Acute Trauma: An Imaging Perspective

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.

-By Travis Snyder, DO

Distinguishing acute trauma from pre-existing degenerative changes (changes of aging) and other pathologic processes during medical imaging is essential for patient care and management, yet this is often challenging for both the treating physician and the radiologist. Imaging terminology and options, such as MRI pulse sequences can be confusing for physicians and non-physicians alike. Understanding of these concepts is surely essential for attorneys managing medical legal cases.

Imaging Options

Understanding the utility of the various modalities available in diagnostic imaging is important. Fractures in the spine or extremities can occasionally be subtle or not visualized on plain film (x-ray) and if there is high clinical concern, MRI is recommended. Extremity x-rays for fractures should ideally include standard 3 views. Ligament and tendon injuries are most often not seen on x-ray, although indirect signs may be present. MRI is the exam of choice to asses these and other soft tissue injuries. CT is excellent for assessing bony pathology such as fractures, particularly rib fractures, but is more limited in assessing the soft tissues. Intravenous contrast may be administered in cross sectional studies (MRI or CT), but other than to assess for abdominal organ or vascular injury, contrast is of limited value in evaluating acute or subacute injuries and is generally reserved to characterize or diagnose nontraumatic conditions such as infection or neoplasm or postsurgical spinal evaluation. A MRI arthrogram is a procedure where MRI sensitive contrast and water are injected into the joint under fluoroscopic imaging guidance by a radiologist and then scanned using MRI. This exam is typically ordered to assess the labrum (an important stabilizing thin but sturdy circumferential soft tissue structure peripheral and superficial to the cartilage), in either in the shoulder or hip where intraarticular contrast (Arthrogram) offers increased detection rate for labral tears1. Ultrasound may be of benefit to assess for traumatic ventral abdominal or inguinal hernia.

Spine Pathology

In the spine, straightening, and particularly reversal, of the normal cervical and lumbar lordotic (posterior concave arching as seen on sagittal/lateral view) curvatures, can be associated with muscle spasm and pain in the proper clinical setting. Anterior subluxation (anterolisthesis) and posterior subluxation (retrolisthesis) of a vertebral body compared to the one below may indicate underlying ligamentous injury, particularly in younger patients. Translation (movement) of one vertebral body on another as seen on sagittal (lateral or side view) imaging during flexion and extension x-ray/MRI or dynamic flexion/extension video fluoroscopy is a concerning finding. Translation can be indicative of instability with underlying ligamentous injury and has prognostic value in determining disability2. Assessment of ligamentous injury is best seen on sagittal STIR imaging (a dedicated fluid sensitive MRI sequence). Subtle injuries may be better identified on the more advanced 3.0 Tesla magnet (rather than a 1.0 or 1.5 Tesla system).

Intervertebral discs are present in-between the vertebral bodies and best evaluated on MRI. Morphology of disc pathology is important; disc protrusions and extrusions are more likely to be acute than disc osteophyte complexes or broad disc bulges, although acute pathology can be superimposed on preexisting degenerative changes. Size of the disc herniation is also significant secondary to mass effect on nerves and resultant narrowing of neuroforamina or resultant spinal stenosis which should be documented regardless of morphology. Absence of findings such as degenerative disc signal or osteophytes can occasionally aid in assessing acuity. Annular tears/fissures of the intervertebral disc can be associated with trauma or degenerative change; additional descriptions such as size, whether the tear is peripheral, vertically orientated, bright on STIR imaging, or demonstrates a radial component (extends to the center) may assist in determining etiology and prognosis3-4.

Extremity Pathology

Regarding extremities, edema and surrounding fluid at the site of pathology on MRI are helpful findings that may suggest acuity. Unusual injuries in a symptomatic young patient following trauma such as a rotator cuff tear or large SLAP tear (superior labral tear) in the shoulder or a complex meniscal tear in the knee do not typically present a diagnostic dilemma as to traumatic causality. Alternatively, joint space narrowing, subchondral cystic changes and uniform cartilage loss are not acute posttraumatic findings.

Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic brain injury often occurs at the grey-white matter junction due to differing densities of the grey (cortical) and white (subcortical) matter. These shearing injuries (diffuse axonal injuries) may be hemorrhagic or non-hemorrhagic. The hemorrhagic injures are best seen on SWI (susceptibility weighted imaging), which is 4-6 times more sensitive than dedicated hemo-sensitive gradient echo images5. Sagittal FLAIR imaging provides added sensitivity for the non-hemorrhagic lesions. Cerebral contusions, subdural hematomas and characteristic ‘coup contrecoup’ patterns are assessed utilizing standard brain sequences.

Diffuse Tensor Imaging (DTI) measures water diffusion along the white matter axons (which can be thought of as “telephone lines” of the brain). Decreased DTI values following head trauma is well documented in the literature and correlates with clinical outcome6. NeuroQuant hippocampal volumetric software analysis adds objective quantification in assessing the

hippocampal volume loss associated with head trauma7.

In addition, advanced trauma brain protocol may include functional (fMRI)8, perfusion imaging9 performed with contrast or using arterial spin labeling (ASL), and MR spectroscopy10.

Of course, any imaging findings, regardless of modality, should be assessed in the proper clinical context and absence of supporting imaging findings does not exclude injury. Clinical corroboration is always advised.

