January 2017

Click to download a PDF file of the full January 2017 issue. (PDF @ 4 MB)

Articles were written by attorneys for attorneys and published in the “Five Things” issue of the printed journal, Communiqué (January 2017):

© 2017 The following articles were originally published in COMMUNIQUÉ, the official publication of the Clark County Bar Association. (January 2017). All rights reserved. For permission to reprint this article, contact the publisher Clark County Bar Association, 717 S. 8th Street, Las Vegas, NV 89101. Phone: (702) 387-6011.


Five Things to Know About eSports

By Jennifer Roberts, Esq., Brett Abarbanel, Ph.D., and Robert Rippee

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Jennifer Roberts is the Associate Director of the International Center for Gaming Regulation at UNLV and also teaches gaming law courses at the William S. Boyd School of Law.
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Brett Abarbanel, Ph.D., is Director of Research at the International Gaming Institute at UNLV. Dr. Abarbanel’s areas of expertise include Internet gambling policy and behavior, eSports and gambling, operations and technology use, and responsible gambling and community relations.
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Robert Rippee is the Director of the Hospitality Innovation and eSports Labs at the International Gaming Institute at UNLV. He also teaches a course on eSports to students at UNLV.

Just last month, the Gaming Policy Committee (GPC) met on the UNLV campus. The Gaming Policy Committee is an advisory committee made up of the Governor, the Chairman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board, the Chairman of the Nevada Gaming Commission, gaming industry members, and representatives from academia, the Nevada legislature, Native American tribes, and the Nevada citizenry. See NRS 463.021. The GPC is an advisory body convened to discuss the state’s policy on gaming matters. Id. They meet at the call of the governor and, prior to 2012 when it convened to discuss Internet gaming, it hadn’t met in its entirety for over 20 years.

Since 2012, the GPC has discussed issues that impact the gaming industry, including Internet gaming, daily fantasy sports, technology and innovation, and now eSports. As eSports is expected to become more popular, this article will provide five things you should know about the topic.

1. What is eSports?
In a nutshell, eSports is competitive video gaming. You may not know what League of Legends or Call of Duty is, but your kids definitely do. These are popular video games that have online play, local play, and a tournament system leading to championships where teams play the game in a matchup against other teams. ESports exist for amateur up to professional levels, much like the sports you know and love. There are gamers gathering together for a friendly game of Hearthstone, much as groups meet up for a friendly game of basketball. There are also high level competitions culminating in world championships, and weekly professional competitive leagues. If you are asking yourself why anyone would watch other people play video games, earlier this year, Las Vegas held an eSports tournament with an estimated 15,000 in attendance, essentially to watch 10 people actually play the game. See Narus Advisors, “Largest eSports Weekend in Las Vegas History Capped Off by Team Liquid Takeover at Downtown Grand Casino” (Apr. 18, 2016), available at http://finance.yahoo.com/news/largest-esports-weekend-las-vegas-225300940.html. Another eSports championship tournament held last year resulted in a peak of 1.6 million concurrent viewers and an added five million views on YouTube. See John Gaudiosi, “Poland Is Home to the Biggest eSports Event in the World” (Mar. 3, 2016), available at http://fortune.com/2016/03/03/poland-is-home-to-the-biggest-esports-event-in-the-world/. The prizes for winning these tournaments can be in the millions of dollars.

2. Is eSports a sport?

It depends on who you ask. There has been no official ruling on whether competitive video gaming is a sport. However, if you ask those familiar with eSports, many of them agree that it is. In addition, the United States government has for over three years formally recognized participants in eSports tournaments as professional athletes when issuing visas. See Paul Tassi, “The U.S. Now Recognizes eSports Players as Professional Athletes” (July 14, 2013), available at http://www.forbes.com/sites/insertcoin/2013/07/14/the-u-s-now-recognizes-esports-players-as-professional-athletes/#49d9d2ce691d. Even the GPC has heard testimony from eSports players about strict diet regimens and exercise routines engaged in by players to prepare for tournament play.

