Judicial Review Of Unemployment Decisions

If you disagree with an administrative decision regarding your unemployment benefits in Nevada – and if you have appealed that decision as high as you can through the Nevada Employment Security Division appeals process (referred to as "exhausting your administrative remedies") – you have the right to appeal the final board of review decision to the district court in the county where you were employed and where your claim arose.  (NRS 612.525.)

There are twelve basic steps you must follow to appeal your unemployment benefit determination to the district court:

TIP!  Although steps 1 through 8 are fairly simply and easy to complete on your own, steps 9 through 12 can be quite difficult because they require you to write a brief to the court explaining your legal arguments in detail and then to appear in front of a judge and argue your legal position.  If you are able, you should consider hiring an attorney to help you (even if only with steps 9 through 12).  Click to visit our Lawyers and Legal Help page for more information.

Step 1:  Prepare your Petition for Judicial Review
Step 2:  Prepare your summonses
Step 3:  Prepare your application to waive fees (if necessary)
Step 4:  Prepare your civil cover sheet
Step 5:  File your petition and other documents with the District Court Clerk
Step 6:  Arrange to have your documents served
Step 7:  File your proof of service with the court clerk
Step 8:  Receive and analyze your record from the Employment Security Division
Step 9:  Prepare, file, and serve your opening brief
Step 10:  Receive and analyze any answering brief
Step 11:  Prepare, file, and serve your reply brief
Step 12:  Get your case set for a hearing and decision

Each of these twelve steps is discussed below.

Step 1:

Prepare Your Petition For Judicial Review

In order to have the district court review a final decision of the board of review, you must file a Petition for Judicial Review within eleven days after the date the board's decision becomes final.  (NRS 612.525(1).)

CAUTION!  Be sure to keep track of your days and file your petition within the eleven-day period!  And do not wait until the last minute!  The decision from the board of review may tell you exactly when this eleven-day period runs, so read it carefully.  If you fail to file your petition within eleven days after the board's decision becomes final, the district court has no jurisdiction to hear your case, and it will be dismissed.  Kame v. Employment Security Dep't, 105 Nev. 22, 769 P.2d 66 (1989).

A Petition for Judicial Review form is available, free of charge, at the Civil Law Self-Help Center.  You can also download a Petition for Judicial Review form on your computer by clicking one of the listed formats underneath the form's title below:

PETITION FOR JUDICIAL REVIEW FORM (UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS)
WORD FILLABLE  |  PDF NONFILLABLE

You can also download a form completion guide to show you how to fill out the form by clicking on the link below:
FORM GUIDE

For information about how to fill out and file court forms, read Basics of Court Forms and Filings.

Complete the Petition for Judicial Review form carefully, providing all requested information in all blanks.

  1. Sign the completed petition form where indicated on the last page.
  2. Make five, stapled copies of the petition form.
  3. On the original signed petition, use a two-hole punch to punch two holes at the top of the document (centered and 2 3/4 inches apart) and stamp or write "ORIGINAL" between the two punched holes.
  4. Go to the next step.

Step 2:

Prepare Your Summonses

The form Petition for Judicial Review that you just completed names as "respondents" all of the parties who were involved in your case in front of the Board of Review, plus the Administrator for the Employment Security Division (all as required by NRS 612.530).  When you file your petition with the court, you need to have the court clerk issue a "summons" for each of those named respondents.

FYI!  A "summons" is a paper that tells a defendant that he or she is being sued and commands the defendant to appear before the court and answer the plaintiff's complaint.

The four summonses you will need to complete are available, free of charge, at the Civil Law Self-Help Center, or you can download the forms on your computer by clicking one of the listed formats underneath the form's title below.  You can also download a  guide to show you how to fill out the form by clicking on the "Form Completion Guide" under each form.

SUMMONS TO EMPLOYMENT SECURITY DIVISION (UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS)
WORD FILLABLE  |  PDF NONFILLABLE  
FORM GUIDE

SUMMONS TO RENEE OLSON AS ADMINISTRATOR (UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS)
WORD FILLABLE  |  PDF NONFILLABLE  
FORM GUIDE

SUMMONS TO KATIE JOHNSON AS CHAIRPERSON (UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS)
WORD FILLABLE  |  PDF NONFILLABLE  
FORM GUIDE

SUMMONS TO FORMER EMPLOYER (UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS)
WORD FILLABLE  |  PDF NONFILLABLE  
FORM GUIDE

For information about how to fill out and file court forms, read Basics of Court Forms and Filings.

