2016 Best Lawyers®

Five HDW attorneys have been selected to The Best Lawyers in America© for 2016: Richard F. Holley (Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law; Litigation – Bankruptcy); Dennis R. Haney and William J. Wray (Construction Law); Glenn F. Meier (Litigation – Real Estate and Construction Law); and J. Douglas Driggs, Jr. (Real Estate Law).

As noted on the Best Lawyers® website, Best Lawyers® is the oldest and most respected peer-review publication in the legal profession.  Their lists of outstanding attorneys are compiled by conducting exhaustive peer-review surveys in which tens of thousands of leading lawyers confidentially evaluate their professional peers. If the votes for an attorney are positive enough for inclusion in Best Lawyers®, that attorney must maintain those votes in subsequent polls to remain on the list for each edition. Lawyers are not permitted to pay any fee to participate in or be included on our lists.

Holley Driggs Walch Corporate Sponsor for Local Chapter of Medals4Mettle

M4MHDWThe Las Vegas chapter of Medals 4 Mettle (M4M) proudly announces their partnership with the Children’s Specialty Center of Southern Nevada as well as their corporate sponsor, the full-service law firm of Holley Driggs Walch Fine Wray Puzey & Thompson (HDW). M4M is honored to participate in The Children’s Specialty Center of Nevada’s “No More Chemo Parties,” a celebration for children who have recently completed the final chemotherapy session in their cancer treatment. The Children’s Specialty Center of Nevada is the state’s only nonprofit pediatric cancer outpatient treatment center. The clinic is a program of Cure 4 The Kids Foundation.

M4M is an international non-profit organization that facilitates the giving of race medals (half, full finisher medals as well as triathlon medals) to children and adults that are undergoing serious or debilitating illnesses. The local chapter of M4M collects donated medals from athletes, repurposes the medal with a new ribbon, and awards them to patients at the Children’s Specialty Center through the Cure 4 the Kids Foundation. Recognition of the “mettle” these children have shown is part of M4M’s overall vision: no one is alone on their journey.

HDW’s participation in the M4M local chapter will provide the necessary ribbons and materials needed for repurposing the medals. Their support is critical to the success of the chapter. “The Firm has a long history of contributing to organizations that focus on children and their needs, so we are particularly pleased to help give medals to such courageous children, ” said Ron Thompson, managing partner at HDW.

“There is a cost to the ribbons,” says M4M’s chapter coordinator Kimberly Boschee. “Seeing the look on the children’s face when they are given a real race medal – which nowadays are huge, heavy and shiny – is awesome. It’s a very cool moment. HDW’s generous contribution will allow us to make sure we are able to keep kids in medals for the rest of the year.”

If you’d like to donate or participate in M4M’s local chapter, please contact Kimberly Boschee at Kimberly.boschee@medals4mettle.org.

About Medals 4 Mettle

In 2005, Dr. Steven Isenberg, a head and neck surgeon from Indianapolis, created M4M as a vehicle to collect runner’s medals to donate to those battling serious illness or debilitating conditions. Medals4Mettle seeks to celebrate our collective human courage and our innate desire to support each other. In the past ten years, Medals4Mettle has awarded over 18,000 medals to recipients all over the world. Medals have been awarded by Indy 500 race car drivers, Olympic athletes, and individuals who want to experience the incredible joy of giving their hard-earned finisher medals to courageous human beings. Run far. Run fast. Run for the greater good.

About Holley Driggs Walch Fine Wray Puzey & Thompson

HDW, with offices in Las Vegas and Reno, Nevada, is a general practice law firm with a strong corporate and business clientele. Although the firm maintains a general law practice, its shareholders practice primarily in the areas of commercial litigation, business, real estate, natural resources, eminent domain, bankruptcy, construction, and technology and intellectual property. The firm also has broad experience in administrative law, estate planning, probate, and tax law. The firm is committed to public service and community involvement in Nevada and nationally, as evidenced by the political and charitable activities and professional associations of its shareholders.

HDW Attorneys Named Super Lawyers

Eleven Holley, Driggs, Walch, Fine Wray Puzey  & Thompson attorneys have been ranked by Super Lawyers Magazine among the best in the Mountain States  (Nevada, Utah, Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming) in its 2015 Edition and Ogonna M. Atamoh was recognized as one of the Top 50 Women in the Mountain States.

