Court of Public Opinion

 

Link: http://www.vegaslegalmagazine.com/court-public-opinion-6/

Article:

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 Mark Fierro

It’s a case that has become known as the “Smoke Shop Shooting.” Many of us first heard about the case involving a young man who was clerking at a Las Vegas store when three young men burst into the shop with their faces covered and rushed the counter to steal items in a brazen robbery attempt. The event, which garnered international attention, was captured on video and aired on every local television station. (Link: http://www. lasvegasnow.com/news/man-accused-of-killing-teen-at-smoke-shop-will-stand-trial/683966864)

The video clearly shows the store clerk firing his pistol and shooting one of the would-be robbers dead. It’s the kind of storyline that Nevadans can get behind: A law-abiding citizen stands his ground against street criminals intent on robbery.

The police appeared to be comfortable enough with the initial facts. They removed handcuffs from the shooter, who soon volunteered a statement. But within days, public sentiment would dramatically shift. The store clerk, Raad Sunna, would be charged with one count of open murder with the use of a deadly weapon and soon be bound over for trial.

What could change so quickly? As the media weighed in and dug deeper into the story, the age of the deceased emerged as a prominent factor — he was just 13 years old at the time of the robbery. Secondly, the seven shots that hit him were all in the back. The court of public opinion had shifted against Sunna with lightning speed.

Attorneys for Sunna, Dominic Gentile and Paola Armeni of the law firm Gentile Cristalli Miller Armeni Savarese, say a closer look at the details of the shooting will lead to an acquittal. Armeni stated: “Age is a very big motivating factor but nobody knew his age when the perpetrator ran into the store.”

According to Armeni there was no way for Sunna to know that one of the attackers, Fabriccio Patti, was anything but a full-grown assailant. Patti stood 5-foot-9 and was wearing bulky winter clothes with his face covered by a T-shirt fashioned into a shemagh face mask, which is sometimes used by Middle Eastern terrorists.

“He (Patti) still made a choice. He made a very adult choice,” Armeni said. “He chose to run into the store with his face covered and made a criminal choice to run into that store and to do whatever he was planning on doing. At that point, whether he’s 13 or 40 should be irrelevant.”

Sunna, a churchgoing 24-year-old (he gave his statement to police accompanied by his pastor rather than an attorney) who had never had a scrape with the law, literally had a split second to react to the three-person crew that stormed into the store that late afternoon. Armeni says it was a decision made under the worst kind of duress, which was created by the robbers. “Raad was petrified,” says Armeni. “He was completely petrified. If Raad could change that day and make it all go away, of course he would. Even if there’s an acquittal, he still has to live with the trauma for the rest of his life. Was it justified? Absolutely. But he still has to live with it.

“In his voluntary statement, Raad said he thought he was going to die. He was thinking, ‘OK, I’m going to see you, Grandpa.’ This was all happening so quick. But he thought he was done. He thought he was about to go meet his maker.”

When questioned by police immediately after the shooting, Sunna said he thought the robbery was about to turn into an armed robbery. When asked by Las Vegas Metro Police Detective D. Boucher, “…what did you think was about to happen,” Sunna replied, “I thought maybe as he ran closer he would draw on me, I didn’t know. I don’t recall if he had a gun or not, any weapons, like, I don’t even know how to explain it, ’cause I’m still in shock and I’m still really shooken (sic) up by this. … I was afraid of dying tonight.”

At the March 31 preliminary hearing on the case, the defense called an expert, Robert Irwin, who has taught countless police academies and concealed weapons classes on “shoot/don’t shoot” situations. Irwin says that Sunna’s reaction was a textbook case of nanosecond response time:

Dominic Gentile: “Do you train your students … to wait before they shoot so that they see a weapon before they shoot?”

Irwin: “No. … These events generally take place in a half-second to one second to one and a half seconds, the actual part of this that the confrontation is. … Clearly if police or security or civilians wait until they see the gun coming or the knife coming toward their chest to fire their gun, they’re going to die.”

