On October 5, 2017, in Mendenhall v. Tassinari, Case No. 68053, the Nevada Supreme Court answered the question of whether claim preclusion bars a party from subsequently filing claims based on fraud discovered during the ten-day irrevocable period for an offer of judgment. The Court held that claim preclusion would apply if the three-part test for claim preclusion set forth in Five Star Capital Corp. v. Ruby, 124 Nev. 1048, 1054, 194 P.3d 709, 713 (2008) is met: (1) the parties or their privies are the same; (2) the final judgment is valid; and, (3) the subsequent action is based on the same claims or any part of them were or could have been brought in the first case. The Court in Mendenhall found that claim preclusion did apply based on the three-part test and the fact that the offer of judgment was timely accepted. The Court held that the proper avenue for relief in such a situation is through the filing of a NRCP 60(b) motion for relief from a final judgment or order, as alluded to in Nava v. Second Judicial District Court, 118 Nev. 396, 46 P.3d 60 (2002). Unfortunately, the appellant/defendant failed to file a NRCP 60(b) motion after the offer of judgment was accepted. The Court noted that claim preclusion may not apply if the offer of judgment does not “evince an intent by the parties to prevent a broad set of claims from being raised in a second action.” Unfortunately for appellants/defendants, the Court found that the broad wording of the offer of judgment evinced an intent for the offer to apply broadly to “any related or potential claims” that could have been asserted “between and among” the parties.
Megan K. Mayry McHenry, Esq.