Whether or not it is officially classified as a sport, there are eSports associations that monitor the integrity of the competitions and help protect against match fixing. In addition, there is growing momentum within the eSports industry to establish greater standards and structural oversight of the players, matches, and tournaments. The game developers, of which the two largest are companies called Blizzard Entertainment and Riot Games, design and license the games. As the developers, they also design all of the rules built into the software of the games. The games are played on either computers or console systems (xBox and PlayStation being the most popular).

3. Is eSports gambling?

On a basic level, determining whether something is gambling requires analysis of whether there is prize, chance, and consideration present. States conduct the analysis using various tests in reviewing these basic elements. The eSports tournaments themselves have not really raised any questions because, even if there is some form of buy-in to participate, competitive video gaming requires a substantial amount of skill to participate. Therefore, the question really hasn’t required much discussion.

4. What is eSports wagering?

When the GPC met last month, the question was how to accept wagering on eSports tournaments. The GPC recommended that the Nevada Gaming Control Board begin to accept betting on such events under the legal and regulatory structure of “other event” wagering. In Nevada, a licensed sports book can accept wagers on sporting events, such as football, baseball, or hockey, and “other events” that are approved by the Nevada Gaming Control Board. See NRS 463.0193; NGC Reg. 22.120. Another example of an “other event” that can be wagered on is The World Series of Poker. After the GPC recommendation, licensed sports books can now accept wagers on certain eSports tournaments authorized by the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

5. What is skins betting?

Associated with the eSports world, but not part of the tournaments, is the unregulated market of game-mediated wagering. “Game-mediated betting is a huge, opaque segment of betting on eSports. In game-mediated betting, the bettors do not directly bet with money but instead bet with virtual items, which are valuable assets in the game itself. Game-mediated betting thus capitalizes on the in-game market for virtual items, such as weapons, armor, abilities, and aesthetic items (commonly referred to as “skins”). These items are then wagered on the outcome of different events, such as actual eSports competitions, random number draws and, poker or other card games. Often, these items have some form of monetary value and can also be purchased for cash through other channels.” Abarbanel, B., & Fiedler, I., “Social gaming and social gambling: eSports. Market analysis and regulatory recommendations.” [White Paper]. University of Hamburg and University of California, Los Angeles (2016).

A skin might be likened to a trading card in that you hope when you purchase a pack, it is a rare Michael Jordan card containing a piece of his jersey. This card could be valued at tens of thousands of dollars because there were so few made. Skins are similar. There might be a pink camouflage version of a gun used in Call of Duty (a first-person shooter game) that could be sold on eBay for hundreds or thousands of dollars. In essence, they have value. What happens in this skins betting underground is that people would use a valuable skin to play a game, such as roulette, against others. If they won the game, they may have received a prize of someone else’s skin that was also bet in the roulette game. In essence, you had the three elements of gambling present – consideration (skin put up to participate), chance (roulette involves little to no skill), and prize (winning a skin from the roulette game).

Nevada has the opportunity to become the eSports capital of the world. Wagers on eSports are now being accepted at the Downtown Grand, where they currently have an eSports lounge with plans for expansion. As we become more reliant on technology, the sports and gaming worlds will continue to see a lot of innovative change.


Five Things to Know About the New DOL Overtime Rule

By Roger L. Grandgenett II, Esq. and Kaitlyn M. Burke, Esq.

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Kaitlyn M. Burke is an associate in the Las Vegas office of Littler Mendelson, P.C. Her practice includes representation of employers in a wide range of labor and employment matters from complex wage and hour class actions to wrongful termination matters. She also provides advice and counseling and reviews and drafts policies, handbooks, and employment agreements.
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Roger L. Grandgenett II is the office managing shareholder of the Las Vegas office of Littler Mendelson, P.C. He advises and represents employers in all aspects of labor and employment matters including wage and hour class and collective actions and frequently conducts seminars on a variety of employment and labor law topics.

