

It’s roomy and plump, with notes of pineapple, butter, mango, and pears. It’s very low in acidity and in a dense, sweet-fruited, crowd-pleasing style. This is the Chardonnay most likely to vaporize and leave only a spinning bottle when you turn your back on it at a dinner party. Pair with...great friends. may not want to share it at all.

2014 Streamside Chardonnay Napa Valley $17

This medium-bodied, elegant Chardonnay beauty features notes of honeysuckle, lilies, and citrus fruits on the nose. You’ll also encounter rain, honeydew, grapefruit, pineapple, Granny Smith apples, and Bosc pears on the palate. The wine finishes with a hint of spice and lemon skin. A crisp, crowd pleasing cocktail wine that over delivers for its price. Pair with...breathing, you’ll need it to live! Vegas Legal Magazine Winter 2017 | Pg. 87

2014 Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley $70

Nothing says, “I like you� more than a brooding glass of Caymus Cabernet. Dark chocolatey tones of blue and black fruit unveil a caramel mid-palate and finishes with hints of mocha and espresso. Its signature depth and concentration, chocolate-covered berries and spicy oak will spoil you for anything else. Pair with...another glass of Caymus Cabernet.

2014 Complicated Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast $25

Simply put this will make you friends. Big juicy red fruit and smooth silky mid palate and finish. There is way too much raspberry, red cherry, and rhubarb fruit pulsing through this wine to make this price sound plausible. I would not agree that the name reflects the wine. This is easy to love. Pair with...deep conversations.

2013 Blind Justice Beckstoffer Tokalon Cabernet Sauvignon $175/$800 3Liter

When you really want to impress someone, pop a bottle of this! They will know of the vineyard but not the wine. Dense purple with classic licorice and black currant liqueur and blackberry fruit, the wine is full-bodied and opulent with voluptuous texture, beautiful purity and a long finish. Pair with...the best night of the year with people you love.

2013 Calera Ryan Vineyard Pinot Noir Monterrey $55

Hold on to your hat! This is big, full-flavored Pinot Noir at its best. There is cult pinot noir and there is Calera. These could pass for $100+ and would satisfy almost any palate. Dark and bold mulberries, sappy underbrush, licorice, violets and dried earth. Pair with...a wine snob. Then tell them it was only $55 and not from France Vegas Legal Magazine Winter 2017 | Pg. 88

For more information on where to acquire these wines and many others please go online to visit or email Matt Clancy at

ADVICE FROM THE SURGEON Doctor: I Don’t Like the Way I Look! – By Julio L. Garcia, MD, FACS

Doctor, I don’t like the way I look. What do I need done?

I think that is the most frequent question I hear from my patients. They have gone through all of the wonderful things in life and are starting to see some changes in their face, but they can’t quite put their finger on it. This is usually the case with what I call “tweeners,” or people who see something happening but are left guessing what they need to have done because the changes are so subtle. When people see large problems such as loose-hanging skin, they can pretty much decide they likely need surgery…but what about the “tweeners?” One thing I find very educational as I handle these questions and suggest options is to look at pictures of the patient from years ago. I prefer candid shots, as they show the patient in a relaxed pose and are more realistic. (In planned photos, the patient is warned when to smile and in so doing, they all lift up their eyebrows and cheeks to look happy…yet, that is not the way they see themselves since that pose is only held for a minute.) There are times when a plastic surgeon can look at a face and take an educated guess as to what has occurred. We see lines in a certain direction that point to a subconscious attempt to raise something that has fallen, or we see a depression where, normally, there should be a smoother surface. Yet, we cannot always count on that. That is why old photos coupled with strong communication between surgeon and patient prior to surgery is so crucial. With it, the proper option can be chosen together to achieve the desired effect. Surgery can do wonderful things. For example, it can tighten skin by moving the tissue below its surface into a more youthful position. But surgery performed when something else would have been a better option can leave the person looking different…looking as if “something was done” rather than achieving the rested appearance they actually sought. In many cases, since one of the early changes of the face is loss of volume (which causes things to look less plump and as if features have fallen), the use of fillers is all that is needed. I know it might sound strange to hear from a surgeon that I might endorse and encourage things besides surgery, but my philosophy is to get the pa-

