I am a long-time trial lawyer with a penchant for complex civil litigation. The cases I like the most are those that introduce me to new industries or fields of endeavor and that put a premium on preparation and efficiency. To litigate these cases requires an in-depth personal knowledge of all the facts, the witnesses and the law. It keeps the mind and spirit wonderfully engaged.
In recent years, I was involved in a very protracted proceeding opposing a project to transfer huge amounts of water from northern Nevada to Las Vegas. In 1989 the predecessor to the Southern Nevada Water District tried to tie up all of the unappropriated groundwater in northern Nevada for the benefit of Las Vegas. Ultimately, this led to a plan to extract massive amounts of water and pipe it hundreds of miles to Clark County, Nevada, at a projected cost of $15 billion.
The Cleveland Ranch, which was a part of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, sat atop the principle aquifer imperiled by the plan. I was retained to oppose the plan. The State Engineer had already approved the plan but those proceedings were reopened. A six-week hearing before the State Engineer was followed by judicial review at the district court and proceedings in the Nevada Supreme Court resulting in a remand to the State Engineer. After another round of hearings and judicial review, our client prevailed and SNWA abandoned the program.
A crash course along the way in geology and hydrology culminated in my being able to pronounce facultative phreatophyte.
For several years, I was involved in cross-border litigations involving 10,000 acres of development property in Baja, California. I conducted extensive litigation in Nevada and coordinated with the efforts of an excellent Mexican attorney who safeguarded the clients’ interests there.
I represented the federal receiver of failed financial institutions in litigation over large fraudulent investment packages foisted upon financial institutions that probably should have known better. One such case turned into a five and one-half month jury trial.
I handled serious disputes among second generation siblings over the fate and direction of very substantial family businesses and fortunes. In each case, the first generation had created business empires of great value. Unfortunately, they each passed away without a structure that would prevent irreconcilable conflicts among the next generation.
Boxing often generates intense litigation in a highly compressed timeline with a big emphasis on injunctive relief. Las Vegas has always been a popular venue for big fights. This has given me opportunities to represent some of the best-known boxing promoters and boxers.
Disputes among real estate developers are not uncommon. That led to my representing some major national development companies in extensive litigation over ownership of property and the failure of joint venture projects.
I defended a manufacturer of medical implant devices. In one case, a whole knee replacement patient had a left knee joint incorrectly inserted into his right knee. The subsequent corrective surgeries led to further injuries and very significant damage claims. In another case, an orthotic device was prescribed with possibly insufficient instruction and ultimately caused significant injury to a patient.
There was a time when mold was the subject of a lot of fears and lawsuits. The molds themselves are commonplace in our environment, but there was a concern that any concentration of molds in an enclosed environment could cause significant health issues. In time, the evolving science undercut the more extreme claims. I successfully defended substantial wrongful death and personal injury claims arising from the exposure of ministers to mold in their church.
I conducted an arbitration that resulted in an award, and then a judgment, of over $28,000,000 to my construction company client against a subsidiary of the Diocese of Las Vegas, the owner of the Bishop Gorman High School facility which my client built. After some protracted bankruptcy proceedings, my client was able to get paid.
On October 7, 2021, Sapa, an international manufacturer of highly sophisticated aluminum alloys, entered into a multi-million-dollar settlement with the U.S. government. For years, a division of Sapa had been deliberately falsifying test results for specialized alloys sold to governments and private companies. Defective aluminum supplied by Sapa caused the loss of two NASA satellites at a cost of over $700,000,000. A Nevada company was also harmed by substandard aluminum alloy produced by Sapa. I handled the litigation for that company and the subsequent substantial settlement.
For many years, I was Chairman of the Southern Nevada Panel of the State Bar Disciplinary Committee. I am now a member of the State Bar Ethics Committee and occasionally write and lecture on trial techniques, legal ethics, and the avoidance of malpractice claims. Once in a while, I act as an expert witness on ethical and malpractice issues.
I am a Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers, a professional association of lawyers and judges particularly skilled in trial practice. Membership in the American College of Trial Lawyers is by invitation only and is limited to not more than one percent of the lawyers licensed to practice in a state.
I have been listed in the Best Lawyers in America for more than 30 years in categories including “Bet the Company Litigation,” commercial litigation, banking and finance litigation, construction litigation and real estate litigation.
For a number of years I have been recognized by Chambers & Partners for expertise in a broad range of complex commercial disputes. I am listed in Nevada Super Lawyers for business litigation and have an AV rating from Martindale Hubble.
I was a Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps Reserves. This is where I learned about the sensitive, caring side of management.
I studied Mechanical engineering at the University of Illinois. To date, I blame quantum mechanics for my winding up with a Bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Wisconsin. That, in turn, led to a law degree from the University of Wisconsin in January of 1972. But my real education began when I joined Lionel Sawyer & Collins in the spring of 1972 and had the opportunity to work and learn under the tutelage of the legendary Sam Lionel.
I am an avid reader, principally in history, science fiction, and mysteries.
I held a United States Coast Guard license to operate commercial vessels up to 100 tons. As many boat owners who do their own maintenance must be, I am a certified scuba diver. In the rest of my spare time, I try to convert various hardwoods into furniture in my woodshop. Even though I have been doing this for decades, I still have all my digits (but a few scars). My wife and I enjoy subjecting houses to extensive remodeling. Swinging a sledgehammer releases a lot of tension.
I was born in 1945 in Brooklyn, New York. In 1967 I married the former Charlotte Werth. Together we produced two sons, both of whom became lawyers. Each son was responsible for a fine granddaughter. Symmetry seems to rule.