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August 20, 2014

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ANSWERS: CLARK COUNTY:

Wayne Newton project opponent sued by developer

Wayne Newton Neighborhood Meeting

Entertainer Wayne Newton and his wife Kathleen listen to homeowner's concerns during a meeting at the La Quinta Inn Monday, September 20, 2010. Newton hosted the neighborhood meeting to discuss development plans that would include tours on his property. Launch slideshow »

The people who want to create a tourist destination of Wayne Newton’s home, Casa de Shenandoah, are suing.

Suing for what?

Steve Kennedy and CSD LLC, developers of the Newton project, are suing longtime Paradise township activist M.J. Harvey for alleged slander, defamation, invasion of privacy, intentional interference with contractual relations and intentional interference with “prospective economic advantage.” The civil suit was filed in District Court in Clark County last week.

What do they claim Harvey did?

First, a little background. CSD purchased land north of the Newton home, at Pecos and Sunset roads, where it wants to build a combination theater/gift shop and museum. Plans say Newton may perform in the theater. The developer also plans to create a tour of Newton’s expansive ranch, with shuttle buses going from the theater across Sunset and around his property, making stops to tour Newton’s private jet, among other things. Neighbors are unhappy, saying the proposal will draw unwanted traffic and threaten the area’s semirural character.

As for the lawsuit, it generally says Harvey made repeated false statements about how the project might affect homeowners and communities around it, and that she did so “with the intent of denying the project the necessary community endorsements.” Allegations touch on the use of “Graceland West” in reference to Newton’s project and purportedly call the project developer a “criminal.”

What does Harvey say about the suit?

She would not comment.

What’s next for developers and neighbors?

A Paradise Town Advisory Board meeting at 7 p.m. Oct. 26 will consider the Newton project. The meeting has been moved to Clark County Commission chambers, 500 S. Grand Central Parkway.

•••

Do town boards in Clark County — such as the Paradise Town Advisory Board — really hold any sway over county commissions?

Town boards are like neighborhood associations in the city. And increasingly, elected officials seem to be listening to them. “They are the embodiment of grass-roots citizen participation and bring a neighborhood perspective to policy decisions,” Commissioner Larry Brown said.

Town boards are one of the first places where developments — such as the Newton project — are publicly aired.

How do you get on the boards or citizen advisory councils (there are 13 town advisory boards and six advisory councils)?

By applying with the county. Clark County is seeking applicants to serve two-year terms on town boards in Bunkerville, Enterprise, Indian Springs, Mount Charleston, Paradise, Spring Valley, Sunrise Manor, Moapa, Moapa Valley, Whitney and Winchester. Also needed are people to sit on advisory councils for Lone Mountain, Mountain Springs, Red Rock, Sandy Valley, Lower Kyle Canyon and Goodsprings. Terms begin Jan. 3.

Applications must be requested by Nov. 19 and are available at accessclarkcounty.com, or in the Administrative Services Department of the County Government Center, 500 S. Grand Central Parkway.

•••

And the county wants volunteers.

For what?

For the annual effort to help the thousands of Southern Nevada homeless people through Project Homeless Connect. This year, the event will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 10 at Cashman Center, 850 Las Vegas Blvd. North. The event provides food, clothing, job training, health care and mental health counseling, substance abuse treatment and other services.

The county needs more than 1,000 volunteers to escort homeless people around the event, work at check-in tables and clean up. For information, call 892-2300 or go online to helphopehome.org.

Donations of T-shirts, socks and nonperishable food are also sought, as well as cash. For information, call 743-1487.

What are the homeless numbers in Southern Nevada?

A census in January 2009 reported an average 13,000 people living in shelters at any given time, with more than 50,000 cases of people becoming homeless over the year.

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  1. A "SLAPP" lawsuit is a "strategic lawsuit against public participation" under the First Amendment. Many lawyers bumble into filing SLAPPs simply because they don't know that Nevada's Anti-SLAPP Statute exists. Here's what it says:

    LIABILITY OF PERSONS WHO ENGAGE IN RIGHT TO PETITION

    NRS 41.635 Definitions. As used in NRS 41.635 to 41.670, inclusive, unless the context otherwise requires, the words and terms defined in NRS 41.637 and 41.640 have the meanings ascribed to them in those sections.

