Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Gardner v. Eighth Judicial District Court of State

Supreme Court of Nevada

November 22, 2017

PETER GARDNER; CHRISTIAN GARDNER, ON BEHALF OF MINOR CHILD, L.G., Petitioners,
v.
THE EIGHTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT OF THE STATE OF NEVADA, IN AND FOR THE COUNTY OF CLARK; AND THE HONORABLE JERRY A. WIESE, DISTRICT JUDGE, Respondents, and HENDERSON WATER PARK, LLC, D/B/A COWABUNGA BAY WATER PARK; WEST COAST WATER PARKS, LLC; AND DOUBLE OTT WATER HOLDINGS, LLC, Real Parties in Interest.

         Original petition for a writ of mandamus challenging a district court order denying a motion to amend a complaint.

          Campbell & Williams and J. Colby Williams, Donald J. Campbell, Philip R. Erwin, and Samuel R. Mirkovich, Las Vegas, for Petitioners.

          Thorndal, Armstrong, Delk, Balkenbush & Eisinger and Alexandra B. McLeod and Paul E. Eisinger, Las Vegas, for Real Parties in Interest.

          BEFORE DOUGLAS, GIBBONS and PICKERING, JJ.

          OPINION

          GIBBONS, J.

         In this original proceeding, we are asked to consider whether seven managers of a limited liability company (LLC) are subject to suit for personal negligence as individual tortfeasors or under an alter ego theory 1 of liability. We conclude that NRS 86.371 is not intended to shield members or managers from liability for personal negligence. We further conclude that the corporate alter ego doctrine applies to LLCs. Accordingly, we grant the petition and direct the district court to allow petitioners to amend their complaint.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         Petitioners Peter and Christian Gardner, on behalf of their child L.G. (the Gardners), filed suit after L.G. suffered injuries resulting from a near-drowning at Cowabunga Bay Water Park in Henderson. The Gardners brought suit for negligence against Henderson Water Park, LLC, which does business as Cowabunga Bay Water Park (the Water Park), and its two managing members, West Coast Water Parks, LLC, and Double Ott Water Holdings, LLC (the member-LLCs). In turn, Orluff Opheikens, Slade Opheikens, Chet Opheikens, Shane Huish, Scott Huish, Craig Huish, and Tom Welch (the Managers) have an ownership interest in, or manage, the member-LLCs, and they also served on a management committee governing the Water Park.

         Among other allegations in their initial complaint, the Gardners alleged the negligence of the Water Park and member-LLCs contributed to L.G.'s injuries because of the Water Park's inadequate staffing of lifeguards. After taking depositions, the Gardners moved for leave to amend their complaint to add the Managers of the Water Park as individual defendants. Specifically, the Gardners sought to assert direct claims for negligence against the Managers in their individual capacities, and they sought to plead allegations supporting an alter ego theory of liability in order to pierce the corporate veil of the Water Park and the member-LLCs to reach the assets of the Managers. In support of their motion to amend their complaint, the Gardners quoted deposition testimony of one of the Managers stating the Water Park did not operate with 17 lifeguards at the wave pool as required by the Southern Nevada Health District.

         The district court denied the Gardners' motion, concluding that amendment would be futile because the Managers were improper defendants. Specifically, the district court found that NRS 86.371 protected the Managers from any liabilities incurred by the various LLCs and Nevada's LLC statutes contained no alter ego exception to the protection offered by NRS 86.371.[1] This original writ petition followed.

         DISCUSSION

         Writ relief

         "This court has original jurisdiction to issue writs of mandamus . . . ." MountainView Hosp., Inc. v. Eighth Judicial Dist. Court, 128 Nev. 180, 184, 273 P.3d 861, 864 (2012). "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." Int''l Game Tech., Inc. v. Second Judicial Dist Court, 124 Nev. 193, 197, 179 P.3d 556, 558 (2008). Extraordinary relief may be available "[w]here there is no 'plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law.'" Helfstein v. Eighth Judicial Dist. Court, 131 Nev., Adv. Op. 91, 362 P.3d 91, 94 (2015) (quoting NRS 34.170). Whether to consider a writ petition is solely within this court's discretion, and the petitioner bears the burden of demonstrating why extraordinary relief is warranted. See We the People Nev. v. Miller, 124 Nev. 874, 880, 192 P.3d 1166, 1170 (2008). In this matter, we exercise our discretion to consider this petition because it raises important and novel issues of law in need of clarification, "and considerations of sound judicial economy and administration militate in ! favor of granting the petition." Int'l Game Tech., 124 Nev. at 197-98, 179 P.3d at 559.

         The district court abused its discretion by denying the Gardners' ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.