gun law, 2nd Amendment, Nevada,

Nevada’s New Gun Law

Much to the delight of the pro-Second Amendment press, Nevada passed a sweeping gun law in the just-adjourned legislative session.  The internets are full of hot-takes on the gun law, but it might be time for a more sober1)call it “lukewarm”analysis of the text of the new law; then we will be able to bloviate with much greater ease.

State Senator Michael Roberson2)Republican, Henderson stated the goals of the legislation during a meeting of the Assembly Committee on Judiciary3)from 23 April 2015:

To keep guns out of the hands of those who have proven their propensity to commit violence against those they supposedly love4)This sentiment feels a bit snarky; I speculate that Sen. Roberson is referring to domestic violence cases and should protect;

To allow law abiding gun owners to appropriately defend themselves in their vehicles as they currently can in their homes; and

To ensure that our Second Amendment rights are administered in a fair and uniform way across the State, and to provide a means of redress when that is not the case.

 

We will now go through the first two sections of Senate Bill (SB) 175, which address Sen. Roberson’s second objective listed above, while the first and third will be reserved for next time.

 

Section 1 of the Gun Law

The first section of SB175 addresses the definition of justifiable homicide5)you may have heard this referred to as the “Castle Doctrine:

Section 1. NRS 200.120 is hereby amended to read as follows:

1. Justifiable homicide is the killing of a human being in necessary self-defense, or in defense of an occupied habitation, an occupied motor vehicle or person, against one who manifestly intends or endeavors to commit a crime of violence, or against any person or persons who manifestly intend and endeavor, in a violent, riotous, tumultuous or surreptitious manner, to enter the occupied habitation or occupied motor vehicle, of another for the purpose of assaulting or offering personal violence to any person dwelling or being therein. (emphasis added)

2. A person is not required to retreat before using deadly force as provided in subsection 1 if the person:

(a) Is not the original aggressor;

(b) Has a right to be present at the location where deadly force is used; and

(c) Is not actively engaged in conduct in furtherance of criminal activity at the time deadly force is used.

 

Addressing Sen. Roberson’s second objective, besides being permitted to defend your home with lethal force, the law allows lethal force to be used in defending an occupied car6)as in not empty, I doubt this statute would protect you from shooting someone breaking into your car if you or a loved one are not inside of it.

Some states require a person to flee if it reasonable to do so.  Nevada does not, provided the three elements of subsection 2 are met.  The law is even more protective than you may realize; wait until you see Section 2.

 

Section 2 of the Gun Law

Section 2 elaborates on the permissive deadly force established in subsection 2 of Section 1.

2. There is a rebuttable presumption that the circumstances were sufficient to excite the fears of a reasonable person and that the person killing really acted under the influence of those fears and not in a spirit of revenge if the person killing:

(a) Knew or reasonably believed that the person who was killed was entering unlawfully and with force, or attempting to enter unlawfully and with force, the occupied habitation or occupied motor vehicle, of another;

(b) Knew or reasonably believed that the person who was killed was committing or attempting to commit a crime of violence; and

(c) Did not provoke the person who was killed. (emphasis added)

 

The key words are “rebuttable presumption,” which mean “A presumption which may be rebutted by evidence. Otherwise called a ‘disputable’ presumption. A species of legal presumption which holds good until disproved.”7)Black’s Law Dictionary.

Therefore, “holds good until disproved” as applied, will assume that the shooter defending his/her home or automobile is in the right until the person who was shot can prove otherwise.

I assume these sections of SB 175 are written to dissuade folks inclined to rob homes or automobiles with the presumption that the potential violent robber will think twice about the crime knowing that s/he may be legally killed by the owner.  I question if the folks motivated to committ violent crime respond to disincentives in the way the law hopes they do.

Although we are having so much fun, we will have wait and continue our discussion of SB 175 until next week’s episode.  Included will be how the new law assists victims of domestic violence, and the law’s new theories of liability.

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. call it “lukewarm”
2. Republican, Henderson
3. from 23 April 2015
4. This sentiment feels a bit snarky; I speculate that Sen. Roberson is referring to domestic violence cases
5. you may have heard this referred to as the “Castle Doctrine
6. as in not empty, I doubt this statute would protect you from shooting someone breaking into your car if you or a loved one are not inside of it
7. Black’s Law Dictionary
Pedestrian Accidents in Las Vegas

Pedestrian Accidents in Las Vegas

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the leading cause of death for Nevada residents between the age of 5 and 34, is motor vehicle collisions. Most accidents occur at night when pedestrians are not as visible to oncoming traffic and the speed of traffic is misjudged by those crossing the street.

