Alimony & Child Support Payments: In A Bankruptcy



The Firm, P.C. is a boutique Las Vegas law firm founded by Preston Rezaee, Esq. Preston Rezaee is also the founder and Editor in Chief of Vegas Legal Magazine.

Ex-spouses and divorced parents have long tried creative solutions to avoid spousal and child support payments. In one instance, a father offered to give up all parental rights and make a lump sum payment for child support in hopes of avoiding larger payments as his income increased. Even lottery winners have been known to sell a winning ticket for cash at a discount to avoid alimony. And it doesn’t stop there. One former NFL player began paying spousal support only after he was forced to spend several days in jail for avoiding paying his former spouse.

After the breakup of a marriage, it is not uncommon for people to find their financial situation has changed dramatically with new expenses and obligations piling up. Divorce leads to unexpected legal expenses, changes in living arrangements, and costs associated with the division of marital property. According to Forbes, the average contested divorce costs between $15,000 and $30,000, with some being far more expensive.

Clients who are making spousal or child support payments often feel as though the payments are unduly burdensome and are otherwise unhappy with the terms of their divorce decree. It is no surprise then, many of these individuals turn to bankruptcy for relief. This is where family law and bankruptcy meet. One of the questions commonly received by bankruptcy attorneys is whether a client, in these circumstances, can discharge his or her spousal and child support obligations through bankruptcy.  Unfortunately for these clients, in most cases, the answer is “no.”

Personal bankruptcy through Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 of the Bankruptcy Code can be a very effective way of shedding debt and allowing a client to move forward with a fresh start. Our legal system has evolved from an earlier time in American history when people who could not pay their debts were sent to prison. And while the lay person often thinks of bankruptcy as providing a clean slate, some types of debt, including alimony and spousal support, cannot be wiped away or restructured in bankruptcy.

Broadly speaking, there are two types of debt when it comes to bankruptcy. The first is the dischargeable kind, which includes credit card debt, mortgage debt, medical bills, and utility bills. The second is the nondischargeable type, which, along with domestic support obligations like alimony and child support, also includes most taxes and often student loans.  Because of the overriding public policy favoring the enforcement of familial obligations, bankruptcy law leaves little discretion to the courts when it comes to the dischargeability of domestic support obligations.

The reasoning for this hard line on domestic support obligations like alimony and child support is twofold. First, bankruptcy is a matter for the federal courts and matters involving marriage, divorce, and child support are governed by the state courts.  Second, Congress has deemed child and spousal support to be too important to be dischargeable.  As the Ninth Circuit has explained, “Bankruptcy provides a way to leave one’s debts, but not one’s most fundamental family obligations, behind.”  In re Rivera, 832 F.3d 1103, 1106 (9th Cir. 2016).

Balancing the competing policies of allowing the honest, but unfortunate debtor a fresh start, and the public policy favoring the enforcement of familial obligations, Congress enacted the following two exceptions to the discharge provided to individual debtors under Chapter 7 and 13 of the Bankruptcy Code. The first is set forth in 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(5), which states that “domestic support obligations” cannot be discharged in bankruptcy.  Courts have constantly held that the term domestic support obligations includes child support and alimony, but have extended it to include other obligations upon which family members and former family members rely. The second is set forth in 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(15), which provides that a debt to a “spouse, former spouse, or child of the debtor” incurred by the debtor in the course of a divorce or separation is not dischargeable in bankruptcy. The critical issues here are the identity of the payee and whether under state law, the debt was incurred in the course of a divorce or separation.

While the language of 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(5) and (15) are fairly broad, they are not without limitation. For instance, courts have held that obligations to third-parties, even if set forth in the divorce decree, may be discharged because the debts are owed to a third-party and not the spouse, former spouse, or child of the debtor. Similarly, property settlement payments may be dischargeable when they are merely affecting an equitable division of community property and not providing domestic support.

And divorcing spouses should beware that simply labeling a payment as spousal support or alimony in a divorce decree does not necessarily make it nondischargeable in bankruptcy. Rather, the bankruptcy court will look to whether the payment obligation is really for the support of the former spouse or child or was incurred in the course of the divorce or separation irrespective of what the payment is labeled in the divorce decree.

Thus, while spousal support payments and other payment obligations incurred in a divorce proceeding are usually not dischargeable in a bankruptcy – no matter how creative one gets – the best practice is to consult with a bankruptcy attorney before filing to make sure that the client doesn’t just end up back in family court.

Nedda Ghandi, Esq., is the founding partner of Ghandi Deeter Blackham Law Offices. A Nevada native, Ghandi is a graduate of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas William S. Boyd School of Law and has practiced law in Las Vegas for 9 years. Ghandi has written numerous articles for publications concerning interesting developments in the law, and has been selected as a member of Nevada’s Legal Elite and as a Super Lawyer every year since 2013. Ghandi Deeter Blackham specializes in family law, bankruptcy, guardianship, and probate. Consultations may be scheduled by calling 702.878.1115 or visiting

The Firm, P.C. is a boutique Las Vegas law firm founded by Preston Rezaee, Esq. Preston Rezaee is also the founder and Editor in Chief of Vegas Legal Magazine.




The Parting Advice of Justice Richard Posner



The Firm, P.C. is a boutique Las Vegas law firm founded by Preston Rezaee, Esq. Preston Rezaee is also the founder and Editor in Chief of Vegas Legal Magazine.

“I pay very little attention to legal rules, statutes, and constitutional provisions.”

