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August 31, 2012
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Washoe judge strikes down majority of Aaron Katz's claims against IVGID

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — With the use of some rather colorful language and stern statements, a district court judge has dismissed most of Aaron Katz's claims represented in a lawsuit that alleges various wrongdoings over the years by the Incline Village General Improvement District.According to a 7-page order filed Aug. 22 — precisely one year after Katz filed his suit on Aug. 22, 2011 — Washoe County District Court Judge Patrick Flanagan struck down 10 of 12 causes of action for which Katz sought relief against the district, beginning his order by writing that Katz's request of the court to supplant IVGID's decision-making authority is an apparent attempt “to use this Court to channel his subjective opinions about the proper regulation of general improvement districts ... and memorialize those opinions in a court order.”Katz's original 51-page complaint alleges, among other things, that IVGID violated state law for years by offering free and discounted services to non-residents and private parties, and it further demands limits be set against the facilities, services and activities the district should be allowed to provide.Flanagan's ruling came in response to IVGID's eventual legal challenge to 10 of Katz's 12 causes of action; he has yet to rule on the other two.Portions of Katz's suit challenged the section of Nevada law (NRS 318) that defines general improvement districts. Flanagan ruled that NRS 318 “does not provide, or even imply, a private right of action for citizens like Katz seeking to enforce its provisions.”Because of this, according to the ruling, seven of Katz's 13 causes for action “must be denied.”Furthermore, an eighth cause of action dealing with 318 — Katz challenged how much IVGID can charge for water, sewer and trash rates — also was struck down.“... the proper way to challenge IVGID's establishment of its rates is through the political or legislative process, not the courts,” Flanagan wrote upon his dismissal of the eighth cause.

In a Friday phone interview, Katz said he's filed a motion for reconsideration because he disagrees with many points Flanagan makes.“It basically says that no citizen has any right to challenge what IVGID does,” Katz said.When asked to comment on Flanagan's stance that the proper channel for many of Katz's issues is the Nevada Legislature, and not the courts, Katz said, “that's garbage.”“You'd never have a court system if that were the case,” he said.He likened his case to the Village League to Save Incline Assets' numerous lawsuits over the years against Washoe County for illegal taxation, saying that if the courts have found the county to be doing things illegally, then he should be able to sue a government body like IVGID regarding similar allegations.“(Flanagan's ruling) appears to have a chilling effect to anyone's right to petition,” Katz said.Flanagan also threw out two of Katz's other causes of action which alleged IVGID violated sections of Nevada law dealing with government budget and finance by using revenues for improper purposes.On Wednesday, IVGID Legal Counsel T. Scott Brooke — who is not representing the district in the Katz case; those duties are handled with a separate legal bill to the Reno-based law office of Erickson, Thorpe andamp; Swainston, Ltd. — praised Flanagan's order during the district's board of trustees meeting.“I'm encouraged by (the judge's) action and very glad to report that information to you,” Brooke told the board.

Flanagan also issued a short ruling on Aug. 21 regarding a request Katz made in November 2011 that asked the court to lift a previous order made by Flanagan that set page limits on the number of pleadings that could be filed in the matter.Flanagan ruled against Katz, writing that if he were to lift the order, it “would cause the pleadings to assume the qualities of inert gas which expands to fill all available space.”Furthermore, according to an Aug. 15 order, Flanagan denied a motion for partial summary judgment filed April 10, 2012, by Katz, who asked the court to invalidate IVGID's recreation fees (both the beach and facilities fees) from 2010-11 and 2011-12.According to the ruling, Katz said the fees are “impermissible taxes used to fund financial deficiencies rather than necessary public services.” Flanagan denied the motion due to the district's counter to Katz's claim, which offered “genuine factual disputes.”On Friday, Katz said he also disagreed with that ruling.These rulings, along with a third related to the case from Aug. 23, and Flanagan's Aug. 22 order, can all be downloaded as PDFs within this story.

To read a PDF copy of the Aug. 22, 2011, complaint filed by Aaron Katz, visit the following link: http://www.tahoebonanza.com/article/20110825/NEWS/110829973andamp;parentprofile=search


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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Sep 2, 2012 12:27PM Published Aug 31, 2012 07:13PM Copyright 2012 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.