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Are Non-Compete Agreements Enforceable in Nevada?

Many employers want to have their employees sign contracts prohibiting them from working for a competing business after they leave their current job, commonly called “non-compete agreements.” In Nevada, these agreements are allowed, but must meet certain requirements to be enforceable in court.

Nevada Supreme Court’s Decision in Golden Road

In 2016, the Nevada Supreme Court invalidated the enforceability of a non-compete agreement of a casino host. Golden Rd. Motor Inn, Inc. v. Islam, 132 Nev. Adv. Rep. 49, 376 P.3d 151 (2016). The non-compete agreement prohibited the defendant “from employment, affiliation, or service with any gaming business or enterprise” in a 150-mile radius from her current job. Id. at 155. The court looked to see if any time period, geographical limitation, or restriction on areas of future employment were greater than necessary for the protection of the employer. Id.

The key issue was protecting the casino from the employee’s ability to lure casino customers away, therefore damaging its business. Id. at 155. This agreement was unreasonable because she could hypothetically be prevented from being a janitor at a casino, which could not lure away casino customers, and thus was unreasonable to protect the employer. The Court also found that courts do not have the power to modify agreements to remove the unreasonable restraints on trade. Id. at 159-60.

Nevada’s Legislature Amends NRS § 613.195

Following the Golden Road decision, the Nevada State Legislature enacted amendments to NRS § 613.195. This statute specifically identifies the limitations of non-compete agreements. For the agreement to be enforceable, the non-compete agreement must:

(a) Be supported by valuable consideration;

(b) Not impose a greater restraint than is necessary for the employer’s protection;

(c) Does not impose an undue hardship in the employee; and

(d) Imposes restrictions appropriate in relation to the consideration supporting the covenant.

NRS § 613.195(1). If the agreement fails in any respect, it is “void and unenforceable.”

However, the statute also requires courts to modify the agreements under specific circumstances to make them enforceable. The court must modify any agreement’s unreasonable limitations as to time, geographical area, or scope of restrained activity so that the agreement no longer contains an unreasonable restraint on trade. Id. at (5). The court must also modify the agreement if it contains more protection than is necessary for the employer’s protection, and to remove any undue hardship on the employee. In other words, if the agreement’s restrictions are too broad, but supported by valuable consideration, the court will modify the agreement, reducing the restrictions to make it enforceable.

Conclusion

Non-compete agreements can be complicated. For employers, it is important to make the restrictions clear; and also make plain why those restrictions are necessary for the protection of the business. For employees, it is important to understand if the restrictions will keep you from taking a new position.

As always, if you think you might need an attorney, you probably do. You can contact us here, we love answering questions!

More Than You Want to Know About Renewing Judgements

Generally, a judgment is only valid for six years from the date it was entered. NRS § 11.190(1)(a). This means that if the judgment is not collected within that six-year period, the ability to collect the judgment expires. However, Nevada allows for judgments to be renewed, which if done correctly will continue the judgment for another six years from the date of renewal. This process has several steps but they cannot be done incorrectly because Nevada courts strictly enforce the statutory procedure. As the Nevada Supreme Court put it “NRS 17.214’s mandatory requirements of filing, recording, and service of the affidavit are plainly set forth and must be followed for judgment renewal.” Leven v. Frey, 123 Nev. 399, 403 (2007).

When a Judgment can be Renewed

NRS § 17.214 sets forth the process for renewing judgments. Even though the judgment itself is valid for a six-year period, it must be renewed before it expires. The statute requires the renewal process to begin at least 90 days before the judgment expires. If the process is correctly followed, the renewed judgment will be valid for six years. Additionally, the judgment can essentially be continually renewed forever, following the same procedure at least 90 days prior to the expiration of the renewed judgment.

The Affidavit of Renewal of Judgment

To renew a judgment, the judgment creditor (the party to whom the judgment is owed) must file an “Affidavit of Renewal of Judgment” with the clerk of the court. This must be the same court where the judgment was entered and docketed. The affidavit must contain the following information:

  • Names of the parties to the judgment;
  • The date and amount of the judgment;
  • The number and page of the docket in which the judgment is entered;
  • Information as to whether there is an outstanding writ of execution for enforcement of the judgment;
  • The date and amount of any payment on the judgment;
  • Whether there are any setoffs or counterclaims in favor of the judgment debtor;
  • The exact amount due on the judgment;
  • If the judgment was docketed by the clerk upon a certified copy from another court, and an abstract of judgment has been recorded with the county clerk, the name of each county in which the transcript has been docketed and the abstract recorded; and
  • Any other fact or circumstance necessary to a complete disclosure of the exact condition of the judgment.

