Richard Scotti holds an "A V" rating by Martindale-Hubbell, which is the highest rating available in legal ability and professional ethics. Also, for two years in a row, Scotti has been designated a "Mountain States Super Lawyer." He graduated in the top 10% of his class at Hastings College of the Law in 1988. He is licensed to practice law before all the Courts in Nevada and California, as well as the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Scotti was first licensed in California to practice law in 1989. He moved to Clark County, Nevada in 1992 and was licensed to practice in Nevada that year.
Scotti has been married for 26 years and has two children. His daughter, Adrienne, is a jury consultant at a top jury consulting firm in Los Angeles. His son, Nick, hopes to soon be attending law school, and has a goal of beginning his practice here in Clark County.
Scotti has been practicing law for 26 years in the fields of complex civil litigation, including construction, commercial, real estate, insurance, and general civil litigation. He has experience handling criminal law, family law, environmental law, personal injury, administrative law, gaming law, and other areas. The nature of his practice makes Scotti uniquely qualified to handle extremely complex matters, involving up to hundreds of millions of dollars in claims, hundreds of parties, millions of pages of documents, and complex legal issues. At the same time, he has handled very competently numerous small and pro bono matters. Every case and every client is equally important to him.
Please see a copy of his resume here for more detail.
Trials & Arbitrations
Scotti has handled hundreds of significant cases throughout his career, involving many fields of law. He served as trial counsel (first or second chair) in over two dozen cases that have gone to trial - about seven of them jury trials. Outlined below is his involvement in cases involving more than one million dollars over the last fifteen years that have gone to trial:
Scotti served as lead local counsel for a general contractor and numerous subcontractors in the longest civil jury trial in the history of Nevada - the Venetian Lien Litigation. This case involved an aggregate of claims exceeding 750 million dollars, almost a hundred claimants, and millions of pages of documents. The entire litigation (consisting of claims in state and federal court, the Nevada Supreme Court, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, private and court-ordered arbitration, mediations, and settlement conferences, and bifurcated lien/contract trials) lasted about seven years. Scotti served as either first or second chair in over ten of the bench trials arising out of the case. The trial of the main portion of the case took nine months. In that aspect, he supervised teams of witnesses, experts, and legal associates and paralegals, in managing this monstrous litigation. While examination of witnesses was conducted primarily by out-of-state counsel, Scotti handled all other aspects of the case, including: motion practice; depositions; discovery; witness preparation; jury instructions, questionnaires, interrogatories, and verdicts; post-trial motions; emergency writs to the Supreme Court; and everything else.
He served as second chair in a civil bench trial representing an investor defending itself against claims of 30 million dollars from a developer of an apartment complex in North Las Vegas. Upon the conclusion of a seven week trial, and before the Court rendered its decision, the parties reached a mutually favorable settlement.
He served as first chair in a civil bench trial in a case involving claims for 1.5 million by a general contractor against more than a dozen insurance companies for bad faith failure to defend and pay on construction claims. Scotti successfully resolved this case through a combination of summary judgment orders, a judgment after trial, and settlement discussions.
He served as second chair in a binding Arbitration, before a three-member panel, representing the City of Las Vegas in claims exceeding 20 million dollars against the general contractor for the Washington-Buffalo Park. Scotti took a major role in examination and crossexamination of the witnesses, including experts, as well as all of the preparation work leading up to the Arbitration hearing. This huge case involved numerous construction defects, hundreds of thousands of pages of documents, and complicated contract and construction issues.
He served as second chair in a civil bench trial representing a subcontractor pursuing a construction claim (involving complex issues such as schedule, delay, disruption, trade coordination, cost-overrun, contract modifications, causation, mitigation, liquidated damages, etc) for over 15 million dollars against a major hotel/casino on the strip.
He served as second chair in a civil jury trial for a general contractor defending itself against a subcontractor with a claim of 7 million dollars for cost overruns and delays on the construction of a convention center.
