Defenses in Nevada Negligence Cases - Part I

Here is the first part of our continuing discussion of Nevada negligence law.

Set forth below are case citations and holdings that deal with damage issues in such cases.

Relief in contribution and implied indemnity is unavailable to the extent those claims arise from the intentional or punitive liability of the party seeking such relief. The Doctors Co. v. Vincent, 120 Nev. 644, 98 P.3d 681 (2004).

Whether Beckwith thought Reccelle was God or his evil master is of no matter because he admittedly struck Reccelle in the eye with the desire of getting away from him. This is a non-accidental intentional act even if Beckwith did not intend to harm Reccelle. Thus, we conclude that Beckwith's act of striking Reccelle is not an occurrence under the insurance policy and is excluded from coverage under the policy language concerning intentional misconduct. Beckwith v. State Farm Fire and Cas. Co., 120 Nev. 23, 83 P.3d 275 (2004).

A government entity is afforded immunity for pre-emergency negligence when the damage caused by the negligent emergency management was exacerbated by the pre-emergency negligence. A government entity, however, is not immune from liability for its pre-emergency negligence that is not intertwined with damage caused by later negligent emergency management activities. Vermef v. City of Boulder City,119 Nev. 549, 80 P.3d 445 (2003).

An employer was not vicariously liable for its employee's negligence when the employee commuted from his home to a jobsite in his private vehicle. Kornton v. Conrad, Inc., 119 Nev. 123, 67 P.3d 316 (2003).

State employees engaged in child protective services are entitled to quasi-judicial immunity when they provide information to the court (e.g., reports, case plans, testing evaluations and recommendations) pertaining to a child who is or may become a ward of the State. When a state agency or its employees provide their decision-making expertise to the court, they act as an arm of the court and are entitled to absolute quasi-judicial immunity. However, once the court makes a decision ratifying the recommendations of the state agency (e.g., placement in foster care, need for further medical evaluation, etc.), the state agency and its employees are no longer acting as an arm of the court. Rather, their function in carrying out the order of the court falls within the executive branch of government and pursuant to their statutory duties. Specifically, quasi-judicial immunity does not apply to state agencies or their employees for the day-to-day management and care of their wards. State v. Second Judicial Dist. Court ex rel. County of Washoe, 118 Nev. 609, 55 P.3d 420 (2002).

The Court declined to recognize an independent tort for spoliation of evidence regardless of whether the alleged spoliation is committed by a first or third party. Additionally, the Court concluded that a negligence claim for spoliation does not exist under the circumstances presented in this case. Timber Tech Engineered Bldg. Products v. The Home Ins. Co., 118 Nev. 630, 55 P.3d 952 (2002).