Most are aware of the attorney client privilege, which protects the subject of communication between the lawyer and client made in furtherance of legal services. See NRS 49.095. However, the Nevada supreme court recently limited the privilege during discovery depositions. Although it appears that attorneys and witness/clients may freely confer during an unrequested recess in a deposition, an attorneys may not specifically request a break to confer with a witness in a deposition unless the purpose of the break is to determine whether to assert a privilege. Furthermore, the attorney must make a record of the confidential communications promptly after the deposition resumes in order to preserve the attorney-client privilege. See Coyote Springs Inv., LLC v. Eighth Judicial Dist. Court, 347 P.3d 267, 273 (2015). This raises the possible scenario in which the opposing counsel could inquire as to the content of attorney-client communication if an unprepared lawyer or witness asks for a break during a pending question without properly noting the purpose is to assert a privilege and subsequently making the record in regards to the privilege.
Senate Bill 162 repeals NRS 690B.042. Effective May 28, 2015.
Under prior Nevada law, the insurer of the party against whom a personal injury claim was asserted had to disclose the insurance policy limits upon request by the claimant and receipt of records and bills from the claimant’s health care providers, or a written authorization from the claimant. This law was repealed. Therefore, claimants will not generally have the right to know whether the wrongdoer has the Nevada minimum required $15,000 per person policy limits or more.
The problem for many innocent claimants is they may not have health insurance and be treating pursuant to a lien or promise to pay back each medical provider regardless of recovery, all as a result of the other party’s negligence. Even with health insurance, the innocent victim may be stuck with expensive deductibles if the recovery is not sufficient.
Presently, the only way to force disclosure of the tortfeasor’s policy limits is through discovery after filing a personal injury lawsuit in court. The repeal of this law will very likely increase the time and costs of litigation and backlog the Nevada District Court calendar with unnecessary cases filed (to determine policy limits) that could have been settled without litigation.
Under NRS 439B.260, hospitals in Nevada must generally reduce charges by 30% to inpatients who have no health insurance “or other contractual agreement with a third party that provides health coverage for the charge.” In Bielar v. Washoe Health Sys., 306 P.3d 360, 367, 22, 129 Nev. Adv. Rep. 49 (2013), the Nevada Supreme Court found that the statute did not disqualify a plaintiff from receiving the 30-percent statutory discount when, subsequent to the hospital stay, the plaintiff agreed to a settlement with the party causing the injuries necessitating the medical services, and the plaintiff thus received insurance proceeds as compensation for the injuries she suffered.
Until recently, Nevada state courts have had only one appellate court: the “Nevada Supreme Court.” However, on November 4, 2014, Nevada voters approved an intermediate court of appeals by a majority vote. The effective date of the “Court of Appeals” was January 5, 2015. The Court of Appeals will have statewide jurisdiction, with the purpose of reducing the Nevada Supreme Court caseload and providing faster resolution of appeals.
A party will still file an appeal with the Nevada Supreme Court in the same manner as provided for by the Nevada Rules of Appellate Procedure. Certain cases will remain in the Supreme Court throughout the appeal and other cases will be presumptively assigned to the Court of Appeals. See NRAP 17: The Amendments to the Nevada Rules of Appellate Procedure can be found here under the titled, “14-41315.”
The Court of Appeals will hear and decide those matters assigned to it by the Supreme Court; it can elect to hear oral arguments or issue published opinions in the Nevada Reporter. Upon issuance of a decision by the Court of Appeals, a party may still file a Petition for Review by the Nevada Supreme Court.
Nevada Assembly Bill 7 proposes a change to personal injury litigation which can drastically limit a motor vehicle accident claimant’s recovery. The new legislation proposes that, if an individual is not in compliance with vehicle insurance coverage requirements under NRS Chapter 485 at the time of the accident (i.e., have liability insurance as required by law), the claimant’s/plaintiff’s damages will be limited to medical costs, property damage, and lost income; damages for pain and suffering will be excluded. Pain and suffering damages can be a large portion of damages and litigation. If this bill turns into law, it can significantly alter the value of certain motor vehicle personal injury cases.
On May 16, 2015, no further action was allowed on Nevada Assembly Bill 7.