He served as second chair in a civil jury trial for a subcontractor pursuing construction claims in the amount of about 3 million dollars against a general contractor involving a roadway improvement project.
He served as second chair in a civil jury trial in federal court for a subcontractor with a 1.5 million dollar construction claim against a general contractor on a public works project.
He served as first chair in a civil bench trial representing a creditor seeking to recover on a one million dollar promissory note.
Scotti presided over several dozen Arbitrations between attorneys and their clients participating in the State Bar of Nevada, Fee Dispute Program. As the Arbitrator, he adjudicated the claims of many clients who had alleged they were overcharged by their former attorneys. He insured that all of the participants were accorded procedural and substantive due process, and authored many quasi-judicial opinions which became binding on the parties.
The Nevada Supreme Court appointed Scotti to serve over a two-year period as a Foreclosure Mediator. The Foreclosure Mediation Program ensured that certain groups of homeowners in default on their mortgages could not be subjected to foreclosure until and unless their mortgage lenders participated in good faith in an attempt to modify the terms or conditions of the loan, or provide some other financial consideration. He handled dozens of such cases and in the process helped several Nevadans save their homes, or transition out of their homes in a more graceful manner.
For ten years, Scotti served as a Settlement Judge, having been appointed by the Nevada
Supreme Court. As a Settlement Judge, he presided over settlement conferences between parties with matters on appeal.
He presided over several dozen mediations between attorneys and their clients participating in the State Bar of Nevada, Fee Dispute Program. As the Mediator, he helped many clients recover monies in those instances where they believed they were overcharged by their former attorneys.
Attracted Him to Run:
Scotti says he recognizes the great honor that exists in serving as a District Court Judge given the tremendous responsibility. He is at a point in his career where he has developed the experience and skills, and the proper values, to serve as a great judge. I have dedicated myself to serving the community in ways that best use my legal abilities. I have the energy and passion to continue to serve in a meaningful way. For these reasons, I concluded that the time was now for me to step up and offer my service as a Judge.
Work History Qualifications
Scotti’s work history has given him the knowledge and ability to handle many diverse areas of law. In addition to having the knowledge of the law, and ability to manage cases, Scotti has developed the skills to conduct judicial hearings. He has presided over hundreds of mediations and arbitrations in his capacities as: Settlement Judge for ten years - having been appointed by the Nevada Supreme Court; Foreclosure Mediator for the Nevada Foreclosure Mediation Program; and Mediator or Arbitrator for over 15 years for the State Bar of Nevada Fee Dispute Program. Having served as a Mediator, Arbitrator, Settlement Judge, and more recently as an Administrative Law Judge for the Nevada State Contractors Board, Scotti has an acute awareness of the procedural and substantive due process considerations involved in every matter. Finally, he has a proven record of working to improve access to justice.
Previous Campaign Experience:
Scotti has successfully run in two previous elections. Both times, he ran to serve as a Member of the Board of Governors for the State Bar of Nevada, in charge of regulating and managing the mandatory bar association in Nevada. There are nine representatives from Clark County. He was elected in 2010, and re-elected in 2012.
Qualities For to Serve as a Judge:
There are three personal qualities, or values, that Scotti possesses that make him fit to serve as a judge: courage; compassion; and integrity. Courage. Scotti has the courage to do the right thing. He has never buckled to special interests, bullying tactics, bombastic speech, or extraneous influences in how he has conducted himself or his cases. For example, as a long-time Arbitrator for the State Bar
Fee Dispute Arbitration Program, Scotti often had to render decisions against practicing attorneys with whom he had to continue to deal. As a Foreclosure Mediator appointed by the Nevada Supreme Court, he sometimes had to declare that powerful banks had acted in "bad faith" and deny them the right to foreclose on homes. As an Administrative Law Judge for the Nevada State Contractors Board, he had to issue fines against influential subcontractors and general contractors in the community. Compassion. Scotti recognizes that a judge cannot simply mechanically apply the law; but he must appreciate that each case involves personal lives, their money, their time, their well being, and happiness. Integrity. Scotti has earned the respect of my peers, family, and friends, as a person who conducts himself with utmost integrity, and has an unwavering desire to do the right thing.