The Super Lawyers selection process is a rigorous, multiphase process involving peer nominations, evaluations, and third party research. Each candidate is evaluated on 12 indicators of peer recognition and professional achievement. No more than five percent of the total lawyers in the state are selected for inclusion in Super Lawyers.

HDW shareholders receiving recognition as Super Lawyers in their practice areas were Dennis R. Haney (construction litigation), J. Douglas Driggs, Jr. (real estate), Gregory J. Walch (environmental), Richard F. Holley (bankruptcy/business litigation), Brian W. Boschee (business litigation), Ogonna M. Atamoh (bankruptcy/business litigation), James W. Puzey (business litigation) and Bryce K. Earl (Intellectual Property). In addition, shareholders F. Thomas Edwards (business litigation) and Cami M. Perkins (business/corporate) were named in the publication’s “Rising Star” list, along with attorney William N. Miller (business litigation).

Meier Fine & Wray and Holley Driggs Walch Puzey & Thompson merge to form Holley Driggs Walch Fine Wray Puzey & Thompson (HDW).

HDW is pleased to announce that Glenn F. Meier, Marilyn Fine, and William J. Wray, Shareholders, along with Rachel E. Donn and Donna DiMaggio, merged with Holley Driggs Walch Puzey & Thompson on April 1, 2015.   The merger has strengthened HDW’s business law, construction law, and litigation practices, adding the expertise of Glenn F. Meier and Marilyn Fine in corporate law, real estate, banking, creditor bankruptcy, business litigation, contracts, title insurance defense, and insurance law. William J. Wray has unique experience in domestic and international construction and development, including expertise in construction contracting practices used in the international marketplace and related international dispute resolution mechanisms and processes. Mr. Wray has special multicultural and multi-language skills that further bolster his international practice. Rachel E. Donn and Donna DiMaggio are seasoned litigators with experience in all aspects of the civil litigation process. HDW is proud to be associated with these exceptional attorneys .

Cami M. Perkins joins Holley, Driggs, Walch, Puzey & Thompson

Cami M. Perkins joins Holley, Driggs, Walch, Puzey & Thompson. Cami M. Perkins has joined Holley, Driggs, Walch, Puzey & Thompson as a shareholder in its Las Vegas office. Ms. Perkins practices in corporate and real estate transactions and business commercial litigation with a broad array of experience in general business and licensing needs, employment contract negotiations, franchise law, and complex business disputes, including contractual obligations, fiduciary duties, business interference, non-competition allegations, and more. Ms. Perkins has been honored multiple times by various business and professional publications, including Nevada Business Magazine’s Elite and 20 Best Up & Coming Attorneys, and Super Lawyers Magazine in the Mountain States.

James W. Puzey elected President of Volunteer Attorneys for Rural Nevadans

James W. Puzey, a partner in the firm, has been re-elected President of Volunteer Attorneys for Rural Nevadans (VARN). Jim has served on VARN’s Board of Directors since 1996 and has previously served as President for over 10 years. VARN’s mission is to provide pro bono legal services to the low-income residents of rural northern Nevada and to provide legal representation to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. In addition to employing several staff attorneys, VARN utilizes a panel of over 100 private and public volunteer attorneys to provide free or reduced fee legal services in Carson City, Churchill, Douglas, Lyon, Storey, Humboldt, Elko, and White Pine counties. More information on VARN can be found at www.varn.org.

U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” in 2015

Holley, Driggs, Walch, Puzey & Thompson has been named a Tier 1 Best Law Firm in Las Vegas for Construction by U.S. News –  Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” for 2015.  In addition, Richard Holley has been named Lawyer of the Year for Las Vegas Litigation – Bankruptcy as well as a Best Lawyer in Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law, and Dennis Haney has been named Lawyer of the Year for Las Vegas Construction LawBest Lawyers® also named J. Douglas Driggs, Jr. to the 2015 Best Lawyers in America list in Real Estate Law.

In their press release on November 3, 2014, U.S. News –  Best Lawyers® stated, “The 2015 rankings are based on the highest number of participating firms and highest number of client ballots on record. To be eligible for a ranking, a firm must have a lawyer listed in The Best Lawyers in America©, which recognizes the top four percent of practicing attorneys in the US. Over 17,000 attorneys provided almost 600,000 law firm assessments, and almost 7,500 clients provided more than 40,000 evaluations.”