    NRS 41.637 "Good faith communication in furtherance of the right to petition" defined. "Good faith communication in furtherance of the right to petition" means any:

    1. Communication that is aimed at procuring any governmental or electoral action, result or outcome;

    2. Communication of information or a complaint to a Legislator, officer or employee of the Federal Government, this state or a political subdivision of this state, regarding a matter reasonably of concern to the respective governmental entity; or

    3. Written or oral statement made in direct connection with an issue under consideration by a legislative, executive or judicial body, or any other official proceeding authorized by law, which is truthful or is made without knowledge of its falsehood.

    NRS 41.640 "Political subdivision" defined. "Political subdivision" has the meaning ascribed to it in NRS 41.0305.

  2. Nevada's anti-SLAPP statute continued:

    NRS 41.650 Limitation of liability. A person who engages in a good faith communication in furtherance of the right to petition is immune from civil liability for claims based upon the communication.

    NRS 41.660 Attorney General or chief legal officer of political subdivision may defend or provide support to person sued for engaging in right to petition; special counsel; filing special motion to dismiss; stay of discovery; adjudication upon merits.

    1. If an action is brought against a person based upon a good faith communication in furtherance of the right to petition:

    (a) The person against whom the action is brought may file a special motion to dismiss; and

    (b) The Attorney General or the chief legal officer or attorney of a political subdivision of this State may defend or otherwise support the person against whom the action is brought. If the Attorney General or the chief legal officer or attorney of a political subdivision has a conflict of interest in, or is otherwise disqualified from, defending or otherwise supporting the person, the Attorney General or the chief legal officer or attorney of a political subdivision may employ special counsel to defend or otherwise support the person.

    2. A special motion to dismiss must be filed within 60 days after service of the complaint, which period may be extended by the court for good cause shown.

    3. If a special motion to dismiss is filed pursuant to subsection 2, the court shall:

    (a) Treat the motion as a motion for summary judgment;

    (b) Stay discovery pending:

    (1) A ruling by the court on the motion; and

    (2) The disposition of any appeal from the ruling on the motion; and

    (c) Rule on the motion within 30 days after the motion is filed.

    4. If the court dismisses the action pursuant to a special motion to dismiss filed pursuant to subsection 2, the dismissal operates as an adjudication upon the merits.

    2. The person against whom the action is brought may bring a separate action to recover:

    (a) Compensatory damages;

    (b) Punitive damages; and

    (c) Attorney's fees and costs of bringing the separate action.

  3. The final, and perhaps best part of Nevada's anti-SLAPP statute:

    NRS 41.670 Award of reasonable costs and attorney's fees upon grant of special motion to dismiss; person sued for engaging in right to petition may bring separate action for damages. If the court grants a special motion to dismiss filed pursuant to NRS 41.660:

    1. The court shall award reasonable costs and attorney's fees to the person against whom the action was brought, except that the court shall award reasonable costs and attorney's fees to this State or to the appropriate political subdivision of this State if the Attorney General, the chief legal officer or attorney of the political subdivision or special counsel provided the defense for the person pursuant to NRS 41.660.

    2. The person against whom the action is brought may bring a separate action to recover:

    (a) Compensatory damages;

    (b) Punitive damages; and

    (c) Attorney's fees and costs of bringing the separate action.

    NRS 41.670 Award of reasonable costs and attorney's fees upon grant of special motion to dismiss; person sued for engaging in right to petition may bring separate action for damages. If the court grants a special motion to dismiss filed pursuant to NRS 41.660:

    1. The court shall award reasonable costs and attorney's fees to the person against whom the action was brought, except that the court shall award reasonable costs and attorney's fees to this State or to the appropriate political subdivision of this State if the Attorney General, the chief legal officer or attorney of the political subdivision or special counsel provided the defense for the person pursuant to NRS 41.660.

    WILL ONE OF NEVADA'S "DEFENDERS" OR "HEAVY HITTERS" MAN-UP AND DEFEND THE FREE SPEECH RIGHT, AND RIGHT TO PETITION THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT FOR REDRESS OF GRIEVANCES........AGAINST THE "CORPORATE LAW FIRM" IN WHICH CANDIDATE FOR GOVERNOR BRIAN SANDOVAL IS A MEMBER?

    Nevada's SLAPP statute has been in effect since 1993, and has been amended once to make it tougher. A monetary judgment against just one SLAPP plaintiff with assets will serve as an object lesson to chill the foolhardy ardor of corporate lawyers who act before they think.