Justia Legal Ethics Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Nevada

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G&V received settlement funds from a personal injury claim without first filing perfection notices. NRS 18.015(3) requires an attorney to perfect a lien by serving notice "upon the party against whom the client has a cause of action, claiming the lien and stating the amount of the lien." NRS 18.015(4) provides that the lien attaches to recovery "from the time of service of the notices required." The court held that in order to comply with both subsections of the statute, attorneys must, prior to recovery, perfect their liens by serving notice that states both the attorney's percentage of the recovery and that the lien will include court costs and out-of-pocket costs advanced by the attorney in an amount to be determined. In this case, the court affirmed the district court's decision to order a pro-rata distribution because G&V did not perfect its lien until well after it recovered funds in the personal injury settlement. The court affirmed the denial of costs. The court clarified that an attorney need not deposit funds with the court in an interpleader action so long as the attorney keeps the funds in his or her client trust account for the duration of the interpleader action. View "Golightly & Vannah, PLLC v. TJ Allen, LLC" on Justia Law

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After respondent received a judgment for child support arrears and penalties against appellant in Nevada, as well as an award of attorney fees, appellant appealed the order. Under NRS 125.040(1)(c), a district court has discretion in a divorce suit to require one party to pay an amount of money necessary to assist the other party in carrying on or defending the suit. The court held that a district court has jurisdiction to award attorney fees pendente lite for the costs of an appeal pursuant to NRS 125.040. In this case, the court held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in awarding such fees. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's order. View "Griffith v. Gonzales-Alpizar" on Justia Law

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Robert Cooper retained McDonald Carano Wilson LLP (Appellant) to represented him in a personal injury action. Three years into the representation, the district court granted Appellant’s motion to withdraw. Appellant perfected a charging lien for more than $100,000 in attorney fees and costs. Thereafter, Cooper retained another law firm, which obtained a $55,000 settlement for Cooper. The district court concluded that Appellant could not enforce its charging lien because it withdrew before settlement occurred. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the district court erred in its judgment because Nev. Rev. Stat. 18.015’s language unambiguously allows any counsel that worked on a claim to enforce a charging lien against any affirmative recovery. Remanded for additional findings to determine whether Appellant was entitled to a disbursement and, if it is, the amount of that disbursement. View "Wilson v. Bourassa Law Group, LLC" on Justia Law