As reported by The Globe, Reno mayor Hillary Schieve filed a civil lawsuit against private investigator David McNeely of Alpha 5 Industries, LLC, for placing a tracking device on her vehicle prior to the November election. According to News 4, Washoe County Commisioner Chair Vaughn Hartung has joined the civil lawsuit. Schieve and Hartung are seeking restitution for invasion of privacy, trespassing, civil conspiracy and negligence, attorney’s costs, and the identity of McNeely’s clients.
According to the suit which was amended on Thursday, Hartung discovered a tracking device was placed on his car(s) after media and public record reports showed the locations of the vehicle(s) at his home and other identifiable locations.
The cars being tracked were often used by Hartung’s wife and daughter which included trips where the commissioner wasn’t in the car. The location data included private and confidential locations visited by his family members, the suit alleges.
Back in December, Schieve told The Nevada Independent that a mechanic found a tracking device while working on her vehicle. She brought the device to the Sparks police department and they were able to determine that it had been purchased by private investigator David McNeely of 5 Alpha Industries. A spokesperson for the mayor said Schieve went to the Sparks department rather than Reno police in order to “keep clear of any conflict of interest questions.”
Schieve then filed a civil lawsuit against the private investigator and his company alleging that the investigator trespassed onto her property to install the device without her consent. The complaint cites that the investigator was working on behalf of an “unidentified third party”.
“The tracking and surveillance of Schieve caused her, as it would cause any reasonable person, significant fear and distress,” it reads.
According to the police report shared with The Nevada Globe, McNeely tracked Schieve for less than a month. McNeely also expressed liability concerns in divulging the identity of his client and noted that private investigators commonly used tracking devices during investigations.
The Sparks police department found no evidence of criminal activity, stalking, or trespassing and did not press charges against McNeely as Nevada revised statute 179.451 permits the use of a tracking device to track the movement of a person or object.
In late January, a Nevada judge granted subpoenas forcing McNeely to identify who hired his firm to secretly install the tracking devices.
McNeely’s counsel, Brian Hardy of Marqis Aurbach, responded to the judge’s ruling and is preparing for a court battle to defend McNeely’s livelihood, his reputation, and protect his trade secrets. (See below).
The letter confirms that McNeely is “anxious to move this matter forward so that the court (and the public) will have an opportunity to hear both sides of the case and to address the ill-founded allegations and causes brought against them.”
Hardy also contends that Mayor Schieve has filed the civil lawsuit for “the sole purpose of forcing our Clients to disclose the identity of their client.”
Hardy also references the video of the interview between the Sparks police detectives and Mayor Schieve that The Globe exclusively released, which, as The Globe reported, raises more questions regarding: the conduct of the Sparks Police Department; their related investigation utilizing broad subpoenas; the investigation of Mayor Schieve, and the allegations that she has levied against P.I. McNeely.
The video also reveals that Schieve wanted to make this case “very public”. Schieve says she would be contacting Attorney General Aaron Ford and would seek additional legislation which would require private investigators to obtain a warrant prior to the placement of a tracking device. “I am sure I can get someone at the legislature to carry that bill,” Schieve told the detectives.
Hardy, on behalf of his clients, indicates that McNeely will not divulge his trade secrets that have been subpoenaed by Schieve’s attorneys. According to the objection, “the Nevada Supreme Court has held that client information may be considered a trade secret” and that Hardy and his clients will “seek judicial intervention to quash or modify the subpoenas.”2023-01-25 Response to Subpoena Duces Tecum
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