In re Execution of Search WarrantsAnnotate this Case
The Supreme Court reversed an order of the district court awarding attorney fees against a police department ordered to return a large amount of cash and other property seized pursuant to a criminal search warrant, holding that neither Nev. Rev. Stat. 18.010(2)(a) nor section 18.010(2)(b) permitted the award of attorney fees.
Section 18.010(2)(a) permits an award of attorney fees to a prevailing party in a civil action when that party recovers a money judgment in an amount less than $20,000. Plaintiff in this case sought an award of attorney fees pursuant to section 18.010(2) against the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) after her seized property was ordered to be returned. The district court awarded Plaintiff attorney fees under section 18.010(2)(a). The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) section 18.010(2)(a) does not permit a fee award against LVMPD because an order to return seized cash is an order to return physical property, not a money judgment; and (2) the attorney fee award cannot be affirmed under section 18.010(2)(b) in the absence of any relevant findings or clear evidence that LVMPD brought or maintained its defense without reasonable ground.