Dr. Snyder is a 2009 Touro University of Nevada Osteopathic Medical School graduate and a current assistant adjunct professor of Radiology and Neuroradiology at Touro. He completed his Radiology residency at McLaren Macomb (Michigan State) in Michigan and his Neuroradiology fellowship at the University of Miami and returned to Las Vegas to practice at SimonMed Imaging in Las Vegas. He has special interest in teaching rotating medical students, lecturing, and research on advanced imaging techniques for traumatic brain injury and carbon monoxide poisoning.

References

1. 3-T MRI of the Shoulder: Is Arthrography Necessary? Magee, T. AJR Jan 2009 Volume 192, Issue 1

2. Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment, Sixth Edition 6. American Medical Association.

3. Annular Tears and Disc Degeneration in the Lumbar Spine. A post-mortem study of 135 discs Osti OL, Vernon-Roberts B et al. J Bone Joint Surg Br. 1992 Sep;74(5):678-82

. 4. Do Presence and Location of Annular Tear Influence Clinical outcome after Lumbar total Disc Arthroplasty? A prospective 1-year follow-up study James J. Yue, et al Int J Spine Surg. 2012; 6: 13–17.

5. Hemorrhagic Shearing Lesions in Children and Adolescents with Posttraumatic Diffuse Axonal Injury: Improved Detection and Initial Results. Tong et al. Radiology 2003; 227:332–339.

6. A Decade of DTI in Traumatic Brain Injury: 10 Years and 100 Articles Later M.B. Hulkower, et al. American Journal of Neuroradiology November 2013, 34 (11) 2064-2074.

7. Man Versus Machine Part 2: Comparison of Radiologists’ Interpretations and NeuroQuant Measures of Brain Asymmetry and Progressive Atrophy in Patients With Traumatic Brain Injury. Ros DE, et al J Neuropsychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2015;27(2):147-52. doi: 10.1176/appi. neuropsych.13040088.

8. Functional MRI of Mild Traumatic brain injury (mTBI): Progress and Perspectives from the first Decade of Studies. McDonald B et al. Brain Imaging Behav. 2012 Jun; 6(2): 193–207.

9. Perfusion Deficits in Patients with mild Traumatic Brain injury Characterized by Dynamic Susceptibility Contrast MRI. Liu W et al. NMR Biomed. 2013 Jun;26(6):651-63. doi:

10.1002/nbm.2910. Epub 2013 Mar 4. 10. Proton MR Spectroscopy in Mild Traumatic Brain Injury. Bozena Kubas et al Pol J Radiol. 2010 Oct-Dec; 75(4): 7–10.

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.

Super Priority, Supreme Court?

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.

-By J. Malcolm DeVoy, Esq

Recently, the Nevada Supreme Court and United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (the “Ninth Circuit”) reached opposing conclusions on the same issue of Nevada law. As has been noted in the past,1 Nevada’s Supreme Court does not hesitate to distinguish itself from other federal courts and their holdings. The latest major juncture in this dispute finds the Nevada Supreme Court disagreeing with the Ninth Circuit in a manner that could raise profound constitutional issues and require the United States Supreme Court’s intervention to resolve.

For real estate litigation “cognoscenti,” it is no surprise that the crux of this problem arises from the superpriority liens created by NRS 116.3116 et seq., which historically gave homeowners associations (“HOA’s”) a super-priority interest in the most recent nine months’ worth of HOA dues.2 Following the economic turmoil of 2008 through 2009, HOA’s sold these liens to the highest bidders, who in turn would commence nonjudicial foreclosing proceedings based on possessing a super-priority interest in the property by purchasing the interest created by the overdue HOA dues. Investors savvy to this process were able to purchase single family homes—frequently in highly desirable areas—for thousands of dollars.

Litigation ensued. Banks, incredulous that NRS 116.3116 and its super-priority extinguished its much larger deed of trust interests on the houses, took to the courts arguing that the super-priority lien did not operate as it was being applied. To the banks, the super-priority liens created, at best, an equitable entitlement to first satisfy the delinquent HOA dues from the proceeds of a foreclosure sale performed by the holder of a first deed of trust—it did not extinguish the deed of trust entirely. The Nevada Supreme Court, however, saw it otherwise. In 2014, the Nevada Supreme Court ruled in SFR Investments Pool 1 LLC v. U.S. Bank N.A. that the plain language of NRS 116.3116 did create a true super-priority lien in the overdue HOA dues, and one that would extinguish even a bank’s deed of trust in the property.3

More litigation ensued. In late 2016, a permutation of the super-priority lien issue made its way before the Ninth Circuit.4 Rather than address the operation and true intent of NRS 116.3116, which the Nevada Supreme Court had spoken to in SFR and its lineage of related cases, the Ninth Circuit took a different approach. The appeals court found NRS 116.3116(2) to be facially unconstitutional, constituting an impermissible state action requiring lenders to protect themselves against loss—despite holding deeds of trust—by requesting notice from HOA’s of their intended foreclosure on their super-priority liens.5 As a result, Nevada’s super-priority scheme resulted in a violation of the lender’s due process rights.6 For a moment, at least in federal court, the superpriority was dead.

