Understanding the Impact of “Rule of Law” on Nevada Businesses

Joel W. Locke Gets the Latest at the Nevada State Bar Annual Meeting

Joel W. Locke, attorney with Allison MacKenzie Law Firm in Carson City, Nevada

Carson City attorney, Joel W. Locke, a partner at Allison MacKenzie Law Firm pens short series on “The Rule of Law” to help educate Nevada businesses on its impact. Locke recently attended the State Bar of Nevada Annual Meeting in Chicago, IL. The three-day event was held at the Drake Hotel on July 12th thru 14th, 2018. The meeting’s theme was “The Rule of Law” and focused on the discussion of how the legal profession has helped shape the rule in our country’s history, and its role in the future.

The annual meeting provides attorneys with insight into recent developments in law and the legal profession as well as providing a unique opportunity for attorneys to interact with expert judicial figures. One of the goals of this year’s conference was to celebrate and educate the attendees on the role that lawyers have in supporting the “Rule of Law.”

Locke’s inaugural article, The Rule of Law – Part I, was released on July 23rd, 2018 and can be found at: AllisonMacKenzie.com. Part I explores the famed McDonald’s spilled coffee case and includes a video by guest speaker, Susan Saladoff. Additional articles will be released in the upcoming weeks.

“The State Bar of Nevada’s Annual Meeting is an excellent event where I am able to further my knowledge of pressing legal issues facing my clientele as well as enjoy informative lectures and engaging discussions with renowned, high-profile speakers from across the country. Additionally, it is a unique opportunity to network with preeminent attorneys and to meet many judges from across Nevada.” Joel W. Locke stated.

Joel W. Locke joined Allison MacKenzie in 2007. A native Nevadan, Locke graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2000, and then obtained his law degree from Gonzaga University School of Law in 2006. Subsequently, he was admitted to practice law in the State of Nevada in 2006. Joel’s areas of legal practice include: Family Law, Probate Law, Guardianships, Healthcare Law and more.

The Rule of Law – Part I

Joel W. Locke, attorney with Allison MacKenzie Law Firm in Carson City, Nevada

The Rule of Law – 2018 Annual Meeting of the State Bar of Nevada

By Joel W. Locke

Each summer, the State Bar of Nevada holds an Annual Meeting of its membership, which is comprised of Nevada licensed attorneys and members of the judiciary. The meeting offers attendees a dynamic environment of continuing legal education and networking opportunities. This year’s meeting was held on July 12-14 in the beautiful and exciting city of Chicago, and the theme of the meeting was “The Rule of Law.” One of the goals of the conference was to celebrate and educate the attendees on the role that lawyers have in supporting the Rule of Law.

I was honored to introduce one of the speakers, Susan Saladoff. Ms. Saladoff is the director, writer, and producer of the HBO Documentary hit, “Hot Coffee! Is Justice Being Served?” which premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. Ms. Saladoff is a former trial lawyer, and during her presentation, she shared her journey of making the film, how it was received, and what has happened since the film was released. She also appeared on The Colbert Report to discuss the film, as can be seen here: CC.com

 

The documentary is the “true story” behind the famous McDonald’s spilled hot coffee case, the news of which swept the nation at the time. While many think they know the facts behind the case (which resulted in a jury award of almost $3 million), most probably do not realize that many American companies in various industries spent millions of dollars distorting the facts of the case in order to protect against large awards in the future and to limit an individual’s access to the courts.

Ms. Saladoff’s film tells the actual facts behind the case and follows four individuals whose lives were devastated by the results of the attacks on an individual’s access to the courts. Further, Ms. Saladoff’s film challenges the assumptions that many Americans hold about “jackpot justice.”

Ms. Saladoff’s presentation was impassioned, funny, and engaging. Amazingly, only 20% of the audience had seen her documentary, which is available online and on HBO. A screening of her film followed her lecture and was well-attended. I urge you to watch her film and contrast the news media’s coverage of the case with the truth. It is startling.

Ms. Saladoff is hard at work on her next big “yet to be revealed” project. With the passion and force she puts into her work, I am sure it will be a thought provoking and entertaining success.

Records Retention and the Future of Your Business

Understanding the Legality of Digital Data Storage in Nevada

Societal attitudes toward digital information have dramatically changed over the last decade, and continue to change. This change was succinctly demonstrated in an exchange I recently overheard:

Q: “Do you have a hard copy of that document?”
A: “Yeah, I have a PDF.”

How many emails are in your mailbox right now? Not just unread ones, all of them, including the ones in your Sent folder. Multiply that by the number of employees, and you can see that the volume of electronic records your business is accumulating quickly becomes staggering.