Complete each of the summons forms carefully, providing all requested information in all blanks.

  1. Sign each of the completed summons where indicated on the last page.
  2. Make two, stapled copies of each of the summons.
  3. On each of the original signed summons, use a two-hole punch to punch two holes at the top of the document (centered and 2 3/4 inches apart) and stamp or write "ORIGINAL" between the two punched holes.
  4. Go to the next step.


Step 3:

Prepare Your Application To Waive Fees (If Necessary)

There is no fee to file the Petition for Judicial Review with the court clerk.  However, there is a charge of $78.00 to serve the summons and petitions (as discussed in Step 6), and there may be a charge for an interpreter if you need one at your hearing (as discussed in Step 12).  If you cannot afford to pay those fees, you can ask the court to waive the costs connected with your case by filing an Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis (sometimes called a "fee waiver application").  If the court grants your fee waiver application, the service costs and interpreter fees will be waived and you will not have to pay them.

The Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis that you will need to complete to request a fee waiver is available, free of charge, at the Civil Law Self-Help Center, or you can download the application on your computer by clicking one of the listed formats underneath the form's title below.  You can also download a guide to show you how to fill out the form by clicking on "Form Completion Guide" below.

APPLICATION TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS (UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS)
WORD FILLABLE  |  PDF NONFILLABLE  
FORM GUIDE

For information about how to fill out and file court forms, read Basics of Court Forms and Filings.

Complete the Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis carefully, providing all requested information in all blanks.

  1. Sign where indicated on the last page of the completed application and the last page of the proposed order.
  2. Make two, stapled copies of the application.
  3. On the original signed application, use a two-hole punch to punch two holes at the top of the document (centered and 2 3/4 inches apart) and stamp or write "ORIGINAL" between the two punched holes.
  4. Go to the next step.


Step 4:

Prepare Your Civil Cover Sheet

When you submit all of your documents to the court clerk (step 5), you must also submit a Civil Cover Sheet.

The Civil Cover Sheet that you will need is available, free of charge, at the Civil Law Self-Help Center.  You can also download the cover sheet on your computer by clicking the form's title below:

CIVIL COVER SHEET (UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS)
PDF NONFILLABLE

Complete the Civil Cover sheet carefully.

  1. Print your name, address, and telephone number in Section I in the "Plaintiff" box.
  2. Print your former employer's name in Section I in the "Defendant" box.
  3. Date and sign where indicated at the bottom of the page.
  4. Go to the next step.


Step 5:

File Your Petition And Other Documents With The District Court Clerk

You are now ready to file your case.

CAUTION!  If you do not FILE your Petition for Judicial Review (meaning formally submit it to the clerk of the court), you will miss your appeal deadline!  You must file your petition with the court to begin your case, and you must file before your appeal deadline expires.

To file your case, take the following documents to the District Court Clerk's Office on the third floor at the Regional Justice Center, 200 Lewis Avenue, in downtown Las Vegas, and give them all to the district court clerk:

  1. Civil Cover Sheet (original)
  2. Petition for Judicial Review (original plus five copies)
  3. Summons to Employment Security Division (original plus two copies)
  4. Summons to Renee Olson as Administrator (original plus two copies)
  5. Summons to Katie Johnson as Chairperson (original plus two copies)
  6. Summon to Your Former Employer (original plus two copies)
  7. Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis (original plus two copies) (only if asking the court to waive service and interpreter fees)

If you HAVE NOT submitted an Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis, the district court clerk will file the documents with the court, assign a number to your case, assign your case to a particular judge (or "department"), and sign each of the summonses.  The clerk will keep your cover sheet and original petition and return the rest of the documents to you.  You are ready to go to the next step.

If you HAVE submitted an Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis, the district court clerk will keep all of your documents and send them, along with your fee waiver application, to the judge, who will either grant or deny your application to waive the service and interpreter fees.  After the judge makes a decision, you will need to go back to the District Court Clerk's Office to pick up all of your documents, along with the signed order from the judge granting or denying your Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis.  Once you have picked up all of your documents, you are ready to go to the next step.

