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Nevada Jurisdiction Risks

Both Plaintiffs and Defendants take a serious risk when litigating in a court that lacks proper jurisdiction.  The Nevada Supreme Court has said that subject matter jurisdiction is never waived.  Issues of subject matter jurisdiction can be raised at any time during the proceedings, and in almost any manner.  Meinhold v. Clark County School District, 89 Nev. 56, 59, 506 P.2d 420, 422 (1973); S. G. & R. Bank v. Milisich, 43 Nev. 373, 390, 233 P.41, 46 (1925); Phillips v. Welch, 11 Nev. 187 (1876).

531240_football This means that at any time in the litigation process, the other side can challenge the jurisdiction of the court and thereby pull the plug on whatever has been accomplished.  In fact, NRCP 12(h)(3) says that “[w]henever it appears by suggestion of the parties or otherwise that the court lacks jurisdiction of the subject matter, the court shall dismiss the action.”  (Emphasis added).  Whether you are just beginning a case, or whether you have tried the case to a conclusion, if the court determines that it lacks subject matter jurisdiction, it must dismiss.  Imagine the disappointment of your client, after prevailing at trial, just to learn that things will have to start over due to a lack of jurisdiction.

I haven’t had much success at getting cases dismissed due to lack of subject matter jurisdiction.  I have however had much more success getting an appropriate case transferred to the proper court.

If the case is in Justice Court (jurisdictional limit of $10,000) and it needs to be in District Court (for cases in excess of $10,000), the appropriate statute is N.R.S. 66.070  Transfer of Cases to District Court.  The statute prevents the parties from giving evidence on cases outside of the court’s jurisdiction and requires the court to suspend all proceedings.  Where discovery or other evidence establishes the case’s value is in excess of $10,000, the certified file is then sent to the District Court.

On the other hand, if the case is in District Court but should be in Justice Court, then pursuant to N.R.S. 3.221, the District Court Judge should transfer the suit to the Justice Court.

We have all seen the commercial where the announcer asks the football player.  “You have just won the greatest victory of all time.  Now what are you going to do?”    Don’t be the one who has to answer, “I’m going back to the beginning to start over because my court didn’t have jurisdiction.”

Mills & Associates Insurance Lawyers 702-240-6060

About Michael Mills

Mr. Mills practices in the area of civil litigation and appeals, with particular experience in matters involving trucking liability, insurance defense, insurance coverage, premises liability, products liability and defense of personal injury. Mr. Mills is a member of the Trucking Insurance Defense Association, the Defense Research Institute Trucking Committee and the Nevada Motor Transport Association. Mr. Mills is licensed to practice before the Nevada Supreme Court and the Utah Supreme Court. He is also licensed to appear before the United States Supreme Court, the U.S. District Courts for the Districts of Nevada and Utah, as well as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Mr. Mills has created 3 Blogs for the benefit of the insurance industry. He serves as editor and publisher of the Nevada Insurance Law Blog, the Nevada Coverage and Bad Faith Blog and the Nevada Trucking Law Blog.

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