Where Do Most Accidents Occur?

The most common pedestrian accident occurs when the front of a car comes in contact with a pedestrian. Most people associate a pedestrian with a person walking, but pedestrians make up a much larger group of people. Pedestrians include:

  • Walkers
  • Joggers
  • Skateboarders
  • In-line skaters
  • Sidewalks scooters
  • Wheelchair users
  • Strollers

Crosswalks are meant to be the safest route for a pedestrian to cross the street, however they can sometimes be just as dangerous as crossing in the middle of the street. Drivers sometimes fail to see that there is a crosswalk approaching; and likewise, pedestrians do not always cross when signaled by the illuminated crossing signs on the opposite end of the street, making the possibility of being struck by an oncoming vehicle more likely.

The Las Vegas Strip can be quite dangerous for pedestrians with the consistently large volume of traffic that is present. And because Las Vegas is a top destination for out-of-town visitors, these pedestrians may not be used to the traffic rhythm on the strip. Most pedestrian accidents occur on weekend nights, between Friday and Sunday. Oftentimes, alcohol and driver negligence play a significant role in pedestrian accidents. And while it is not yet known why, statistics show that males are more often struck by vehicles than women are.

Airports pose another significant risk involving pedestrian accidents. With the constant hustle and bustle of busy travelers, airport parking lots and drop-off zones are an increasingly dangerous area for pedestrian-vehicle collision. In Las Vegas, the McCarron International Airport is expected to have an increase of patrons each year, especially as its new Terminal 3 brings in more visitors.

Traffic Accidents and Children

Because children do not have the same level of judgment and awareness of adults, they are particularly vulnerable to accidents involving moving vehicles.  Common places where children are struck, include:

  • Driveways – especially by high-profile vehicles such as SUVs
  • Busy parking lots – children sometimes break free from their parents and are struck by maneuvering vehicles
  • School bus stops
  • School crosswalks

Common Pedestrian Injuries

Usually, people associate fatal car accidents with two vehicles colliding. However, fatal accidents involving pedestrians are a growing problem, with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimating that every 113 minutes, a pedestrian is killed in a traffic crash. Even more, the World Health Organization estimates that in some countries, 40% of fatal traffic accidents involve pedestrians.

The most common pedestrian injuries include:

  • Broken arms and legs
  • Head injuries
  • Brain injuries
  • Neck injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries

Some of these are potentially life-altering and even fatal. Because pedestrians have virtually no protection against vehicle collision, drivers must practice safe driving habits at all times.

Consult a Personal Injury Attorney

If you or a loved one has been involved in a pedestrian accident, contact a personal injury attorney. Depending on the circumstances, the driver may be at fault if serious injury or death has occurred. You may be owed compensation for injury, or if a loved one has been involved in a fatal accident, a wrongful-death claim could be filed.

cosmo-lawsuit

Cosmopolitan Fires Back in Vegas Nocturne Lawsuit

At the beginning of this year, the Cosmopolitan opened a new “social club” called Rose.Rabbit.Lie.  The venue was “a grand social experiment” that offered dinner, drinks, entertainment and a stand-alone show called Vegas Nocturne.  Vegas Nocturne was produced by the same company as the hugely-popular Absinthe at Caesar’s.   However, the show closed unexpectedly on July 13, 2014 after the Cosmopolitan sent the show’s producers, Spiegelworld, a notice of termination ending the contract between the two companies.  Spiegelworld then filed suit on August 6, 2014 against the parent company of the Cosmopolitan in Clark County District Court.

Spiegelworld’s allegations

Spiegelworld alleges that the Cosmopolitan started the relationship in bad faith and failed to properly market both the social club and the show.  Consequently, the show had lackluster ticket sales even on opening night.  In addition, Spiegelworld was required to partner with a third-party food and beverage operator.  According to the complaint, the staff for the food and beverage operator engaged in inappropriate and illegal behavior including stealing alcohol from the venue, sexual harassment, public intoxication and substance abuse.  Further, Spiegelworld alleges that the Cosmopolitan has failed to pay the severance agreements in excess of $500,000 for the performers contemplated in the agreement.  In addition, Spiegelworld claims that the Cosmopolitan has illegally retained the show’s property including costumes, props and sets to use at Rose.Rabbit.Lie.  Moreover, the Cosmopolitan has contractually restricted Spiegelworld from opening Vegas Nocturne at another venue or to use any of the entertainers for one year after the show’s closing.

