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The Board of Review v. Second Judicial District Court of State

Supreme Court of Nevada

June 22, 2017

THE BOARD OF REVIEW, NEVADA DEPARTMENT OF EMPLOYMENT, TRAINING AND REHABILITATION, EMPLOYMENT SECURITY DIVISION; AND THE ADMINISTRATOR OF THE NEVADA DEPARTMENT OF EMPLOYMENT, TRAINING AND REHABILITATION, EMPLOYMENT SECURITY DIVISION, Petitioners,
v.
THE SECOND JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT OF THE STATE OF NEVADA, IN AND FOR THE COUNTY OF WASHOE; AND THE HONORABLE SCOTT N. FREEMAN, DISTRICT JUDGE, Respondents, and MCDONALD'S OF KEYSTONE, Real Party in Interest,

         Original petition for a writ of mandamus or prohibition challenging a district court order refusing to dismiss, for lack of jurisdiction, a petition for judicial review of an unemployment benefits decision.

          Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation, Employment Security Division, Division of Senior Legal Counsel, and Laurie L. Trotter and Joseph L. Ward., Jr., Carson City, for Petitioners.

          The Law Offices of Charles R. Zeh, Esq., and Charles R. Zeh, Reno, for Real Party in Interest.

         BEFORE THE COURT EN BANC.[1]

          OPINION

          DOUGLAS, J.

         In this original writ petition, we are asked to consider whether the district court should be prevented from hearing real party in interest McDonald's of Keystone's petition for judicial review of an unemployment benefits matter, initially decided by petitioners the Board of Review and the Administrator of the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation, Employment Security Division (the ESD). We conclude that pursuant to the plain language of NRS 612.530(1), the district court lacked jurisdiction to hear McDonald's petition for judicial review. Thus, we grant the petition for extraordinary relief.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         Jessica Gerry is a former employee of McDonald's. In March 2015, the Board of Review upheld a decision that awarded Gerry unemployment compensation benefits. In April 2015, McDonald's filed a petition for judicial review of the Board's decision with the district court. However, Gerry was not personally named as a defendant either in the caption or in the body of the petition for judicial review, although her full name and address were included within an attachment to the petition for judicial review.

         The ESD filed a motion to dismiss, on the ground that the caption failed to identify Gerry as a defendant, rendering the petition for judicial review defective under NRS 612.530(1). The ESD argued that because Gerry was a party to the proceedings before the Board of Review, she should have been included as a defendant in the petition. McDonald's subsequently filed an opposition to the ESD's motion to dismiss, as well as a motion to amend its petition for judicial review to add Gerry as a defendant.

         Ultimately, the district court decided that the naming of all relevant parties as defendants, pursuant to NRS 612.530(1), was not a jurisdictional requirement. As a result, the district court denied the ESD's motion to dismiss and granted McDonald's motion to amend. The ESD now seeks extraordinary relief, claiming that the district court lacks jurisdiction to proceed.

         DISCUSSION

         A writ of mandamus is available to compel the performance of an act that the law requires or to control an arbitrary or capricious exercise of discretion. NRS 34.160; Infl Game Tech., Inc. v. Second Judicial Dist Court, 124 Nev. 193, 197, 179 P.3d 556, 558 (2008). Further, a writ of prohibition may be warranted when a district court acts without or in excess of its jurisdiction. NRS 34.320; Smith v. Eighth Judicial Dist Court, 107 Nev. 674, 677, 818 P.2d 849, 851 (1991). Where there is no plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law, extraordinary relief may be available. NRS 34.170; NRS 34.330; Smith, 107 Nev. at 677, 818 P.2d at 851. Whether a writ of mandamus or prohibition will be considered is within this court's sole discretion. Smith, 107 Nev. at 677, 818 P.2d at 851. This case presents an issue of subject matter jurisdiction, necessitating our immediate consideration, and warrants discussion based on the merits. Therefore, this petition for extraordinary relief is properly before us.

         Statutory construction is a matter for de novo review. J.D. Constr., Inc. v. IBEX Int'l Grp., LLC, 126 Nev. 366, 375, 240 F.3d 1033, 1039 (2010). If a statute is clear and unambiguous, this court gives effect to the plain and ordinary meaning of its language without examining the other rules of construction. Id. at 375, 240 P.3d at 1039-40. The statute at issue, NRS 612.530(1), states:

Within 11 days after the decision of the Board of Review has become final, any party aggrieved thereby or the Administrator may secure judicial review thereof by commencing an action in the district court of the county where the employment which is the basis of the claim was performed for the review of the decision, in which action any other party to the proceedings before ...

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