Consumer asks court to quash judgment in arbitration case
by Carol Thompson
A consumer who believes he was wronged in an arbitration case has asked the court to quash a judgement filed against him for the legal fees he was ordered to pay.
The California resident had purchased a condominium from Palms Place, LLC and after numerous delays and unanswered questions decided to cancel the purchase agreement and requested the return of his $100,ooo downpayment. Following an arbitration hearing with the American Arbitration Association in which he lost he was ordered to pay $89,000 in attorney fees to Palms Place.
The judgment was filed in the Nevada District Court but since that time the plaintiff believes that the arbitrator may have had more than one conflict-of-interest. For that reason, he is asking the court to nullify the judgment.
The plaintiff was one of several condominium purchasers who lost an arbitration hearing against Palms Place. It is not known if the others, who included Omar Sharif, were ordered to pay attorney fees.
Thomas Ryan, a partner in the Lewis Roca Rothgerber law firm was the arbitrator on the case. At no time did he disclose his or his firm’s connections with Palms Place owner George Maloof and Palms Casino minority owner Greenspun Corporation.
Lewis Roca Rothgerber is heavily involved in the casino gaming industry. According to the firm’s website, “Lewis Roca Rothgerber’s gaming practice group is a national practice that supports casino operators, suppliers, state and local governments, communities, businesses, non-profit organizations, tribal governments and others in addressing casino gaming law including Native American and riverboat casinos, racinos, interactive and mobile gaming, poker, and interstate horse racing.”
Ryan, along with three other Lewis Roca Rothgerber attorneys, currently represent Brian Greenspun, owner of The Greenspun Corporation in a pending federal district court case, Greenspun, et al. vs. Stephens Media, LLC, et al, according to court documents.
The Greenspun Corporation website states, “Palms Casino Resort — The Greenspun Corporation is also a minority partner in the Palms Casino Resort, a 95,000 square foot casino developed by the Maloof Companies where non-stop entertainment can be found. The Palms also opened its new expansion and has introduced Palms Place, a tower currently under construction, which will feature fully furnished condos…”
The firm has also represented Brian Greenspun before various Nevada regulatory bodies relating to his interest in N-M Ventures which does business in the Palms Casino Resort, according to documents.
Another potential conflict is that the law firm’s partner Alfredo Alonso represented Palms as a paid lobbyist before the Nevada Legislature in the 74th (2007), 75th (2009) and 76th (2011) sessions. The California resident’s arbitration was in 2011 and early 2012.
The plaintiff has asked the court to consider the potential conflicts. Another court has been asked to vacate the arbitration award altogether.