tient to where they want to go with the least possible intervention. We can always do more, but if too much is done right away, it can take years to look better and natural. The options suggested should not be cookie cutter. They must be customized to the patient…to their hopes and desires, as well as what is reasonable and safe. Fillers such as Restylane, Perlane, Juvederm, Voluma, and Sculptra are great volumizing fillers in my armamentarium of options for the “tweener” who needs volume to achieve their goal. These fillers can also extend the time between facial surgeries by correcting small areas that can make a large difference on the face. If you think you’re a “tweener” and are wondering what is making you look less like “you,” come in for a consultation and explore the options at your disposal. It might surprise you that you don’t need as much as you thought! Julio L Garcia, MD FACS, is the founder of the Regenerative Medicine Institute of Nevada, which is dedicated to helping patients with adipose-derived cell therapies for the treatment of acute and chronic medical issues. For more information about Dr. Garcia, please visit his websites at www. and, or contact his office by calling 1-888-FACES-89 or (702) 870-0058. This feature was previously published in The Ridges Magazine, limited distribution to residents of The Ridges, Las Vegas

Vegas Legal Magazine Winter 2017 | Pg. 91

Las Vegas Icons

Brad Jerbic – By Charlotte Evans

Las Vegas is a town known for its icons, including those who are living, and those who’ve blazed on before us to our city’s great neon “after party.” While some Las Vegas icons are recognized the world over, others are known personally to the thousands of locals whose lives they’ve touched. Each icon, in their individual way, has helped to shape Las Vegas into the remarkable city that it is today. Here, in this first installment of VLM’s LAS VEGAS ICONS, we introduce Las Vegas City Attorney Brad Jerbic.

For nearly a quarter century, Brad Jerbic has been one of the most energetic, entertaining and enigmatic players in local government. His sharp intellect, youthful exuberance (which belies his chronological age) and his rare ability to tell a story well, have endeared him to friends and colleagues at Las Vegas City Hall. As City Attorney for Las Vegas, Jerbic is essentially “house counsel” for the city. He helps keep city leaders flying right as they navigate uncharted political territory while always maintaining an eye on taxpayers’ interests and funds.

Vegas Legal Magazine: I’ll start with the décor. Clearly you’re a man who knows his comic books. Brad Jerbic: When I was 8 or 9, I had the measles and my mom went to the drugstore (back then it was Westgate Drug on the corner of Valley View and Charleston) and she just happened to pluck a comic book off the rack. It turned out to be an action comic of Superman. Back then, I was told [that] with the measles, you [had to] be in a dark room because you’re sensitive to light. I had this dim light next to the bed and I read the comic book 15 times. It was part two of a series, so I had to get the next part and that was it! It started everything and it’s never left me. Later on when I had kids, I realized that [my love for comic books] set me straight as a kid and taught me how to read. VLM: Growing up in Las Vegas, was there anything that steered you in the direction of public service?

Jerbic stays seemingly awake through marathon city council meetings (where he ditches his preferred attire of jeans and Pooka shells for more traditional business suits) and is known for his ability to maintain a laser focus. Still, his surfer-style haircut hints at where his mind could potentially wander. When this public servant isn’t in council meetings or in his corner office at City Hall, he might be found body surfing at The Wedge in Newport Beach, Calif., shopping at local comic book stores, or salvaging historic Las Vegas documents.

BJ: My dad had a jewelry shop Downtown that was kind of the “Floyds Barber” of jewelry shops. The clientele ran the gamut, from the people who worked at the casinos to the phone company. Metro was Downtown, so you’d see a lot of cops all the time, and lots of judges and lawyers. A mish mash of everybody would come into [my dad’s] store and they would sit around and tell stories of what happened that day. If I wanted to see my dad, I had to go there because he worked Saturday and Sunday. So I was [able to be] a fly on the wall and hear all this stuff.