TIP!  The court will not advise you of the judge's decision on your Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis.  You should check online to see whether the fee waiver was granted or denied.  Click to visit our Look Up My Case page.  Or you should call the court clerk in a week or so at (702) 671-0708 to see whether your application has been signed.



Step 6:

Arrange To Have Your Documents Served

You must now arrange to have a Summons and Petition for Judicial Review "served" (personally delivered by a process server or other official) on each of the respondents you named in your petition.  This is accomplished by mailing copies of the summonses and petition to the Carson City Sheriff's Office, along with a check for $78.00 to cover the cost of service or an order waiving the fees in the case.  The sheriff will serve the Employment Security Division Administrator who, in turn, will distribute copies to all of the respondents.

A cover letter to the Carson City Sheriff is available, free of charge, at the Civil Law Self-Help Center or you can download the cover letter on your computer by clicking the form's title below.  You can also download a guide to show you how to fill out the form by clicking  on the "Form Completion Guide" below.

COVER LETTER TO CARSON CITY SHERIFF'S OFFICE (UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS)
WORD FILLABLE  |  PDF NONFILLABLE  
FORM GUIDE

Complete the cover letter, filling in all blanks with the information requested.  Then Make a copy of the completed cover letter and keep it for your records. Address a large (at least letter size) envelope to:

Carson City Sheriff's Office
c/o Kathy Thomas
911 E. Musser Street
Carson City, NV

Put a packet of documents together that includes all of the following in this order:

  1. Your completed cover letter to the Carson City Sheriff;
  2. An original and one copy of the Summons to the Employment Security Division, with a copy of the Petition for Judicial Review attached (so two summons and two petitions total), all clipped together with a paper clip;
  3. An original and one copy of the Summons to Renee Olson as Administrator, with a copy of the Petition for Judicial Review attached, all clipped together;
  4. An original and one copy of the Summons to Katie Johnson as Chairperson, with a copy of the Petition for Judicial Review attached, all clipped together;
  5. An original and one copy of the Summons to your former employer, with a copy of the Petition for Judicial Review attached, all clipped together; and
  6. A check or money order payable to "Carson City Sheriff" in the amount of $78.00 or an "Order to Proceed in Forma Pauperis" signed by a district court judge waiving the cost of service.
  7. Place the packet of documents in the envelope you addressed and mail it to the Carson City Sheriff.
  8. Go to the next step.



Step 7:

File Your Proof Of Service With The Court Clerk

When the Carson City Sheriff's Office receives the documents you mailed in Step 6, the Sheriff's office will serve your summonses and petitions on the respondents by delivering them to the Employment Security Division Administrator.  The sheriff's office will then prepare four Affidavits of Service (one for each of the respondents in your case), stating how and when each respondent was served.  The sheriff's office will mail those four Affidavits of Service to you at the address you provided on your cover letter.

When you receive the four affidavits from the sheriff's office, you must take them to the District Court Clerk's Office (where you filed your documents in Step 5) and file them with the court clerk.  Once filed, the affidavits will show in the court's records that your documents were properly served.

FYI!  The first document you receive from the other side will likely be called a Notice of Intent to Participate.  You will receive this notice in the mail.  You do not need to do anything in response.  It is a filing the other side has to make with the court in order to respond to your petititon.  Keep the notice for your records, though, because it contains the contact information for any attorney who might be appearing in your case.



Step 8:

Receive And Analyze Your Record From The Employment Security Division

Within thirty days or so from the time the Employment Security Division receives your petition from the sheriff, the division will file with the court the entire "record" from your administrative hearing.  You will receive a copy of your record in the mail.

CAUTION!  The Employment Security Division and its attorney will mail documents to you at whatever address you included in your Petition for Judicial Review.  If you move or get a new address after you file your petition, it is important that you file a change of address form with the court and mail a copy to all of the parties in your case.  If you do not provide notice of your current address, you will not receive important documents that you will need in your case, and you may miss important deadlines that could result in you losing your case.

The record you receive will contain copies of all documents that relate to your benefits determination and transcripts of your administrative hearings.  Review your record carefully!  You will need to use it to demonstrate to the judge why the division made a mistake in its decision regarding your unemployment benefits.

