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By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
The back and forth between Nick Diaz and the Nevada State Athletic Commission is continuing this week, as Diaz's attorney has filed a lawsuit against the commission on his behalf after they did not hear his case at their latest meeting on Tuesday. News of the lawsuit was first reported by Luke Thomas at MMAFighting.com.
Diaz's attorney, Ross Goodman, issued a demand to the NSAC to have Diaz's case heard on the April 24 meeting or forfeit the complaint on the basis of a statute that said a hearing must be held for final determination of a summary suspension within 45 days of its issuance. The attorney general responded that the statute Goodman cited did not apply in this case, alleged that they were still awaiting Diaz's medical marijuana card and other medical documentation, and then the case was not put on the April 24 docket.
However, in the lawsuit filed Tuesday, Goodman stated that they have provided the sufficient documentation with the NSAC, including proof of his eligibility for medical marijuana. Additionally, Goodman addressed both statutes that the attorney general broached, stating that "Under NRS 467.117(l) a summary or temporary suspension may be made only where 'the action is “necessary to protect the public welfare and the best interests of the sports regulated.' The NSAC has made no finding that a summary or temporary suspension of Diaz’s license is necessary to protect the public welfare."
With over two months having passed since Diaz was first issued a temporary suspension, Goodman also accuses the NSAC of denying Diaz his right to due process, and they're seeking further damages based on that violation. As to the temporary suspension itself, Goodman alleged that the NSAC did not comply with their own regulations in moving forward with a summary suspension in February.
Per the suit:
"Under NRS 467.113(4), in connection with the adjudication rendered at any such disciplinary hearing, the NSAC “shall file a written report of its findings, adjudication and order in the record of the proceedings and send a copy to the accused”.
32. In connection with the February 22, 2012 NSAC meeting:
a) The NSAC has filed no written report in connection with its findings (if any);
b) The NSAC has filed no written report in connection with its adjudication of the request for a continuation of the suspension; and
c) the NSAC has filed no written report of its order effecting a continuation of the suspension of Diaz’s license pending final determination of the Complaint.
33. Accordingly, (i) the NSAC has not complied with the requirements of NRS 467 in connection with February 22, 2012 meeting. By virtue of such failure of compliance, the February 22, 2012 meeting was wholly ineffective to continue the Summary Suspension.
The lawsuit isn't broaching any of the issues in regards to Diaz's positive drug test for marijuana metabolites, instead going after the system itself and demanding a stay of the summary suspension against him. Additionally, Diaz stated in a written affidavit that he'd be ready to fight "immediately" if the court rules in his favor. With a potential rematch with Carlos Condit likely to be made early this summer, Diaz is hoping to get back into the cage, despite stating his desire to retire following the judges' decision in February.
The case will be heard on Monday, May 14, and his suspension may be lifted should the court rule in his favor.
Penick's Analysis: This is a very interesting approach that Diaz and Goodman are taking, and it could have a ripple effect on how the NSAC is able to conduct their disciplinary hearings. Diaz and Goodman have contested from the beginning that the NSAC had any right to issue a suspension to Diaz based on the rules and regulations they abide by, and considering the case has not yet been heard they obviously feel the commission is not taking their arguments to heart. Whether they have a real case here or not to get the suspension lifted is for the court to decide, but with the delays they've faced already they're now hoping to get the entire process expedited. At the very least, they've kept things interesting, and we'll see how the NSAC responds to this one.
[Nick Diaz art by Grant Gould (c) MMATorch.com]
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Jamie Penick, editor-in-chief
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