Paige Silva

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Case Synopsis

Pursuant to NRS 239.010, the Nevada Public Records Act (NPRA), governmental entities are required to make available to the public, nonconfidential public records that the governmental entity has in its legal custody or control. If a governmental entity denies a request for public records, the person requesting such records may seek a court order to compel production. NRS 239.011(1). If the party requesting such records prevails, that party is entitled to receive attorney fees and costs. NRS 239.011(2).

This case asks whether the requesting party is entitled to receive attorney fees and costs when the parties reach an agreement that gives the requesting party access to the requested records before the court enters a judgment on the merits of the case. In response to this question, the Court adopts the catalyst theory, which provides that, “attorney fees may be awarded even when litigation does not result in a judicial resolution if the defendant changes its behavior substantially because of, and in the manner sought by, the litigation.”

Accordingly, the Court affirms the district court’s decision that the Respondent, The Center for Investigative Reporting, Inc., is entitled to receive attorney fees and costs in a reasonable amount, pursuant to the NPRA under NRS 239.011(2).