PI being sued by Reno mayor says client is confidential, seeks case dismissal

The private investigator being sued by Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve has finally responded in court to the lawsuit. David McNeely of 5 Alpha Industries, through his attorneys, is seeking to have the case dismissed. McNeely is also seeking “at a later time” a protective order to avoid disclosing the client who hired him to place a GPS tracking unit on Schieve’s vehicle last year.
“The identity of the client(s) who hired Defendants to investigate Plaintiff is protected and confidential information under NRS 648.200 and NRS 49.325,” attorneys with a Las Vegas-based law firm argued in court. “The information implicates important competing interests. “On the one hand, there are Defendants’ interests to honor the confidentiality expectations of their client, comply with Nevada law, and to be able to continue to make a living as a private investigator because the business repercussions of disclosing a client identity would likely be ruinous for his private investigation practice. On the other hand, there is Plaintiff’s interest in pursuing claims against the Confidential Client(s).” McNeely’s attorneys also argued that legal discovery should be used but in a phased approach “to determine whether Plaintiff’s claims against Defendants have merit.”
Washoe County Second Judicial District Court Judge David Hardy in January granted to Schieve the ability to subpoena McNeely’s client’s identity. But that was before McNeely had responded to Schieve in court. He dodged service of the lawsuit and only recently hired attorneys in the case this month, according to court records. His attorneys are now arguing that identifying his client – which McNeely told Sparks Police last year was a politically based client – would have adverse business impacts. “Based on his experience in the industry, understanding of client expectations, the size of the Reno community, and the publicity associated with this lawsuit, McNeely reasonably believes that if he discloses the identity of the client(s) who hired 5 Alpha to investigate Plaintiff, that he and 5 Alpha will face significant negative business repercussions, including losing current clients and being unable to obtain new clients, which could be ruinous for 5 Alpha and his practice as a private investigator,” McNeely argued. In an interview with Sparks Police detectives last year, McNeely said placing the tracker on Schieve’s car was “nothing personal.” A court filing this week also shows McNeely is asking the court to dismiss the case and award him attorney fees. “There is no allegation that the use of the device was prohibited by Nevada law—it was not,” his attorneys wrote. “In fact, the use of such devices is a regular and safe practice among private investigators in the State of Nevada. Despite this, Plaintiff has proceeded with this action.”  
Date Originally Published: 2023-02-17 00:00:00
Original Writer/Reporter: Bob Conrad
Original News Source: This is Reno

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