Jerbic’s office is not designed to impress or intimidate. It’s designed to amuse. Underneath a large painting of Superman, Jerbic keeps a red, 1970s “government hotline” telephone that while not in use makes for some interesting office gags. Batman figurines and other collectables decorate counters, and vintage covers of National Lampoon’s Mad Magazine are neatly framed on the walls. From this auspicious space, Jerbic leads a staff of several dozen dedicated attorneys and city personnel.

[My dad] had a wonderful custom. He had a Dixie cup dispenser, and at 4 o’clock every day he would count the number of people in the store and pull out a Dixie cup for each one of them. He would crack open the ice cube tray and put an ice cube in each one, and fill it full of Canadian whiskey. That’s what he called “tea time.” Everyone in his store did a shot every day at 4 o’clock.

Vegas Legal Magazine Winter 2017 | Pg. 92

VLM: The energy in that room…is that what attracted you to civic life? BJ: Actually, it intimidated me. It intimidated the hell out of me. For someone to have a title in front of [their] name was just intimidating. If somebody was a judge or a lawyer or a captain in the police department, I was like, “Wow, my dad knows these people?” [That awe] changes later in life, but when you’re a kid it was just intimidating. VLM: You have a pretty cool title as City Attorney for Las Vegas. Do you find that a lot of people, even attorneys, don’t really know what your job entails? BJ: [Laughs] It’s funny. I admit I really didn’t know what the city attorney was and did until I got [the job.] I’m appointed to work for the citizens, and that’s the only thing I find a little bit overwhelming. My “client” is the citizens of the city of Las Vegas, and that is a big responsibility. I think everybody around [the office] understands that, too. When we go through contracts, lawsuits, whatever, it’s taxpayer money. [If] you lose a case, it’s the taxpayers who work hard for their money [who lose]. Then you have to spend money on something other than a park or public safety or whatever [the taxpayers need]. The main goal here is to not waste money. VLM: In the last quarter century you’ve worked under three different mayors (Jan Jones, Oscar Goodman, Carolyn Goodman) and roughly 40 different city councilmembers. Which of the mayors was most challenging? BJ: [Laughs] I would have to say that Mayor Oscar Goodman was

probably the most challenging sometimes. He was so bright and so much fun, but he would spontaneously come up with ideas. And when somebody would ask him, “Is that legal?” his standard response would be, “I’ll get the city attorney working on it.” [Laughs] And if I didn’t know about it, I’d get a call from the press saying, “I understand you’re working on (fill in the blank) and so I found myself having to go to every press conference and every meeting where one of these kinds of ideas might come up so I could stay ahead of the power curve. But it was a great working relationship. It was a really, really great working relationship. I hope he feels the same way. VLM: A lot of city leaders come to you for council. Are there recurring themes? BJ: Legal advice is kind of tricky because sometimes it looks like political advice. And so when you try to explain, particularly to a new council member, “Here are the consequences of doing this,” you’re really telling them the legal consequences…but often they hear you’re talking about politics, which is not what we’re supposed to be talking about. And so there’s a little finesse sometimes in having to explain, “I’ve been down this road 10 times before, and Councilman, this is where it’s going. I am obligated to let you know that before you do it.” VLM: Do you feel that once or twice you’ve been able to spare somebody getting into ethical hot water? BJ: Yes. [Laughs] I won’t go into any more detail that that, but the answer is yes.