-Richard Posner1

After authoring more than 3,300 judicial opinions, Richard Posner suddenly retired from the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in September of 2017.  An unofficial “exit interview” Posner granted to the New York Times affirmed the common knowledge of generations of attorneys: A great attorney knows the judge. Although not hostile to the judicial system, Posner’s exit interview reveals that courts rely on past precedent far less than practicing litigators would hope.

Litigators of all stripes inevitably contact an opinion authored or influenced by Justice Posner. The former Chief Justice of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, and previously under consideration for the United States Supreme Court, Posner’s distinctive writing style was second only to the late Antonin Scalia.  Upon his 1981 appointment to the Court of Appeals, Posner’s interest in economics (he previously was an assistant to the Commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission) came to bear on his rulings at the same time that financial services and securities became a more prominent part of the country’s economy.

Today, Posner is recognized as being one of the leading voices advocating law and economics, grappling with the research of Nobel Prize recipients such as Ronald Coase and Gary Becker in his opinions and other writing. From 2004 until Gary Becker’s 2014 death, both Posner and Becker contributed regularly and prolifically to their joint blog.2 Posner’s non-judicial writing reached far beyond that realm, though, grappling with subjects including national security, literature, and—most relevantly—judicial thinking.

In his observation of judges, Posner notes that some “are, you know, reactionary beasts.”  Posner explained: “They’re reactionary beasts because they want to manipulate the statutes and the Constitution in their own way.” Despite this observation, Posner notes the “very strong formalist tradition in the law,” where judges sincerely apply the Constitution and relevant statutes—unless they themselves are unconstitutional—as if sacrosanct.

Where statutes, precedent, and even the Constitution do not matter, effective presentation steps into the breach. “A case is just a dispute. The first thing you do is ask yourself – forget about the law – what is a sensible resolution of this dispute?” Hardly an endorsement of “feels-over-reals” emotion-driven legal consequentialism, Posner’s view acknowledges the reality that the law will rarely permit an absurd result.

Within his interview, Posner acknowledges how this is done. In determining whether some precedent or other legal requirement obstructs a desired ruling, Posner notes “that’s actually rarely the case.” “When you have a Supreme Court case or something similar, they’re often extremely easy to get around.” Just one more thing that law schools do not teach their students.

When in private practice, one of the sitting district judges for the United States District Court for the Western District of New York had a sign in his office that read, “whoever tells the best story wins.” Posner’s exit interview confirms the accuracy of this advice, even amidst all the disillusionment it may bring to legal formalists. This advice—also the title of Annette Simmons’ book about communicating more effectively—is regularly repeated by trial lawyers and more experienced litigators, but so infrequently ingrained in younger attorneys.

Posner’s advice is not a panacea. While well-regarded and even admired by many, Posner was a firebrand in his later years. In a July 2017 interview with Slate, Posner went out of his way to critique several Supreme Court justices, living and dead, decrying Brennan, Blackmun, Stevens, and Souter as “not giants.”3 “Anyone think there’s a giant or giantess on the Supreme Court today?” Posner asked before he abruptly retired, slipping out from under the specter of being reversed by the country’s highest court.

What the now-former justice recommends may not be advisable before every judge. Some of them, if not many or even all, will decide a motion or even an entire case based on the applicable subsection buried deep within the Code of Federal Regulations.4 His parting commentary vindicates so much of what experienced litigators have told and tried to train dozens if not hundreds of other attorneys to do, though, that it can hardly be ignored.

Malcolm (“Jay”) DeVoy is the owner of DeVoy Law P.C. DeVoy focuses on providing representation in commercial disputes, serious personal matters, and advising medical professionals and practices about issues including HIPAA, Stark Law, and the Anti-Kickback Statute.

  1. Adam Liptak, An Exit Interview with Richard Posner, Judicial Provocateur, The New York Times (Sept. 11, 2017).

2 The Becker-Posner Blog, available at (last accessed Sept. 12, 2017).

3 Joel Cohen, Should There Be Age Limits for Federal Judges?, Slate (July 5, 2017), available at (last accessed Sept. 13, 2017).

4 See, e.g., Gardner v. Henderson Water Park, LLC, 133 Nev. Adv. Op. 54 (2017); Nationstar Mortgage, LLC v. SFR Investment Pool 1, LLC, 133 Nev. Adv. Op. 34  (2017).

The Firm, P.C. is a boutique Las Vegas law firm founded by Preston Rezaee, Esq. Preston Rezaee is also the founder and Editor in Chief of Vegas Legal Magazine.



Choosing The Right Expert Witness


One of the best experts I’ve ever selected happens to be one of my mentors. More on that in a moment.

First, it’s imperative to say that not all cases require experts. In fact, sometimes they are a detriment. Quite often the facts of a case are simple and easy to understand and an expert’s opinion is not needed or justified.  Retaining an expert is practically a part of all young insurance defense attorneys’ “how to” manual or outline. Experts are retained to consult and educate counsel and offer opinions that lay witnesses couldn’t otherwise give. I learned early on that many jurors do not embrace experts. To the contrary, many jurors feel that experts are paid guns used as leverage or ammunition by a financially stronger litigant. Jurors have become more aware that in an auto accident trial, the defendant is being defended by an attorney retained by an insurance company. Many jurors feel that the insurance company can afford the expert and the expert will say whatever the insurance company pays him or her to say. Consequently, many jurors are not persuaded by an expert who wasn’t at the scene of the accident and therefore has no personal knowledge of the facts giving rise to the collision and/or alleged injuries.