There are no winners, there is no prevailing party in this case. A young man, Raad Sunna, went to work that December morning just trying to make it through another day. The three robbers had very different goals. Patti is dead. The two surviving members of his crew face charges of attempted robbery. Sunna’s life as a somewhat cloistered young man living at home with his parents has changed forever. He has only one explanation for his actions on that December afternoon: “I was just petrified and afraid for my life.”

The father of the deceased, Martin Patti, is the one person who has not jumped to any conclusions, telling the Las Vegas Review-Journal, “God is helping me to go through this and I wish him the same.” As Sunna was bound over for trial by Justice Karen Bennett Haron, Gentile and Armeni informed the court of their intent to demand a speedy trial, which is now slated for July 31.

Mark Fierro began his career as a reporter/anchor at KLAS-TV, the CBS television station in Las Vegas. He worked at the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington, D.C. He served as communications consultant on IPO road shows on Wall Street. He provided litigation support for the Michael Jackson death trial. Heis president of Fierro Communications, Inc., and author of several books including “Road Rage: The Senseless Murder of Tammy Meyers.”He has made numerous appearances on national TV news programs.

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.

 

 

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Why Can’t They Be Here Legally?

Link: http://www.vegaslegalmagazine.com/cant-just-come-legally/

Article:

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 Eva Garcia-Mendoza, Esq. & Tyler Morgan, Esq.

Donald Trump brought the subject of “illegal” immigration front and

center during his campaign and it has remained there since he took office. Trump repeatedly stated that a wall will be built on the United States’ southern border and Mexico will pay for it. In the current national dialogue, it’s often heard, “My ancestors came here legally, they [the current immigrants] should do the same.” However, in most cases this statement is entirely inaccurate for the reasons set forth below.

U.S. Immigration History

From the inception of our nation until the late 1800s, the United States had an open door to immigrants with some regulations imposed only by individual states. In other words, people were able to enter and remain here without filing any formal paperwork. It wasn’t until the gold rush of the mid 1800s, and the influx of Asian immigrants, that Americans developed negative sentiment towards immigrants. This negative sentiment continued through history and arguably still remains strong today. The U.S. has a long history of tightening immigration laws and a brief summary of the many immigration acts imposed by the government only shows the historical significance of this anti-immigration sentiment on our federal government.

By 1882, The Chinese Exclusion Act was enacted providing for the exclusion of persons from China. It should be noted, only thirteen years prior to this act, the nation’s first Transcontinental Railway was completed with enormous contributions from then Asian worker-immigrants now facing exclusion. This exclusion of Chinese people continued through further acts by the federal government until Dec 17, 1943, when Congress repealed all exclusion acts leaving a quota system in its place.

Following the Chinese Exclusion act came another measure on immigration in the same year– The Immigration Act of 1882. This was the first general federal immigration law and included a head tax of $0.50 and forbid convicts, lunatics, idiots and persons unable to care for themselves without becoming a public charge from entering the United States.

When Congress felt it necessary to pass responsibility onto the federal government to enforce immigration policy, the Immigration Act of 1891 was passed and established the Bureau of Immigration. This act further restricted immigration and provided for medical and general inspection, and excluded people who had contagious diseases from entering the United States. Also excluded were persons who had previously committed crimes involving moral turpitude, and who were either paupers or polygamists. By 1903, in response to President William McKinley’s assassination, federal law was changed to exclude from the United States epileptics, insane persons, professional beggars, and anarchists. Shortly thereafter, in 1907, the federal government established additional grounds of exclusion including: feeble-minded persons, unaccompanied children, persons with tuberculosis, and persons with a physical or mental defect that might affect their ability to earn a living. Also added was a deportation ground for persons who engaged in prostitution within four years of entering the United States.

Following WWI, a Quota Act was enacted in 1921 in response to post war fears that southern and eastern Europeans would inundate the United States. The federal government sharply reduced immigration to 350,000 admissions per year and immigration from southern and eastern Europe was especially hard hit, as the law intended. The annual quota for these regions was 155,000 admissions, far below the previous annual average of 783,000.

