ELKO — A temporary harassment restraining order was issued against County Commissioner Grant Gerber related to a dispute over the construction of a roadway arch in Starr Valley.
The restraining order application, filed Aug. 13 in Wells Justice Court by James and Theresa Currivan, states that Gerber threatened to sue NAVCO construction “if (a worker) so much as dug another hole for an archway post” that was being constructed over a contentious Starr Valley road on July 31.
Jim Naveran was threatened personally, the application continues.
“Jim tried to reason with Grant to no avail. This threat and the intimation amazed and frightened Naveran to leave the work site with crew and equipment,” it states.
Undersheriff Clair Morris said a deputy was called to the scene to keep the peace, though it was only precautionary and the confrontation didn’t rise to a level that warranted the deputy’s intervention.
“It didn’t get physical. There were no arrests,” Morris said. “They decided to take the dispute to the courts.”
After receiving the application, Wells Justice of the Peace Marjean Kidner ordered Gerber to have no contact with the Currivans or their contractors during the construction of the archway and to stay away from Currivan Lane where the arch was being constructed.
Justices of the peace can grant 30-day temporary protective orders based off the applications without the parties arguing in a courtroom. In a brief interview with the Free Press Wednesday, Gerber noted he hadn’t had an opportunity to contest the Caravans’ claims before the judge.
“The temporary orders were issued without a hearing,” he said.
Gerber and his son Travis Gerber — who are attorneys and partners by profession — filed a motion Friday to dissolve the restraining order immediately on grounds that threats of litigation don’t constitute harassment.
Nevada law defines harassment as a threat to cause physical harm, injury or restraint or to do any act with an intent on harming another person’s “physical or mental health or safety.”
Gerber also argued in the motion that the Currivans were misleading in their application, implying the road was private.
Mountain View Camp Road — which Gerber alleged was incorrectly called Currivan Lane by the applicants — is the only access road for a number of residents, including Gerber, who owns property in the area.
Gerber referred to the archway as a gate. In his motion, he accused the Currivans of scheming to control the road.
The arch is “not merely an aesthetic feature,” the motion states. “The Currivans fully intend to place ‘no trespassing’ signs and gates where they have never existed before. The purpose of the structure is to deter lawful use of the roadway…”
Theresa Currivan was contacted for comment but declined to do so at this time. She said she would have time to discuss the matter in about a week.
A hearing is scheduled 10 a.m. Aug. 29 in Wells Justice Court.
That hearing will add to the Currivans’ and Gerbers’ lengthy history of court battles.
Gerber said the gate was a violation of previous court orders which prevented the Currivans from interfering with access rights.
Most recently, Gerber’s brother and sister-in-law, Mike Gerber and Jill Oswalt, were awarded $8,000 in civil suit damages after Theresa Currivan struck Mike Gerber in the leg with an ATV.
The jury didn’t award the plaintiffs an unnamed but much larger amount related to a heart attack suffered by Oswalt after the incident.
The two sides had agreed to a nearly $1 million settlement in 2011 over the same issue but the deal broke down before becoming official.
James and Theresa Currivan were both found in contempt of court in 2010 for violating prior court orders, which outlined the easement and access rights. Senior District Judge Miriam Shearing sentenced the Currivans to serve 25 days in jail and pay about $9,500 in fines, according to Free Press files.