ABA 273: Retroactive Application Limitation

By Richard F. Holley

The long awaited ruling regarding the retroactive application of AB 273 was issued by the Nevada Supreme Court.  (See 129 Nev., Advance Opinion 87).  At issue in the Sandpointe matter was whether NRS 40.459(1)(c), a statute limiting the amount of deficiency judgments in instances where a right to obtain a judgment against the debtor, guarantor, or surety has been transferred from one person to another, applied retroactively to foreclosure sales that occurred before passage of the statute.  The statute became effective on June 10, 2011.  More specifically, the statute provides that “[i]f the person seeking judgment acquired the right to obtain the judgment from a person who previously held that right,” then the person seeking the judgment may only recover “the amount by which the amount of the consideration paid for that right exceeds the fair market value of the property sold at the time of the sale or the amount for which the property was actually sold, whichever is greater, with interest from the date of sale and reasonable costs[.]”  In other words, NRS 40.459(1)(c) limits the amount of a judgment that a successor in interest can recover to the difference between the fair market (or actual sale) value of the property that is foreclosed upon and the amount that the successor paid to acquire an interest from the original creditor.  In its Opinion, the Nevada Supreme Court ruled that NRS 40.459(1)(c) does not apply retroactively, but only applies prospectively.  The Court also concluded that the limitations in NRS 40.459(1)(c) do apply to sales, pursuant to either judicial foreclosures or trustee’s sales, occurring on or after the effective date of the statute.  The Court further concluded, however, that in cases where application of NRS 40.459(1)(c) would not have retroactive effect, it applies to any transfer of the right to obtain a deficiency judgment, regardless of when the right was transferred.  In reaching this conclusion and distinction, the Court reasoned that based on Nevada precedent, “statutes affecting deficiency judgments operate prospectively when the sale, pursuant to a judicial foreclosure or trustee’s sale, occurs after the enactment of the statute. In contrast, when, as here, the trustee’s sale occurs before the effective date of an anti-deficiency statute, application of the statute will generally be deemed retroactive.”  See 129 Nev., Advance Opinion at __; Opinion, at p.17.

This ruling is significant for other reasons beyond the retroactive application limitation that affect purchasers of notes secured by deeds of trust in Nevada.  First, according to the Court, under NRS 40.459(1)(c) “no award may be made for other amounts that the successor in interest may have incurred following the acquisition of the right to obtain the judgment, such as accrued interest, costs and fees, and any advances.”  See 129 Nev., Advance Opinion at __; Opinion, at p.13.  In other words, a deficiency is limited to just the difference between the consideration paid and the fair market (or actual) value of the property foreclosed upon and nothing more.  Second, NRS 40.459(1)(c) applies to limit the amount of a deficiency for a purchased loan, regardless of when the loan was purchased, so long as the foreclosure sale did not take place before the effective date of the statute.  There may be one important caveat to this limitation as it pertains to loans acquired from the FDIC.  In footnote 5 to the Opinion, the Court states as follows:  “CML-NV contends that NRS 40.459(1)(c), which contemplates ‘acquir[ing] the right to obtain the judgment from a person,’ cannot apply under these circumstances because the FDIC is not a person as defined by NRS 0.039.  However, we need not determine this issue because we conclude that NRS 40.459(1)(c) does not apply here, where the trustee’s sale occurred before NRS 40.459(1)(c) became effective.”  See 129 Nev., Advance Opinion at __; Opinion, at p. 22.   This footnote appears to leave open the issue of whether NRS 40.459(1)(c) applies to loans acquired from the FDIC.

HDW attorneys named ‘Super Lawyers’ – Super Lawyers Magazine

Eleven Holley, Driggs, Walch, Puzey  & Thompson attorneys have been ranked by Super Lawyers Magazine among the best in the Mountain States  (Nevada, Utah, Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming) in its 2014 Edition and Ogonna M. Atamoh was recognized as one of the Top 50 Women in the Mountain States.

The Super Lawyers selection process is a rigorous, multiphase process involving peer nominations, evaluations, and third party research. Each candidate is evaluated on 12 indicators of peer recognition and professional achievement. No more than five percent of the total lawyers in the state are selected for inclusion in Super Lawyers.