TIP!  Nevada Legal Services may be able to assist you if you have been denied benefits or your employer has appealed the determination granting benefits.  As soon as you receive your record, contact Nevada Legal Services to see if you qualify for assistance.  Click to visit the Nevada Legal Services website.



Step 9:

Prepare, File, And Serve Your Opening Brief

You are now ready to prepare your opening brief.  Your opening brief is the heart of your case – it is where you tell the judge in writing, and by citing to your record, why you believe the Employment Security Division made a mistake regarding your unemployment benefits.

TIP!  Preparing your opening brief is probably the most difficult part of the judicial review process (along with actually appearing in court).  You might be able to retain an attorney to help you with both of those things.  Click to visit our Lawyers and Legal Help section to learn more.

Do not wait to start working on your brief!  From the date your record is mailed to you, you have only forty days to file your opening brief with the court.  Every assertion you make in your brief must be supported by a citation to your record that directs the court where to look in your record to find support for that assertion.  Researching and writing your legal arguments – and then combing through your record for citations to support those arguments – will take a lot of time, effort, and attention.  The longer you wait to start your brief, the less time you will have to finish it.

Keep in mind that the court will not hear new evidence or re-evaluate the evidence that was submitted to the Employment Security Division.  That is why it is so important to make reference to your record in your opening brief because the judge is evaluating what has already happened in your case.  The court will reverse the division's decision only if the court determines that either there is not substantial evidence in the record supporting the decision or that the decision is incorrect as a matter of law.

To help you get started, you can download a model brief by clicking on the link below.  The brief is a Word document that you can save to your computer and edit however you want.  Keep in mind that the brief is a model only; it is not intended to be used as a fill-in-the-blank form, but instead as an example of how an opening brief might look.  Every case is different.  It follows that every brief will be different because it must be tailored to the needs of your case and your particular facts and legal arguments.

MODEL PETITIONER'S OPENING BRIEF (UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS)

WORD NONFILLABLE

You can also download one or more of the following sets of instructions, which will give you some guidance about arguments you might want to include in your opening brief.  Which set of instructions applies to your case will depend on why you were denied unemployment benefits.

CAUTION!  It is your responsibility to research the Nevada statutes, rules, and regulations relating to Petitions for Judicial Review and the award, review, and denial of unemployment benefits and to analyze how those impact your case.  The materials included here may not be applicable to your case, and do not constitute the totality of potentially applicable rules, regulations, statutes, and arguments.  The research librarians at your local law library may be able to provide assistance with your research.

Once you have completed your brief and edited it carefully, then:

  1. Sign your opening brief in all the spaces indicated for your signature.
  2. On the certificate of mailing on the last page, make sure you have included the names and addresses of any attorney (or other unrepresented party) who has filed anything in your case.
  3. Make at least two stapled copies of the brief (you will need more copies if multiple parties appeared in your case; make one additional copy for each party you listed on the certificate of mailing).
  4. On the original, signed opening brief, use a two-hole punch to punch two holes at the top of the document (centered and 2 3/4 inches apart) and stamp or write "ORIGINAL" between the two punched holes.
  5. Take the original signed brief and all copies to the District Court Clerk's Office (where you filed all your other documents), and give your brief to the clerk.  The clerk will stamp all the documents, keep the original, and hand you back the copies.  Retain one copy for your records.
  6. Mail a copy of your opening brief to each of the attorneys (or parties) listed on the certificate of mailing.
  7. Go to the next step.



Step 10:

Receive And Analyze Any Answering Brief

After the respondents receive your opening brief, they will prepare answering briefs and file them with the court.  The respondents will mail their answering briefs to you by regular mail.  So if you have moved, make sure you have filed a Notice of Change of Address with the court and mailed a copy of that notice to all parties.

The answering briefs will contain the respondents' arguments against the position you took in your opening brief.  Read it carefully.  It is important for you to understand what factual and legal arguments the respondents are making to defeat your claims because they will probably be the focus of the hearing and the judge's decision in your case.

If you disagree with any factual assertions or legal arguments respondents make in their brief, you can bring your disagreement to the court's attention by preparing and filing a reply brief (as described in step 11).  Remember, though, that you will need to be able to point the judge to your record to show why respondents' assertions and arguments are incorrect. 



