Helfstein v. Eighth Judicial Dist. Court of Nev., No. 65409.

Docket NºNo. 65409.
Citation362 P.3d 91
Case DateDecember 03, 2015
CourtSupreme Court of Nevada

362 P.3d 91

Lewis HELFSTEIN; Madalyn Helfstein; Summit Laser Products, Inc.; and Summit Technologies, LLC, Petitioners,
v.
The EIGHTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT OF the State of Nevada, In and for the County of Clark; The Honorable Elissa F. Cadish, District Judge; and the Honorable Elizabeth Goff Gonzalez, District Judge, Respondents,
and
Ira and Edythe Seaver Family Trust; Ira Seaver; and Circle Consulting Corporation, Real Parties in Interest.

No. 65409.

Supreme Court of Nevada.

Dec. 3, 2015.


362 P.3d 92

Foley & Oakes, PC, and J. Michael Oakes, Las Vegas, for Petitioners.

Holley, Driggs, Walch, Fine, Wray, Puzey & Thompson and Jeffrey R. Albregts, Las Vegas, for Real Parties in Interest.

Before PARRAGUIRRE, DOUGLAS and CHERRY, JJ.

OPINION

By the Court, CHERRY, J.:

To resolve this original writ petition, petitioner asks us to consider whether NRCP 60(b) can be used to set aside a voluntary dismissal or a settlement agreement. While NRCP 60(b) imposes a 6–month time limit, real parties in interest filed their NRCP 60(b) motion 40 months after filing the voluntary dismissal. Without reaching whether NRCP 60(b) may be used to set aside a voluntary dismissal or a settlement order, we hold that NRCP 60(b)'s 6–month limitation begins running when the order, judgment, or

362 P.3d 93

proceeding at issue is filed. Thus, even if NRCP 60(b) applies, the motion is time-barred. We therefore grant the petition.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Real parties in interest Ira Seaver, the Ira Seaver and Edythe Seaver Family Trust, and Circle Consulting Corporation (collectively, Seaver) filed a complaint in the district court against petitioners Lewis and Madalyn Helfstein; Summit Laser Products, Inc.; and Summit Technologies, LLC (collectively, the Helfsteins) and against Uninet Imaging, Inc., and Nestor Saporiti (collectively, Uninet). Seaver alleged contract and tort-based causes of action arising out of agreements between the Helfsteins and Seaver following Uninet's purchase of the Helfsteins' Summit companies. When Uninet purchased Summit, Uninet refused to be liable for the consulting agreement between the Helfsteins and Seaver. Seaver objected to the purchase agreement, but the Helfsteins proceeded with the sale.

Prior to answering the complaint, the Helfsteins settled with Seaver, and Seaver voluntarily dismissed their claims against the Helfsteins.1 Fourteen months after voluntarily dismissing the Helfsteins from the suit, Seaver filed a notice of rescission. In the notice, Seaver alleged that the Helfsteins fraudulently induced them to settle and that the Helfsteins failed to inform them of material facts or produce relevant documents, which the Helfsteins were obligated to produce pursuant to their fiduciary duties and discovery obligations.

Without the Helfsteins as a party to the litigation,2 Seaver and Uninet tried the claims between them at a bench trial, and the district court issued findings of fact and conclusions of law that resolved those claims. One year after the bench trial and 26 months after filing the notice of rescission, Seaver filed an NRCP 60(b) motion to set aside the settlement agreement, and, implicitly, the voluntary dismissal and sought to proceed on their claims against the Helfsteins. The Helfsteins opposed the motion claiming, inter alia, that the motion was procedurally improper. At the hearing on Seaver's motion, the district court ordered an evidentiary hearing and permitted discovery. The Helfsteins subsequently filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the district court lacked jurisdiction over them and that the NRCP 60(b) motion was procedurally improper. The district court denied the motion. Finally, the Helfsteins moved to have Judge Gonzalez disqualified from the case, which the district court chief judge heard and denied. The Helfsteins then filed the instant petition. The district court stayed the evidentiary hearing pending this court's resolution of this writ petition.