In non-auto related cases, jurors are equally skeptical of experts. An expert should only be retained after considerable thought is given to the advantages and disadvantages of such retention. Will the expert assist the trier of fact as required by NRS 50.245? If the expert will assist the trier of fact, the next step focuses on selecting the right expert. I have had very qualified experts do well and not so well. Each case is different. You must consider the particular facts of the case when choosing the expert.

In a non-auto case tried over several months, I had the pleasure of working with an outstanding first or second time expert. This gentleman was professional in demeanor and enthusiastic about the science. He was inexperienced in handling cross examination but his undeniable honesty made up for it. In fact, years after the case was resolved, the trial judge commented on how well my expert performed. The trial judge, a former accomplished trial lawyer, was not only impressed with the expert’s credentials but also with his understanding of the case and connection with the jurors. I wouldn’t mention the Judge’s comments if I didn’t value highly the opinions of Judge Williams as a Judge and former trial lawyer.

While the above experience was good, it isn’t the focus of this article. I helped educate and train the expert in the case just referenced. The next expert I would like to discuss not only assisted the trier of fact but also me. I retained J. Mitchell (“Mitch”) Cobeaga, Esq., as my expert in a bad faith insurance case. Mitch was one of my mentors at Beckley Singleton. He trained many of the better trial lawyers practicing in Southern Nevada. He defended insurance companies and their insureds for over 35 years. I knew that he would not only be knowledgeable with regards to coverage but I also knew that he could explain coverage to a jury.

The particulars of insurance coverage is exciting only to a few people. Empaneling a jury

interested enough to listen and smart enough to understand would be challenging. I didn’t need a professional type. I needed an expert who would make listening and understanding insurance coverage, policies and claims language interesting or at least tolerable. I knew Mitch was perfect for my case.

Opposing counsel tried to preclude Mitch. When unsuccessful, opposing counsel tried to limit Mitch’s testimony. Because of his credentials and with his understanding of the case, Mitch was qualified to testify. Mitch with his easy-going approach entertained the jury. Between and among anecdotes and stories, the jurors learned the case and insurance coverage. In fact, when some of my questions seemed to esoteric, he rephrased the questions in his response. He assisted me and the jury simultaneously. The result was better than my client ever expected. Mitch’s contribution to the case was invaluable. I only take credit for selecting him as the expert.

Again, not every case requires an expert. When you have decided that the law and/or facts require an expert (i.e. medical malpractice case) be thoughtful in selecting the appropriate expert. If your theory can’t be articulated through the personal knowledge of lay witnesses, then an expert’s assistance is likely necessary. After you have determined the type of expert needed and have chosen the level of credentials suited for the case, then you must next consider the personality of the experts. Your expert’s ability to relate your theme of the case to the jury is extremely important in convincing a jury that your expert’s telling the truth and not what he/she was paid to say.

Theodore “Teddy” Parker is a founding partner of Parker & Nelson Assoc. in Las Vegas, Nev., where he specializes in administrative law, banking law, business litigation, corporate law and structuring, construction contract and defect, employment and labor law, insurance defense, municipal law, medical malpractice, personal injury, premises liability, products liability, real estate law, and regulatory compliance. Learn more about him and his practice’s work at http://www.pnalaw. net.

The Firm, P.C. is a boutique Las Vegas law firm founded by Preston Rezaee, Esq. Preston Rezaee is also the founder and Editor in Chief of Vegas Legal Magazine.

Partially Disabling Injuries

-By Stan V. Smith, PhD with Kyle Lauterhahn

The Firm, P.C. is a boutique Las Vegas law firm founded by Preston Rezaee, Esq. Preston Rezaee is also the founder and Editor in Chief of Vegas Legal Magazine.

Assessing the partial loss when an injured plaintiff can still continue to work in the future in “some reduced capacity” presents a complex challenge to plaintiff attorneys and to juries, a challenge that is often not well addressed in a litigation setting.  However, there are high-quality statistics produced by the United States Census Bureau that few expert economists, and even fewer lawyers, are aware of that can greatly aid in the analysis of lost earnings capacity. These government statistics allow an economist to provide an opinion to a jury regarding the partial loss of earnings capacity due to disability to a reasonable degree of economic certainty, obviating the need in many instances for a formal vocational analysis.

When an injured person returns to work, the rate of pay and the hours worked can be very misleading as they are frequently not indicative of the long-run impacts. Even if an injured person is back to work at the same job and the same rate of pay, with a disability, there are definite wage losses due to disability in the long-term future that are not readily evident and that should not be ignored. Fortunately, these Census Bureau statistics address and remedy the problem.

The partial loss of earning capacity can arise not only from physical injuries, it can also arise in a myriad of situations such as defamation that has a future career impact. The loss may arise if someone’s career in medical school, for example, is prematurely terminated by wrongful dismissal. An economist can measure such loss. This article focuses on ways to help juries understand the long-term impact on earning capacity loss due to a physical or mental impairment, such as difficulty standing, or difficulty concentrating, where government statistics provide a high-quality measure of the impact, both on employment probabilities and pay rates.  This long-term impact is typically not evident shortly after the injury.


After an injury, an individual may have already returned to work full-time, but he or she may be earning less than prior to their injury due to impairment. For example, a realtor who has difficulty walking or has back pain may work full-time after the injury but accomplish less per hour.

They may show fewer homes in a given afternoon due to difficulty walking, driving, and going up and down stairs, and thus earn less in commissions.  In addition, they may also work fewer hours per week due to the disability, and earn even less per year than if they worked full-time.  Furthermore, the degenerative impact of the injury on hours and earnings may increase over time.

