Rugg graduated from Clumbia University School of Law in 2001. At Columbia, Rugg was a Stone Scholar and Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Law and Social Problems. He is a member of the bar in the states of New York and Nevada and admitted to practice in those state courts and the following federal courts: Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, Court of Federal Claims, and the US District Courts for the District of Nevada, Southern District of New York, Eastern District of New York, and District of Colorado. Rugg also has a BS from Cornell University, completed the AFL-CIO Organizing Institute, graduated as a member of the 2012 Class of Leadership Las Vegas through the Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce and was appointed by the Nevada Bar Association to the selection committee for public attorney in the City of Las Vegas courts. Rugg has been married for nearly 18 years to Marjorie Rugg. Marjorie is a graduate of New York University and has a master’s degree from the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University. Marjorie is an executive at Caesar’s Palace. Before going to graduate school, Marjorie worked as a client analysis in Goldman Sachs’ Private Wealth Management division and was trained and worked as a professional pastry chef.
Rugg is currently a litigation shareholder at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP. After graduating law school, from 2001 to 2002, he was an associate at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett in New York (where he had been a summer associate in 2000) and, from 2004 to 2007, he was an associate at Dewey Ballantine. In between Simpson and Dewey, from 2002-2004, he served as a law clerk to Chief Judge William J. Zloch in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. In the summer between first and second year of law school, Rugg worked at the United States Attorney’s Office in the District of New Jersey. In private practice, he has represented individuals, major sports unions, small business people and corporations in disputes involving a wide-variety of legal issues including, antitrust, real property, securities, trade secrets, contracts, personal injury, product liability, fiduciary duties and both federal and state statutory rights. Additionally, on a pro bono basis, he has served as a CAP attorney, outside general counsel to a non-profit and attorney to tenants in disputes with landlords.
After earning my undergraduate degree in 1993, Rugg completed the AFL-CIO Organizing Institute, a program that trains union organizers. During his career as an organizer, Rugg worked on campaigns organizing casino workers in Laughlin, Nevada, factory workers in Northern California, Missouri, Arkansas and Louisiana, nurses in New York and Northern California, resident physicians in New York, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, Cincinnati and Miami and post-residency physicians in New York and Seattle. At age 25, he was promoted to director of organizing of a national local of the Service Employees International Union.
In total, this broad range of experience has prepared him for the broad range of criminal and civil cases that he will see as a district court judge.
As a law clerk in federal court, Rugg participated in several criminal and civil trials. At the time, the Southern District of Florida had more criminal trials than any other federal district. Significant matters where Rugg was the law clerk involved includes United States v. South Florida Water District, No. 88-1886, 2003 WL 22466211 (S.D. Fl. Sept. 23, 2003); Catano v. United States, 248 F. Supp. 2d 1158 (S.D. Fl. 2003), and Calvary Chapel Church, Inc. v. Broward County, Case No. 03-61927 (S.D. Fl.) .
In private practice, he was on the trial team for Metropolitan Intercollegiate Basketball Association v. National College Athletic Association, Case No. 01-cv-0071 in the Southern District of New York, and was lead counsel in Denman v. American Tower, Case No. a-11-632993 in the Eighth Judicial District Court. Rugg has been lead counsel or second chair on several evidentiary hearings in the Eighth Judicial District Court and various federal courts and the US Bankruptcy Court for the District of Nevada. He represented Art Loss Register before the Ninth Circuit in Cutler v. Solomon, Case No. 10-15969 and won affirmance of the summary judgment he won in the District of Nevada, Case No. 07-cv-00645. Other significant appellate matters were Rugg was involved as second chair include: Norkunas v. Wynn Las Vegas, Case No. 07-17159 in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and Welday v. Summerlin Life & Health Ins. Co., Case No. 52557 in the Supreme Court of the State of Nevada.
Desire to Run for Judicial Seat:
Rugg's motivation to run for judge is manifold. It starts with a desire to give back to his community through public service. He has the skills, experience and knowledge to be an excellent judge for our community. Rugg believes by serving as a judge, he will make our community stronger.
He is also motivated by his experiences as a law clerk. Working with Judge Zloch, Rugg experienced the remarkable effect a good judge can have on the litigants that appear before him or her. For example, the Court was presented with a habeas petition for a woman convicted of murder for hire. The magistrate judge who considered the petition issued a report and recommendation that the habeas petition be denied. In reviewing the matter, Rugg identified an error in the process that had denied the pro se petitioner an opportunity to present evidence on an issue related to the petition. Working with Judge Zloch, they remanded the matter to the magistrate judge to hold an evidentiary hearing on the issue. Following the hearing, the magistrate judge again recommended the petition be denied. With the complete record, the recommendation was affirmed and the petition denied. Weeks later, Judge Zloch received a letter from the petitioner thanking him for respecting her rights and requiring that the evidentiary hearing be held. While her petition was denied, as a result of the evidentiary hearing order by Judge Zloch, she had confidence in the process.