Word files, spreadsheets, emails, texts, and instant messages now dominate our work and our communications. Billions of electronic records can be inexpensively stored on a device that fits in your pocket. As the cost of data storage declines, the number of records that are being stored indefinitely continues to soar.

All of these electronic files or records are treated by the courts exactly the same as good old-fashioned paper documents. That means that if your business is sued, it must not only retain those electronic records, but it will very likely have to produce a great number of them to the opposing party. “Electronically stored information,” or ESI, includes all forms of electronic data that is relevant or potentially relevant to the lawsuit. This means word processing files, databases, emails, and even the text messages on your phone.

Does your business have the capability to reliably gather all of those records, review them, and produce them in a lawsuit? Litigation is already expensive, but the sheer volume of these documents has caused the cost of litigation to skyrocket because of the difficulty that is often involved in finding, reviewing and producing such a large number of records.

 

See the complete article at: Northern Nevada Business Weekly.

Kevin Benson is an associate with Allison MacKenzie Law firm with primary focus in the areas of civil litigation, appeals, administrative and regulatory matters, election law, and ballot measures. He is a native Nevadan and former Senior Deputy Attorney General for the state.

Interstate Regulations Can Hit Lax Taxi, Bus, even Uber drivers

By:  Justin Townsend

Justin is an associate with Allison MacKenzie Law Firm with primary practice in Business Law, Real Estate Law, Transportation Law, Commercial Transactions and Energy Law.

You can’t talk about the leading industries in Nevada without mentioning tourism and gaming. However, there are a number of ancillary industries in the state that offer critical support to Nevada’s thriving tourist trade. One such industry is transportation, much of which is generally regulated by the Nevada Transportation Authority, which was formed for the purpose of regulating and licensing motor carriers operating in the state. A motor carrier is any vehicle operating on the roads of Nevada for the purpose of transporting persons or property — anything from a taxi, to a limousine service, to tour bus operators, and even tow cars.

For obvious reasons, many key gaming and important tourist spots in Nevada are located near borders of other states — spots like Lake Tahoe and Reno on and near the Northern California border, Wendover on the Utah border, and Las Vegas near the borders of Utah, Arizona, and Southern California. Much of the Nevada transportation industry revolves around transporting tourists in and to these locations.

Commercial motor carriers who transport passengers in these border spots often have to deal with more than just NTA regulations. They may have to contend with neighboring state transportation agencies or even with federal agency regulations. Problems can and do arise for these carriers when they cross borders and inevitably have to navigate state and federal transportation agencies and potentially conflicting laws and regulations.

For instance, a limousine might be chartered to pick up a group of bachelor partygoers from Reno-Tahoe International Airport, take them to check in to their hotel in South Lake Tahoe, California, and then bring them to a casino just across the border in Stateline, Nevada.

The NTA employs several investigating officers with authority to detain commercial motor carriers on the road to ensure compliance with NTA regulations, which include requirements that such vehicles be marked with approved names and operating license numbers and that drivers carry NTA driving permits and medical cards. Like police officers, NTA investigators are authorized to issue citations to commercial drivers who fail to comply with applicable regulations.

In the previously mentioned South Lake Tahoe example, let’s say the limousine was based out of California and does not have authority to operate in Nevada. In such a case, an NTA investigator might notice that the vehicle does not contain the markings required by NTA regulations and might stop the driver after he has dropped the passengers at the casino in Stateline. A citation is issued for the lack of required markings and, perhaps, for the driver’s failure to carry an NTA driving permit.The owners of the California-based limousine would need to hire a Nevada attorney to represent them before the NTA and assist with getting the citations dismissed. Why? Because the limousine was operating in what is known as interstate commerce. However, the NTA is only authorized to regulate intrastate transportation — trips that occur entirely within the State of Nevada.

On the other hand, federal law provides that the federal government has jurisdiction over transportation of passengers between one state and another state or between two places in one state if such travel passes through another state at any point. Federal law trumps state law in such a case and the NTA citations must be dismissed.

Similar issues might arise in any number of different scenarios. Consider a tour bus operating between the Las Vegas strip and the Grand Canyon in Arizona or an Uber driver transporting a tourist from Wendover, Utah, to West Wendover. In all such cases, the lines often become blurred between Nevada and federal laws, which just might result in an NTA citation for one reason or another. When these or other transportation matters occur, transportation entities should consult with competent legal counsel that is experienced in transportation law to assist with the NTA and to obtain a just and fair result under whichever law applies. Understand your rights and responsibilities when it comes to federal and state transportation laws.

See the article at: Northern Nevada Business Weekly