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In a May 20, 2016 Order, the Business Court of the Second Judicial District Court recently dismissed a Petition for Judicial Review because the Petition was filed in the wrong county.

Background

The Nevada Public Utilities Commission (“PUC”) approved an electricity rate increase affecting homeowners with roof-top solar panels. The PUC heard the rate challenge and rendered its decision in Carson City. In rendering its decision, the PUC relied on a study conducted primarily using residents of Washoe County.

A class of customers filed a Petition for Judicial Review in the Second Judicial District Court of the State of Nevada in and for the County of Washoe. The Petition challenged the PUC’s approval of the rate increase.

Legal Discussion

NRS 703.373(2) states that “[p]roceedings for review may be instituted by 11 filing a petition for judicial review in the District Court in and for Carson City, in 12 and for the county in which the party of record seeking judicial review resides, or in 13 and for the county where the act on which the proceeding is based occurred.”

Here, the hearing occurred in Carson City, Nevada and the Petitioner did not claim to reside in Washoe County. Instead, the Petitioner claimed that Washoe County was “the county where the act on which the proceeding is based occurred.” The Petitioner contended that the effect of the PUC’s decision would be felt in Washoe County. The Petitioner also noted that the PUC relied on a study that was conducted primarily using residents of Washoe County. On the other side, the PUC argued that the disputed act took place in Carson City because the decision took place in Carson City.

The Business Court agreed with the PUC. It noted that NRS 703.373(2) is not ambiguous. Therefore, it would not strain to read the statute based on the effect of a disputed act. It concluded that the disputed act was “the regulatory act of approving and implementing the rate changes,” which took place in Carson City. Therefore, the Court dismissed the Petition for Judicial Review.