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SPCA ordered to pay $197,000 bond in lawsuit against Reno Iron Works

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The SPCA of Northern Nevada on Friday was ordered by District Court Judge Kathleen Sirgurdson to cover the cost of a $197,000 bond in the nonprofit’s legal dispute with Reno Iron Works.

At issue is whether SPCA has to cover expenses incurred by Reno Iron Works after Sigurdson ordered the company to stop building its 40,000-square-foot factory next to the SPCA’s north Reno shelter.

Sigurdson initially ruled against the animal shelter. After SPCA appealed the case to the state Supreme Court, Sigurdson then ordered Reno Iron to stop building its factory. She said SPCA would have a good chance of prevailing on the appeal of her ruling in the state court.

A hearing in June was held to determine how much of a bond SPCA should have to cover for potential damages incurred by Reno Iron Works while construction was stopped. 

Sigurdson wrote a terse, three-paragraph ruling after she heard four hours of testimony June 22. She determined the amount to be $198,000.

 “After reviewing the pleadings and hearing argument during the evidentiary hearing, this Court finds that bond will be granted in the amount of $157,600 for a twenty-four month delay as calculated by Reno Iron,” she wrote. “This amount reflects the costs incurred to date, demobilization, remobilization, and monthly maintenance costs. 

Jill Dobbs, executive director of the SPCA of Northern Nevada, testifies in court. Bob Conrad / This Is Reno.
Jill Dobbs, executive director of the SPCA of Northern Nevada, testifies in court. Bob Conrad / This Is Reno.

“This Court will also grant bond in the amount of $38,000 for temporary storage and lease costs including the unloading of supplies and reloading to the job site.”

The Reno City Council last year approved Reno Iron Works to build its new factory next to the shelter, despite opposition citing noise as harmful to the shelter’s animals.

SPCA sued over the council’s approval but then lost its case with Sirgurdson as judge. The nonprofit then appealed to the state Supreme Court, where the case is still pending resolution. But based on the appeal, Sirgurdson in April ordered Reno Iron Works to stop construction

Reno Iron Works then appealed Sigurdson’s order to stop construction to the state court. That decision is also pending.

“The Supreme Court recognized that the District Court had before it a Declaration as to its predicted harm and delay costs and should have considered whether and to what extent a bond was required ‘to protect Reno Iron from damages potentially resulting from the stay during the pendency of the appeal,'” Reno Iron Works argued.

SPCA said, however, that Reno Iron Works started building its factory after SPCA appealed its case to the Nevada Supreme Court, so the company was at fault for incurring construction costs.

Judge grants media coverage

Reno Iron Works also sought to prevent This Is Reno from covering the June hearing. The company’s attorney, William Peterson, alleged a conspiracy because SPCA’s attorney, Luke Busby, also represents This Is Reno in public records lawsuits.

“The requested media coverage will only further SPCA’s goal of turning this case into a media spectacle, which operates to the detriment of Reno Iron and the fair administration of justice (and the appearance of it as well),” he claimed. 

Sigurdson disagreed and dismissed Reno Iron Works’ motion.

Attorney William Peterson arguing for Reno Iron Works in Washoe County's Second Judicial District Court. Bob Conrad / This Is Reno.
Attorney William Peterson arguing for Reno Iron Works in Washoe County’s Second Judicial District Court. Bob Conrad / This Is Reno.
Bob Conrad
Bob Conradhttp://thisisreno.com
Bob Conrad is publisher, editor and co-founder of This Is Reno. He has served in communications positions for various state agencies and earned a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2011. He is also a part time instructor at UNR and sits on the boards of the Nevada Press Association and Nevada Open Government Coalition.

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