Step 11:

Prepare, File, And Serve Your Reply Brief

If you think you need to respond to some assertion or argument in respondents' answering briefs, you can prepare and file your own reply brief with the court.  Keep in mind, though, that a reply brief is not your opportunity to bring up new arguments that you did not include in your opening brief.  It is merely your opportunity to reply to the arguments made by respondents.  Also keep in mind that any assertions you make in your reply brief need to be accompanied by a citation to your record, just like in your opening brief.  You reply brief must be filed within thirty days after service of respondents' answering brief.

A reply brief is not mandatory – but it is a great opportunity for you to pick apart respondents' arguments for the judge.  If you do not believe it is necessary for you to file a reply, skip to Step 12.

To help you get started, you can download a model Reply Brief by clicking on the link below.  The brief is a Word document that you can save to your computer and edit however you want.

MODEL PETITIONER'S REPLY BRIEF (UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS)
WORD DOCUMENT

Once you have completed your reply brief and edited it carefully, then:

  1. Sign your reply brief in the spaces indicated for your signature.
  2. On the certificate of mailing on the last page, make sure you have included the names and addresses of any attorney (or other unrepresented party) who has filed anything in your case.
  3. Make at least two stapled copies of the brief (you will need more copies if multiple parties appeared in your case; make one additional copy for each party you listed on the certificate of mailing).
  4. On the original signed reply brief, use a two-hole punch to punch two holes at the top of the document (centered and 2 3/4 inches apart) and stamp or write "ORIGINAL" between the two punched holes.
  5. Take the original signed reply brief and all copies to the District Court Clerk's Office (where you filed all your other documents), and give your brief to the clerk.  The clerk will stamp all the documents, keep the original, and hand you back the copies.  Retain one copy for your records.
  6. Mail a copy of your reply brief to each of the attorneys (or parties) listed on the Certificate of Mailing.
  7. Go to the next step.


Step 12:

Get Your Case Set For Hearing And Decision

When all of the briefing is complete, you will need to get your case scheduled for a decision by the judge.  Some judges might require you to set a hearing on your petition, at which you and the other side will appear in court and present your case to the judge.  Other judges might not allow hearings on Petitions for Judicial Review and will make a decision based only on the briefs submitted.

The best way to find out how your judge handles Petitions for Judicial Review is to contact the judge's office and ask the judge's assistant, secretary, or clerk.  Simply tell the judge's assistant that all of the briefing is done in your case and you would like to know how to set your case for a hearing or decision.  Click to visit the Eighth Judicial District Court website to find the contact information for your judge's office.

If you find out that your judge wants you to "set your petition for hearing," or "set the case through master calendar," or "file a notice of hearing or motion," or something that sounds similar, that means the judge wants you to prepare a notice and take it to the District Court Clerk's Office so that your case can be set, either for a hearing or a decision "in chambers" (meaning the judge will make a decision on the briefs without the parties actually appearing in court).  To do this, you can use the Notice of Hearing on Petition for Judicial Review form by clicking on the following link:

NOTICE OF HEARING ON PETITION FOR JUDICIAL REVIEW
WORD FILLABLE  |  PDF nonfillable
FORM GUIDE

Once you have completed the form and filled in all of the blanks:

  1. Sign the notice in the spaces indicated for your signature.
  2. On the certificate of mailing on the last page, make sure you have included the names and addresses of any attorney (or other unrepresented party) who has filed anything in your case.
  3. Make at least two stapled copies of the notice (you will need more copies if multiple parties appeared in your case; make one additional copy for each party you listed on the certificate of mailing).
  4. On the original, signed notice, use a two-hole punch to punch two holes at the top of the document (centered and 2 3/4 inches apart) and stamp or write "ORIGINAL" between the two punched holes.
  5. Take the original signed notice and all copies to Master Calendaring at the District Court Clerk's Office (where you filed all your other documents), and give your notice to the clerk.  The clerk will write the hearing date on all of the copies, keep the original, and hand you back the copies.  Retain one copy for your records.
  6. Mail a copy of your notice to each of the attorneys (or parties) listed on the Certificate of Mailing.
  7. Attend your hearing (if a hearing has been set) or wait for the judge to issue a written decision (if the judge is deciding your case in chambers).

TIP!  To learn more about hearings and what to expect on your day in court, click to read about Going to Court.