A very important requirement of the statute is that the Affidavit “must be based on the personal knowledge of the affiant, and not upon information and belief.” If there is information that you may need to seek out prior to renewing the judgment, you may want to start preparing your affidavit and gathering the necessary information early. Within three days of filing the affidavit with the court, the judgment creditor must send a copy of the affidavit by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the judgment debtor’s last known address.

Recorded Judgments

Judgments are often recorded with a county clerk to assist with collection efforts. If the judgment has been recorded, the affidavit must also include the name of the county of recording and either the document number of the recorded judgment or the number of the page of the book where it was recorded. Additionally, the within three days of filing the affidavit of renewal, the affidavit must also be recorded with the county where the judgment has been recorded.

So basically….

Renewing a judgment is a valuable tool for a party still trying to collect on a judgment that has not been fully paid. Because there are important deadlines for filing the affidavit of renewal of judgment, and detailed information must be included in the affidavit, consulting an attorney who is familiar with the process can help ensure your judgment renewal goes smoothly and provides additional time for collection.

As always, “If you think you might need an attorney, you probably do.” Contact us here to set up a complimentary consultation.

Litigation: Submitting Orders Under The New Rules

At our firm, one of us is in court on almost a daily basis, and we deal with the requirement to submit proposed orders frequently. The rules of civil procedure were significantly altered recently, and those changes went into force on March 1, 2019. The way those amendments interact with the Eighth District Court Rules can be confusing at times.

The local Rules of Practice for the Eighth Judicial District Court of the State of Nevada (“EDCR”) state that proposed orders should be submitted to the court within 10 days. The rule is EDCR 7.21, specifically. However, under the Rules of Civil Procedure which were in place at the time EDCR 7.21 was drafted, that referred to 10 Court days. See e.g. Administrative Order 19-03; NRCP 6(a) (2017).

The changes to NRCP which took effect on March 1st, 2019 caused the issuance of Administrative Order 19-03 which suspends some rules and directs that the rest be interpreted to reasonably comply with the revisions to the NRCP. Id. The most reasonable way to reconcile the EDCR with the revisions is to find that time to submit a proposed order is within 14 calendar days from the time of a verbal order. See ADKT 0522 (revising the NRCP and stating that in general deadlines which were for 6 to 15 days are adjusted to 14 days).

Under the new rules, in some cases, 10 judicial days can turn out to be longer than 14 calendar days when there are intervening holidays.

At Morris Law Center, we love to dig into the technicalities of the rules. As such, if you are an opposing attorney, do not expect to catch us slipping. However, if you are a fan of legal procedure, give us a call to discuss further.

Options For Enforcement of Settlement Agreements

Your options are when an agreement isn’t working

What happens when you’ve reached a settlement agreement in your case using alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation or arbitration, yet one of the parties involved isn’t holding up their end of the bargain? You must be thinking “there has to be something that can be done,” and you’d be right. Below are a few options to consider when someone isn’t honoring an agreed upon settlement.

Motion to Enforce Settlement Agreement

If a case has already been filed in Nevada district court, one of the options you can consider is having the court order the other party to honor the agreement. To accomplish this, you would have to file a Motion to Enforce. In Nevada, a settlement agreement is a contract governed by general principles of contract law, and a district court has the authority to enforce a settlement agreement in an existing case where it already has jurisdiction. In order to enforce a settlement agreement, the moving party must show either: (1) a written, signed agreement; or (2) terms entered into the court minutes reduced to an order. If granted, the other party to the settlement must comply with the terms of the agreement. If they do not comply, you could pursue further remedies, such as moving to hold the other party in contempt for not following the court’s order.

Sue for Breach of Settlement Agreement

Another option is to move to add a claim for Breach of Contract (if a suit has already been filed) or to file a Complaint for Breach of Contract. In some cases, suing for a Breach of Contract is an easier case to prove than the facts of the underlying dispute, which could provide an easier route to a favorable judgment.

You might also consider an additional claim for Breach of the Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing. This claim would apply in cases where a party to the settlement made the agreement knowing they would not be able to fulfill their part of the agreement. This claim is meant to ensure that all parties enter into an agreement in good faith to one another and prohibits unfair acts by one party that would work to the disadvantage of the other. This claim might be available even if the court determines there is no breach of the settlement agreement itself, giving additional options for relief.

