News, Articles & Links

Articles of Interest

New Nevada Commerce Tax

August 1, 2016. As Commercial Registered Agent for a number of companies, including Sullivan Law, we have received a flood of Commerce Tax Return mailings and sent them on to our clients.

Our office does not do tax work, so we are referring everyone to their own CPA's to complete and file the Tax Return. Here are some links for further information:

Nevada Business July 1, 206 - Time to Pay the Piper: First Nevada Commerce Tax Payment Due, Despite Challenges
Ballotpedia 2016 - Nevada Commerce Tax Repeal
State of Nevada Department of Taxation 2016 - Commerce Tax News
The Tax Adviser January 7, 2016 - Are You Ready for the Nevada Commerce Tax?

As far as Sullivan Law's insights. This was an unpopular tax with Nevada businesses, but it passed and was signed into law. Court challenges have thus far failed. Our general understanding is that if your company is doing any business in Nevada, then you must file the Commerce Tax Return form, even if you do not have $4 million in revenues. That way, they get you on their radar screen, so that someday, if/when you hit the $4 million mark, they can get their taxes.

Of course, with the tax camel's nose in the tent, they can start ramping back the $4 million threshold. Our Legislature meets every 2 years, so 2017 would be the first chance to lower the bar and start the tax at something less than $4 million in revenues.

Pretty much every business is covered. We think only nonprofits are exempt. For Sullivan Law, which was under $4 million, we are having our CPA complete the Commerce Tax Return form.

This entire tax is a real bummer for NV businesses, and we were hoping the courts would strike it down. Or voters would get the chance to repeal it, but so far, no go. To quote the Nevada Attorney General's Office:

"A business must still make an annual filing even if it does not owe any tax as the vast majority fall below the $4 million threshold. Nevada tax collectors are bracing for upward of 300,000 businesses to be subject to the annual filing requirements."

Sullivan Law Wins $5.2 Million Jury Verdict.

Carson City, Nevada, October 28, 2009.  In a complex and hard fought water rights fraud case, Sullivan Law was successful in convincing a Carson City jury to reach a combined $5.2 million verdict.  The case arose from Tim Bertagnolli’s allegedly fraudulent sale of worthless water rights to Jack White and D & D Tire, Inc./Retiremen LLC in 2004, during the Dayton land boom.

The water rights were intended to be used for White’s 211-unit Heritage Ranch residential development in Dayton, approved by Lyon County in 2006, and for D & D’s new tire store property nearby, set to open in Dayton in 2009.  The plaintiffs contended that Tim Bertagnolli had misrepresented his Bertagnolli Aggregates gravel pit water rights (located near Carson City, Nevada) as being permanent water rights, good for land development in Dayton.  Sullivan Law argued that the water rights were in fact temporary water rights which were worthless and could not be used for the intended developments.

The jury entered findings of fraud, negligent misrepresentation and breach of contract against Tim Bertagnolli and T. E. Bertagnolli & Associates Inc.

Four days into the trial, the Western Engineering co-defendants, including Dennis Smith and David Winchell, settled and were dismissed.  The settlement helped streamline the 8-day trial.

After about 4 hours of jury deliberation, the Jack White plaintiffs were awarded $4,956,289, arising from Jack White’s 11/04 purchase of Bertagnolli’s 125 acre feet of water rights for $1,062,500; and the Retiremen plaintiffs were awarded $232,200, arising from their 12/04 purchase of 10 acre feet of Bertagnolli’s water rights for $150,000.

Plaintiffs’ strong expert witness testimony on water rights came from former State Engineers, Hugh Ricci and Mike Turnipseed, as well as local engineer, Rob Anderson of R. O. Anderson Engineering.  In addition, UNR’s Dr. Tom Cargill provided economic loss testimony.

Significant factual testimony was provided by Jim Valentine (ReMax Realty Carson Valley Realtor ®), Peter Beekhoff (contractor who Bertagnolli attempted to sell 224 acre feet of the pit water rights in 2004), Britt Johnson (plaintiff’s manager), Jack White (plaintiff and contractor), Paul DiMartini (plaintiff’s manager), Steven Kreck (former Bertagnolli employee), Dorothy Palmer (Vidler Water Company President), defendant Tim Bertagnolli and Paul Taggart (Tim Bertanolli’s attorney in 2004, when Bertagnolli sold the water rights to plaintiffs), Larry Werner (Carson City Manager and former Carson City Engineer), and current State Engineer Tracy Taylor.

The unanimous jury rejected Tim Bertagnolli’s arguments that plaintiffs had failed to mitigate damages by choosing not to pursue the water rights appeal of State Engineer Ruling No. 5861 in District Court. Plaintiffs’ engineering experts testified that the appeal would be futile, with virtually no chance of success.  The jury also agreed with plaintiffs’ contention that the temporary water rights sold by Tim Bertagnolli in 2004 had $0 value.

The Bertagnolli defendants were represented by Carson City attorney, Day Williams.  Plaintiffs were represented by Sullivan Law attorneys, J. D. Sullivan and Gene Kaufmann, with the Honorable James Wilson presiding. Judge Wilson did a fantastic job with the contentious case.

Nevada Appeal $5.2 Million Jury Verdict Article Dated 10.31.09
West's Jury Verdicts - December 2009

Carson City, Nevada, February 20, 2015. After the Bertagnolli defendants filed bankruptcy in 2009, and appealed from the above judgments, a new trial was held and Judge Wilson entered new judgments totaling $1,212,500, but the Bertagnolli defendants again filed bankruptcy in Reno.

Reno, Nevada, September 3, 2015. After the bankruptcy court appointed a Trustee to control the Bertagnolli estate assets, the case finally settled with the Trustee for $2,500,000, payable within 9 months of Bertagnolli bankruptcy plan confirmation and secured by real property of the debtor. Formal settlement attempts over the years with Bertagnolli (starting in 2009), prior to the 2015 appointment of the Trustee, had consistently failed. It is expected that the state court lawsuit and appeals will be dismissed in late 2015, in accord with the settlement terms.

Sullivan Law has represented independent festival coordinators, Phil Stoll and Martha Williams, in negotiations with the Town of Genoa, as well as with NDOT and Douglas County, for Candy Dance 2008-2012. Links below access the Agreement proposed by the Town of Genoa on 10/23/08, the proposed changes to the Agreement requested on 11/18/08, and related news articles from the Record Courier.

Sullivan Law Settles Ski Injury cases:
Sullivan law filed skier injury suits in 2012, in Nevada courts, against Vail Resorts, Inc., Heavenly Valley, and SSI Venture LLC dba Heavenly Sports, for serious injuries caused by employees with free Vail Employee ski passes. These suits are public record. Sullivan Law and its clients then entered into confidential settlements and the lawsuits were dismissed. Sullivan Law is hopeful that the on-mountain skier and rider experience at Vail Resorts is now safer than ever as a partial result of these cases. It is reported that safety has improved at Heavenly recently, with annual recognition of National Safety Awareness Week, along with the addition of new "No Straightlining" signs, and increased issuance of tickets and pass revocations for reckless skiing and riding.

The following links are to State Bar consumer education pamphlets provided by The State Bars of California, Nevada and Arizona.