Vegas Legal Magazine Winter 2017 | Pg. 93

LAS VEGAS ICONS VLM: Is it normal for a city attorney to have the job as long as you’ve had it? BJ: Not really. There are two kinds of city attorneys: appointed and elected. Elected city attorneys, if they’re doing their job, generally stay in office for a long time. They are [however] term limited now in Nevada. City attorneys in other states, who are elected, can. For instance, the city attorney of San Diego is a friend of mine and he was there for 30 years and did a fine job. The good ones do stay because the voters see their work and appreciate it. The appointed [city attorneys] are a bit more tricky. Some are appointed by [city] managers and some are appointed by [city] councils. I’m appointed by the city council. I think [that’s] the best form for a city attorney, because the city council is separate from management and is there to be a watchdog for all of government. If [as city attorney] you’re producing what you should be producing, you generally don’t get disturbed. But the fact is, it’s a very political job and there are a lot of [city attorneys] who don’t last very long. VLM: You oversee a lot of people. Can you tell me about the work being handled from this office? BJ: I think we’ve got about 25 attorneys in civil and criminal at all times. We have a wonderful fellow named Ed Poleski who’s the assistant city attorney in charge of the criminal division. He runs a number of attorneys who every day handle domestic violence cases, DUIs, petty larceny…all the misdemeanors in the city including speeding, traffic violations. Things like that. They are extremely busy. I think last year they processed over 40,000 cases. That’s an awful lot. VLM: Is it tough for you to keep up? BJ: Well, I’m very lucky. I’ve got good people. For the most part, I hire good people, I leave them alone and let them do their job. What I find myself now doing is making sure I’m aware of what’s happening with all the high-profile projects, and if there is going to be a decision where somebody is going to get blame, I make sure I’m the one who gets it. I don’t like to see the attorneys in the office all of a sudden get stuck with something that they feel might be career threatening. That’s what I’m here for. My job is to get a little into everything, to the extent that I need to. VLM: Looking back over nearly 25 years as Las Vegas City Attorney, is there anything in the rearview mirror that you sort of wince at…that you wish you’d done differently? BJ: Oh yeah. When I first started, the city got involved in doing the Fremont Street Experience, which was one of our very first redevelopment projects. It was imperative to Downtown to do something because the competition on the Strip was pretty high, and Down-

Vegas Legal Magazine Winter 2017 | Pg. 94

town tourism was on a very steep decline. But, one of the things we did was we get involved in condemning property. I look back on that as one of the big regrets of my career. I followed the advice of my client at the time, [but] if I had known then what I know now I would have given much stronger advice and urged everybody to negotiate rather than take [anyone’s] property forcibly. Being relatively new, and not having as much confidence as I do now, I would have pushed that a lot harder. VLM: How did it turn out for the property owners? BJ: In the long run, they all got more than appraised value for their property. But I think you could argue [that] from a moral point of view, to turn to anybody and say you’re taking their property— and not for a road or a park or a public building [but for a private enterprise]—that’s a lot for someone to swallow. There have been changes to state law so we don’t do that anymore. But that would probably be [my] single biggest regret. VLM: This town is small in many respects, and grudges can be legendary. Have you dealt with that? BJ: I know of people who do hold grudges. I’m not one of them. I recognized a long time ago that it’s absolutely pointless to burn anybody in life. It makes no sense from a practical point of view. You never know who’s going to appear back in your life again. And from a human point of view, what does it get you? A lot of anger? A lot of bitterness? [I’m always in favor of] putting bitterness aside and letting practicality take over. I think that that’s something I kind of learned from my dad. Just enjoy everybody and let the chips fall where they may. VLM: If you were to give advice to the next person who has your job, what would you tell them? BJ: Keep a low profile. Keep focused on what the job is all about. The number one thing I would tell them is you are not the 8th member of the city council. Those would be the first words out of my mouth. You sit next to them. You advise them. You are not elected. If you have a desire to have a political opinion, you ought to resign and put your name on a ballot and run for office. If you can’t put aside the fact that you’re not elected, you shouldn’t be doing the job. That would be my number one piece of advice. VLM: I understand you’re a fan of preserving Las Vegas history? BJ: [The city] had a vault. Rather than move everything they didn’t need any more, they just started throwing stuff away. So I kept some things, like the original city attorney stuff from the 50s. I saved [U.S. Senator Howard Cannon’s] original resignation letter to the city of Las Vegas. He was the city attorney when he was elected U.S. senator. I flagged a few [documents] just because they’re amazing bits of history. When I leave, I hope that whoever takes over is also as fond of historic documents as I am, because [they] really tell a story. I think they’re wonderful.