The quota tightened in 1924 by further reducing the number of southern and eastern European immigrants allowed to enter the United States annually to below 25,000. Through these quotas set forth in the early 1920s, “restrictionists” had effectively won their battle to close America’s gates.

Fast forward to 1952, Nevada’s U.S. Senator Pat McCarran co-sponsored the McCarran – Walter Act which established the basic structure of current U.S. immigration law. Opponents of this Act expressed concern that the restrictive quota system heavily favored immigration from Northern and Western Europe and therefore created resentment against the United States in other parts of the world. Opponents also felt the law created the sense that Americans thought people from Eastern Europe were less desirable and those from Asia were just plainly inferior to those of European descent. However, the group led by Senator McCarran expressed concerns that the United States could face communist infiltration through immigration and that unassimilated aliens could threaten the foundations of American life. Those in Senator McCarran’s camp argued that limited and selective immigration was the best way to ensure the preservation of national security and national interests. Economic factors were secondary to America’s Cold War concerns in the debate over immigration. The Act gave 85% of the 154,277 visas available annually to persons of Northern and Western European lineage. Before the passage of this law, residents of only three countries–Ireland, Germany and England were entitled to nearly 70% of the visas available to enter the United States.

Countries in the Western Hemisphere were not included in the quota system. Thus, persons from North, Central, and South America were exempt from the quotas and were allowed to enter unimpeded unless they were disqualified due to health, economic or criminal grounds. These quotas were eventually adjusted by the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, but by 1978, Congress eliminated the hemispheric quotas system and established a worldwide quota of 270,000 visas per year.

Between 1965 and 2000, 4.3 million immigrants to the United States came from Mexico. Today, immigration to the United States is dominated by people born in Asia and Latin America with immigrants from all of Europe accounting for only 10% of recent arrivals.

The Reality of “Get In Line and Enter Legally”

If it were only so simple. You often hear people say something in line with, “my ancestors came here legally and became citizens so why can’t the ones today do the same?” Or, you may hear the famous, “get in the back of the line if you want to enter.” Well, simply put, there is no line. In fact, with the quotas now in place for immigrants trying to enter the country, most have to remain undocumented for years, even decades, before they can officially become legally documented citizens. Point is, when our ancestors were arrived, they were neither legal nor illegal immigrants– they were just immigrants. They came in the same way and for the same reason current immigrants do: by crossing a border and seeking a better life for themselves and their family.

The references to “illegal” or “undocumented” solely refer to that fact that the immigrants do not have federal identification for their status in the country. That does not necessarily mean the federal government does not know they have entered the border. In fact, states and the federal government have been collecting taxes on them for years. According to the Institute on Taxation & Economic Policy, “illegal” immigrants contribute billions of dollars in state and local taxes each year. And as far as social security is concerned, illegal immigrants and their employers contribute to roughly $12 billion in social security taxes each year based on estimates from the Social Security Administration. Most important to note is that when many of these immigrants pay for social security, they do so knowing they may never get the benefit of drawing from the system because of their status.

So, when it comes to immigration and building walls to keep everyone out, just consider what is being shut out–hard working families, like those who built our railroads and agriculture industry, who often pay taxes (billions) and come to this great country in search of a better and peaceful life.

Eva Garcia Mendoza began her legal work in 1975 as the first official court interpreter in the State of Nevada.  She graduated from the University of San Diego and has practiced law for more than 35 years.  She founded the Nevada Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) in the late 1980s and has served as its Chapter Chair on two occasions.  She also practices in the field of general litigation and personal injury 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.

 

 

Choosing The Right Expert Witness

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.

EXAMPLES OF PARTIAL LOSS CIRCUMSTANCES

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.

UNITED STATES CENSUS BUREAU DATA

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.

REAL NUMBERS

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.

CONCLUSION – A BETTER EDUCATED JURY

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 Stan@SmithEconomics.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.

 

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.