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Steven J. Klearman
Steven J. Klearman
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Allstate Takes Major Hit in Nevada

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For years, Allstate has managed to anger trial attorneys and others with its practices.

Now, the Nevada judiciary has given Allstate special dubious recognition. I borrow from an email that my colleague, Nevada attorney Peter Chase Neumann, sent to me recently:

On December 28, 2006, the Nevada Supreme Court issued a 35-page opinion by Justice Hardesty for an en banque court (over a short dissent by Parraguirre as to scope of sanctions) in the four-case “Emerson Misconduct” matter which had been consolidated by court order in October. The first of the four cases is Lioce v Cohen, # 44458. It was consolidated with Lang v. Knippenberg (#44823); Castro v. Cabrera (#45331) and Seasholtz v. Wheeler (#45405).

All four cases involved Allstate “captive” attorney, Phillip Emerson of Las Vegas, who was accused of attorney misconduct in making defense closing arguments that “encouraged jurors to look beyond the law and the relevant facts” in deciding their verdicts.

The Court unanimously held (7-0) that Emerson’s closing arguments (which other Las Vegas insurance defenses counsel have lately been emulating) do, in fact, “amount to misconduct.”

Judge Jan Berry and Judge Nancy Saitta’s decisions granting new trial because of Emerson’s misconduct in the Seasholtz and Castro cases were affirmed.

Judge Bell and Denton’s decisions denying new trial notwithstanding, Emerson’s misconduct was the basis for remand for further proceedings in the Lioce and Lang cases.

The Court held that Castro and Seasholtz were remanded to the district courts “to calculate and impose monetary sanctions on Emerson and his clients,” and referred Emerson to the State Bar of Nevada, in all four cases, for disciplinary proceedings.”

I will publish the entire decision next blog.