When Congress enacted the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) in 1938, it exempted executive, administrative, and professional employees (“White Collar Exemptions”) from the requirement that employees be paid overtime for hours worked above 40 per week. On March 13, 2014, President Obama issued a memorandum directing the Secretary of Labor to “modernize and streamline the existing overtime regulations” – last revised in 2004. In response, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) published its Final Rule on May 18, 2016. Here are five things to know about the Final Rule:

1. What Is It?

The Final Rule overhauled the Salary Basis Test, which requires that white collar employees receive a fixed, predetermined amount of compensation each week, without variation for quality or quantity of work performed. It more than doubled the minimum salary level for the White Collar Exemptions from $455 per week or $23,660 per year to $913 per week or $47,476 per year. It also increased the total compensation level for highly compensated employees from $100,000 per year to $134,004 per year. Further, it established an automatic updating of the minimum salary level every three years, beginning January 1, 2020. The Final Rule did not change the Duties Test, which requires that an employee’s primary duty be exempt in nature.

2. Who Is Most Affected?

Small businesses, nonprofits, educational institutions, and government agencies will be challenged the most by the Final Rule. They will need to implement plans to track and limit work hours, re-classify employees, and create lower-level or part-time jobs to accommodate the cost of the Final Rule in their already strained budgets. Additionally, employees who are re-classified as non-exempt – like full-time, entry-level retail and restaurant managers – will resent the associated reduction in pay, close monitoring of hours, and less flexibility in schedule. Lower-wage or rural areas will be disproportionally affected given that the nationwide salary baseline does not adjust for the size of the business, city, or industry.

3. When Does It Take Effect?

The Final Rule was set to take effect on December 1, 2016. However, Nevada – along with 21 other states and a diverse coalition of business organizations – challenged the Final Rule by claiming the DOL exceeded its delegated rule-making authority in overhauling the Salary Basis Test. The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas responded on November 22, 2016 by granting a nationwide preliminary injunction. State of Nevada, et al. v. U.S. Dept. of Labor, et al., Case No. 4:16-cv-732-ALM.

4. Why Was It Enjoined?

The Court found that Nevada and the other Plaintiffs had met their burden of showing a likelihood of success on the merits of their claim that the DOL ignored Congress’ intent by raising the minimum salary level so much that it supplants the Duties Test. It noted that the salary level increase will likely exclude 4.2 million employees even though they perform exempt job duties. The Court also considered evidence that the Final Rule would cause irreparable harm by depleting state budgets, causing layoffs, and hampering government services.

5. What Is Next for the Final Rule?

The Court may grant a permanent injunction or the DOL may appeal to the Fifth Circuit. The Trump Administration may also have a different policy perspective and direct a new Secretary of Labor to re-evaluate the Final Rule. Ultimately, Nevada’s challenge to this unprecedented revision of the White Collar Exemptions will soon be decided.


Five Things to Remember in Ninth Circuit Appellate Practice

By Micah S. Echols, Esq.

1. The lack of a “notice of entry of order”

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Micah S. Echols is a shareholder at Marquis Aurbach Coffing and can be reached at mechols@maclaw.com or (702) 207-6087. Mr. Echols focuses his practice on appeals in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the Nevada appellate courts. He has participated in the briefing and/or oral argument in approximately 200 appeals.

In the Nevada Rules of Civil Procedure (NRCP), there is a distinction between the entry of a judgment or order and the notice of entry of a judgment or order. See NRCP 58. Rule 58 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) makes no such distinction. This difference is important because according to the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure (FRAP), Rule 4(a)(1)(A), the notice of appeal must be filed “within 30 days after entry of the judgment or order appealed from.” In contrast, appeals in Nevada appellate courts must be filed “after entry of a written judgment or order, and no later than 30 days after the date that written notice of entry of the judgment or order appealed from is served.” Nevada Rules of Appellate Procedure (NRAP), Rule 4(a)(1).

2. The timing of post-judgment filings

According to NRAP 4(a)(4), there are four tolling motions in Nevada state district courts that must be filed within 10 days after service of written notice of entry of the judgment or order. A memorandum of costs in Nevada state courts must be filed within five days “after the entry of judgment” according to NRS 18.110(1). And, NRCP 54(d)(2)(B) requires a state court motion for attorney fees to be filed “no later than 20 days after notice of entry of judgment is served.”

In federal courts, the same four tolling motions are identified in addition to two other motions that can be tolling under certain conditions. FRAP 4(a)(4). Unlike the 10-day period in state courts, the tolling motions under the applicable FRCP must be filed no later than 28 days after the entry of judgment. Federal courts also require both the bill of costs and a motion for attorney fees to be filed within 14 days after the entry of judgment. FRCP 54(d).

