Nevada Supremes Deny Motion to Stay Private Media Receiver

LAS VEGAS—In related rulings filed today in response to two motion filed with the Supreme Court of Nevada—one by appellant Private Media Group seeking a stay of the District Court’s August order appointing Eric Johnson as receiver of all Private Media Group assets and subsidiaries, and the other by the law firm Laxalt & Nomura seeking permission to withdraw as counsel of record for Private’s independent directors—a three-judge panel of the court declined to stay the order appointing Johnson as receiver and also denied counsel’s request to withdraw.

However, in the order denying the stay of receiver order the court also directed the receiver and his counsel to refrain from interfering “in the relationship between appellant and its counsel or between appellant's counsel and counsel's relationship to its clients in related matters before this court. … Neither the receiver nor the receiver's counsel may interfere with appellant's counsel's representation of its clients to allow the clients to contest the receiver's appointment or the personal jurisdiction determinations currently pending before this court.”

Accordingly, the court also denied the motion by Laxalt & Nomura to withdraw as counsel for current and former independent directors Johan Carlberg, Peter Dixinger, Bo Rodebrant, Johan Gillborg and Philip Christmas. The plaintiffs in Consipio v Private had filed an appeal with the Nevada Supreme Court seeking to have another lower court order overturned that dismissed the directors from the lawsuit for lack of personal jurisdiction.

“Having considered the motion to withdraw, and in light of our order partially granting a stay in the appeal from the appointment of the receiver,” the same three-judge panel ruled, “we deny the motion to withdraw. The partial stay order stays any conduct by the receiver or the receiver's counsel that would interfere in the relationship between [Laxalt & Nomura] attorney Dotson and respondents in this matter.”

The latter order also contained a revised filing schedule for the remaining actions before the Supreme Court, which should be decided sometime around the end of October, beginning of November.

“Respondents shall have 11 days from the date of this order (Oct. 12) to file and serve their answering brief. Appellants shall then have seven days from the date when respondents' answering brief is served to file and serve any reply brief.”

Though the remaining actions before the Supreme Court involve different aspects of the lower court case that pits Private Media Group’s current CEO and board chairman, Berth Milton, against debt holder Consipio Holding and other parties—including the ownership status of millions of disputed Private Media shares, a contempt action against Milton, the original appeal of the order appointing the receiver and the appeal of the order dismissing the independent directors—the Supreme Court has decided that judicial expediency will best be served if it considers all of the actions together.

The order denying the emergency motion to stay the receiver order can be accessed here.

The order denying counsel’s request to withdraw can be accessed here.