On July 13, 2016 the Nevada Court of Appeals issued an unpublished decision which squarely addressed the issue of the award of attorney’s fees when dealing with motions to expunge mechanic’s liens. The facts of the case were simple in that the District Court granted a motion to expunge a mechanic’s lien, which, per Nevada statutes results in a mandatory award of attorneys fees to the moving party. The District Court denied the request for attorneys’ fees stating that it had not found that the mechanic’s lien claim had been “frivolous”. The Appellate Court reversed this decision and found that the statute governing expungement of mechanic’s liens (NRS 108.2275) provided for only three possible outcomes:
“First, if the court finds that “[t.]he notice of lien is frivolous and was made without reasonable cause, the court shall make an order releasing the lien and awarding costs and reasonable attorney’s fees to the applicant for bringing the motion.” NRS 108.2275(6)(a.). Second, if the court finds that “[t]he amount of the notice of lien is excessive, the court may make an order reducing the notice of lien to an amount deemed appropriate by the court and awarding costs and reasonable attorney’s fees to the applicant for bringing the motion.” NRS 108.2275(6)(b). And third, if the court finds that “[t]he notice of lien is not frivolous a~d was made with reasonable cause or that the amount of the lien is not excessive, the court shall make an order awarding costs and reasonable attorney’s fees to the lien claimant for defending the motion.”
The matter was reversed and remanded to the district court for further proceedings to address the issuance of attorneys’ fees.
The case may be found at: One Trop LLC v. Verma