This death of the super-priority lien was short-lived. In January of 2017, the Nevada Supreme Court directly addressed the Bourne Valley decision in Saticoy Bay LLC Series 350 Durango 104 v. Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, and expressly “declin[ed] to follow” the Ninth Circuit’s holding.7 The Nevada Supreme Court’s position, and interpretation of state law, undermined the premise of the Ninth Circuit’s opinion: That nonjudicial foreclosure of an HOA lien involves state action and implicates the due process clause of the United States Constitution. “[D]ue process is not implicated in an HOA’s nonjudicial foreclosure,” wrote the Nevada Supreme Court, going on to explain in detail why the super-priority lien’s extinguishment of subordinate interests, including deeds of trust held by national banks, did not constitute a government taking.8

The tension between the Ninth Circuit and Nevada Supreme Court creates a potential mess of federalism. Under the Erie doctrine, federal courts that have based their jurisdiction on diversity (i.e., the amount in controversy and differing citizenship of the parties, rather than purely federal questions such as patent infringement or qui tam actions under the federal false claims act) are compelled to follow state law.9 Ultimately, states have the final determination of what their law actually is, whether through the judiciary or the legislature. On questions of federal law, though, federal courts have the final say, for reasons traced directly back to the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution.

The latest phase of the super-priority lien fight is less of a fight about the law’s meaning than whether or not it implicates rights arising under the United States Constitution. The Ninth Circuit’s opinion in Bourne Valley contends that it does, and the statute on its very face violates the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.10 Nevada’s Supreme Court, arguably making the dispute a matter wholly of state law and therefore beyond the United States Supreme Court’s reach, reasoned that super-priority foreclosures did not implicate the due process clauses of either the United States or Nevada Constitutions.11

The Nevada Supreme Court’s self-differentiation from other federal courts is not some quirk of local law. Despite the ever-broadening sweep of federal law,12 the United States Supreme Court recognized within the last 100 years that it was “one of the happy incidents of the federal system” that a single state may “serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country.”13 As seen in the ongoing super-priority lien battles, and the Nevada Supreme Court’s general support for enforcing the Nevada statute as written in prior decisions, its distinctiveness can have far-reaching implications and set the stage for larger battles. While the likelihood of any particular case being heard by the United States Supreme Court is slim, the question of whether a state can determine whether or not its own laws implicate constitutional rights is one that the justices may select for review.

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, the Star Law, and the Anti-Kickback Statute.

1. See Daubert or Not Daubert: Does it Make a Difference? A Brief Discussion of Expert Testimony & Opinion Admissibility, Vegas Legal Magazine (Dec. 2016); Nevada Supreme Court Extends the FDIC Extender Statute, jaydevoy.com (May 2015).

2. This statutory regime was amended by the Nevada legislature in its 2015 session.

3. 334 P.3d 408 (Nev. 2014).

4. Bourne Valley Court Trust v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., 832 F.3d 1154 (9th Cir. 2016), reh’g. denied (petition to U.S. Supreme Court for writ of certiorari filed Apr. 3, 2017).

5. Bourne Valley, 832 F.3d at 1158. 6. Id.

7. Saticoy Bay LLC Series 350 Durango 104 v. Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, 388 P.3d 970, 974 at n. 5 (Nev. 2017).

8. Id. at 974-75.

9. Federal courts are, however, allowed to make certain predictions regarding how state courts would rule on issues where there is no direct precedent; federal courts also have the option to certify questions of state law to the Nevada Supreme Court for its consideration under Nevada Rule of Appellate Procedure 5.

10. Bourne Valley, 832 F.3d at 1160.

11. Saticoy Bay, 388 P.3d at 975. 12. See, e.g., Harvey Silvergate, Three Felonies a Day (2011).

13. New State Ice Co. v. Liebmann, 285 U.S. 262, 311 (1932) (noting, ironically, that the court may strike down laws and “prevent” such experiments where statutes violate the due process clause.)

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.

Las Vegas Icons: Susan Anton

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 actress and singer Susan Anton walks into a room, people don’t just notice her statuesque beauty, although at 5’11” it is hard to miss, but also her radiant smile that comes so easily. At 66 years young, she’s had many successes in her career and personal life and continues to venture into some familiar and less-familiar territory. Very much in the game, she continues to pursue her passions as an entertainer, mentor, businesswoman and maybe even an author, down the road. the founder and Editor in Chief of Vegas Legal Magazine.

When actress and singer Susan Anton walks into a room, people don’t just notice her statuesque beauty, although at 5’11” it is hard to miss, but also her radiant smile that comes so easily. At 66 years young, she’s had many successes in her career and personal life and continues to venture into some familiar and less-familiar territory. Very much in the game, she continues to pursue her passions as an entertainer, mentor, businesswoman and maybe even an author, down the road.

When actress and singer Susan Anton walks into a room, people don’t just notice her statuesque beauty, although at 5’11” it is hard to miss, but also her radiant smile that comes so easily. At 66 years young, she’s had many successes in her career and personal life and continues to venture into some familiar and less-familiar territory. Very much in the game, she continues to pursue her passions as an entertainer, mentor, businesswoman and maybe even an author, down the road.

From her tenure as Miss California, to winning runner up in Miss America, to some well-publicized relationships along with a constant presence in Hollywood, New York City, Las Vegas and Japan, Susan Anton has in many ways led a charmed life, and one full of lessons that have made her who she is today—an enduring Las Vegas icon.

Recently we had the privilege to sit with Susan Anton and find out more about her life, past and present, and her future as she continues to forge ahead with her decades-long career.

Vegas Legal Magazine (VLM): What brought you to Vegas?

