Judge orders lawsuit notice for all IVGID landowners
In a ruling that could be costly for 2001 Beach Access, Inc., a judge on Thursday ordered the group to formally notify all owners of land within the boundaries of the Incline Village General Improvement District about the beach access lawsuit it brought against IVGID last July.
“I’m doing the end-zone dance,” said suit opponent Maryanne Ingemanson. “This raises the stakes in the suit, and may make it difficult for 2001 Beach Access to continue.”
Ingemanson said the costs associated with serving the nearly 7,400 parcel owners could be substantial.
However, Steven Mollath, attorney for 2001 Beach Access, said the ruling would present no problems.
“It’s just a mechanical matter,” Mollath said. “I don’t have any problem with having to serve the owners.”
The suit seeks to open access at Incline and Burnt Cedar Beaches for all Incline and Crystal Bay residents. Currently, a deed restriction on the 1968 purchase of the beaches by IVGID limits access to the owners of parcels within the 1968 IVGID boundaries, which includes about 7,380 parcels, but excludes nearly 420 that are mostly in the Crystal Bay.
The order of Washoe County District Judge Steven Kosach gives 2001 Beach Access until May 15 to identify and name each owner of each parcel within current IVGID boundaries, and until June 14 to serve notice on the owners.
The notice will split the owners into two camps: Those who currently have beach access will be named as defendants in the suit along with IVGID, and the remainder, who are excluded from access, will be joined as defendants aligned with the group that has brought the suit.
The judge could dismiss the suit if the group cannot complete the services.
However, the rules governing personal services and other types of summons allow service by newspaper publication in some cases. IVGID’s most recent motion, which resulted in Judge Kosach’s ruling, acknowledged this was appropriate where it can be established that “the person on whom service is to be made resides out of state, or has departed from the state, or cannot, after due diligence, be found within the state, or conceals himself to avoid service of summons.”
Mollath said the list of owners and the addresses of many can be obtained from the County Assessor’s records, which are public information.
Costs for the personal service could be nearly $150,000 or more. A representative of the Incline Constable’s office, which serves local papers in civil matters, said each service costs $17, plus $2 per mile traveled. At this rate, and assuming a minimum of 1 mile for each service, this totals more than $148,000.
But many owners reside outside the state, and, according to Ingemanson, Mollath’s client may have to make efforts to serve them before being allowed to resort to publication.
Ingemanson and others helped found the Village League to Save Incline Assets, which until recently sought to intervene in the suit. The League withdrew from the suit in December when 2001 Beach Access agreed to name all IVGID parcel owners as parties to the suit.
“We are proud to have helped bring the suit to this stage,” said Incline resident Tom Menning, another founding member of the League.
“The League is some 2,000 strong, and we intend to stick around and pursue other issues that will affect the Village’s assets,” said Ingemanson.
Attorneys for IVGID could not be reached for comment.