weather icon Clear

Deputy marshals who are suing Clark County feuding with own attorneys

Deputy marshals suing Clark County are feuding with their own attorneys — and surreptitiously recorded at least one private conversation with them.

After becoming unhappy with the terms of a proposed settlement, two court marshals secretly recorded a conversation they had with their attorneys when they accused them of having a conflict of interest by representing the Clark County Deputy Marshals Association in a separate case. Their attorneys’ advice: You can always hire a different lawyer to pursue your claims.

The recording was revealed in court papers by the new law firm the marshals later retained. The recorded conversation emerged only after the original attorneys, Daniel Marks and Adam Levine, filed court papers disagreeing with a proposed motion for another attorney to be brought on board to provide additional representation.

It’s a disclosure that had the original attorneys, Marks and Levine, crying foul and accusing the new lawyers of improperly releasing a privileged conversation through a court filing, which has since been sealed. The case, filed in federal court, alleges that marshals should be paid for time worked during lunch periods. A county spokesman declined to comment, as it’s pending litigation.

The original attorneys will continue to represent the overall class of marshals, while the new counsel, Steven Parsons’ law firm, will represent nine of the marshals on an individual basis. Marks and Levine will continue to represent 38 other plaintiffs in the case.


Two marshals suing in the case, Eric Prunty and Kenneth Hawkes, visited with Marks and Levine, recording them without their knowledge in May 2016. They were unhappy with the terms of a proposed settlement that also would have settled a separate lawsuit between the Clark County Deputy Marshals Association, a union which represents marshals, and the county.

With a recorder capturing every word, the two marshals made clear their displeasure as they talked with the attorneys. The account is contained in a now-sealed motion that was part of a dispute over representation after they found Steven Parsons to represent them on an individual basis. The Las Vegas Review-Journal obtained the court documents before they were sealed.

In that recorded conversation, the original attorneys stressed to them the need to keep the county and the marshals association “happy” for the benefit of future employment prospects, court records say. The marshals also were told their case is weak and a settlement with the county on its terms is the only realistic choice.

The attorneys also said “something for the union is needed,” court records say.

The attorneys also acknowledged a potential conflict by intermingling the marshals association and individual marshals’ settlement with Clark County, the motion says.

Ultimately, the two were told if they wanted to pursue their claims beyond what was in the settlement offer, they would need to retain separate attorneys.


Marks and Levine objected to the disclosure of the recorded conversation, in part because the case involves more than just the two marshals who were in their office, court filings show.

A flurry of paperwork and accusations flew between two sides. Marks and Levine called for sanctions for Parsons, saying he had improperly disclosed a privileged conversation shielded by attorney-client protections that applied to other marshals also suing but not present. Parsons, in response, has said in court papers that the other firm has a conflict of interest because of its work representing the marshals association on a separate case, which was tied to the settlement offer.

Marks and Levine also accused Parsons of having the “surreptitious recording” for six months and improperly revealing “crucial information” to the court and defense about strategy.

Parsons, however, disagreed, saying the two marshals had waived attorney-client privilege and he only represented them after they approached him and eventually disclosed the recording.

Court records indicate the marshals were unhappy because the proposed settlement didn’t provide any damages directly related to their claims of work during lunch breaks. The county’s settlement offer included better job security and retroactive raises of 4 percent to 17 percent.

Last week, U.S. Magistrate Judge Nancy Koppe ordered that Parsons will not be sanctioned as called for by Marks and Levine. Koppe didn’t rule on the attorney-client issues raised, but she did seal the motion with the account of the conversation to “err on the side of caution.”

A settlement conference is set for April 4.

Contact Ben Botkin at bbotkin@reviewjournal.com or 702-384-8710. Follow @BenBotkin1 on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Politics Videos
Tomi Lahren Speaks at UNLV - VIDEO
Fox News contributor and UNLV alumna Tomi Lahren returned to campus Wednesday night for a speech, titled “Stay Triggered,” that drew an auditorium of supporters as well as a group of protesters outside. (James Schaeffer/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bernie Sanders released from Las Vegas hospital - VIDEO
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., issues a statement after he was released from Desert Springs Hospital Medical Center on Friday, Oct. 4, 2019, after suffering a heart attack earlier in the week. (Bernie Sanders via Twitter)
Democratic presidential candidates speak on impeachment - VIDEO
Democratic presidential candidates attending the March for Our Lives/Giffords Gun Safety Forum in Las Vegas comment on possible impeachment proceedings. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Joe Biden Las Vegas Rally Highlights - Video
2020 presidential candidate, Joe Biden, came to Las Vegas to talk guns, climate change and the Ukranian-Trump scandal. Biden was interrupted by a protestor who sat amongst supporters at the rally and continued with his speech. (Angus Kelly & James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Joe Biden comments on Trump and his campaign efforts in Nevada - Video
After an impeachment inquiry was opened on Donald Trump, Joe Biden talks with Review-Journal politics reporter Rory Appleton about Trump and his campaign in Nevada. (Angus Kelly & James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bernie Sanders Unveils Affordable Housing Plan - Video
Bernie Sanders sits down with the Las Vegas Review-Journal to talk about his new affordable housing plan he unveiled at Plumbers & Pipefitters.
Jim Marchant talks gun control and Dreamers - Video
Republican Candidate for District 4 Jim Marchant talks about gun control and immigration policies. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Hurricanes, Gender, and Science in the Press
Imagine if the mainstream media’s current hurricane-sized obsession with scientific accuracy applied to gender.
Cory Booker on college tuition and minimum wage
Cory Booker talks on the RJ Politics podcast about college debt, informing workers about their rights and livable wages.
Nevada Politics Today: Teacher raises - VIDEO
Jason Goudie, the chief financial officer for the Clark County School District, talks about teacher pay and raises. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Media's Double Standard On Incitement And Trump - Video
Over the weekend, an Elizabeth Warren-supporting socialist who opposed gun violence used a rifle to commit a mass murder in Dayton, Ohio. The media has downplayed that aspect of the tragedy.
Project Our Care Tour Kicks Off In Las Vegas
U.S. Rep. Dina Titus joined health care advocates and local residents as part of Protect Our Care’s nationwide bus tour kick off in Las Vegas on Monday, August 5, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Bernie Sanders talks about guns, response to El Paso shooting
Sen. Bernie Sanders spoke about his response and continued policy ideas about guns and gun control to the Review-Journal after a panel of other topics. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pete Buttigieg On Gun Control And Climate Change - Video
Pete Buttigieg talks about his campaign for the 2020 election and how Nevada is a vision of what the future can be.
Beto O'Rourke speaks in Las Vegas
Presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke spoke to supporters at the East Las Vegas Community Center in Las Vegas, Thursday, Aug. 2, 2019. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)