Susan Anton (SA): The first time I was ever in Vegas was when I was 15 years old. I was on a tour with a group of 14 &15 year-old teenagers from my hometown in Yucaipa. I was in awe of all the lights (of the Strip) going as far as I could see. From the time I was 21 years old, I have been in and out of Vegas.

VLM: What was your first job in Vegas?

SA: My first Vegas job was in the production show, Turn it On at the Hacienda Hotel, where the Mandalay Bay now sits. I will never forget the first time I saw my name on the marquee. Granted the steak special had bigger lettering than my name, but it was (and still is) one of the most exciting moments in my life!

VLM: What was your quintessential “Vegas moment?”

SA: After my 3 year run at the Hacienda Hotel I returned to Los Angeles where my TV, Film and recording career took off. I returned to Las Vegas a few years later and co-headlined with some of the great Headliners of the day. The first time I saw my name in lights alongside George Burns with thrilling. I worked with everyone from Ben Vereen and Sammy Davis Jr. to Tony Orlando, Paul Anka and Kenny Rogers (who I later toured with for 2 years) and many, many more. I was spending about 40 weeks out of the year in Vegas. Work took me back to Los Angeles and New York, but several years later I returned to Las Vegas with the The Great Radio City Spectacular at the Flamingo Hotel. I had been the headliner on a 72-city tour with the Radio City Rockettes. It was the 60th anniversary of Radio City Music Hall and the first time the Rockettes performed outside of New York City so taking the show on the road was a big deal. When our 72-city tour ended we came to Las Vegas and took up residency at the Flamingo Hotel for the next 7 years. It was at this time my husband, Jeff Lester and I decided to become residents of Las Vegas. The Rockettes are truly a talented group of dancers who work hard. I learned so much from them in our 7 years together and many of the girls decide to stay in Las Vegas and call it home and are still my friends today.

VLM: Who has been the most interesting and fun entertainer you have worked with?

SA: Four people come to mind right away—George Burns, Kenny Rogers, Sammy Davis, Jr. and of course, Frank Sinatra. I was fortunate that these talented entertainers became my friends as well as mentors. I have great memories of sharing the bill with Kenny Rogers and touring on his personal jet when he was at the height of his career, as well as being motivated by Sammy’s great performances and George’s comradery. I also enjoyed working with Dinah Shore. She was a gracious and funny woman. I remember one of her many dinner parties when I was dating Dudley Moore. I ended up being part of an impromptu singing and playing session with several other guests including Dudley, Jack Lemmon, Roger Miller, Angie Dickenson, Dinah Shore and the one and only Willie Nelson.

VLM: Is there a celebrity that you admire?

SA: Besides being an inspiration to me, Frank [Sinatra] stands out because of the way he made others feel when he was around. He always knew how to take care of the people around him. I remember when I introduced him to my mother, a long-time fan. A group of us were about to take a picture and my mother was standing on the end. Frank suddenly stopped mid-photo and turned to my mother and said, “A lady never stands in the end.” He then had her take the picture while standing next to him. It was that kind of personal touch that made him extra special.

VLM: Since your move to Vegas 20 years ago, is there a favorite project you have worked on?

SA: Besides The [Great] Radio City Spectacular, I enjoy performing at the Smith Center. I think it’s great that Las Vegas has a place where young people can watch live performing arts. My favorite venue at the Smith Center is the Cabaret Jazz. I like the intimacy and the connection you make with the audience when performing. I also enjoy mentoring young performers. I recently spent the day coaching some of Las Vegas’s talented high school students for Nevada High School Music Theater Awards. The winning student will represent our state in New York City this summer for the National competition.

VLM: How do you feel about being labeled an icon?

SA: I feel humbled and appreciated. It is an honor I take seriously. I always think back to my upbringing. My parents worked hard to provide for us. My dad was a proud Veteran of two wars and served in law enforcement as Detective Wally Anton for over 20 years. Watching my parents live their lives gave me a good education and foundation to live my life with the awareness and the privilege of creating a life that can have an impact on others and your environment.

VLM: Anything you would do differently?

SA: Well, I would have bought more property in Las Vegas! But seriously, I would have taken advantage of the opportunity to stay in New York and work longer with Academy Award winning director Mike Nichols. I met Mike when I was appearing in David Rabe’s Pulitzer Prize winning play Hurlyburly at the Barrymore Theater in New York City. I know I could have learned so much from him. But I was young, homesick and wanted to go back to my friends and family in California.

VLM: What current projects are you working on?

SA: About 20 years ago, my husband Jeff and I started our film productions company here in town [called] Big Picture Studios. We are working on various film projects in Las Vegas and beyond. We are in the early phases of development on a movie about The Women’s Air Force Service Pilots, WASPs. With the success of the movie, Hidden Figures we feel the stories of these brave women need to be told so everyone can recognize the contributions they made to our war efforts in the 1940’s. I also have a performance this August 25 & 26 at Vitellos in Shelia E’s, E-Spot showroom in Valley Village, Los Angeles. I’ll be reuniting with my band of over 35 years. Closer to home, this September, I will be performing at The Summerlin Library’s Performing Art Center.

VLM: Are there any other endeavors you are involved in?

SA: A few years back, I became a minority partner and brand ambassador in a new spirits company, Spa Girl Cocktails. It has been fun watching it take off in popularity. They have won some awards in spirits competition in Northern and Southern California. It’s now available in California, Arizona and at all of Lee’s Liquor locations across Las Vegas.

