(Chuck Muth) – I’m sure you’re familiar with the term “Midas Touch.” It refers to someone with the seeming ability to turn everything he or she touches into a success.
But unless you have kids you might not be familiar with the polar-opposite term, “Cheese Touch.” It comes from the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” movies and refers to someone who touches a piece of moldy, rotten cheese and is forever tainted by it.
Creepy Reno lawyer Jason Guinasso has the Cheese Touch. Everything he touches seemingly turns into failure. A brief history…
- Guinasso ran for the Nevada State Assembly in 2016 and was accused of not living in the district he was running for. He lost.
- He then tried to derail the State Assembly candidacy of famed brothel owner Dennis Hof in 2018. But Hof won his Republican primary and went on to win the seat in the general election in a landslide – three weeks after he passed away.
Dennis Hof had the Midas Touch!
- Guinasso also tried to gather enough signatures to put a question on the ballot to ban legal brothels in Nye County last year. He failed.
- He also tried to pass a brothel-ban ballot question in Lyon County last year. The question was crushed by a whopping 80-20 percent. Epic fail.
- He supported a bill this year to outlaw Nevada’s legal brothels statewide. The bill never even got a hearing, let alone a vote.
- Earlier this year he lost a high-profile lawsuit in which his client was found to have violated the state’s public records law.
- In July he was dumped by Gov. Steve Sisolak as chairman of the Nevada State Public Charter School Authority.
- And this week his federal lawsuit seeking to void Nevada’s legal brothel law was tossed out of U.S District Court, with Judge Miranda Du ruling that Guinasso failed “to establish standing to confer jurisdiction upon this Court.”
Fail, fail and fail again. Yes, Jason Guinasso has the Cheese Touch!
In response to his lawsuit earlier this year, the State of Nevada absolutely shredded Guinasso’s claims so badly that one has to wonder how he ever received a license to practice law in the first place.
From the motion-to-dismiss, here are the Top 10 reasons why Guinasso’s lawsuit was destined for another Cheese Touch failure…
1.) The state started right off the bat noting that the debate over the “merits of legalized prostitution” should be a policy debate, not a federal court action.
“If Congress desired to criminalize prostitution,” Gregory Zunino wrote on behalf of the Nevada Attorney General’s office, “it could easily do so. But it has not.”
2.) Mr. Zunino noted that the federal Mann Act, cited by Guinasso in his lawsuit, prohibits individuals from engaging in prostitution or any other sexual activity “for which any person can be charged with a criminal offense.”
But since no one working in one of Nevada’s legal brothels can be “charged with a criminal offense” for working there – providing they passed their FBI background check and obtained a sheriff’s work card – there can be no violation of the Mann Act.
3.) Mr. Zunino pointed out that the conduct alleged by Guinasso’s clients was already illegal “under both Nevada and federal laws that criminalize sex trafficking” and that Nevada’s law allowing legal brothels does not preempt existing laws in this regard.
“In sum,” Mr. Zunino wrote, “Nevada outlaws the very activity that is the subject of Plaintiff’s amended complaint: sex trafficking.”
4.) The motion to dismiss further noted that Guinasso complained that “Nevada advertises as a sex tourism state.” However, as Mr. Zunino pointed out, the examples Guinasso himself submitted “consist of advertisements by private entities, which have no nexus to the State.”
5.) Guinasso also submitted “a number of articles exploring whether there is a connection between legalized prostitution wherever it is practiced and increases in sex trafficking.”
But as Mr. Zunino pointed out…
“Plaintiffs never allege factual allegations demonstrating a nexus between these articles and their allegations against the State. The only relevance these articles could have is to an outright federal ban on legalized prostitution, which Plaintiffs concede is not federal law.”
6.) Mr. Zunino noted that a “motion to dismiss must be granted when a plaintiff (Guinasso’s client) fails to plead a cognizable legal theory, or fails to plead sufficient facts to support such a legal theory” and that the Court “must ignore unsupported conclusions, unwarranted inferences, and sweeping legal conclusions couched as factual allegations.”
