Court rules IVGID must hand over documents to Incline man
INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — A judge ordered Incline Village General Improvement District to turn over some documents to a local man who has been fighting for access.
The fight for these documents has been dragging on since October 2017 when Mark Smith, of Incline Village, first requested nearly 13,000 pages of documents from the district.
Smith was told in April 2018 by former IVGID legal counsel Jason Guinasso, several months after he was supposed to have access, that he could only access 304 pages because the other pages held privileged information. He was also told he would have to pay $1 a page for anything more than five pages.
A lawsuit was filed against IVGID on July 30, 2018 asking for a privilege log of the documents he did not receive as well as a lowered cost for copies. After more than a year of back and forth in court, a Washoe County judge ruled that IVGID must provide the records requested by Smith free of any charge.
After the judge’s ruling, IVGID continued to fight.
According to the judge’s opinion, “On June 25, 2020, the Court entered its Order Appointing Special Master appointing Matthew Sharp, Esq. as a special master to review the records identified in the privilege log.”
“The court’s order was to sample the veracity of IVGID’s claim that they’re all privileged documents,” Mark Smith told the Tribune. “The special master came back and ordered that about 70% of the documents are either not privileged at all or are subject to limited privilege which means the documents can be redacted.”
The judge’s order on Monday was to uphold the special master’s decision.
“As the Court agrees with Master Sharp’s definition of attorney-client privilege, and as Master Sharp has reviewed the individual records provided to him by applying that definition, the Court finds no error by Master Sharp and affirms and adopts his Recommendation,” the order stated.
According to Smith, the district doesn’t have any options to appeal that decision so they must now hand over those documents.
“If they don’t provide them then they are in non-compliance with the state public records act,” Smith said.
Because the order came out on Monday, after the agenda for Tuesday’s IVGID Board of Trustees meeting had been posted, the board did not discuss their options and make a decision. The board’s next meeting is Aug. 10.
Until then, District Manager Indra Winquest said he can’t comment on the district’s next steps.
Once Smith receives the documents, he and several community members will begin reviewing them. He said another lawsuit will likely be filed after the documents are made public.
“The documents I requested were requested as part of another issue,” Smith said. “I believe, and other people believe, there was wrongdoing and I personally believe that’s why they were withheld.”
Smith also said he will continue fighting for access of the other 30% of pages.
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