VLM: Have you considered writing a book?

SA: Yes, it is one of those ideas that keeps knocking at my door. I just need to find the time to organize my memories and put them down on paper.

VLM: Any advice for aspiring entertainers?

SA: The best advice I can give others is the advice I got from an old acting coach. His advice was to have a clear understanding of what you want—is it fame, money or for the love of it? Have clear motives and be true to that. And if you love it, it will love you back. Be engaged and bring your passion to it.

VLM: Can you tell us about any organizations you are involved with?

SA: Earlier this year I spoke at the Women with a Purpose Conference in Los Angeles. The event was started and hosted by some of the most dynamic female leaders to help empower women in many areas of their lives.

VLM: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

SA: Still being active in the industry and in the community. I would love to continue to be a mentor to Broadway-bound high school kids. I do know that whatever lies ahead is relevant and what it’s supposed to be.

VLM: What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

SA: There are so many things to do in Vegas. I especially like going on hikes with my husband Jeff and our dog Joe at Red Rock. On special occasions we enjoy going to our favorite restaurant in Summerlin, Vintner Grill. The food and ambience are amazing. Coincidentally, the owner’s wife, Joelle, is a former Rockette and good friend. We met during our time with The Radio City Spectacular. So, in a way, it is a full circle of my earlier life in Vegas.

VLM: What is on your bucket list of things to do?

SA: One of my goals is to have a second home in California. Jeff and I still have many personal and professional connections in California. I would also love to move to a small, quaint village in Italy and live there for a year. I think it would be amazing to experience it as a resident, even if only temporarily.

VLM: Any last words for our readers?

SA: I want to thank the people of Las Vegas for all the blessings and opportunities. I am incredibly grateful. It really brings home that the gifts you receive are greater than you are asking for.

Susan Anton is a resident of Las Vegas, Nevada where she shares a home with her husband of 25 years, film director Jeff Lester and their dog, Joe. We are certain that we will continue to hear of many more successful ventures from Susan. Be sure to visit her website for more details of upcoming events and news http://www.susananton.com

Sabrina S. Siracusa is a Las Vegas-based freelance copywriter. With an undergraduate degree in psychology and an ABA Paralegal Certificate, Siracusa’s specialty is crafting SEO-filled content for legal, medical and career-based websites. She is currently the Publications Specialist at the State Bar of Nevada. Learn more about Siracusa and her work at http://www.writergirl.biz

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.

Fine Art At Any Price

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.

Fine art decorates way more than the walls in your home: its emotional power and visual splendor literally decorate your life. At Martin Lawrence Galleries, Las Vegas’ preeminent retailer of fine art and things of beauty and import are available for everyone to acquire, regardless of their budget. From long-term collectors to first-time buyers—whether you are spending $500 for a limited-edition print or $5 million for a unique, oil-painting masterpiece (or anything in between!)—you will find exactly what you love within Martin Lawrence Galleries’ palatial 26,000 square-foot retail location at Caesar’s famed Forum Shops.

Martin Lawrence Galleries is a showcase of 20th and 21st century works. It proudly offers paintings, prints and sculptures from over two dozen of the finest and most famous artists of the past 100 years…names including Chagall, Picasso, Dali, Erte, Warhol, Kostabi, Kondakova, Murakami, Deyber, Hallam, Mas, and many more. On any given day, a visit to the gallery (located near the Atlantis Fountain) will reveal art-world wonders like the largest Salvador Dali painting in history, standing over 63-feet wide and over 17-feet tall, as well as many one-of-a-kind, museum-level masterpieces.

It’s all there for you to admire…and all there for you to acquire. Every work is offered in superb condition, with its authenticity 100 percent guaranteed by the most prominent name in the fine art sector, by a company with 40 years’ experience, that is owned and run by a world-class art collector himself.

The beauty and power of fine art does not stop with its imagery. It resonates with its observer and becomes part of your life, encouraging you to share it proudly with friends and expose the children in your life to the culture, history and values that have defined and sustained civilization for centuries.

At Martin Lawrence Galleries, we believe that an appreciation in art is one that can pass from generation to generation. That’s why shopping with us means price will never be a barrier between you and fine art because the breadth of our collection is tailored to fit any taste, any desire, any emotion, and any budget.

Visit us today, and begin a journey that will last you—and your family—a lifetime.

Martin Lawrence Galleries…where the appreciation grows from one generation to the next.

Martin Lawrence Galleries is located at the Forum Shops at Caesars. It is open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., and weekends from 10 a.m. to 12 a.m. For more information about the gallery’s artwork, or to inquire about hosting an event inside the gallery, please call 702.991.5990. Other locations include La Jolla, Costa Mesa and San Francisco, Calif; Maui, Dallas, New York City (Soho), Chicago, New Orleans, and Boston. You may also find us at http://www.martinlawrence.com.

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.

 

Las Vegas Icons: Brad Jerbic

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.

Las Vegas is a town known for its icons, including those who are living, and those who’ve blazed on before us to our city’s great neon “after party.” While some Las Vegas icons are recognized the world over, others are known personally to the thousands of locals whose lives they’ve touched. Each icon, in their individual way, has helped to shape Las Vegas into the remarkable city that it is today. Here, in this first installment of VLM’s LAS VEGAS ICONS, we introduce Las Vegas City Attorney Brad Jerbic.