Cosmo’s countersuit

At the time of the lawsuit, the Cosmopolitan stated that it would vigorously defend Spiegelworld’s allegations.   On August 28, 2014 the Cosmopolitan filed its answer and counterclaim against Spiegelworld.  In it, Cosmopolitan lays the blame for the show closing with Spiegelworld.  The Cosmopolitan states that the original concept for Rose.Rabbit.Lie was an integrated social club where all elements of the venue would work together and vary from night to night so that patrons would have different experiences each time they visited.  In order to achieve this vision, the Cosmopolitan entered into a contract with Spiegelworld.  However, Spiegelworld’s principal, Ross Mollison, saw the contract as an opportunity to create his own “O moment” whereby he would create an award winning show along the lines of Cirque’s “O”.  Consequently, he used the Cosmopolitan’s $3 million pre-production budget to create a stand-alone show named Vegas Nocturne and spent lavishly on talent, costumes and props.  According to the Cosmopolitan, Mollison refused to participate in marketing the venue, partially in an attempt to keep the stand-alone portion a secret from the Cosmopolitan. This is because the Cosmopolitan specifically did not want a show that was the same every night.  In addition, the Cosmopolitan states that Spiegelworld negotiated heavily for complete management of the venue.  Consequently, Spiegelworld was responsible for the financial losses which totaled $1 million per month.  The financial overruns allowed the Cosmopolitan to terminate the contract under the terms of the management agreement.  In addition, while some employees may have engaged in bad behavior, it was Spiegelworld’s responsibility to discipline them, not the Cosmopolitan’s.  Furthermore, the Cosmopolitan states that it has repeatedly offered Spiegelworld the opportunity to collect its personal property, which it has failed to do.  Moreover, the restrictive covenants contained in the Management Agreement were agreed to by Spiegelworld and are not overly broad. Consequently, Spiegelworld should be held to its obligations to not move Vegas Nocturne nor to recruit talent from Rose.Rabbit.Lie.  In addition, Spiegelworld should be enjoined for already recruiting former Vegas Nocturne performers in violation of the restrictive covenants.  Lastly, the Cosmopolitan denies it has any obligations to pay for severance payments as the performers were employees of Vegas Nocturne and not the Cosmopolitan.

At this point in time, it is unclear where the truth lies. However, since both parties are well-funded and able to pay for high-priced lawyers, there is no doubt that the allegations will continue to be played out in the headlines for many months to come.

car accidents, metro, las vegas, nevada, new policy

New Metro Policy Regarding Non-Injury Car Accidents in Las Vegas

The next time you’re in a fender bender in Las Vegas, and you don’t seem to have any injuries, don’t bother calling the police.  Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department announced that as of March 3, 2014, they will no longer be responding to non-injury “minor” motor vehicle accidents.  According to the LVMPD, officers currently spend about 250 hours per week investigating fender benders, and that’s just too much time being taken away from more serious traffic concerns.  Las Vegas recorded 114 traffic fatalities last year and LVMPD wants that number to come down.  They’re hoping that with the new policy change, traffic officers will be able to take a more proactive approach by spending more time enforcing traffic laws in order to reduce the amount of accidents on local roadways.  This is by no means a novel idea and other major cities, like Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco have already enacted similar policies.  LVMPD will still respond to accidents involving an injury, hit-and-run accidents, and accidents where a driver refuses to exchange insurance information.

HOW WILL THE NEW FENDER BENDER POLICY AFFECT YOU?

insurance companies will be relying on firsthand accounts and motorist gathered evidence to determine fault and liability.

As you can imagine, the new policy is going to cause some headaches, especially where insurance claims and coverage are concerned and you may need the expert help and support of a personal injury attorney more than ever.  Issues regarding fault and liability will likely be the most problematic.  In the past, a police report regarding a fender bender was used to help determine liability for a car accident.  While the police report was by no means conclusive evidence as to fault, it certainly helped in the determination of who had to pay.  But now, without a police report, insurance companies will be relying on firsthand accounts and motorist gathered evidence to determine fault and liability.  Relying on the average citizen to provide evidence rather than relying on an unbiased, third party police officer who has been trained in accident forensics and who knows what to look for at an accident scene raises all kinds of issues.  How honest and unbiased will people be when it comes to reporting an accident?  There are plenty of dishonest people out there who will exaggerate an accident, understate an accident, refuse to take blame, blatantly lie, and manipulate the situation.