3. Extension of time for Ninth Circuit briefs

Under NRAP 31(b), a requested extension of time to file a brief must be made on or before the due date for the brief. In the Ninth Circuit, the initial streamlined extension of time made online can similarly be requested on or before the brief’s due date. But, subsequent written motions for extensions of time must be made at least seven days before the filing deadline for the brief.

4. Electronic filing of Ninth Circuit briefs

The Ninth Circuit has a mandatory electronic filing requirement for attorneys. Circuit Rule 25-5(a). The electronic version of the brief must be a PDF and cannot be scanned from a paper document. Circuit Rule 25-5(d). In contrast, the Nevada appellate courts do not require mandatory electronic filing or any similar restrictions on how the electronic version of the brief is prepared. NRAP 25(a).

5. Presumptions for setting of oral argument

Rule 5(c) of the Nevada Supreme Court Internal Operating Procedures (IOP) reflects that oral argument is only held in cases involving precedential issues, important public policies, or unsettled areas of law. In the Ninth Circuit, “[o]ral argument must be allowed in every case unless a panel of three judges who have examined the briefs and record unanimously agrees that oral argument is unnecessary….” FRAP 34(a)(2).


Five Things to Know About The Presidential Inauguration

By Lindsay Demaree, Esq.

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Lindsay Demaree is an associate at Ballard Spahr, where she focuses of consumer financial services litigation.

This month, Donald Trump will be inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States. Like his campaign and election, his inauguration is sure to make history. Here are five things to know about the presidential inauguration as it approaches:

1. President-elect Trump will be the oldest man inaugurated for a first term as president.

He will be 70 years old. The title previously belonged to Ronald Reagan, who was 17 days shy of his 70th birthday when he was sworn in for his first term in 1981. At 43, John F. Kennedy was the youngest elected president. However, Teddy Roosevelt was sworn in at the age of 42, taking office upon the death of then-President McKinley.

2. January 20th is inauguration day.

Inaugurations previously took place on March 4th, the day the Constitution went into effect. However, in 1933, the Twentieth Amendment—also known as the Lame Duck Amendment—changed the inauguration date to January 20th to shorten the time the outgoing president serves after the election.

3. The Chief Justice generally swears in the President (but not always).

Article II of the Constitution contains the President’s Oath, but it does not mention who must administer it. Typically, since 1797, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States administers the oath. Donald Trump will be the second president sworn into office by Chief Justice John Roberts. Chief Justice John Marshall administered the Oath a record nine times but only for five different presidents: Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, J.Q. Adams, and Jackson. Chief Justice Roger Taney administered the Oath seven times, to seven different Presidents Van Buren, Harrison, Polk, Taylor, Pierce, Buchanan, and Lincoln. U.S. District Court Judge Sarah Hughes is the only woman ever to swear in a President. She administered the Oath to Lyndon Johnson after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

4. The length of inauguration speeches varies widely.

William Henry Harrison’s inauguration speech is the longest on record, taking almost two hours to deliver. (Despite his lengthy speech, Harrison served the shortest term as president. He died from pneumonia on his 32nd day in office.) George Washington’s second inauguration speech is the shortest. at only 135 words, i.e., less than a third of the length of this article!

5. The inauguration signifies a peaceful transition of power.

The presidency changed political affiliation for the first time in 1800 when Thomas Jefferson, a Jeffersonian Republican, succeeded John Adams, a Federalist. Their contentious campaign battle led to a tense political atmosphere. To avoid inflaming Jefferson’s supporters, Adams left Washington D.C. on the morning of the inauguration. Jefferson, for his part, struck a conciliatory tone in his inauguration speech, declaring that “every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle. We have called by different names brethren of the same principle. We are all Republicans, we are all Federalists.” With only a handful of exceptions, the outgoing president has attended the inauguration of his successor since this first transition of power.


Five Things to Know About Family Law

By Jason Stoffel, Esq.

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Jason Stoffel is one of the partners of Roberts Stoffel Family Law Group in Las Vegas. His area of practice for over 12 years has been in Family Law. He has proudly served on the Executive Board of the Clark County Bar Association for several years.

