A Washoe County judge has hired a private investigator to name the client who hired him to put GPS trackers on cars belonging to Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve and former Washoe Commissioner’s Chairman Vaughn Hartung.
In the May 4 decision, District Judge David Hardy says David McNeely has until May 12 to turn over documents exposing this client.
Earlier this week, defense attorneys argued the client should remain private.
MAY 1, 2023:
A judge heard hearings Monday in the case involving alleged GPS trackers on cars owned by Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve and former Washoe County Commissioner Vaughn Hartung.
In court, lawyers argued over whether or not the person who hired private investigator David McNeely should remain private.
Judge David Hardy said he will decide within the next week whether McNeely needs to reveal his client’s identity.
“Your argument that the one-on-one relationship between private investigator and client is a trade secret due to increased confidentiality.”
Judge Hardy also pointed to the irony in a hypothetical question, saying that one argument that was “appealing” was the fact that Mayor Schieve and former Commissioner Hartung could say the prosecution was an invasion of privacy .
In December, Mayor Schieve filed a lawsuit against McNelly after she said a mechanic working on her car found a GPS device.
A bill is moving forward in the legislature that would bar people from putting tracking devices on cars.
Assembly Bill 356 is expected to be debated among lawmakers on Friday, May 5th.
If passed, those who place a device under certain circumstances are guilty of a misdemeanor on the first and second offense. After that, they could be charged with a crime.
The bill provides exceptions for law enforcement officers who install one based on a warrant or court order.
MARCH 28, 2023:
Lawyers for a private investigator accused of putting GPS trackers on cars owned by Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve and former Washoe County Commissioner Chairman Vaughn Hartung say their client should not be released to the public.
In a new court document dated March 27, 2023, attorneys say the person who hired private investigator David McNeely should remain private.
Earlier, both Schieve and Hartung had tried to force a judge to reveal the person who hired the private investigator to allegedly track their cars.
The document states: “The identity of a client who engages a private investigator is confidential and sensitive information. The party hiring a private investigator expects confidentiality” and should therefore not be made public.
Finally, the lawyers argue that the court should overturn the previous judgment in order to make the client known.
Hartung resigned from his post in mid-March.
FEBRUARY 24, 2023:
Washoe County Commissioner Chairman Vaughn Hartung said he put a GPS tracking device on his car after Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve claimed the same problem late last year.
According to an amended complaint dated February 23, 2023, Hartung alleges that not only did he drive the private car, but also his wife and daughter, “even on trips where Hartung was not in the vehicle.”
Hartung says he learned of his alleged car device “after being alerted to media and public records showing the locations of the vehicle(s) at his personal residence…”.
The complaint filed in the Second Judicial District Court again calls for a jury trial.
February 6, 2023:
Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve has filed an order in Nevada’s Second Judicial District Court to compel a Washoe judge to order the defendants in the case described below to identify the person(s) who, despite the defendants’ a Have tracking device attached to their private car ‘ ‘unsupportable objection’.
Mayor Schieve cites the lack of a private investigator privilege in Nevada as one of her bases for the application. She also notes that if someone receiving a subpoena objects because the subpoena requested a “trade secret,” the recipient must first demonstrate that the requested information is protected as such.
In addition, she argues that the identity of an individual customer is not a protectable trade secret.
Overall, Hillary Schieve’s attorney argues that the court should compel the defendants, McNeely and 5 Alpha Industries, LLC, to produce documents sufficient to identify the person or entity(ies) involved in the surveillance of commissioned Mayor Schieve.
January 21, 2023:
A Washoe County judge has issued subpoenas identifying the person(s) who allegedly hired a private investigator to install a tracking device on Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve’s car.
The judge approved Mayor Schieve’s subpoena request on Friday, January 20.
Schieve filed a lawsuit against David McNeely and 5 Alpha Industries, LLC last month after finding a GPS device attached to their vehicle that was able to track its real-time location.
Court documents also show that McNeely was questioned by Sparks police and did not reveal the “client’s name without a subpoena signed by a judge.”
Schieve, who filed the lawsuit as a private individual, is seeking damages for invasion of privacy, trespassing, civil conspiracy and negligence, and attorneys’ fees.