A construction worker may continue to work full-time with some pain. Even if the worker earns the same union wage per hour, he or she may work less overtime in the long run, and may be able to work only to age 53 for example, rather than perhaps age 62 or 65, or even later.  The work life capacity prior to the disabling injury is forever impacted.  Less overtime and fewer years of work in the future reduce the injured person’s earnings capacity.

An accountant may be forced to retire early, giving up the business that took decades to build. A call center worker may choose to work less overtime due to fatigue, and he or she may take frequent personal leave as a body pain may flare up from time to time. Pain can be very debilitating. A truck driver may find that upon their return to work, pain associated with long-haul driving may force them to also accept shorter, lower-paying routes, leading to a double penalty of reduction in earnings and time worked.


These long-term, future impacts of impairments are all but impossible to assess after the injury without the high-quality statistics that are available to measure them.  Even if an individual has not yet returned to work, but is making medical progress and return to work is feasible, a jury will want to understand what the person can do in the future, and how their capacity may be reduced in the long run.

As shown in the examples above, the average person who has a disability due to injury also has a significantly reduced probability of employment, and perhaps a significantly reduced pay rate. This reduction in employment can mean fewer years worked in one’s career (i.e. retiring early) or fewer hours worked in each year (i.e. shorter work week, more time off, etc.). The reduction in pay rate can result from reduced hourly earnings, reduced overtime, or reduced opportunities for promotion and advancement, all of which lead to significant losses for an injured person.  The reduction in employment and the reduction in pay rate can operate independently of one another.

We know that these losses exist anecdotally, such as in the examples above, but there are also reliable statistical databases for these work and pay reductions due to disabling injuries.  The United States Census Bureau collects employment and pay data on Americans with disabilities as part of its regular surveys.  Persons with disabling injuries may be compared to the total population in order to get a statistical comparison of the reduction in probability of employment or the median earnings of a disabled person, as compared to the average person in the workforce. This data indicates that people who have disabilities, unsurprisingly, have reduced likelihood of employment and reduced earnings (if they are employed) compared to the average American.

The Census Bureau has a breakdown of impact by disabling condition, which can be related to injured individuals to show what degree of future earning reduction is statistically expected. Independent measures of loss can be found for many types of disabilities including: difficulty seeing, hearing, concentrating, getting along with others, speaking, walking, lifting, grasping, standing, sitting, crouching, reaching, moving heavy objects, or coping with stress.  Disability is also indicated by the use of wheelchair or a walker, and by limitations in the basic activities of daily living, such as homemaking, dressing or bathing, or by limitations of the more complex or instrumental activities of daily living such as managing finances and planning meals.


For someone with difficulty sitting due to a spine injury, according to the Census Bureau statistics, the probability of employment is approximately 58.25 percent less than that of the total population. An assumed 58.25 percent reduction in future work can be applied to the expected normal future earnings of the person. If a long haul truck driver earning $70,000 per year would have worked for another 21.5 years but for their injury, their near 60 percent reduction in expected future years worked can mean 12.5 years of lost earnings, a loss of over a million dollars including benefits. This large loss is not otherwise evident to the jury if the driver has returned to work currently driving the same route and hours and at the same pay.  But government statistics can allow an economist to opine as to this future loss with a reasonable degree of economic certainty.

For persons who are employed subsequent to an injury that results in a disability, the data from the Census Bureau shows that the rate of pay or earnings per hour work is also likely to be reduced. In the instance of the realtor discussed above, the average earnings for someone who works despite difficulty walking are 66 percent of the earnings of an average American.  So if we assume that a realtor earning was capable of earning $60,000 per year prior to their injury, their long term post-injury earnings capacity may be expected to be only $40,000.  At an annual reduction of $20,000 in earnings, a young realtor may lose over half a million dollars in the future over their career.

In the instance of a child injury this data is particularly useful. While a child would not have yet established any career path, the impact of disability on an injured child can be also shown based on statistical reductions. If a child has been injured resulting in a mild traumatic brain injury and has difficulty concentrating, that child may yet graduate college, with very significant effort.  But difficulty concentrating will impair career prospects and earnings; such disabled people earn only 43 percent of the average, non-injured population. This 57 percent impact can be applied to future earnings of the injured child.  While the present value of a healthy child’s future earnings (assuming they graduate college) including benefits could approach $4 million, the child who has difficulty concentrating can expect a reduction in earnings that well exceeds $2 million.

In addition to the income capacity of a child being reduced, the prospective level of educational attainment of a child is likely to be reduced as well with a disability. We frequently assume several pre-injury educational outcomes, such as some college and college graduation. It may be that someone we thought had a great likelihood of completing college may now likely only complete some college, or may not even go to college at all. The jury can be shown all the possible combinations of equal and or lesser education due to the injury, with the post-injury wages and employment reduced by the Census Bureau employment statistics. So we can, for example, assume some college prior to injury and only high school after the injury. The post-injury high school earnings would be reduced based on the Census Bureau statistics.

Sometimes there is a vocational assessment of the reduced wages or employment.  But these assessments are not based on, nor supported by, the U.S. Census Bureau statistics. An economist, however, can provide a strong statistical basis for the employment and pay impact on earnings capacity and career, and show the jury an evidence-based reduction in loss of future earnings and capacity.