DISCUSSION

The Helfsteins' petition seeks the following relief: (1) that this court order the district court to deny as untimely Seaver's motion to set aside the settlement agreement and proceed on the original complaint; (2) that this court order the district court to grant their motion to dismiss Seaver's original complaint against them because the lower court does not have personal jurisdiction over them; and (3) if this court denies their requests for the preceding relief, that this court order the district court to grant their motion to disqualify Judge Gonzalez. The Helfsteins additionally argue that NRCP 60(b) cannot be used to set aside a voluntary dismissal or a settlement agreement.

Writ relief

"A...

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16 practice notes
  • Canarelli v. Eighth Judicial Dist. Court of Nev., 82299
    • United States
    • Nevada Supreme Court of Nevada
    • March 24, 2022
    ...to consider writ petitions challenging interlocutory district court orders." Helfstein v. Eighth Judicial Dist. Court, 131 Nev. 909, 912, 362 P.3d 91, 94 (2015). However, when a writ petition presents an opportunity to clarify an important issue of law and doing so serves judicial economy, ......
  • Canarelli v. The Eighth Judicial Dist. Court of the State, 82299
    • United States
    • Nevada Supreme Court of Nevada
    • March 24, 2022
    ...to consider writ petitions challenging interlocutory district court orders." Helfstein v. Eighth Judicial Dist. Court, 131 Nev. 909, 912, 362 P.3d 91, 94 (2015). However, when a writ petition presents an opportunity to clarify an important issue of law and doing so serves judicial economy, ......
  • Willick v. Eighth Judicial Dist. Court of Nev., 82524
    • United States
    • Nevada Supreme Court of Nevada
    • March 31, 2022
    ...review questions of law ... de novo, even in the context of writ petitions." Helfstein v. Eighth Judicial Dist. Court, 131 Nev. 909, 913, 362 P.3d 91, 94 (2015). Nevada Rule of Civil Procedure 41(a) governs voluntary dismissals. It provides that a "plaintiff may dismiss an action without a ......
  • Dekker/Perich/Sabatini Ltd. v. Eighth Judicial Dist. Court of Nev., 81459
    • United States
    • Nevada Supreme Court of Nevada
    • September 23, 2021
    ...to consider writ petitions challenging interlocutory district court orders." Helfstein v. Eighth Judicial Dist. Court , 131 Nev. 909, 912, 362 P.3d 91, 94 (2015). However, when a writ petition presents an opportunity to clarify an important issue of law and doing so serves judicial economy,......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
16 cases
  • Canarelli v. Eighth Judicial Dist. Court of Nev., 82299
    • United States
    • Nevada Supreme Court of Nevada
    • March 24, 2022
    ...writ petitions challenging interlocutory district court orders." Helfstein v. Eighth Judicial Dist. Court, 131 Nev. 909, 912, 362 P.3d 91, 94 (2015). However, when a writ petition presents an opportunity to clarify an important issue of law and doing so serves judicial economy, we may ......
  • Canarelli v. The Eighth Judicial Dist. Court of the State, 82299
    • United States
    • Nevada Supreme Court of Nevada
    • March 24, 2022
    ...writ petitions challenging interlocutory district court orders." Helfstein v. Eighth Judicial Dist. Court, 131 Nev. 909, 912, 362 P.3d 91, 94 (2015). However, when a writ petition presents an opportunity to clarify an important issue of law and doing so serves judicial economy, we may ......
  • Willick v. Eighth Judicial Dist. Court of Nev., 82524
    • United States
    • Nevada Supreme Court of Nevada
    • March 31, 2022
    ...questions of law ... de novo, even in the context of writ petitions." Helfstein v. Eighth Judicial Dist. Court, 131 Nev. 909, 913, 362 P.3d 91, 94 (2015). Nevada Rule of Civil Procedure 41(a) governs voluntary dismissals. It provides that a "plaintiff may dismiss an action without......
  • Dekker/Perich/Sabatini Ltd. v. Eighth Judicial Dist. Court of Nev., 81459
    • United States
    • Nevada Supreme Court of Nevada
    • September 23, 2021
    ...writ petitions challenging interlocutory district court orders." Helfstein v. Eighth Judicial Dist. Court , 131 Nev. 909, 912, 362 P.3d 91, 94 (2015). However, when a writ petition presents an opportunity to clarify an important issue of law and doing so serves judicial economy, we may......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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