1. COPE class: This is a rule unique to Clark County, provided for in EDCR 5.07. This is the mandatory seminar for divorcing or separating parents. It must be taken within 45 days after service of the complaint. Judges are granted the discretion to compel litigants to take this class, including giving the litigant a reasonable time of around 30 days to take the class, or risk having all of your contact with the children suspended until a certificate of completion is filed with the court.

2. FMC: This is also a Clark County local rule provided for in EDCR 5.70. The Family Mediation Center, or “FMC,” is the arm of the court that makes mediation of parent/child issues mandatory with the two litigants and a court mediator. Participation is required in any case involving children to try to resolve custody. I typically fill out the Request and Order for Mediation once an Answer is filed. Placing parents in front of a mediator will reduce conflict in the case and may avoid unnecessary and expensive motion practice.

3. Alimony vs. child support: This is an easy rule to remember. The payment or receipt of child support is not a taxable event and therefore is not reported to the IRS. Alimony generally is different whereas in most cases the payer of alimony can deduct the payment on tax returns and the recipient has to declare it as reportable income. While attorneys are not tax experts, just the basic knowledge of this concept and advising clients of this issue is necessary as their advocate.

4. Nevada is a no fault state: Some attorneys and litigants forget this basic concept. The court generally doesn’t care about the affair, the lying, the gambling, etc. The emotional impact of the divorce is enough and Nevada’s grounds for divorce is typically pleaded as “incompatibility.” In other words, you don’t get more than your equal share of the marital estate because your spouse cheated on you.

5. Unequal distribution of the marital estate is allowed: While the court may not care about the gambling in a case for purposes of filing the divorce, if properly pleaded, the court may award an unequal distribution of community property so long as there is a “compelling reason to do so” under NRS 125.150(1)(b). The court must state “reasons for making the unequal disposition.”

Essentially, what this refers to in most cases is what is called “marital waste,” or using community resources for the benefit of one spouse. See Lofgren v Lofgren, 112 Nev. 1282, 926 P.2d 296 (1996); Putterman v. Putterman, 113 Nev. 606, 939 P.2d 1047 (1997). A typical example would be where there was $50,000 in a savings account and one spouse goes on a gambling binge or supports a significant other with gifts to the tune of $20,000, leaving $30,000 left in the account. The court can make the specific findings that each spouse will get $25,000 from the original $50,000. Given that one spouse already used $20,000, that would be subtracted from his share so that the innocent spouse would receive $25,000 and the other spouse would get $25,000-$20,000, or the remaining $5,000. There are many sad cases where the facts aren’t as easy where there is nothing left in the account and then the parties are forced into bankruptcy. The take away is there is a remedy for unequal distribution of property in Nevada, but a paper judgment is not the same as money in the bank.

In summary, it is imperative for attorneys that occasionally take a family law case to have a basic understanding of the material and Chapter Five of the Eighth Judicial District Court Rules. In child custody trials when I know the other side has not taken the COPE class, I will ask the question “what information did you get out of the COPE class?” The classic response is “what is that?” BOOM! It is all downhill from there. Or as they said on the Titantic – “ICEBERG . . . STRAIGHT AHEAD!”


Five Things to Know About Completing CLE in Nevada

By Rob Telles, Esq.

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Rob Telles is chair of the Clark County Bar Association’s Continuing Legal Education Committee and the founding attorney at Accolade Law, a firm that focuses on estate planning, probate, and family law.

You are all aware that, as an attorney practicing in Nevada, you must complete twelve hours of accredited continuing legal education (CLE) in order to maintain your license. However, you may or may not know the following five things about completing CLE in Nevada:

  1. As part of the twelve hour CLE requirement, every practicing attorney in Nevada must complete two hours of ethics and one hour of abuse, addictive disorders and/or mental health issue (AAMH) learning. ADKT 478, which became effective on March 20, 2014, added the requirement of one hour of AAMH CLE every three years. During the year that the AAMH requirement is completed, each attorney must complete nine general credits and two ethics credits. During the other two years of this period, each attorney must complete the usual ten hours of general credits and two hours of ethics credits.
  2. The Clark County Bar Association (CCBA) offers CLE courses that allow you to meet your CLE requirements with presentations that span a wide variety of topics. The topics include everything from local issues to the basics of general practice areas, and even presentations that focus on cutting edge theory and practice.
  3. The CCBA offers a few convenient ways to meet your CLE requirements. It offers live scheduled seminars, where participants can attend and gain greater insight by posing questions to the presenter(s). For those unable to attend a live seminar, the CCBA also offers presentations that may be downloaded and DVDs that may be rented or purchased. As an added benefit, the CCBA offers members in good standing the opportunity to purchase a CLE passport, which allows the member to obtain all twelve CLE hours for the year for only $200, whether by completing live or previously recorded CLEs.
  4. The seminars provided by the CCBA are selected and produced by a committee of attorneys. These attorneys strive to produce seminars that provide the most valuable and relevant education possible. The members of the CCBA CLE committee come from a wide range of practice and have an eye toward producing content that you can use in your daily practice, whatever your own area(s) of practice may be.
  5. The CCBA CLE Committee is always looking for new members. Membership on the CLE committee is a great way to get involved in the legal community. As a member of the committee, you can produce great content for our legal community including formulating topics and reaching out to leaders on the subjects that most interest you. Additionally, you receive no-cost CLE credit for your participation on the committee. If you are interested in membership on the CLE committee, please be sure to contact the CCBA for more information.

Every attorney must complete the required number of annual CLE credits. You can obtain your required credits through the high quality, low cost CLE programs offered by the CCBA. If you would like more information on our CLE programs or the CLE committee, you can contact the CCBA at (702) 387-6011 or you can email Donna Weissner, the CCBA’s Executive Director, at donnaw@clarkcountybar.org.


Five Things to Know About Medical Legal Partnerships

By Connie Akridge, Esq.

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Connie Akridge, who practices insurance regulation and health law, is the Administrative Partner of Holland & Hart LLP’s Las Vegas office.

1. While 40 percent of a person’s health is determined by genetics, medical care, and personal choices, 60 percent of health is determined by environmental (urban design, housing, clean air, and water) and social factors (income, education, job stability, access to healthcare, access to enough healthy food, personal safety, social support, and culture). See National Center for Medical Legal Partnership, http://medical-legalpartnership.org/need/.

2. A Medical Legal Partnership (MLP) is a partnership of civil legal service providers and healthcare providers that facilitates the delivery of pro bono legal services to vulnerable populations in a clinical setting with the overall goal of improving a patient’s health.

3. According to the National Center for Medical Legal Partnerships (NCMLPs), MLPs have been established in nearly 294 health care institutions in 41 states. Nevada, however, does not currently have any MLPs. See National Center for Medical Legal Partnership, http://medical-legalpartnership.org/partnerships.

4. One MLP example, Medical Legal Partnership Colorado (MLP-CO), which was founded by Holland & Hart LLP Partner Patricia (Pia) Dean, contributes to improvement of health equity and health justice in Colorado in four ways: First, MLP-CO provides education for healthcare providers, professionals, and students, teaching them to practice collaborative preventative law and medicine. MLP-CO works within an integrated care team to address the health-harming legal needs of patients who have little access to legal representation. Second, MLP-CO provides direct legal service to patients whose unmet legal needs detrimentally impact their health. Examples may include families living in unhealthy housing, women experiencing domestic violence, immigrants isolated from preventative care, or low income families whose medical benefits have been improperly terminated. Third, MLP-CO conducts quantitative and qualitative research to contribute to the knowledge of best practices for improving the health and well-being of low-income patients. Fourth, MLP-CO works with public health professionals, public interest and pro bono attorneys, public health advocates, and health care providers to develop public and institutional policies to systemically address the social determinants of poor health and reduce health disparities. MLP-CO is a not-for-profit organization currently working with Salud Family Health Centers, Denver Health, and public health, law, and medical students across Colorado to improve health outcomes for vulnerable populations. MLP-CO’s client successes include: positive resolution of legal issues; improved health outcomes; decrease in missed clinic appointments; decrease in missed work days; decrease in ER visits and hospitalizations; and high satisfaction levels. See MLP-CO Client Cases below.