Proceed with Underlying Case

Another option to weigh is considering moving to set aside the initial agreement and proceed with litigation. This would essentially ignore the settlement agreement and proceed with the original lawsuit. However, litigation options generally come at a greater financial cost than settlement, which is something to consider.

Conclusion

In conclusion, all is not lost if the opposing party doesn’t meet their obligations. You have plenty of options to enforce the agreement, or to move on and continue litigation.

If you need assistance in your settlement agreement, or just have questions, please feel free to contact us at Morris Law Center for your complimentary consult.

And as always, “If you think you might need an attorney, you probably do.”

Is Judge Judy Enforceable? Or is The Entire Show Fake For TV?

Most people who have been channel surfing know who Judge Judy is – a daytime TV judge, who is quick to insult and reprimand people while dishing out justice. Many of us have wondered if Judge Judy is genuinely a magistrate, or if the entire premise of the show is just another fake reality program designed for entertainment. The answer may not be as simple as one would think.

Judy Sheindlin is a retired Family Court Judge from Manhattan. She first passed the New York state bar exam in 1965 and practiced as an attorney until she was appointed as a judge in 1982. After retiring in 1996, she began filming Judge Judy. So over 20 years ago, Judge Judy was in fact a real judge, presiding over real cases, in a real courtroom. Today, however, Judge Judy Sheindlin acts as an arbitrator. The cases she arbitrates are real cases from real courtrooms, but the plaintiffs and defendants in her cases have both agreed to a Binding Arbitration Agreement with Judge Judy instead of pursuing their cases in front of an active judge. 1

Appearing on this daytime hit doesn’t just mean being on TV – if you are contacted by one of Judge Judy’s 60+ researchers/producers, not only will you receive a paid trip to Los Angeles, CA, you will be compensated to appear on the show. It has been said that participants are given anywhere from $100-$500 just to appear on the show! Aside from this, the producers will also pay any fines or fees that Judge Judy awards to either side of the dispute. You only must be willing to let the world watch your drama and have a Judy-ism or two yelled at you to receive a free trip to the coast. You’ll get some extra money in hand, and ultimately resolve your dispute – which is what it’s all about!

So, to answer the burning question: Is Judge Judy enforceable? Yes… and no. The cases shown are real cases, with the participants being persuaded to give up their lawsuit in a real court of law. The courtroom audience members, however, are reported to all be paid actors (at a much lower rate per hour than Judy herself). Judge Judy was once a real judge but is now an arbitrator – a very high paid arbitrator. It’s been reported that Judge Judy gets paid over $45 million a year, while working approximately only 52 days!

Do you have your own dispute that you’d like to keep off TV, but still have resolved? We’ll be here for you more than 52 days a year!

As we always say, “If you think you might need an attorney, you probably do.” Contact us before anything is set in stone. We love answering questions!

 

How Can I Fly With My Pet?

Animals play a large part in many of our lives, and we can’t imagine going anywhere without them for long. Over two million pets are transported in an aircraft each year, showing that people are more attached to their pets than ever before. When it comes to flying, because most airports are owned by local municipalities, there are few mandatory laws regarding how airlines and airports must handle our furry friends.

Taking your cat, dog, or household bird with you may have certain restrictions depending on what airline you fly with, and it is important to remember to check these restrictions before booking your ticket. Pets are permitted in the cabin on a first-come, first-serve basis. When you begin making travel arrangements, instead of booking online, call the airline you will be traveling with to reserve priority for traveling with your animal; many airlines have a certain allotment of pets allowed for each flight.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) does require certain records and certificates for the pet or pets you will be traveling with, and they must be endorsed by an accredited USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service veterinarian to be considered valid. As outlined on their website, the process for taking your animal either domestically or overseas may take weeks, or even months, so it is strongly advised to begin planning for this endeavor as far in advance as possible.

Furthermore, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDoT) stipulates that “dogs and cats must be at least eight weeks old and must have been weaned for at least five days.” There are also mandated guidelines that each traveler must meet regarding crates or kennels, instructions given on when and how much to feed your pet before travel, and even temperature regulations that owners and airlines must follow for a pet to fly. To ensure you are meeting all U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Transportation policies, visit their respective websites so you don’t run into any issues the day you are set to leave.

As for planning, don’t forget to ask if your airport has a pet relief area where your fur baby may relieve themselves before and after the flight. For our local travelers, there are three pet relief areas stationed inside McCarran International Airport: two inside Terminal 1 and a third in Terminal 3, as well as three located outside of the airport itself. For all of those flying with their animal for the first time ever, be sure to google tips and tricks from experienced travelers to help you along the journey.