Assessing the partial loss of earnings capacity due to a disability presents a complex court challenge for plaintiff attorneys and for the juries.  Statistics produced by the Census Bureau can establish a solid and credible foundation for estimating those losses.  An economist, can provide opinions regarding the partial disability to a reasonable degree of economic certainty.  Without such testimony, there is a likelihood of a jury “guessing” which can lead to “unpredictable” jury verdicts, either much higher or much lower than might result through a better-informed jury.  This high variability can undermine the jury system which the Seventh Amendment established.  With credible economic testimony based on Census Bureau statistics, the jury system is better supported.  There may be more predictable jury verdicts (and, hence more settlements.)  We are all well-served by these real number results.

Stan V. Smith, Ph.D., is VLM’s Quarterly Economics Columnist and president of Smith Economics Group, Ltd., headquartered in Chicago.  Trained at the University of Chicago (one of the world’s pre-eminent institutions for the study of economics and the home of the law and economics movement), Smith has also taught at the university and co-authored the first textbook on the subject of economic damages.  A nationally-renowned expert in economics who has testified nationwide in personal injury, wrongful death and commercial damages cases, Smith has assisted thousands of law firms in successful results for both plaintiffs and defendants, including the U.S. Department of Justice. To that end, Smith also developed the first course in forensic economics at DePaul University, and pioneered the concept of “hedonic damages,” testifying about the topic in landmark cases.  His work has been featured in the ABA Journal, National Law Journal, and on the front page of The Wall Street Journal.  Kyle Lauterhahn is a Senior Economic Analyst at Smith Economics Group in Chicago. Smith Economics Group, Ltd., is located at 1165 N. Clark Street, Suite 600, Chicago, IL, 60610. Dr. Smith may be reached at 312-943-1551, and at

The Firm, P.C. is a boutique Las Vegas law firm founded by Preston Rezaee, Esq. Preston Rezaee is also the founder and Editor in Chief of Vegas Legal Magazine.


Looking For A Trifecta

The Firm, P.C. is a boutique Las Vegas law firm founded by Preston Rezaee, Esq. Preston Rezaee is also the founder and Editor in Chief of Vegas Legal Magazine.

On a recent morning, Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman sits behind her desk on the top floor of Las Vegas City Hall, with a picturesque view of downtown’s revitalization behind her. Greeting a reporter, the mayor takes pride in the development outside her windows. “I wanted to continue Oscar’s vision,” she says about her immediate predecessor — and husband – former Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman.

Carolyn Goodman has certainly accomplished that, and much more. Now six years after taking office, and halfway through her second term, Mayor Carolyn Goodman tells Vegas Legal Magazine that she is “without question” running for a third term as mayor in 2019.

The mayor is especially proud of what is happening in downtown Las Vegas, which was always a central focus of her husband’s during his 12 years in office. The mayor turns to look out her office windows, and points to the development that started out as “Oscar’s vision,” but has now become their shared vision, as well.

“In fact, the only reason why I ran for office was because 17 people filed to become mayor,” she recalls, as she admires the view of new development. “And, my family came to me and said, ‘Mom, you have to continue on with Dad’s dreams and visions.’ At that time, everything you are seeing here in the mayor’s office — outside the windows — they weren’t here.”

Downtown Las Vegas revitalization has become a passion of both Oscar and Carolyn Goodman. Carolyn takes a lot of pride in downtown’s new growth during her tenure. “We have seen a huge surge of improvement and growth in the hotel industry downtown, with the Boyd (Gaming) group putting $30 (million) to $40 million into renovation for the California (hotel-casino). The Plaza (hotel-casino) is coming online.  The D (hotel-casino) is (now opened) there and, of course, (D owner Derek Stevens) just bought the Las Vegas Club,” she points out. “We have these high rises, and we are getting a lot of marketing on those, where people are coming into live.”

Oscar Goodman’s plans for downtown slowed during his last term as mayor, when the recession hit, starting in late 2007, his wife of 55 years explains. A few projects managed to stay on track during the economic downturn: Downtown’s Smith Center for the Performing Arts, and the Cleveland Clinic  Lou Ruvo Center  for Brain Health, both opened in Symphony Park shortly before Oscar Goodman left office.

“There’s still more to accomplish for the city,” she says. Carolyn Goodman sees her five decades in the community as an asset, in that she has seen just how far Las Vegas has come. “I love this town … So many people come in to buy land, or think about opening a business,” the mayor says. “Or (they may be) coming here to look (for a place) to live, or book a convention, and they need to know a little history. I have been here, goodness, 50-plus years. It is going to be 53 years come August. We have seen the town grow from 100,000 to 2.2 million (people). “

Mayor Carolyn Goodman has seen the small-town Vegas of old bloom into “an entertainment and gaming mecca,” complete with an internationally recognized Las Vegas Convention Center. She points to the some 43 million tourists coming in a year. Those visitors need to know who they can call in a strange city, she explains. And Mayor Carolyn Goodman wants to remain that point person for the next six years.

“If you travel internationally, and you don’t know who to contact, you always call up the mayor of the city,” she says.

“She’s Her Own Person”

Carolyn Goodman, however, didn’t initially want to fill the mayoral big shoes of her husband Oscar. The first Mayor Goodman was a great showman and hugely popular. Oscar Goodman is praised as a “one-man PR machine for Las Vegas” by Alan Stock, who is a local radio talk show host and political analyst. But Stock sees Carolyn Goodman as “more of a traditional mayor, and more low-key,” he adds.

Stocks contends that a lot of people thought they would see the fourth term of Oscar Goodman when his wife was elected mayor, but she has governed with her own style. “It wasn’t ‘Oscar four,’” Stock opines. “It was ‘Carolyn one,’ and then ‘Carolyn two.’ And if she’s elected to a third term, it will be “Carolyn three.’”

