Reno mayor’s GPS tracker lawsuit heard in court
Editor’s note: This story was produced as part of a collaboration among KUNR Public Radio, The Nevada Independent and APM Reports as part of the Public Media Accountability Initiative, which supports investigative reporting at local media outlets around the country.
A Washoe County judge said Monday he’ll decide within the week whether or not David McNeely should be forced to reveal who paid him to follow Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve.
“My intention is to enter an order in short order,” District Court Judge David Hardy told the court.
McNeely, Reno-based private investigator, admitted to Sparks Police he placed a GPS tracker on Schieve’s personal vehicle before the midterm election. Former Washoe County Commissioner Vaughn Hartung believes McNeely used the same device on his car, too.
So both politicians are suing McNeely for invasion of privacy and for allegedly violating Nevada’s anti-doxxing law.
Schieve and Hartung’s attorneys want the court to compel McNeely to name his client, but so far he’s refused, arguing that information is a trade secret. His lawyer, Ryan Gormely, said if McNeely were forced to reveal who hired him it could undermine the expectation of secrecy that exists between private investigators and their clients.
“That could effectively have a chilling effect against the whole profession,” Gormley told the judge.
Schieve and Hartung’s legal team, led by Adam Hosmer-Henner, argued that if the judge accepted McNeely’s reasoning it could recast client relationships for every kind of business.
“It’s a radical position,” said Hosmer-Henner. “It would change Nevada employment law significantly, and it’s never been done.”
If Judge Hardy rules in their favor, Schieve and Hartung plan to add McNeely’s client as a defendant to the case.