City of Reno
Nevada

Staff Report
8991

Staff Report (For Possible Action): Discussion and potential direction to the City Attorney’s Office to sign on to an amicus curiae brief supporting the State of Nevada's Petition for Writ of Mandamus or Prohibition filed in State of Nevada, Division of Forestry v. District Court, Supreme Court Case No. 74271 (Little Valley Fire).

Information

Department:City AttorneySponsors:
Category:Presentation

Attachments

  1. Printout
  2. State of Nevada Writ of Mandamus

Recommendation and Proposed Motion

Recommendation:  Staff recommends that City Council direct the City Attorney's Office to sign on to an amicus curiae brief supporting the State of Nevada's Petition for Writ of Mandamus or Prohibition filed in State of Nevada, Division of Forestry v. District Court, Supreme Court Case No.  74271.

 

Proposed Motion:  I move to approve staff recommendation.

Staff Report Formal Body

Summary: Staff recommends that City Council direct the City Attorney's Office to sign on to an amicus curiae brief supporting the State of Nevada's Petition for Writ of Mandamus or Prohibition filed in State of Nevada, Division of Forestry v. District Court, Supreme Court Case No.  74271.

 

Discussion: The State of Nevada, Division of Forestry (the “State”) is litigating a group of claims arising out of the Little Valley Fire that allege the act of intentionally starting a controlled burn on state-controlled property effectuated a taking of property when the fire escaped and damaged private property in Washoe Valley. The State filed a motion to dismiss arguing that under Nevada law property damage and economic loss do not constitute a taking under the circumstances of the case. The district court denied the motion, seemingly collapsing the standards of takings law and tort theory – which creates a serious issue of unfettered liability for local governments. The State has filed a petition for mandamus seeking clarification from the Nevada Supreme Court.

 

Attached for City Council consideration is the State’s Petition for Writ of Mandamus or Prohibition.

 

Financial Implications:  None at this time.

 

Legal Implications:  None at this time.

 

Meeting History

Dec 6, 2017 12:00 PM Video Reno City Council Regular

Council Member Brekhus discussed her concerns regarding hiring outside counsel.

Jonathan Shipman, Assistant City Attorney, clarified that this item is not proposing to hire counsel under the City Charter. This is the City Attorney's Office requesting permission to sign on to an Amicus Brief that is being drafted by an outside entity.

COUNCIL MEMBER DUERR ABSENT AT 3:15 P.M.

Council Member Brekhus stated that she will not support a motion to approve on procedural grounds and expressed concern with hiring outside counsel without a preliminary briefing.

The Council upheld the staff recommendation.

RESULT:APPROVED [5 TO 1]
MOVER:David Bobzien, Councilmember
SECONDER:Oscar Delgado, Councilmember
AYES:Hillary Schieve, Oscar Delgado, Paul McKenzie, Neoma Jardon, David Bobzien
NAYS:Jenny Brekhus
ABSENT:Naomi Duerr