5. You can join in the effort to create and support the operation of MLPs in Nevada by contacting Connie Akridge at clakridge@hollandhart.com, making a donation to the Nevada Bar Foundation at www.nevadabarfoundation.org, and/or by contacting lisad@nvbar.org.

MLP-CO Client Cases

MLP-CO Client Case No. 1

Kenneth is a 57-year-old client who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2009. He worked as a machine technician for many years. His symptoms worsened over time, making it increasingly difficult for him to perform fine motor movements. Kenneth left his job when he was no longer able to perform the major duties required of him. He was receiving unemployment benefits, but needed long-term income support to survive once his unemployment benefits stopped. Kenneth was referred to MLP-CO by his care team at Salud. Working in conjunction with his physicians to document his daily functional limitations, MLP-CO immediately started a Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) application. In January 2016, only five months after Kenneth’s first meeting with MLP-CO, he was awarded a monthly SSDI benefit of $1,302.00.

MLP-CO Client Case No. 2

Mae is a 66-year-old woman who was referred to MLP-CO for a housing issue. She lived in a Section 8 apartment complex in Brighton. In November 2015, her apartment flooded after the unit above hers caught fire and triggered the sprinkler system. It took over two months for her landlord and a flood-damage mitigation company to completely clean Mae’s apartment. With nowhere else to live and no option for temporary housing, Mae lived in the apartment during the clean-up process and developed, for first time in her life, persistent asthma and a chronic cough. To make matters worse, the apartment complex allows tenants to smoke cigarettes in their units. The second-hand smoke from her neighbors’ units exacerbated Mae’s medical conditions. After her diagnosis with asthma, Mae’s Salud physician referred her to MLP-CO. Using the Fair Housing Amendments Act, which provides that it is unlawful discrimination to deny a person with a disability a reasonable accommodation, MLP-CO attorneys demanded that Mae’s landlord relocate her to a different, non-smoking building. Ultimately, the landlord agreed and Mae will use her same Section 8 voucher to move into a brand new, non-smoking building on the same property when it is completed in December 2016.

MLP-CO Client Case No. 3

Maria is a 38-yearold from Mexico who entered the United States without inspection in 1994. Her father, a legal U.S. permanent resident, filed a petition for her to adjust her status shortly after her arrival. After waiting ten years for her priority date to become current, Maria was granted an interview with USCIS. The officer told her that everything was in order and USCIS should make a decision on her application soon, but she never heard anything further. She followed up with USCIS with the help of a “notario,” but was unsuccessful in re-opening her case and thus continued to live the vulnerable existence of a person without legal status. Recognizing the limitations and the inherent stress of being undocumented, Maria’s health care team referred her to MLP-CO. Her attorneys determined that Maria’s priority date had “retrogressed” around the time of her interview, meaning her priority date had become current for only a short period of time. At that time, Maria’s case should have been processed, but instead was left untouched for more than ten years.

With the help of the MLP-CO immigration consultant, her lawyers contacted USCIS and, after submitting additional evidence, the case was re-opened and Maria was granted status as a legal permanent resident in September 2015. She is now free to live openly and work without restriction.

MLP-CO Client Case No. 4

Virgilia is a 60-year-old native of Argentina who worked for over 15 years as a hotel housekeeping supervisor. The constant bending, lifting, and standing took its toll on her body and resulted in severe chronic pain. Her Salud physicians diagnosed Virgilia with rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia. In addition, Virgilia worried incessantly about how she would make ends meet if she could not work. Understanding that Virgilia suffered from disabling physical conditions, as well as stress, anxiety, and depression, her behavioral health provider referred her to MLP-CO. Virgilia’s MLP-CO attorneys helped her apply for SSDI in January 2016, and on September 3, 2016, she was awarded a monthly SSDI benefit of $1,020 plus an additional $13,260 in back payments. As a result, Virgilia’s overall health has improved.


About COMMUNIQUÉ

COMMUNIQUÉ is published eleven times per year with an issue published monthly except for July by the Clark County Bar Association, P.O. Box 657, Las Vegas, NV 89125-0657. Phone: (702) 387-6011.

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