For nearly a quarter century, Brad Jerbic has been one of the most energetic, entertaining and enigmatic players in local government. His sharp intellect, youthful exuberance (which belies his chronological age) and his rare ability to tell a story well, have endeared him to friends and colleagues at Las Vegas City Hall. As City Attorney for Las Vegas, Jerbic is essentially “house counsel” for the city. He helps keep city leaders flying right as they navigate uncharted political territory while always maintaining an eye on taxpayers’ interests and funds.

Jerbic stays seemingly awake through marathon city council meetings (where he ditches his preferred attire of jeans and Pooka shells for more traditional business suits) and is known for his ability to maintain a laser focus. Still, his surfer-style haircut hints at where his mind could potentially wander. When this public servant isn’t in council meetings or in his corner office at City Hall, he might be found body surfing at The Wedge in Newport Beach, Calif., shopping at local comic book stores, or salvaging historic Las Vegas documents.

Jerbic’s office is not designed to impress or intimidate. It’s designed to amuse. Underneath a large painting of Superman, Jerbic keeps a red, 1970s “government hotline” telephone that while not in use makes for some interesting office gags. Batman figurines and other collectables decorate counters, and vintage covers of National Lampoon’s Mad magazine are neatly framed on the walls. From this auspicious space, Jerbic leads a staff of several dozen dedicated attorneys and city personnel.

Vegas Legal Magazine: I’ll start with the décor. Clearly you’re a man who knows his comic books.

Brad Jerbic: When I was 8 or 9, I had the measles and my mom went to the drugstore (back then it was Westgate Drug on the corner of Valley View and Charleston) and she just happened to pluck a comic book off the rack. It turned out to be an action comic of Superman. Back then, I was told [that] with the measles, you [had to] be in a dark room because you’re sensitive to light. I had this dim light next to the bed and I read the comic book 15 times. It was part two of a series, so I had to get the next part and that was it! It started everything and it’s never left me. Later on when I had kids, I realized that [my love for comic books] set me straight as a kid and taught me how to read.

VLM: Growing up in Las Vegas, was there anything that steered you in the direction of public service?

BJ: My dad had a jewelry shop Downtown that was kind of the “Floyds Barber” of jewelry shops. The clientele ran the gamut, from the people who worked at the casinos to the phone company. Metro was Downtown, so you’d see a lot of cops all the time, and lots of judges and lawyers. A mish mash of everybody would come into [my dad’s] store and they would sit around and tell stories of what happened that day. If I wanted to see my dad, I had to go there because he worked Saturday and Sunday. So I was [able to be] a fly on the wall and hear all this stuff. [My dad] had a wonderful custom. He had a Dixie cup dispenser, and at 4 o’clock every day he would count the number of people in the store and pull out a Dixie cup for each one of them. He would crack open the ice cube tray and put an ice cube in each one, and fill it full of Canadian whiskey. That’s what he called “tea time.” Everyone in his store did a shot every day at 4 o’clock.

VLM: The energy in that room…is that what attracted you to civic life?

BJ: Actually, it intimidated me. It intimidated the hell out of me. For someone to have a title in front of [their] name was just intimidating. If somebody was a judge or a lawyer or a captain in the police department, I was like, “Wow, my dad knows these people?” [That awe] changes later in life, but when you’re a kid it was just intimidating.

VLM: You have a pretty cool title as City Attorney for Las Vegas. Do you find that a lot of people, even attorneys, don’t really know what your job entails?

BJ: [Laughs] It’s funny. I admit I really didn’t know what the city attorney was and did until I got [the job.] I’m appointed to work for the citizens, and that’s the only thing I find a little bit overwhelming. My “client” is the citizens of the city of Las Vegas, and that is a big responsibility. I think everybody around [the office] understands that, too. When we go through contracts, lawsuits, whatever, it’s taxpayer money. [If] you lose a case, it’s the taxpayers who work hard for their money [who lose]. Then you have to spend money on something other than a park or public safety or whatever [the taxpayers need]. The main goal here is to not waste money.

VLM: In the last quarter century you’ve worked under three different mayors (Jan Jones, Oscar Goodman, Carolyn Goodman) and roughly 40 different city councilmembers. Which of the mayors was most challenging?

BJ: [Laughs] I would have to say that Mayor Oscar Goodman was probably the most challenging sometimes. He was so bright and so much fun, but he would spontaneously come up with ideas. And when somebody would ask him, “Is that legal?” his standard response would be, “I’ll get the city attorney working on it.” [Laughs] And if I didn’t know about it, I’d get a call from the press saying, “I understand you’re working on (fill in the blank) and so I found myself having to go to every press conference and every meeting where one of these kinds of ideas might come up so I could stay ahead of the power curve. But it was a great working relationship. It was a really, really great working relationship. I hope he feels the same way.

VLM: A lot of city leaders come to you for council. Are there recurring themes?

BJ: Legal advice is kind of tricky because sometimes it looks like political advice. And so when you try to explain, particularly to a new council member, “Here are the consequences of doing this,” you’re really telling them the legal consequences…but often they hear you’re talking about politics, which is not what we’re supposed to be talking about. And so there’s a little finesse sometimes in having to explain, “I’ve been down this road 10 times before, and Councilman, this is where it’s going. I am obligated to let you know that before you do it.”

VLM: Do you feel that once or twice you’ve been able to spare somebody getting into ethical hot water?