Immunity Foods for the Flu Season – By Maryam Rastkerdar

Influenza (commonly known as the flu) is a respiratory illness caused by specific strains of the influenza virus with highly contagious properties, and it’s usually spread by the cough and sneeze of an infected person.

While October marked the start of the flu season, it’s important to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle through the winter and into the spring to both eliminate the risk of getting sick and maintain a strong immune system. What follows are some ways to keep yourself healthy by eating yourself healthy.

1. Garlic

Loaded with antioxidant properties and the sulfur containing allicin, garlic was found to be effective in preventing and helping with a faster recovery during the flu season. Not only does allicin strengthen the immune system, but it also has a broad spectrum of anti-viral, anti-microbial and antifungal activity. Allicin becomes activated after chopping or mincing breaks garlic’s cell wall.

2. Tea

A wide variety of teas offer health benefits through their polyphenol content; however, green tea specifically provides more polyphenols than most. Polyphenols are a type of antioxidant, and tea polyphenols comprise catechins, flavonols, theaflavins, and anthocyanins, which all provide antiviral activities. Polyphenols also provide anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties, which could be beneficial during influenza infection.

3. Zinc

An essential trace mineral, zinc is required for cellular function including immune cell production. Studies have shown that ingesting zinc helps reduce the length and severity of colds if taken within 24 hours of the start of symptoms. In addition to supplemental zinc, pumpkin seeds, red meat, chickpeas, and nuts are great sources of zinc.

4. Mushrooms

Medicinal mushrooms such as reishi, shiitake and maitake possess anti-oxidative, anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. Mushrooms containing β-glucan, and β-glycosides have been shown to significantly stimulate the immune system and thereby help slow the growth of the influenza virus.

5. Dairy products

The gastrointestinal system plays a central role in maintaining a balanced immune system. Studies have shown that bifidobacterium bifidum, a specific strain of probiotics, has beneficial properties in fighting influenza by regulating the immune response. By incorporating probiotics into our lifestyle by either consuming dairy products like yogurt or taking supplements, we can help boost and support a healthy immune system.

Vegas Legal Magazine Winter 2017 | Pg. 95

Recreational Marijuana

3 Common Myths & What Nevadans Can Do to Keep Their Communities Safe By John Seeland, JD, MBA, MHS

On Nov. 8, 2016, Nevada residents voted “yes” to an amendment

that allows for the recreational use of marijuana throughout the state. If statistics in Colorado are anything to go by, this change could result in an increase in statewide cannabis consumption and all of the complications that go with it, including a rise in incidents of drugged driving and a spike in the number marijuana-related visits to hospital emergency rooms. With the changes set to go into effect Jan. 1, 2017, it is now more vital than ever that Nevada residents familiarize themselves with the facts about this drug and its potentially harmful side effects. Below are three common marijuana myths and what Nevadans can do to help dispel them and ensure their communities remain healthy and safe. Myth 1: Driving under the influence of marijuana isn’t dangerous. The facts: Research has found that people under the influence of marijuana struggle to multi-task and experience delayed reaction times. This can prove hazardous when behind the wheel.

ing and are slower to react to unexpected situations, like the sudden appearance of a pedestrian or a stopped car.

Many believe that driving under the influence of marijuana isn’t “that dangerous,” citing statistics that suggest driving under the influence of alcohol is far worse. While it may be true that drunk driving has lead to more traffic fatalities, whether or not it is more dangerous than drugged driving is still up for debate. Research has found that when people drive drunk, they often drive faster than they would sober and tend to overestimate their driving ability. When people drive drugged, however, the converse is true: they drive slower than they would sober and are overly cautious.

What Nevadans can do: Establish clear drugged driving laws

This can lead to its own set of problems. Researchers at the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, for instance, found that those under the influence of marijuana have difficulty multi-task-

The problem, of course, will lie in officers’ ability to enforce the law, which may prove difficult. Marijuana breathalyzers do not current-

Vegas Legal Magazine Winter 2017 | Pg. 96

Perhaps part of what is perpetuating the myth that drugged driving is safe is the belief that it is legal. Many Nevadans conclude that because they have a prescription from a doctor, they are allowed to “smoke and drive” without consequence. Nevadans need to educate the public that under both the current and new laws, driving while under the influence of any controlled substance—legal or not—can result in a DUI charge.

RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA ly exist and field sobriety tests for marijuana (such as walking in a straight line heel-to-toe or balancing on one foot) frequently aren’t reliable. A 2012 study published in the journal Psychopharmacology, for example, found that field sobriety tests catch 88 percent of drunk drivers but only 30 percent of drugged drivers. The other option is a blood test, but because marijuana can stay in the system for up to 60 days, it can be difficult to assert with full certainty whether the THC in someone’s system is a result from a joint they smoked two minutes (or two days) ago. Before we can begin to fight the myth that marijuana-impaired driving isn’t dangerous, however, we need to first clearly establish what we consider “impaired.” That’s not an easy question to answer. Under current laws pertaining to medical marijuana, the legal driving limit in Nevada is two nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood, or two parts per billion; but in Colorado, where recreational marijuana was legalized in 2012, the limit is 5 nanograms. Myth 2: Marijuana has no negative side effects. The facts: Studies suggest long-term marijuana use can cause damage to the brain, particularly in those who start using as adolescents. The results of several studies suggest that marijuana is not as harmless as many may believe. A small study conducted by the Marijuana Investigations for Neuroscientific Discovery (MIND), for example, found that teens who smoked marijuana were more likely to develop changes in their brain’s white matter, which affected areas of the brain associated with impulsive behavior and inhibitions. Another MIND study found that heavy marijuana smokers performed worse in tasks requiring the use of cognitive and executive brain functioning, such as memory, reasoning and problem solving. This was especially true of those who began using marijuana at a young age. What Nevadans can do: Educate parents and teenagers. With legalization comes normalcy. And with normalcy comes the threat that society may forget that the THC in that innocuous-looking brownie or gummy bear can, in fact, cause long-term brain damage. And while it may be impossible to fatally overdose from marijuana, in many regards, chronic, heavy use represents a death of a different sort: A death of motivation and a death of ingenuity. Parents, teachers and the community as a whole need to educate young people about the drug’s potential negative consequences and provide healthy outlets that boost their mental emotional wellbeing and promote positive goal-seeking behaviors.

Myth 3: Marijuana isn’t addictive. The facts: Every substance has the potential for addiction. Marijuana is no exception. Though only a small percentage of the general population meets the criteria for a substance use disorder (around 10 percent), those with a genetic predisposition and/or a history of mental illness are particularly vulnerable. Data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health has found that 4.2 million Americans are physically dependent on marijuana, and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has predicted that about 9 percent of marijuana users will become marijuana abusers. What Nevadans can do: Know the warning signs. Marijuana dependency and abuse isn’t something that develops overnight. Unlike with opiates, it can take months and even years of using for signs of abuse to develop. Parents and community members need to be educated on the warning signs so that they may seek help for their child or loved one before the problem worsens. Some of the criteria for a marijuana use disorder include: Dependence—Does the person experience withdrawal symptoms when not taking the drug? Withdrawal symptoms often involve: irritability, restlessness, difficulty sleeping, lost appetite, and cravings. Problems at school, work and home—Has using marijuana resulted in personal, financial or legal problems? Some examples include: Fights with family members, failed school or work assignments and run-ins with the law. Nevada has numerous support systems available for those who may suspect their relationship with marijuana has become unhealthy and maladaptive. Counselors, 12-step programs and rehabilitation facilities can provide a wealth of information to individuals, families and educators. If we are to help future generations of Nevadans, we must join together in our efforts to become educated and supportive resources for our community. Las Vegas Recovery Center (LVRC) also offers help to those wishing to seek recovery from an opioid use disorder. With campuses in northwest Las Vegas and Henderson, LVRC is equipped to help chronic pain and addiction sufferers across the Las Vegas Valley. Visit or call 702-515-1373 to learn more.

Vegas Legal Magazine Winter 2017 | Pg. 97


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