Dispute Resolution and Trials
The partners of Erwin & Thompson LLP maintain an active litigation practice. The following are some of our litigation representations.
$10,000,000 cash settlement plus royalty valued between $20,000,000 and $50,000,000: Coeur Rochester, Inc. v. Rye Patch Gold Corp. and Rye Patch Gold US Inc.
Frank W. Thompson and Thomas P. Erwin represented Rye Patch Gold Corp. and Rye Patch Gold US Inc. in an action for declaratory relief, trespass and damages relating to the ownership of unpatented mining claims situated in Pershing County, Nevada. The lands at issue contain a significant deposit of precious metals. In June 2013, the matter was settled and Rye Patch Gold US Inc. was paid the sum of $10,000,000 in cash and was granted a 3.4% net smelter returns mineral production royalty on 39,000,000 ounces of silver to be produced from the Rochester Mine. The gross value of the mineral production royalty based on the average price of silver during the preceding five years ranges from $20,000,000 to $50,000,000. (Case No. CV11-11231, Sixth Judicial District Court, Pershing County, Nevada)
$13,500,000 settlement: County of Washoe v. Evans Creek, LLC
Erwin & Thompson LLP represented the owner of the Ballardini Ranch in an action commenced by Washoe County to condemn the property for open space. The Ballardini Ranch covers approximately 1,100 acres in southwest Reno. The landowner opposed the condemnation action and filed a counterclaim for violation of the owner’s civil rights resulting from Washoe County’s refusal to process the landowner’s application for entitlements for development of real property. Frank W. Thompson was lead counsel in the condemnation action and was assisted by Thomas P. Erwin. The condemnation action and counterclaim for the violation of the landowner’s civil rights was settled in April 2006. Washoe County agreed to dismiss its condemnation action and paid to the landowner the sum of $13,500,000 to resolve the landowner’s counterclaims for damages (Case No. CV04-02092, Second Judicial District Court, Washoe County, Reno, Nevada)
$1,507,583 judgment: Cavell, et al. v. Borealis Mining Company and Gryphon Gold Corporation
Thomas P. Erwin represented Borealis Mining Company concerning the parties’ rights and obligations under a mining lease for the Borealis Mine in Mineral County, Nevada. In April 2013, judgment was entered in favor of Borealis Mining Company in the amount of $1,507,583 representing credits for payments made by Borealis Mining Company under the mining lease and also awarded Borealis Mining Company its costs and attorney’s fees. (Case No. 12OC00015 1B, First Judicial District Court, Carson City, Nevada)
Judgment awarding ownership of mining property: Nevada Copper, Inc. v. Majuba Mining Ltd.
Thomas P. Erwin represented Nevada Copper, Inc. in an action to quiet title to ownership of unpatented mining claims situated in Lyon County adjacent to the Pumpkin Hollow Copper Mine currently under development. The District Court entered judgment in favor of Nevada Copper, Inc. quieting ownership of the unpatented mining claims in the company. In 2013, the Nevada Supreme Court dismissed the appeal of Majuba Mining Ltd. resulting in affirmance of the District Court judgment. (Case No. CI 19001, Third Judicial District Court, Lyon County, Nevada; 121 Nev. Adv. Op. 19, April 4, 2013)
Tax statute declared unconstitutional: Claremont Nevada Mines LLC v. State of Nevada
Thomas P. Erwin represented Claremont Nevada Mines LLC in an action seeking to overturn legislation enacted by the Nevada Legislature in 2010 which imposed a fee upon owners of unpatented mining claims in Nevada. Claremont Nevada Mines LLC contended that the legislation was unconstitutional. Thomas P. Erwin also represented Claremont Nevada Mines LLC as amicus curiae in a companion action commenced by BL Exploration, LLC in the First Judicial District Court in Carson City, Nevada. In May 2011, the court ruled that the fee was a tax on real property which violated Article 10, Section 1 of the Nevada Constitution and declared the statute void. Mr. Erwin’s representation of Claremont Nevada Mines LLC in the two actions was pro bono. (Case No. CV-C-10-699, Fourth Judicial District Court, Elko County, Nevada; Case No. 11OC00160 1B, First Judicial District Court, Carson City, Nevada)
Successful Nevada Tax Commission appeal: in re Geothermal Resources Council
Thomas P. Erwin represented the Geothermal Resources Council, a Section 501(c) nonprofit academic, educational and trade association. The Geothermal Resources Council appealed the decision of the Nevada Department of Taxation denying the assocation’s exemption from sales tax. After a hearing held in June 2008, the Nevada Tax Commission ruled in favor of the Geothermal Resources Council, reversed the decision of the Department of Taxation and granted the application for exemption. Mr. Erwin’s representation of the Geothermal Resources Council was pro bono.
Geothermal power plant trials and arbitrations
Mr. Thompson and Mr. Erwin have successfully represented the developers, owners and royalty holders in several trials and arbitrations involving geothermal power plants, including: (a) jury verdict awarding net profits interest in geothermal power plant (Steamboat Springs, Nevada); (b) jury verdict in favor of defendant public utility against $20,000,000 breach of contract claim (Brady Hot Springs, Nevada); (c) jury verdict awarding net profits royalty interest in power plant production revenues (Steamboat Springs, Nevada); (d) arbitration award in defense of breach of construction contract claim and awarding damages on counterclaim (Steamboat Springs, Nevada); (e) settlement awarding royalty payments (Beowawe, Nevada); (f) successful defense of breach of construction contract claim (Leyte Project, Philippines); and (g) successful resolution of breach of construction contract and mechanic’s lien claims (Heber Complex, California).