BJ: Yes. [Laughs] I won’t go into any more detail that that, but the answer is yes.

VLM: Is it normal for a city attorney to have the job as long as you’ve had it?

 

BJ: Not really. There are two kinds of city attorneys: appointed and elected. Elected city attorneys, if they’re doing their job, generally stay in office for a long time. They are [however] term limited now in Nevada. City attorneys in other states, who are elected, can. For instance, the city attorney of San Diego is a friend of mine and he was there for 30 years and did a fine job. The good ones do stay because the voters see their work and appreciate it. The appointed [city attorneys] are a bit more tricky. Some are appointed by [city] managers and some are appointed by [city] councils. I’m appointed by the city council. I think [that’s] the best form for a city attorney, because the city council is separate from management and is there to be a watchdog for all of government. If [as city attorney] you’re producing what you should be producing, you generally don’t get disturbed. But the fact is, it’s a very political job and there are a lot of [city attorneys] who don’t last very long.

VLM: You oversee a lot of people. Can you tell me about the work being handled from this office?

BJ: I think we’ve got about 25 attorneys in civil and criminal at all times. We have a wonderful fellow named Ed Poleski who’s the assistant city attorney in charge of the criminal division. He runs a number of attorneys who every day handle domestic violence cases, DUIs, petty larceny…all the misdemeanors in the city including speeding, traffic violations. Things like that. They are extremely busy. I think last year they processed over 40,000 cases. That’s an awful lot.

VLM: Is it tough for you to keep up?

BJ: Well, I’m very lucky. I’ve got good people. For the most part, I hire good people, I leave them alone and let them do their job. What I find myself now doing is making sure I’m aware of what’s happening with all the high-profile projects, and if there is going to be a decision where somebody is going to get blame, I make sure I’m the one who gets it. I don’t like to see the attorneys in the office all of a sudden get stuck with something that they feel might be career threatening. That’s what I’m here for. My job is to get a little into everything, to the extent that I need to.

VLM: Looking back over nearly 25 years as Las Vegas City Attorney, is there anything in the rearview mirror that you sort of wince at…that you wish you’d done differently?

BJ: Oh yeah. When I first started, the city got involved in doing the Fremont Street Experience, which was one of our very first redevelopment projects. It was imperative to Downtown to do something because the competition on the Strip was pretty high, and Downtown tourism was on a very steep decline. But, one of the things we did was we get involved in condemning property. I look back on that as one of the big regrets of my career. I followed the advice of my client at the time, [but] if I had known then what I know now I would have given much stronger advice and urged everybody to negotiate rather than take [anyone’s] property forcibly. Being relatively new, and not having as much confidence as I do now, I would have pushed that a lot harder.

VLM: How did it turn out for the property owners?

BJ: In the long run, they all got more than appraised value for their property. But I think you could argue [that] from a moral point of view, to turn to anybody and say you’re taking their property—and not for a road or a park or a public building [but for a private enterprise]—that’s a lot for someone to swallow. There have been changes to state law so we don’t do that anymore. But that would probably be [my] single biggest regret.

VLM: This town is small in many respects, and grudges can be legendary. Have you dealt with that?

BJ: I know of people who do hold grudges. I’m not one of them. I recognized a long time ago that it’s absolutely pointless to burn anybody in life. It makes no sense from a practical point of view. You never know who’s going to appear back in your life again. And from a human point of view, what does it get you? A lot of anger? A lot of bitterness? [I’m always in favor of] putting bitterness aside and letting practicality take over. I think that that’s something I kind of learned from my dad. Just enjoy everybody and let the chips fall where they may.

VLM: If you were to give advice to the next person who has your job, what would you tell them?

BJ: Keep a low profile. Keep focused on what the job is all about. The number one thing I would tell them is you are not the 8th member of the city council. Those would be the first words out of my mouth. You sit next to them. You advise them. You are not elected. If you have a desire to have a political opinion, you ought to resign and put your name on a ballot and run for office. If you can’t put aside the fact that you’re not elected, you shouldn’t be doing the job. That would be my number one piece of advice.

VLM: I understand you’re a fan of preserving Las Vegas history?

BJ: [The city] had a vault. Rather than move everything they didn’t need any more, they just started throwing stuff away. So I kept some things, like the original city attorney stuff from the 50s. I saved [U.S. Senator Howard Cannon’s] original resignation letter to the city of Las Vegas. He was the city attorney when he was elected U.S. senator. I flagged a few [documents] just because they’re amazing bits of history. When I leave, I hope that whoever takes over is also as fond of historic documents as I am, because [they] really tell a story. I think they’re wonderful.

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.

Let’s Restore Civility & Professionalism To The Practice Of Law

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 was lucky enough to start my career with one of the largest and most reputable Nevada firms in the early 1990s: Beckley, Singleton, DeLanoy, Jemison, and List. I was mentored by some of Las Vegas’ best lawyers, including Drake DeLanoy, Rex Jemison, Mitch Cobeaga, Robert Eglet, Judge “Betsy” Gonzalez, and Daniel Polsenberg. These lawyers showed me that it was possible to aggressively represent clients while maintaining civility with opposing counsel. These lawyers also demonstrated that successful results can be obtained without sandbagging and personal attacks, and instead, through professional courtesies. These professional courtesies included but were not limited to extensions of discovery, continuances of hearings and/or the use of stipulations in lieu of heavy motion practice. Informal agreements regularly sufficed, even absent confirming letters, because these lawyers knew and respected each other.