Carolyn Goodman, like her husband Oscar, is now non-partisan. She says it’s preferable for mayors while in office. Stock gives credit to Carolyn Goodman for not being a “political mayor,” ala the controversial New York mayor, Democrat Bill de Blasio.  “She doesn’t do controversial things,” Stock notes.

Carolyn Goodman has continued Oscar Goodman’s vision for Las Vegas, but she has also remained her “own person,” according to Michael Green, a University of Nevada, Las Vegas history professor.

“She is not Oscar Goodman, and nor should she be,” says Green, who happens to sit on the board of the Mob Museum with Oscar. Before being elected mayor, Oscar Goodman had worked as a well-known defense attorney for clients accused of being involved in organized crime. As mayor, Oscar Goodman had long hoped to open the museum. But the Mob Museum became a reality under the tenure of Carolyn Goodman.

“People forget now that, in 1999, when Oscar Goodman first announced he was running for mayor, a lot of people said ‘the wrong Goodman is running for mayor.’ They actually thought Carolyn should have run,” Green recalls.

Of course in retrospect, most Las Vegans now view Oscar Goodman’s 12 years as mayor as a success. And in 2011, while Carolyn Goodman started out as a very reluctant candidate for mayor, she did throw herself all into her campaign. Carolyn Goodman’s initial reservations were partially based on her already-full schedule.

“I had no intention of running. I had been involved in education here for over 26 years and founded the Meadows School. That took me 24-7 all the time, plus my family, and I was a happy cat.”

Carolyn Goodman decided to run for the office when she saw the list of candidates hoping to take over for her term-limited husband Oscar. “I didn’t need to rock the boat. And then it became very clear that while they were all well intentioned — the people that wanted to become mayor — they would have a vision that was theirs. They didn’t want to carry on the vision of Oscar Goodman.”

At the pleading of her family, Carolyn Goodman threw her hat into the ring to be the next mayor of Las Vegas in 2011. And, as was generally expected, she won. In 2015, Carolyn Goodman won re-election to a second term.

While Las Vegas mayor, Carolyn Goodman would still like to bring a major league, professional sports team to the actual city of Las Vegas. That was also a dream of her husband while he was in office.

Now, of course, the National Hockey League (NHL) has expanded into the Greater Las Vegas area with the Las Vegas Golden Knights team. Meanwhile, the National Football League’s Oakland Raiders’ owner Mark Davis has since inked a deal to move to the Las Vegas metro area – once a new $1.9 billion stadium is completed in a few years.

“I will continue to pursue Major League Soccer, the MLS, and I am sure we will get an NBA team here within the next decade because I have a very good relationship with Adam Silver, who is the (NBA) Commissioner,” she explains. “I also have a very good relationship with the MLS Commissioner (Don Garber).” Mayor Carolyn Goodman also sees great locations for professional basketball or soccer, within Las Vegas’ city limits.

“I am looking to develop Cashman Complex. It is a 5-acre parcel. We see a huge potential there for sports. So, that will happen,” she promises. “My only hope is that I live to see it all happen, because I am going into my seventh year next year.“

Looking to the future, the mayor is hoping for re-election to a third term. Those four more years could give her enough time to fulfill those big-league sports dreams, Carolyn anticipates. “So, I only have one more year, or so, on this term. Then I get a chance at one more term after that. “So, I have like five to six years to get it all done.”

Vegas Legal Magazine:  What can you share about new projects, and plans, in the works for Las Vegas?

Carolyn Goodman: A new project that the City is  piloting  is a much-needed one. As mayor, I have been advocating for it well over a year:  a free circulating bus shuttle which will move people around easily and comfortably, on a fixed route, in the four-square-mile  downtown core. Its purpose is to afford the tourists, residents, and employees, convenient and regular  connectivity  to businesses, downtown hotels and apartment buildings, (along with) restaurants, shops, galleries, museums, and entertainment venues.

As we work to build a more pedestrian-and-bike-friendly city, the “Downtown LOOP” portends to make a huge difference in achieving this goal.  Other cities around the country provide similar free shuttle services in their inner cores, and our hopes are that our businesses will enjoy the increase in visitations that they have seen occur. In its initial plan, the LOOP will operate seven days a week, nine hours a day. (It will) have stops at Bonneville Transit Center, the Arts District, the Las Vegas Premium Outlets, the Plaza Hotel and the Fremont Street Experience (both its west and east entrances). [It will also stops at] the Mob Museum, the Fremont East Entertainment District, and the Pawn Plaza (home of the Pawn Stars). We will be monitoring ridership and the popularity of the shuttle with an eye to the future.

Other projects underway — but not yet out of the Development and Planning Departments — are in Symphony Park, in the Cashman Complex, the Medical District, and in the booming northwest. Building proper infrastructure support, and streetscapes, are integral to every one of these projects we are undertaking. Having sufficient garage space and accessible roadway connectivity are other critical facets of preparation to building wisely, safely, well, and successfully.

VLM: What do you see as the biggest challenges facing the City of Las Vegas, now and into the near future?

CG: The challenges of addressing a growing homeless population have been evident for far too long in our community though we are not alone in facing this movement.  Cities around the country, and in particular in the more moderate climate areas such as ours, are each facing the impact of homelessness and the residual effects of their residency.