Insurance premiums are also likely to go up.  In the past, when a fender bender occurred, the police would take a report and usually issue a traffic citation to the driver at fault.  The citation was recorded with the insurance company and they would likely see a rise in their premiums.  But now that police are no longer responding, citations will no longer be issued, but claims will still be made.  Without an offending party to lay the blame with, insurance fraud is likely to become more commonplace and you can plan on seeing insurance rates go up across the board.  Drivers who frequently break traffic laws won’t be held accountable and may start paying the same rates that good drivers currently pay.

Oftentimes, the pain doesn’t manifest itself until 12-36 hours later, well after the accident has occurred.

The issue of whether an accident can be categorized as “non-injury” will also be a problem.  The most common injuries sustained in motor vehicle accidents are neck and back injuries and soft tissue damage to muscles, ligaments, and tendons.   Oftentimes, the pain doesn’t manifest itself until 12-36 hours later, well after the accident has occurred.  Without an accident report issued by police, insurance companies may decide that since the accident was considered a “non-injury” accident, medical care was unnecessary and they may refuse to pay for care.

HOW CAN YOU PROTECT YOURSELF IF YOU ARE INVOLVED IN NON-INJURY CAR ACCIDENTS?

Without an officer on the scene of a fender bender, the responsibility of documenting a car accident will now lie squarely with the motorist and there are a number of things motorists need to do and be aware of in order to protect their interests when they are involved in a car accident.

If you are involved in a car accident, take a moment to stop and check yourself to make sure you are not injured.  Move your arms and legs and make sure everything feels alright and then check on the other motorist to make sure they are not injured.  If they are, call 911.  Otherwise, as long as both vehicles are drivable, move them out of traffic so as not to impede traffic anymore and create any other hazards.

Once you are both safely out of traffic, proceed to document everything.  Use the camera on your cell phone if you have one, or keep a disposable camera in your car in case of accidents.  Take pictures of everything, from every angle.  Take pictures of where the impact occurred, the condition of both vehicles, road signs and markers, skids on the roadway, and anything else you can think of.  It’s especially important to take pictures if you don’t see any damage so that the other driver can’t claim that you caused damage to their car when you didn’t.  You may also want to consider investing in a dashboard camera.

Document everything.  Use the camera on your cell phone if you have one, or keep a disposable camera in your car in case of accidents.  Take pictures of everything, from every angle.

You’ll also need to exchange pertinent information with the other driver.  Write down their license plate, VIN number, make and model of their vehicle, their driver’s license number, name, address, phone number, and insurance information.  It may feel natural to just write down your personal information yourself and accept anything the other motorist gives you regarding their information, but you are better off writing everything down yourself.  If possible, get a picture of their driver’s license and insurance card as well.

While you’re at the accident scene, look for anyone else that may be able to offer statements or evidence.  Look for eyewitnesses, other motorists, pedestrians, people who may be in a nearby store, and anyone else who can act as a witness as to what happened.

Be very careful about what you say while communicating with the other driver.  Choose your words carefully and stick to the facts.  Don’t unknowingly accept any blame by apologizing or making excuses.  Pay attention to whether the other driver expresses any blame, and make a note of it if they do.  Be especially careful in what you say if the insurance company of the other driver contacts you.  Do not express any fault to them and keep in mind that insurance claims adjusters will use any information you offer up against you during the claims process.

Once you’ve documented all the physical evidence and exchanged all the necessary information with the other motorist, take a minute to record all the details that you remember.  Make a note of the weather, date, and time of the accident, as well the condition of the roadway, demeanor of the other driver and anything else that may seem notable to you.  It’s important to document your knowledge of everything as soon as possible, while the details are still fresh in your mind.  In the following days, carefully monitor how you’re feeling and watch for any soreness or tenderness that seems to be getting worse.  Seek medical care if necessary.

If you believe that either vehicle sustained more than $750 in damage, Nevada law requires that an accident report be downloaded and filed within 10 days after an accident.  The report is called a SR-1 report and can be found here.

PROTECT YOUR INTERESTS WITH A PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER

Without police on the scene of a fender bender anymore, protecting your interests is now more important than ever.  If you are involved in a non-injury causing car accident, you should contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.  Clear Counsel Law Group has personal injury attorneys who are experienced in dealing with insurance companies and car accidents and they can assist you with any issues you may have.  They will communicate with the insurance companies on your behalf, they will help you organize your evidence, and they will defend your rights in court, if necessary.  It’s possible that the accident did more damage than you or the other driver realizes, and even if everything at the accident scene seems simple and straightforward, you never know how things may change later on.  Having the expertise and compassion of an experienced car accident attorney from Clear Counsel Law Group is now more invaluable than ever.  Contact a personal injury attorney from Clear Counsel Law Group today for a free and confidential consultation today.

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