Current Job Titles: Lawyer at Erven T. Nelson, Ltd.; Vice President, Legal Affairs, Payroll Funding Company, LLC
Relevant prior job titles: Partner at Durham Jones & Pinegar (7 years);Partner at Alverson, Taylor, Mortenson, Nelson & Sanders law firm (16 years)
Passed the Nevada Bar in 1984. Remaining in practice ever since.
Areas of legal expertise: Commercial litigation, real estate transactional matters, corporate matters. Other than clerking for two judges who handled criminal matters and watching criminal trials, and reading about criminal cases in bar journals and law reviews, I have not had much experience in criminal matters and would need to learn that area of law.
Major mitigating and aggravating circumstances in criminal matters which could influence sentencing range decisions:
Mitigating circumstances would include lack of serious criminal record, being forced into crime such as prostitution by human traffickers, diminished mental capacity, relative necessity (for example, stealing food to feed children), expressing remorse at time of arrest, young age of perpetrator and difficult childhood experiences.
Aggravating circumstances would be a serious criminal record, use of firearms in crime, crimes against minors, forcing victims into prostitution and premeditation.
I consider voluntary use of alcohol or illegal drugs and addiction not to be an appropriate mitigating factor.
I have been in a criminal facility to visit a client, and it was very sobering and claustrophobic. Incarceration is a very serious response to crime and should be used only to protect society and rehabilitate the criminal.
Perhaps the most significant case was one I filed in 2018 against the Clark County Registrar of Voters and Joe Gloria, alleging that Clark County was violating the relevant Nevada statute and administrative code provision in the 2018 election by (a) not allowing members of the general public to observe the conduct of voting at polling places and (b) not allowing members of the general public who are observing the conduct of voting at polling place to remain in the polling places after voting to observe the closing of the polls. I got a temporary restraining order from the Court, and a Stipulated Order for Permanent Injunction agreed to by Clark County and the Court. Copies of some of the relevant documents are attached.
Another significant case started as a bankruptcy proceeding in which I represented the court appointed trustee. The bankruptcy case was entitled In re Siragusa and involved a physician filing bankruptcy to discharge a $1.3 million debt owed to his ex-wife. The bankruptcy case was appealed all the way to the US Supreme Court and I was allowed to attend the oral argument in Washington D.C. and assist the D.C. law firm which briefed and argued the case. Another spinoff case, Siragusa v. Brown, was heard by the Nevada Supreme Court and I attended the hearing in Carson City and assisted another lawyer in my firm.
I am currently working on a case representing two defendants whose prior lawyer negligently represented and abandoned them resulting in a default judgment against them for $10 Million in US District Court in Nevada. It is entitled Ezra and Cathy Ilani v. Simon S. Abraham and KDA Holdings, LLC. I have filed a motion to overturn the default judgment and a subsequent motion for relief from the Court’s order, both of which were denied. The next step I will take is either appealing to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals or filing a separate law suit to collaterally attack the current judgment and rulings.
Probable critique of opposing counsel in listed cases: In the Ilani v. Abraham case, opposing counsel would probably argue that I agreed to take on the case too late, have been beating a dead horse for over year and will only continue doing so if I appeal to the 9th Circuit or file a new law suit for a collateral attack. They would possibly convince many lawyers that their criticism was just, but I feel very passionate about this case because, in my opinion, the defendants (1) were defrauded by the opposing parties, (2) negligently represented and eventually abandoned by their previous lawyer who was a member of the Nevada Bar and (3) have been denied their day in court and justice.
I would self-recuse myself from any case in which I could not be impartial due to friendships, associations or prior business relationships, or where my hearing the case would or could lead to the appearance of impropriety. Beyond the requirement or standard of actual bias, I would need to recuse myself is there were an objective determination of bias on my part from a reasonable third party or viewpoint even if there were no actual bias.
On average, I spend approximately 3-5% of my time in a courtroom participating in adversarial hearings or oral arguments. Before the lockdown due to Covid-19, I went to court on average one day per week, primarily for oral arguments on motions and hearings on damage prove ups.
Representation of Clients. Yes, I have represented clients on a daily basis for over 35 years. I would estimate that I have represented over 1,000 clients in my career.
