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Otak Nevada, L.L.C. v. Eight Judicial District Court of State

Supreme Court of Nevada

November 7, 2013

OTAK NEVADA, LLC, Petitioner,
v.
The EIGHTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT OF the STATE of Nevada, in and for the COUNTY OF CLARK; and the Honorable Doug Smith, District Judge, Respondents, and Pacificap Construction Services, LLC; Pacificap Properties Group, LLC; Pacificap Holdings XXIX, LLC; Chad I. Rennaker; Jason Q. Rennaker; Cheyenne Apartments PPG, LP; and Christopher Watkins, Real Parties in Interest.

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Morris Polich & Purdy, LLP, and Nicholas M. Wieczorek, Las Vegas, for Petitioner Otak Nevada, LLC.

Bauman Loewe Witt & Maxwell, PLLC, and Whitney C. Wilcher, Las Vegas, for Real Parties in Interest Chad I. Rennaker and Jason Q. Rennaker.

Christiansen Law Offices and Peter S. Christiansen, Richard E. Tanasi, and Kristina Weller, Las Vegas; Law Office of Daniel S. Simon and Daniel S. Simon, Las Vegas; Lewis & Roca, LLP, and Daniel F. Polsenberg and Joel D. Henriod, Las Vegas, for Real Party in Interest Christopher Watkins.

Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith, LLP, and Josh C. Aicklen, Mark J. Brown, and Stephanie J. Smith, Las Vegas; Sterling Law, LLC, and Beau Sterling, Las Vegas, for Real Parties in Interest Cheyenne Apartments PPG, LP; Pacificap Holdings XXIX, LLC; Pacificap Properties Group, LLC; Chad I. Rennaker; and Jason Q. Rennaker.

Thagard, Reiss & Brown, LLP, and Thomas Friedman, Las Vegas, for Real Party in Interest Pacificap Construction Services, LLC.

BEFORE THE COURT EN BANC.

OPINION

HARDESTY, J.:

Under NRS 17.245(1)(b), a defendant who enters into " a release or a covenant not to sue or not to enforce judgment ... in good faith" is " discharge[d] ... from all liability for contribution and for equitable indemnity to any other [defendant]." The questions we are asked to decide in this original writ proceeding are: (1) If a defendant settles in good faith, does NRS 17.245(1)(b) bar " de facto" claims for contribution and/or equitable indemnity?; and (2) Are the contractor's third-party claims in this matter considered " de facto" contribution and/or equitable indemnity claims that may be barred under NRS 17.245(1)(b)? We conclude that, regardless of the claim's title, NRS 17.245(1)(b) bars all claims that seek contribution and/or equitable indemnity when the settlement is determined to be in good faith. Because we conclude that the contractor's remaining third-party claims in this matter are " de facto" contribution claims, and are thus barred by NRS 17.245(1)(b), we grant this petition for writ of mandamus.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

This petition arises from underlying litigation concerning a fatal automobile accident that occurred at a construction site in Las Vegas, Nevada. Real parties in interest Cheyenne Apartments PPG, LP; Pacificap Holdings XXIX, LCC; Pacificap Properties Group, LLC; Chad I. Rennaker; and Jason Q. Rennaker (collectively, P & R) are the owners and developers of the site; and real party in interest Pacificap Construction Services, LLC (PCS), was the general contractor.[1] Petitioner Otak Nevada, LLC, an architecture firm, entered into an agreement with P & R to design a multifamily housing project. Otak hired subcontractor Orion Engineering and Surveying to design and implement necessary off-site road construction. Pursuant to the agreement, Orion ...


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