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Brown v. Eddie World, Inc.

Supreme Court of Nevada

April 16, 2015

KAREN BROWN, Appellant,
v.
EDDIE WORLD, INC.; AND STAGECOACH HOTEL AND CASINO, INC., Respondents

Appeal from a district court order granting a motion to dismiss in a wrongful termination action. Fifth Judicial District Court, Nye County; Kimberly A. Wanker, Judge.

Law Office of Daniel Marks and Daniel Marks and Adam Levine, Las Vegas, for Appellant.

Stephens Gourley & Bywater and David A. Stephens, Las Vegas, for Respondents.

Parraguirre, J. We concur: Hardesty, C.J., Doughlas, J., Cherry, J., Saitta, J., Gibbsons, J., Pickering, J.

OPINION

BEFORE THE COURT EN BANC.

PARRAGUIRRE, J.:

In this appeal, we must determine whether the district court properly refused to recognize a new cause of action under the common law doctrine of tortious discharge in violation of public policy. Specifically, we must decide whether a plaintiff can state a claim for third-party retaliatory discharge, when tat discharge tends to discourage reporting violations of Nevada's gaming laws. While enforcing gaming laws is a fundamental public policy in Nevada, we decline to recognize a common law cause of action for third-party retaliatory discharge. Accordingly, we affirm.

Page 1003

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Appellant Karen Brown was employed by respondent Eddie World, Inc., as assistant manager of a nut and candy store. The store was located on property owned by respondent Stagecoach Hotel and Casino, Inc., and both respondent corporations (collectively, Stagecoach) were under common ownership and management. Stagecoach knew that Brown was engaged to Donald Allen. Brown does not allege that Stagecoach ever employed Allen. Allen filed a complaint with the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) regarding some of Stagecoach's slot machines. Shortly after the NGCB informed Stagecoach that Allen filed the complaint, Stagecoach began assigning Brown's job responsibilities to other employees. Within weeks, Stagecoach terminated Brown's employment.

Brown filed a complaint in district court alleging that Stagecoach terminated her employment in retaliation for Allen's complaint to the NGCB and that discharging her was therefore tortious and in violation of public policy. Stagecoach moved to dismiss Brown's complaint for failure to state a claim pursuant to NRCP 12(b)(5). The district court granted Stagecoach's motion because Nevada has not recognized a cause of action for third-party retaliatory discharge. Brown now appeals.

DISCUSSION

On appeal, Brown asks this court to recognize, for the first time, a common law cause of action for third-party retaliatory discharge. For the reasons discussed herein, we decline to do so.

This court reviews de novo an order granting a motion to dismiss for " failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted." NRCP 12(b)(5); Buzz Stew, LLC v. City of N. Las Vegas, 124 Nev. 224, 227-28, 181 P.3d 670, 672 (2008). In doing so, we assume that all facts alleged in the complaint are true, and we review ...


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