Participation in Trials. The vast majority of my time in Nevada state courtrooms has been in motion practice handling contested hearings such as summary judgments, motions to dismiss, damage prove ups for judgments and settlement conferences. I have handled hundreds of proceedings in bankruptcy court, some of which would be considered trials and others of which would be considered evidentiary hearings, plan confirmations and motion practice. In Nevada state court I have done one civil bench trial, which I won, and one jury trial as an associate attorney in which I assisted two partners in picking a jury and preparing questions for witnesses. I have also been a lawyer and witness in a few family court cases and in a federal civil trial. I have also argued for clients and friends in criminal sentencings in federal court. I have also handled one trial in a state administrative case. I have tried a case before an arbitrator appointed by the American Arbitration Association (“AAA”), and sat as an arbitrator on a Three- arbitrator case administered by the AAA.
Writs and Appeals to Nevada Supreme Court. I have written one appeal to the Nevada Supreme Court, which we won. I have not done any oral arguments to the Supreme Court. I have not written any writs of mandamus, prohibition, habeas corpus or certiorari, although I have read a number.
Cased tried to verdict. I had one bench trial tried to verdict before Judge Charles Thompson, which I won. The one jury trial I participated in settled after one side had presented its case. I tried one administrative case before an American Arbitration Association arbitrator, and sat as an arbitrator in another three- arbitrator case administered by the AAA. They were both civil cases. I have not tried any criminal, family, immigrations or military matters.
Appeal to U.S. Supreme Court. I actively participated in one case, In re Siragusa, before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Appellate Briefs. I have authored one appellate brief before the Nevada Supreme Court in Garland v. Garland.
Appellate Oral Arguments. I have not had any.
Extraordinary Writs authored. I have not had any.
Cases which established precedent or otherwise significantly expanded an important rule of law. Siragusa v. Brown created significant precedent in Nevada.
Work as a Judicial Clerk. I served as a judicial intern and clerk to Hon. Carl J. Christensen in the 8th Judicial District Court in the summer of 1981, and as a law clerk to Hon. Roger D. Foley in the United States District Court, District of Nevada from 1983-1984.
Pro Bono work. Yes, I have handled pro bono work and cases in both federal and state courts in criminal, civil, traffic, justice court, small claims court, and family law matters. I spend on average 2-3 hours per week in handling litigation, preparation of contracts, traffic tickets, demand letters, etc.
Nonprofit Boards. I have sat on many nonprofit boards in the past as legal counsel, secretary and treasurer. Some include Desert Chorale (Director and Treasurer), Just Sober Living (Director and legal counsel) Chemhuevi District of the Boy Scouts of Nevada (President) and Coalition for the Protection of Marriage (Director).
Volunteering in the Community in past 5 years. I have served as a poll watcher in federal and state elections for over 40 hours per election in 2010, 2012 and 2018.
Cited for Misconduct or been the Subject of a finding of misconduct. Never.
On-record or private reprimands since obtaining law degree. None.
Grievances filed which resulted in discipline. None.
Terminated from a job in the last ten years. None.
Tax liens filed against me or an entity of which I was a principal. None.
Flagged for failure to file federal taxes. Never.
Past or present loan defaults. None.
Filed for bankruptcy: Never.
Ever arrested. Never.
Ever a victim of a crime. Yes, credit card fraud and identity theft, burglary, theft of personal items. It has not affected me as an attorney personally, other than making me less naïve and more aware of dangers and problems in society and the need to educate and nurture those individuals apt to fall into lives of crime.
Principal, named litigant in a civil matter. Yes, many years ago a partner and I were sued for legal malpractice arising from representing a client in a real estate transaction. Fortunately, I had a copy of a letter I had written to the client advising him to settle the matter and not take it to trial due to certain weaknesses in his case. He became angry at me for that advice, fired me and my partner and hired another lawyer to litigate and try the case against my advice. When he lost the case while represented by the next lawyer, he sued me and my partner for malpractice and filed a bar complaint against us. We were forced to turn the defense over to our malpractice carrier and pay part of the fees of outside legal counsel to defend us. The bar complaint and law suit were spurious and we prevailed in both, but it cost us thousands of dollars, many hours of time and some worry. It made me empathetic towards clients who are wrongfully accused and sued, and more aware of the importance of alternative dispute resolutions and settlement negotiations.
Campaign Consultant. Hugh Roper. Hughroper@icloud.com. (702)212-3118.
Major Donors over $500. Brady LP.
Any donors for which I would feel an abiding sense of caution to self-recuse if that donor (or someone closely tied to the interests of that donor) were to appear in my courtroom on a case? None
Writing sample. Attached Motion to Vacate Default Judgment in Ilani v. Abraham.