In addition, before traveling with your pet, always remember that many animals are unable to manage their stress and anxiety levels the same way we do. Be sure to consult with your vet about ways to manage your furry friend’s emotional and physical health if flying is the only option for you and your pet. If your pet doesn’t have to travel with you, it may be better to leave them at home with a friend where they will happily await your return.

For more information and regulations on traveling with your pet, check out the websites for the USDA and USDoT, as well as the airline’s website you would like to fly with to review their policies to travel with your precious pet.

And finally, as we always say, “If you think you might need an attorney, you probably do.” Contact us before anything is set in stone. We love answering questions!

Are we in Trouble For Copying The Red Hot Chili Peppers Logo?

We previously wrote about whether there is a Likelihood of Confusion Between “RUN DMC” And “RUN MLC” so if you missed that one, check it out.

For reference, the Red Hot Chili Peppers (“RHCP”) have three registrations that are live with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USTPO”).

Here’s the Full Trademark for reference: 

Word MarkRED HOT CHILI PEPPERS
Goods and ServicesIC 009. US 021 023 026 036 038. G & S: PRE-RECORDED VIDEO CASSETTES, PRE-RECORDED AUDIO DISCS, PRE-RECORDED AUDIO CASSETTES AND TAPES, CDs, DIGITAL AUDIO DISCS, DIGITAL VIDEO DISCS, PHONOGRAPH RECORDS FEATURING MUSICAL PERFORMANCES. FIRST USE: 19830000. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19830000

IC 016. US 002 005 022 023 029 037 038 050. G & S: STICKERS, PHOTOGRAPHS, POSTERS, BIOGRAPHICAL PAMPLETS, SONGBOOKS, CALENDARS. FIRST USE: 19830000. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19830000

IC 025. US 022 039. G & S: T-SHIRTS, BOXER SHORTS, SWEATSHIRTS, SOCKS, HATS, SOLD TO FANS OF APPLICANT’S ENTERTAINMENT SERVICES. FIRST USE: 19830000. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19830000

IC 041. US 100 101 107. G & S: ENTERTAINMENT SERVICES IN THE NATURE OF LIVE PERFORMANCES BY A MUSICAL GROUP. FIRST USE: 19830000. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19830000

Standard Characters Claimed
Mark Drawing Code(4) STANDARD CHARACTER MARK
Serial Number76627246

 

Word MarkRED HOT CHILI PEPPERS
Goods and ServicesIC 041. US 107. G & S: entertainment services in the nature of live performances by a musical group. FIRST USE: 19830000. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19830000
Mark Drawing Code(3) DESIGN PLUS WORDS, LETTERS, AND/OR NUMBERS
Design Search Code26.01.08 – Circles having letters or numerals as a border; Circles having punctuation as a border; Letters, numerals or punctuation forming or bordering the perimeter of a circle
26.01.21 – Circles that are totally or partially shaded.
26.01.28 – Circles with irregular circumferences; Miscellaneous circular designs with an irregular circumference
Serial Number74071459

 

Word MarkRED HOT CHILI PEPPERS
Goods and ServicesIC 016. US 002 005 022 023 029 037 038 050. G & S: stickers, [ photographs, ] posters [, biographical pamphlets ]. FIRST USE: 19830000. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19830000
Mark Drawing Code(3) DESIGN PLUS WORDS, LETTERS, AND/OR NUMBERS
Design Search Code24.17.25 – Biohazard symbol; Degree sign (°); Equal sign (=); Greater than symbol > (mathematical); Handicapped symbol; Hazardous materials symbol; Less than symbol < (mathematical); Pound sign (#)
26.01.08 – Circles having letters or numerals as a border; Circles having punctuation as a border; Letters, numerals or punctuation forming or bordering the perimeter of a circle
Serial Number74068546

In the event of Morris Law Center attempting to trademark this logo, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) will consider whether there is a likelihood of confusion between the trademarks. In regard to the design, they are very similar. However, the RHCP only protected this trademark in regard to live entertainment, recorded audio, stickers, and clothing.

As we are a law firm, we would not normally compete in these categories, so we are likely safe to use this logo to advertise legal services. However, should we begin to sell t-shirts with the logo, we would likely be in violation of the trademark.

So… who wants a Morris Law Center t-shirt with this logo on it?

The intellectual property attorneys at Morris Law Center love to discuss trademarks. Give us a call, or reach out via our contact form, to set up a complimentary consult.