The recent recession with the enormity of the foreclosures in Southern Nevada, of course, added to our homeless population. But fortunately, as we are seeing an economic rebound, many of those who lost jobs and homes are back on the road to recovery and housing.  In the general homeless population, we see persons who have lost jobs and/or are abandoned by families, a population of veterans, individuals who are mentally challenged and ill, addicted individuals, and even human-trafficked persons.  Each group and each individual has special needs and problems. So, the challenge is ongoing and, of course, costly to assist with — and provide for — all of the wrap-around necessities that each requires.

While the impact the homeless population has on local businesses, homeowners, roadway traffic, our hospitals and care centers (just to mention a few areas) is mindboggling, fortunately, Las Vegas is supported by incredible social service providers and unique charitable organizations. [These services and organizations] donate to help address the multitude of issues this population demands.  These not-for-profits have bonded together to provide housing/beds, medical care, sanitation, meals, counseling, job training and placement —just to mention a few services they offer. And, many of these services are afforded in the City’s Corridor of Hope in Ward 5. The struggle and planning have been going on 24/7 for years, and we will not quit until we have found success for each human being, and addressed his/her need. But the enormity of the undertaking is exhausting.  Yet plans are afoot … [and] visits to other cities with successful programs continue, Best Practices are sought out, evaluated and implemented where appropriate, and solutions come slowly.

Addressing mental health issues, and providing funding, for fixes are not just Las Vegas problems. [These] are national problems that federal and state health care must provide. Our [Nevada] Legislature and Governor [Brian Sandoval] can and must help. And, readers need to know we each need to do our own part.

Another challenge that has been with us for so long is the specter of Yucca Mountain, and the nuclear waste being transported through our city. The infrastructure in this country is beyond in dangerous disrepair often rated a “D-“ in national civil-engineering studies. To consider transporting nuclear and radioactive waste along roads, over bridges, into tunnels, or on rail anywhere, and at this time, is appalling. That these highly dangerous materials will be rolling throughout the nation at times unknown, on routes undisclosed and passing through and past population centers challenge even the least caring. It is time to repurpose, deactivate and research new ways for disposing of this radioactive and nuclear waste. A waste site at Yucca Mountain is more than a Nevada issue, it is of huge national safety concern. Yucca Mountain has always been a flawed proposal for many reasons. As mayor of Las Vegas, like everyone else, safety is my number one priority. This is not a risk I am willing to take for my city or for our country.

VLM:  Looking at the wrap up of the current 2017 Nevada legislative session, which (potential) new laws do you think will have the most impact (if any) on the future of Las Vegas?

CG: It is hard to say, but three specific areas are legislatively critical: First, the overhaul and reorganization of the Clark County School District is singularly one of the most important issues that new legislation must address. Those reasons [include] developing a responsively qualified and well-educated workforce; and preparing all CCSD children for productive and meaningful lives, for college entrance, and/or for vocational readiness.

Second, another critical legislative area that must be addressed is that of matching Medicaid reimbursement rates to those of neighboring states.  These rates directly affect private insurance reimbursement rates, and without an adjustment to a competitive standard, Nevada will never be able to retain and/or attract the finest physicians to our State. Third, [another issue is] property tax adjustments to [put] both a cap and bottom level [limit].

VLM:  There has been much news coverage of the battle between some U.S. cities and the Trump Administration over the crack down on “sanctuary cities.” Clark County received a letter from the administration recently, as well. Can you talk about your efforts to make sure that the City of Las Vegas does not get caught up in this fight?

CG: It is really not a fight for the city, as we have been consistent from the previous administration to the new administration in Washington. The City of Las Vegas has no ‘sanctuary’ ordinances in place. We are in compliance with ICE regulations and continue to work with federal authorities as required.  While Las Vegas is not a Sanctuary City, it is a sensitive and compassionate city. I’m passionate about finding a pathway to citizenship for the multitudes of undocumented individuals who live and work in Las Vegas, and are valued law-abiding, caring, participatory, and good people. That is, it. We comply with federal regulations in the city jail, and we want our representatives to iron out a pathway to citizenship.

VLM: You have said that you plan to run for another term as major. What is still left on your list of things to accomplish while in office?

CG: You haven’t enough space for me to respond!!!! I want this city to reach its potential of being WORLD CLASS!  For starters:  First [on the list is] expanding security and safety measures to a point of citizenry full comfort. Second, building out and FULLY staffing the [University of Nevada, Las Vegas] Medical School with appropriate, and complementary, adjunct growth. [That includes] the development of research and newly specialized medical care. Third, expanding the Cleveland Clinic-Lou Ruvo Institute for Brain Health. Fourth, fix the quality of pre-K – 12 educating for all segments of the population. Fifth, enhancing the cultural arts. [That includes a new art museum for Symphony Park]. And sixth, bringing in a [Major League Soccer] franchise and the NBA.

VLM: Your previous career was in education, founding the Meadows school. Can you give your opinion on the state of public, and private, education in Southern Nevada? What do you think could be done to improve the school system?

CG: It’s all about the quality of teachers, about the mission/purpose of the program, the academic/curricular programming, providing for extracurricular activities, and having more than adequate funding available to meet all of these goals. When we talk about educational funding, now, more than ever, we have to ensure that we are putting every dollar into the per-pupil student allocation. There is no way that $5,500 currently allocated per pupil is near adequate to attain goals of high-quality education. At a minimum that number needs to be at $10,000, because buildings don’t teach, teachers teach.

Attracting, and retaining, the finest means per-pupil allocation must be raised to meet that mark. Back in the 1990s, when our population was growing so fast we couldn’t keep up, we needed capital projects and new school facilities. What was forgotten was the quality of the education, and providing appropriate per-pupil expenditures. Today we see the results of that poor planning.

