NORTHERN NEVADA HOMES, LLC, A NEVADA LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY, Appellant,
GL CONSTRUCTION, INC., A NEVADA CORPORATION, Respondent.
from an order awarding attorney fees and costs. Second
Judicial District Court, Washoe County; Lidia Stiglich,
Clark, PLLC, and Christopher M. Rusby, Reno, for Appellant.
Office of James Shields Beasley and James Shields Beasley,
Reno, for Respondent.
CHERRY and PARRAGUIRRE, JJ., and SAITTA, Sr. J. 
appeal, we consider a district court's award of attorney
fees and costs to defendant GL Construction, Inc. (GL) on its
counterclaim against plaintiff Northern Nevada Homes, LLC
(NNH). The question presented is whether the district court
properly determined GL to be the "prevailing party"
following bifurcated trials, in which the parties settled as
to damages on NNH's claims in an amount that exceeds
GL's damages judgment on its counterclaim. We conclude
that the district court did not abuse its discretion with
regard to the award of attorney fees and costs for two
reasons. First, we note that no statute or court rule
requires the trial court to offset a damages judgment on one
party's counterclaim by the amount recovered by another
party in settling its claim to determine which side is the
prevailing party. Second, we conclude that the most
reasonable interpretation of NRS 18.010(2)(a) and 18.020(3)
precludes the use of settlement recovery for this purpose.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Cerberus Holdings, LLC, filed a complaint against Gordon
Lemich and his company, GL. NNH alleged that GL and Lemich
trespassed on its property by dumping dirt and other waste.
GL later filed a counterclaim against NNH for breach of
contract regarding unpaid invoices for construction work it
had performed on separate projects. The district court
bifurcated the case into a jury trial concerning NNH's
claims against GL and Lemich, and a bench trial concerning
GL's counterclaim against NNH. On day three of the jury
trial, the district court indicated it was inclined to enter
judgment as a matter of law in favor of NNH as to liability
on its tort-based claims, and shortly thereafter, the parties
settled NNH's claims for $362, 500. After the bench trial
on GL's counterclaim, the district court found in favor
of GL, awarding $7, 811 in damages.
moved for $67, 595 in attorney fees and $2, 497.33 in costs.
NNH opposed, arguing in part that GL was not the prevailing
party under NRS 18.010 and 18.020 because NNH obtained a net
recovery from the settlement. The district court awarded GL
$10, 000 in attorney fees and $390 in costs, finding that (1)
GL was a prevailing party within the meaning of NRS 18.010
and 18.020 with respect to its counterclaim; (2) the
settlement amount was not relevant to the prevailing party
determination because the facts underlying the counterclaim
were largely unrelated to NNH's claim; and (3) $10, 000
was a reasonable amount for attorney feesand $390 in costs
was appropriate as NNH did not dispute them.
award of attorney fees is reviewed for an abuse of
discretion." MB Am., Inc. v. Alaska Pac.
Leasing, 132 Nev. 78, 88, 367 P.3d 1286, 1292 (2016). A
decision made "in clear disregard of the guiding legal
principles can be an abuse of discretion." Id.
(internal quotation marks omitted).
of law and statutory interpretation are reviewed de novo.
Albios v. Horizon Cmtys., Inc., 122 Nev. 409, 417,
132 P.3d 1022, 1028 (2006); Smith v. Crown Fin. Servs. of
Am., Ill Nev. 277, 284, 890 P.2d 769, 773 (1995). As to
statutory interpretation, if the plain language of a statute
is ambiguous, "it is the duty of this court to select
the construction that will best give effect to the intent of
the legislature." Smith, 111 Nev. at 284, 890
P.2d at 773-74. Attorney fees and costs under NRS 18.010
and NRS 18.020
argues that the district court abused its discretion by
determining that GL was the prevailing party under NRS
18.010(2)(a) and 18.020(3), because NNH received the net
monetary recovery in this case when the parties'
recoveries were offset under Parodi v. Budetti, ...