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On February 1, 2004, Lanlin Zhang contracted to buy former realtor Frank Sorichetti’s Las Vegas home for $532,500. On February 3, 2004 Sorichetti told Zhang that he was terminating the sale “to stay in the home a little longer.” Sorichetti then stated that he would sell Zhang the home if she paid more money. Zhang agreed and another contract was drafted that same day reciting a sales price of $578,000. On February 16, 2004, Sorichetti notified Zhang that a murder had occurred in the home several years earlier, and that Zhang could cancel the sales contract if she desired. Subsequently, Sorichetti rescinded the second sales contract “to use and/or dispose of my home as I wish,” Zhang sued seeking damages, declaratory relief and specific performance of the original contract. Zhang also recorded a lis pendens against the property to prevent Sorichetti from disposing of it before the conclusion of the case. Sorichetti countered Zhang’s complaint with a NRPC 12(b)(5) motion for dismissal for failure to state a claim reasoning that the parties had replaced the original contract with the February 3 contract by novation.2 The district court ruled in favor of Sorichetti and dismissed Zhang’s complaint despite Zhang’s unsuccessful attempt to amend her complaint to seek performance on the February 3 sales contract. The court also expunged her lis pendens on the property but stayed the order temporarily to allow Zhang to seek relief Zhang subsequently filed a writ of mandamus compelling the district court to reinstate her complaint, vacate the expungement order, and grant leave to amend the complaint. The court then held that Zhang was entitled to her writ of mandamus since the district court manifestly abused its discretion in dismissing her complaint, and reinstated the complaint as to the original sales contract under the contractual doctrine, the preexisting duty rule.

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