Changes are coming to the Clark County School District, but that is a process, and it will take time. While the city is not responsible for, nor empowered to be integrated into CCSD, it is moving forward to fill in the gaps in our children’s educations. [That is done through] before-and-after-school programming. This is being led by our Department of Youth Development and Social Innovation, which is providing supplemental and support programming like Safekey, Batteries Included and Strong Start, to name a few.

We are Reinventing schools in our urban core, creating hubs that serve as centers for not only a student’s education, but also as a point where a family can access services and programs. Our Downtown Achieves, and Las Vegas My Brother’s Keeper, programs now operate under the Re-Invent Schools umbrella.

By giving children a strong start and getting them reading before kindergarten, we have the chance to improve our high school graduation rates, and revitalize our communities.

We are also teaching students and their families how to be healthy through our Healthy School Healthy Life Program. This has been a model program which the U.S. Conference of Mayors recently recognized with an award for its childhood obesity prevention efforts. The city was awarded a $150,000 grant to expand this program to additional schools and continue to improve the health of our residents.

Valerie Miller is an award-winning journalist based in Las Vegas. She can be reached at

The Firm, P.C. is a boutique Las Vegas law firm founded by Preston Rezaee, Esq. Preston Rezaee is also the founder and Editor in Chief of Vegas Legal Magazine.

When Should I Contact an Attorney Quickly After a Crash?

The accident is a very vast term that includes much emotion including happiness sorrow shocking intentionally and much more as well as has unwanted effects on the different person from time to time. Sometimes a person gets too happy from his boring life while another meet to death in just friction of seconds or it could be the minor one with no expression and feeling.

But according to our topic, we will go to put more light on cases where you meet with a crash in an accident. Generally when there is the crash between two the major destruction is on the vehicle and the surrounding area but many a time during the accident you tend to commit such things which turn out to be a legal offense that includes banging your car into others premises, drunk and driving thereby destroying public property and banging people down.

car accident

Preston Rezaee an editor in chief of Vegas legal magazine and founder of boutique Las Vegas law firm state that there are many kinds of situation and cases that could leave to end up to in jail for lifetime imprisonment that can be imposed by other falsely or you must have carried out intentionally. What so ever may be the case here are few points by Preston Rezaee that advise when you should contact to an attorney quickly just after a crash:

A death has caused from the accident: and that was totally unintentional, in such cases, only an attorney with handful evidence can help you from such cases as while a time of lawsuit the other party will seek a proper revenge whether you are innocent or being guilty.

Limited liability insurance: for yourself so either you are victim or a sinner in either cases you can seek help of attorney quickly so that before you the other party put their petition you can claim your with help of attorney.

Being found guilty according to the false report submitted by the police state: this is the maximum case if usually occur as the actual event can only be justified by the correct evidence and eyewitness who was present at that moment. Thus it you’re right to hire an attorney that could help you from such wrong petition.

Hence now you must be clear in your mind that what you have to do next if you have being stuck in such cases. As they are fully aware of all acts and legal pin points that could be implemented at right interval of time to prove your innocence thus they are the only help provided to you save you from such deeds according to Preston Rezaee . 

Attorneys for Personal Injury – Car Accident

Vehicle accidents are the most common type of incident which will require you to go seeking the services of Attorneys’ dealing in personal injury cases. Aside from auto accidents, there are other kinds such as a motorcycle, truck, and boat accidents as well. These can result in personal injuries or death at worst. The main reason why there are car accidents is the failure to exercise care while driving. Irresponsible and reckless driving is usually the main reason why car accidents occur. Unfortunately, not all countries have laws that can protect people from personal injury.

As a driver, one should follow the rules, exercise care and adjust to different driving conditions. The failure to do so could result in serious injury and your lifestyle to be compromised.

Car Accident.jpg

When an auto collides with another, personal injury is very likely to occur and this leads to having to be represented in court by an Attorney for personal injury. Usually, the case is taken to court to determine fair and just compensation and this is when you need an experienced Attorney to represent you. The party who is proven to be responsible will be ordered to pay for damages, loss of income, medical bills, and other related items. If a car is damaged, they have to pay for repair or if a victim is suffering from injuries, the medical bills need to be paid which can amount to a considerable sum of money. The victim may also suffer from mental anguish and trauma as well. This will all be taken into account when the judge makes his decision.

As a victim, there are things you need to bear in mind. When the injury is severe, call an ambulance and the police, so that everything is recorded. There are cases when injuries are not visible like fractures or internal injuries so receiving hospital treatment is vital. A good idea is to take a picture of everything like skid marks, the location of cars and injuries to the injured. These should be available for immediate release. Photographs are considered to be great evidence. It is also a good idea to collect details from witnesses. The success of a case is often determined by witnesses and an instance of this is when a driver runs a red light.

In order to make sure that the maximum payment is received, you need to do some research on Attorneys for personal injury in view of engagement. You need to select a licensed person to ensure that they are legitimate to practice. Perhaps asking friends and family for personal recommendations can help you in your selection process. Being confident that you have the very best personal injury Attorney representing you will lessen the stress involved when dealing with a court case.

All in all, it is best to consult with Attorneys for personal injury right away, as not having one hired can lead to problems. Employing a personal injury attorney is the best way to obtain fair compensation!

Personal Injury cases are many and diverse and engaging the right Attorney for your case is very important. To read more about Personal Injury Attorneys