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Ramirez Win Appeal in Nevada Mechanics Lien Case

July 15, 2013

Jorge A. Ramirez (Partner-Las Vegas) won an appeal before the Nevada Supreme Court on behalf of a local mechanical contractor in a case involving a mechanics lien claim valued at more than $1 million and a counter claim for construction defect. The contractor put a lien on the property when neither the contractor nor the owner paid him for work done.

Jorge successfully obtained summary judgment on both claims from the district court and the commercial building owner appealed the decision. The issues on appeal focused not only on the standards for granting summary judgment, but also on Nevada’s jurisprudence that permits discovery sanctions for engaging in spoliation of evidence.

During the pendency of the litigation, the owner destroyed the mechanical contractor’s work at issue in the case and then amended its pleadings to assert affirmative construction defect claims against the defendant. Due to the egregious nature of the owner’s conduct, Jorge successfully obtained dismissal of all affirmative claims for construction defect.

In addition to the issues of spoliation, the appeal addressed unique issues of Nevada law pertaining to the court’s use of special masters as a tool to assist in complex litigation. On appeal, the owner objected to the court’s adoption of the Special Master’s findings as to the validity, amount, and rank of the lien claim. The owner specifically argued that the district court was required to hold an evidentiary hearing before adopting the Special Master’s findings.

Ultimately, the Nevada Supreme Court found in favor of the defense on all issues.  As a result of Jorge effort, the defendant will recover its entire mechanic’s lien amount plus its attorneys’ fees and costs.

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