Hansen Rule


The Hansen Rule states that the attorney for a governmental body in Nevada must get approval from the governing body in a public meeting before representing that body in legal action (2017).

In the Hansen case, the attorney for the Nevada Commission on Ethics filed an appeal with the Nevada Supreme Court on behalf of the commission without the commission approving this action in a public meeting.  The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal holding that the appeal was defective having not been properly authorized.

Detail (from justia.com):

Fred Voltz filed an ethics complaint, termed a request for opinion (RFO), against Assemblymen Ira Hansen and Assemblyman Jim Wheeler with the State of Nevada Commission on Ethics. The Commission denied the assemblymen’s motion to dismiss. The district court granted the assemblymen’s petition for judicial review and ordered the Commission to dismiss the RFOs, finding that the Nevada Assembly had sole jurisdiction to consider ethical questions concerning the assemblymen’s acts. The attorney for the Commission then filed a notice of appeal with the Supreme Court on behalf of the Commission. The assemblymen filed a complaint alleging that the Commission violated the open meeting law when it filed a notice of appeal without first making its decision to appeal the district court’s order in a public meeting. The Commission then held an open meeting seeking to ratify and approve the action taken in the Commission’s filing of an appeal. The Commission voted unanimously in favor of appealing the district court’s order. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal, holding that the notice of appeal was filed without Commission authorization, and therefore, the notice of appeal was defective thus depriving the court of jurisdiction.



Nevada Independent article

Justia article