The State argued that Guinasso’s lawsuit failed in this regard.
7.) The State continued…
“To seek injunctive relief, a plaintiff must show that he is under threat of suffering ‘injury in fact’ that is concrete and particularized; the threat must be actual and imminent, not conjectural or hypothetical; it must be fairly traceable to the challenged action of the defendant; and it must be likely that a favorable judicial decision will prevent or redress the injury.”
As such, Mr. Zunino argued…
“Here, none of the Plaintiffs individual allegations meet the requirement that they are realistically threatened with a repetition of the conduct that they allege is the violation of federal law. Charleston, Ms. Delgado-Williams, and Ms. Albright-Byrd all reside in Texas. Each of the Plaintiffs allege they were victims in the past of sex trafficking, but no Plaintiff alleges that she is realistically threatened with imminent harm as a result of Nevada law.”
He concluded that the Plaintiffs “were not injured by Nevada’s approach to prostitution, nor are their injuries from sex trafficking fairly traceable to Nevada’s laws.” Further, “Nevada law did not injure Plaintiffs because the traffickers conduct that injured Plaintiffs was illegal in Nevada as well as federal law.”
Judge Du agreed…
“Plaintiffs claim that because of the conduct of Defendants’ unspecified agents and employees they continue to suffer potential unspecified injury to their health and safety. This is entirely too abstract to establish standing.
“At most, Plaintiffs – who all presently reside in Texas – allege that they continue to suffer severe and dehumanizing emotional consequences from being victims of sex-trafficking and contend that they have ‘reasonable expectation’…that they would be subjected to revictimization.
“But ‘The emotional consequences of a prior act simply are not sufficient basis for an injunction absent a real and immediate threat of future injury by the defendant.’ … The Court therefore finds that Plaintiffs fail to demonstrate injury in fact to establish constitutional standing in this case.”
8.) The state noted that the 11th Amendment “generally bars the federal courts from entertaining suits brought by a private party against a state” unless the state waives its sovereign immunity. But, the motion to dismiss advised, “the State of Nevada has not waived that immunity.”
“Accordingly,” the Mr. Zunino wrote, “there is no legal basis upon which Plaintiffs may sue the Governor, much less the state of Nevada, for damages in this Court.”
9.) Continuing with its argument that Guinasso’s lawsuit against the state was wrong-directed…
“Plaintiffs failed to allege any affirmative conduct by the State that placed them in danger. Plaintiffs allegations pertain to conduct by private individuals, sex traffickers, who violated federal law, and Nevada law, by using force or threats of force to coerce Plaintiffs into prostitution. Plaintiffs do not allege any affirmative conduct by a state officer with a nexus to any particular instance of sex trafficking alleged by Plaintiffs.”
10.) In his conclusion, Mr. Zunino wrote…
“People of good intentions can disagree as a policy matter whether prostitution should be criminalized; however, such policy debates are reserved for the legislative chamber rather than the courts. There is no conflict between federal law and Nevada law here because federal law does not criminalize prostitution and both Nevada law and federal law criminalize sex trafficking wherever it occurs in Nevada. To the extent that there may be tension between Nevada law and federal law, Plaintiffs improperly seek an advisory opinion from this Court and a judicial remedy for a policy dispute properly committed to the legislative branches of government.”
Of course, the reason Mr. Guinasso ran to the Court is that he’s thus far been thwarted at every turn in his efforts to outlaw prostitution through ballot initiatives and legislation. Hoping for a little judicial activism was his desperate Hail Mary.
And he lost again. Big time. Jason Guinasso has the Cheese Touch.
Unfortunately – like his namesake, serial killer Jason Vorhees (“Friday the 13th”) – Guinasso, the serial loser, will surely be back to continue his nightmarish stalking of Nevada’s working girls in legal brothels – where can get tricks AND treats.
Mr. Muth is president of Citizen Outreach, a limited-government grassroots advocacy organization, and adviser to the Nevada Brothel Association. His views are his own.