I took the values I learned at Beckley Singleton to heart and have always maintained civility and respect with opposing counsel. I understand that lawyers are subject to significant stress that requires them to make great compromises and sacrifices in their lives. With that understanding, I believe lawyers should still strive to maintain professionalism amongst each other. Although the demands of this career path are sometimes overwhelming, we should promote cooperation and respect in our professional lives. A good lawyer knows there is no positive correlation between obtaining the most favorable outcome for one’s client and the number of character assassinations you have fired at your opposing counsel. Indeed, more often than not, a lawyer’s failure to maintain professionalism ends up costing a client more money as additional time is spent filing unnecessary motions with issues that could be easily resolved through a stipulation or discovery extension. Often, judges are noticeably frustrated with lawyers who take valuable time and resources from the court because they choose to argue more about the conduct of their opposing counsel than the facts or law relevant to their cases.

However, a greater cost of failing to grant professional courtesies is that you will inevitably need one in return some day

To be a good lawyer means to be a good person. A trite but relevant expression is, “A good person treats others the way they prefer to be treated.” The path to a more civilized and cooperative legal community requires each of us to extend professional courtesies, grant continuances, and make attempts to amicably resolve disputes before filing potentially unnecessary motions. This will undoubtedly result in a more collegial atmosphere.

Confirming letters are not required when litigating in any firm. Our word is good and we extend professional courtesies. I challenge all Southern Nevada lawyers to raise the bar on professional courtesies.

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.

Court Of Public Opinion

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.

So, you just signed your highest-profile case ever, and it comes with one of the biggest retainers you’ve ever hoped for. Unfortunately, it also comes with a big stack of messages—all from the media; all regarding the allegations made against your brand new client; and all are requesting a callback. Today.

These are the swift waters that you’ll find yourself in when dealing with the court of public opinion, where ignoring the call is an answer, “no comment” is one of the worst, and the wrong answer could color the way the community views your client in the coming months or years.

As a former television journalist who covered the courts for nearly a decade, I often wondered why incredibly bright attorneys stumbled so badly when defending their clients in the court of public opinion. Recently, my firm spoke with two of Southern Nevada’s standout litigators who know the rules inside and outside the courtroom—who have “fought the good fight”—Dominic Gentile and Tom Pitaro. We asked them about making what can be the very difficult decision to engage or not engage with the media in a high-profile case.

According to Pitaro, while it can be a delicate decision, it’s important to remember that the other side has a machine that’s already working against you.

“The U.S. Attorney has a press office, and many times you have to deal with that, because they get the first bite,” says Pitaro. “It’s a situation where you have to be reactive, and decide how you are going to react to what they’re saying through the media. You’re answering it without putting the client in jeopardy.”

Responding to the media may cause pain initially, but ignoring the media can put a reputation in jeopardy. As Gentile explains, in some cases it’s a matter of playing for the longer term.

“You do have to push back in order to minimize that kind of damage…not just to a person’s reputation, but to the moral capacity that the person is going to need in order to fight these allegations,” says Gentile.

“If the government, or the adversary, is able to diminish their will to fight, then they’ve already won the battle. In those instances, you absolutely have to do damage control and what we call crisis management.

In those cases, the next critical decision is whether to engage the services of a PR professional. Fierro Communications has provided litigation support in some of the highest profile criminal and civil cases in the past two decades, such as the Michael Jackson death case, in Nevada’s only modern-day impeachment.

“Sometimes you have to engage a professional to help you do that,” Pitaro says. “Lawyers are great in the courtroom but they’re not necessarily media-savvy. Sometimes it’s the expert outside the courtroom that you need to advise you on the best way to go for your client.”

While the rules of the court are fairly well defined, it can take years to master the rules of interacting with the media. Even when you have a thorough understanding of those rules, you have to ask yourself: Do I have the background and the reputation with reporters to get your story out in its clearest light?

“It’s important to be able to have access to media people and the media they are engaged in,” says Gentile. “But in order to have access, you have to have credibility with those people. That’s the key. That doesn’t happen overnight. You aren’t born with it. You have to earn it.”

In our own practice, our team comprises veteran journalists with backgrounds in both broadcast and print. We understand the nature of what the reporter needs while protecting the rights of the client.

In our agreements, which are always made directly with the law firm and typically guaranteed by their client, the attorney is both the quarterback and head coach: We suggest offensive and defensive plays to help the attorney/spokesperson deliver the best defense to members of the media.

It’s important to know that virtually every PR firm will claim to understand crisis management. When weeding out your options, the threshold questions should be: How much experience does their PR team have as working journalists? What are the most complex cases the firm has handled?

A good litigation support team can provide a broad array of services—everything from the initial statement to the media, to “Day in the Life” videos in civil cases, and in criminal cases where someone may soon be named as a defendant. And thinking long term, if a story has legs, you may consider a PR team that could help write compelling op-ed pieces or even a book or books to help support your position as their client.

Fierro Communications, Inc., is a full-service public relations and marketing firm with video production assets and a wealth of media contacts in Southern Nevada and throughout the United States. Mark Fierro is an author of two books and has appeared on national news broadcasts including CNN, Entertainment Tonight and ABC’s 20/20.

Initial consultations for litigation support are always free of charge.

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.