HDW shareholders receiving recognition as Super Lawyers in their practice areas were Dennis R. Haney (construction litigation), J. Douglas Driggs, Jr. (real estate), Gregory J. Walch (environmental), Richard F. Holley (bankruptcy/business litigation), Brian W. Boschee (business litigation), Ogonna M. Atamoh (bankruptcy/business litigation), James W. Puzey (business litigation) and Bryce K. Earl (Intellectual Property). In addition, shareholder F. Thomas Edwards (business litigation) was named in the publication’s “Rising Star” list, along with attorneys Donna M. Wittig (business litigaiton) and William N. Miller (business litigation).

Together Creating Lean, Mean Businesses

By Amile Wilson
Attorney at Law Magazine, Greater Las Vegas Edition, Vol. 2 No. 5

Many people cringe when they hear the word bankruptcy, but for the attorneys at Holley, Driggs, Walch, Puzey & Thompson, they see it as an opportunity for their creditor clients to resolve long standing disputes arising from poorly performing loans.

“Bankruptcy can be an extremely frustrating process, particularly for the uninitiated,” says Richard Holley, one of the firm’s partners.  “We partner with out clients so that they can make informed decisions and meaningfully participate in the process to achieve the best possible result.”

“Bankruptcy affords creditors protections to avoid unnecessary delay and protraction of costly bankruptcy proceedings when there is no viable change for reorganization.  Bankruptcy likewise gives companies the ability to reassess and make deals they otherwise couldn’t or wouldn’t make,” adds Ogonna Atamoh, another of the firm’s partners.

While known for bankruptcy on the creditor rights side, the firm’s practice spans a wide gamut of corporate practices from estate planning to construction to commercial litigation and intellectual property.  This1 2d saves the firm from having to use outside counsel on complex cases.

“This is especially true in corporate bankruptcy cases,” Atamoh explains.  “Our strong IP department means that we can handle much of the complex intellectual property matters in-house, while most firms would have to hire another firm just to help with IP issues during a bankruptcy.”

“Our firm has an open door policy,” explains Atamoh.  “I’ve  never had a colleague say ‘come back later, I’m busy.’  We all share information.  If I need information about an unfamiliar area of law, I know I can trust the information I receive from the partners and staff.”

“From my perspective, we have a team concept and everyone is important to the process,” Holley says.  Among the more than two dozen lawyers at the firm, Holley and Atamoh are two examples of how the firm chooses to recruit and retain some of the best minds in Las Vegas.

Holley chose law as a graduate school opportunity before entering the foreign service.  It was in law school that he changed his mind and decided to practice.  “Ralph R. Mabey, a former bankruptcy judge, was our professor, and I wanted to be like him,” Holley explains.

“Reogranizations class was treated like an actual bankruptcy case,” he explains.  “It’s something that I enjoyed and connected with.”

Atamoh is the child of a Nigerian father and Bulgarian mother, whose mother escaped communist rule to live in Munich.  She came to college in America and after briefly considering medicine decided to pursues a law degree.  “I always wanted to practice international corporate law,” she says.  “I speak three languages so it just seemed to fit.  But, I didn’t want to go into gaming law, which was the closest choice, so I fell into the bankruptcy practice by pure chance.”

While Richard Holley left his partnership with another firm to join Holley Driggs, Atamoh has been a part of the firm since law school.  “I interviewed with the firm while still a law student,” Atamoh says, “and before I finished the drive home, they had called to offer me the job.”

With only a one-year sabbatical to clerk for the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, Atamoh has spent her entire legal career at the firm eventually rising to the level of partner.

“We  hire attorneys with the perspective that they’ll be our partners,” Holley says.  “We don’t have any corner offices and did that on purpose.  We are a team and architecture reflects personality.”

Not only is the firm personality one of congeniality, it is one of excellence.  Holley is one of only three attorneys in the United States to be named to the American College of Bankruptcy at an installation ceremony in Washington D.C. at the U.S. Supreme Court.

“There was a police escort for the busses,” Atamoh says.  “It was a big deal!”

The firm also places a high priority on giving back to the community.  “If someone here is interested in a cause or charity then everyone is open minded and looks into it,” says Atamoh.

“We have a dedicated contributions committee and have put a lot of work into Shade Tree, a shelter for homeless women,” says Holley.  “Last year we worked with a communities and schools coalition and went to elementary schools to read books to children.”

Whatever the details of the case, or the complexity of the business, the key phrase that drives the Holley, Driggs, Walch, Puzey & Thompson team is advocacy for their client.