from a district court order denying a post-judgment motion
for attorney fees and costs in an employment matter. First
Judicial District Court, Carson City; James E. Wilson, Judge.
Oshinski & Forsberg, Ltd., and Mark Forsberg, Carson
City, for Appellant.
Paul Laxalt, Attorney General, and Dominika J. Batten, Deputy
Attorney General, Carson City, for Respondent.
PICKERING, GIBBONS and HARDESTY, JJ.
State, Department of Human Resources v. Fowler, we
held that attorney fees were not available under NRS
18.010(2)(a) in a petition for judicial review of an agency
determination that did not include monetary recovery. 109
Nev. 782, 786, 858 P.2d 375, 377 (1993). In this appeal, we
are asked whether attorney fees are also prohibited under NRS
18.010(2)(b) in petitions for judicial review of an agency
determination. We hold that NRS 233B. 130(6), which states
that the provisions of NRS Chapter 233B provide the exclusive
means of judicial action in a petition for judicial review,
prohibits an award of attorney fees under NRS 18.010(2)(b) in
petitions for judicial review.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Chad Zenor was employed by respondent Nevada Department of
Transportation (NDOT) when he injured his wrist on the job.
Eleven months after the injury, Zenor underwent an
examination and received an evaluation signed by his treating
physician, Dr. Huene, who determined Zenor was not yet
capable of performing his pre-injury job duties.
Approximately two months later, Dr. Huene again examined
Zenor and determined he could fully use his wrist with a
brace as needed. Less than one month after that, Dr. Huene
released Zenor "without limitations." Zenor and his
wife delivered the full release to NDOT that same day.
the full release, NDOT commenced vocational rehabilitation
and separation proceedings against Zenor, ultimately
separating him from employment for medical reasons. Zenor
appealed and an administrative hearing officer reversed the
separation. NDOT petitioned for judicial review and the
district court affirmed. Zenor proceeded to file a motion for
attorney fees under NRS 18.010(2)(b) on the ground that NDOT
unreasonably brought its petition to harass him. The district
court denied the motion, holding that NRS 233B.130 prohibited
attorney fees in a judicial action of a final agency
court normally reviews an award or denial of attorney fees
under NRS 18.010(2)(b) for an abuse of discretion.
Mack-Manley v. Manley, 122 Nev. 849, 860, 138 F.3d
525, 532-33 (2006). However, the district court "may not
award attorney's fees unless authorized by statute, rule
or contract." Fowler, 109 Nev. at 784, 858 P.2d
at 376 (citing Nev. Bd. of Osteopathic Med. v.
Graham, 98 Nev. 174, 175, 643 P.2d 1222, 1223 (1982)).
Further, issues of statutory interpretation are questions of
law reviewed de novo. Albios v. Horizon Cmtys.,
Inc., 122 Nev. 409, 417, 132 P.3d 1022, 1028 (2006).
233B.130 prohibits attorney fees in petitions for judicial
review of agency determinations
233B.130(6) dictates that the provisions of NRS Chapter 233B
"are the exclusive means of judicial review of, or
judicial action concerning, a final decision in a contested
case involving an agency to which this chapter applies."
We noted in Fowler that "NRS 233B.130 does not
contain any specific language authorizing the award of
attorney's fees in actions involving petitions for
judicial review of agency action." 109 Nev. at 785, 858
P.2d at 377. Here, the district court interpreted
Fowler to mean that ...