Rugg believes that it is necessary that our community have confidence in the judiciary, the process the judicial uses to make decisions and the decision-making ability of the judiciary. He believes that our community and the individuals and entities that do business here do not now have complete confidence in in the Eighth Judicial District Court. He wants to be part of establishing the confidence necessary to promote investment in Clark County and allow citizens to believe they are safe in their person and their property.
A third motivation is to bring a broader perspective to the Eighth Judicial District Court. Based on his experiences as an advocate for working families and as a business litigator, as a pro bono lawyer and as a mentor to junior lawyers and law students, as a graduate of Leadership Las Vegas and as a transplant to our valley who has fallen in love with it, Rugg can understand the motivations and experiences of the broad range of litigants that appear in the Eighth Judicial District Court. Unfortunately, he thinks some of the current judges and candidates lack the experience to prepare them to address the broad scope of cases that are litigated in the Eighth Judicial District Court and we are underserving our community.
Work History Qualifications:
Rugg's work experience, as previously detailed, demonstrates that he works hard and has a diverse and deep knowledge of the law. His clients are highly sophisticated and have enumerable choices in deciding who represents them. He works hard to earn his client’s trust and never takes it for granted. Even before he had his own clients, the law firms Rugg worked for and Judge Zloch had enumerable choices on whom to hire and trust. He earned the trust of my colleagues and Judge Zloch with my strong work ethic and ability to help the partners in those firms and Judge Zloch meet their goals. His experience as a union organizer is also important. Union organizers work largely without supervision and are entrusted with dues money from the members of the union. The fact that Rugg worked hard and promoted the interests of the membership is demonstrated in his promotion to director of organizing for a national local union at age 25.
Rugg has represented and advocated for people, businesses and other entities through a broad spectrum of the law for over twenty years. He has been successful for his clients and members while earning the respect of his colleagues and competitors. His work experience has helped prepare him to serve as a judge and demonstrates that he has the qualities our community needs and deserves in its judges.
Qualities Fit to Serve as a Judge:
Qualities that Rugg possess which are particularly relevant to serving as a judge are his work ethic and his passion for the law. He has always been a hard worker from being captain of the football team and the highest scoring mathlete my senior year of high school, to being promoted to director of organizing for a national local union of SEIU at age 25, through being editor in chief of a journal in law school and now as a shareholder in commercial litigation at a prominent Las Vegas firm. Additionally, his passion for the law drives his sense of fairness and equality. It is a societal belief in the rule of law as applied by our courts that is the backbone of every American’s opportunity to succeed and general sense of safety in our homes and communities. When our judges fail to apply the rule of law in a manner that is understood as fair and without prejudice, our society is weakened. A judge also has an obligation to assist jurors to understand the questions they are being asked to answer and their important role in the process of justice in both criminal and civil cases. Rugg will work hard to always improve his ability to help jurors do their duty
Rugg has not been the subject of bar discipline.
To Speed Process & Minimize Case Delays:
Rugg had the following to say about speeding up the process and minimizing case delays:
" Litigants are correct to be frustrated with the length of time it takes to resolve cases in the Eighth Judicial District Court. That frustration extends to the motion practice, delayed decisions, and discovery that is permitted in our courts. That frustration is limiting the investment businesses and individuals located outside Nevada are willing to make in our state and the additional investments business and individuals already doing in Nevada are willing to make to expand their activities here. As I judge, I will help ease that frustration in several ways.
First, early in the case, I will help the parties understand the issues relevant to the dispute and, if possible, narrow the issues in dispute by speaking frankly about the law applicable to the case as presented in both the complaint and answer and being willing to grant dispositive motions on their merits regardless of when in the timeline of the case the motion is heard. All too often, our courts allow issues that have no factual foundation to persist and be the subject of discovery and motion practice. Providing a law-based view of the claims and narrowing the issues will both focus discovery and help the parties better evaluate the merits of their claims and defenses, thereby promoting meaningful settlement discussions.
Second, I will always be prepared when I take the bench. That means, I will read the parties’ filings and have considered the law relevant to the case as a whole as well as the instant issue. At hearings, I will let the parties make an appropriate record but I will discourage mere repetition and will attempt to focus argument and the presentation of evidence on issues that are truly in dispute or where I have questions.
Third, I will hold counsel responsible for meeting deadlines, being prepared and following the applicable rules of procedure, evidence and civility.
Fourth, I will try to schedule my daily docket in a manner that realistically represents the time I expect a matter will consume. In that way, I will try not to force counsel to sit through arguments on unrelated matters, allowing counsel to work more efficiently and avoid costs to litigants.
Fifth, I will be available to counsel and the parties when legitimate emergencies arise to help resolved the issue quickly and in a manner that promotes efficient litigation."