Scotti has not been subject to discipline by the bar.
To Speed the Process & Minimize the Delays:
Scotti said the following about speeding the process and minimizing case delays:
There are four things that I would propose to speed up litigation: (1) Issue tentative rulings, which help speed up oral argument on motions, and focus the parties on the meaningful issues; (2) conduct more inquisitive pre-trial conferences to set realistic deadlines to try to avoid last minute requests for continuances; (3) work extremely hard to prepare and publish written orders quickly; and (4) make myself available to conduct settlement conferences for matters before other judges.
John Watkins was born and raised in St. Louis, MO. He attended UNLV and graduated Magna Cum Laude from University of Missouri in Saint Louis with a B. A. in Philosophy in 1977. He received his J. D. from St. Louis University (Billikens)in 1980. He was allowed to practice law during his third year of law school pursuant to authorization by the Missouri Supreme Court. His assignment was to Legal Aid in St. Louis where he represented indigents. He worked as a law clerk for the Honorable Judge Pavlikowski in 1980 before becoming a Deputy District Attorney (Criminal Division) in the Clark County District Attorney’s Office in 1981 under Bob Miller. He has since run his own legal practice for over 33 years focusing on Civil Litigation and Criminal Defense work. He is AV rated by Martindale Hubbell with a perfect 5. He is licensed to practice law in Nevada. He was admitted to the Nevada State Bar in 1980, the U. S. Court of Appeals Ninth Circuit in 1983, and the United States Supreme Court in 1986.
He has been married to Barbara Watkins for 46 years. We have 4 sons, five grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
My professional experience is in Criminal Defense (Felonies, Gross Misdemeanors, Misdemeanors, and Traffic), and Civil Litigation (Family Law, Bankruptcy, Divorce, Juvenile Law, Mental Health, Welfare, Social Security, Wills & Probate, Personal Injury, Nevada Gaming Board, and Administrative Law). I have also served in the Nevada National Guard Reserve achieving the rank of Colonel-06 serving as the State Commander.
Trial Experience: I have handled over 100,000 cases during my tenure. I have handled a fair number of jury trials and can’t remember them all. I have handled at least 500 bench trials. I was defense counsel on the Jessica Williams trial, which received national attention. I have over 45 reported opinions in from the Nevada Supreme Court, as well as presented cases in the United States Supreme Court notably Blanton et al vs. City of North Las Vegas, NV.State Department of Motor Vehicles vs. McGuire
These are just a few of my opinions from the Nevada State Supreme Court.
Work History Qualifications:
Watkins work history qualifies him to be a judge because he has handled over 100,000 cases without a single ethical complaint. Watkins also has the most appellate experience of all of the candidates competing for this seat providing me unique knowledge of what is and isn’t admissible by law.
Previous Election Experience:
Watkins ran for the Nevada Assembly Seat 1 in a primary losing to Tom Collins. He did file in the open seat for District Court Department 8 in 2012, but did not actively campaign. Watkins waited to see if he would receive the appointment to the seat, and the appointment went to Judge Kerry Earley. Watkins received 39,000 votes without placing one sign or actively campaigning.
Qualities Fit to Serve as a Judge:
Watkins is exceptionally tenacious and comes to court prepared to the best of his abilities. He has numerous attorneys that seek out his advice on cases because of his extensive knowledge of Criminal Law. He is a people person and feels that what separates our great Country is the U. S. Constitution. Our legal system thrives when both sides are on a level playing field, and he has dedicated his life to fairness and equality.
Watkins has not been subject to discipline by the bar.
To Speed the Process & Minimize Case Delays:
Watkins said "I would do my best to see to it that my court starts on time and runs as efficiently as possible. I will hear all motions in a timely manner to minimize delays."