The Nevada Supreme Court on Thursday reversed a lower court judge who had held that workers on the new Carson Tahoe Regional Medical Center should get higher pay because tax-free government bonds helped to finance building costs.
The high court's split decision rejected arguments by a
Carpenters Union lawyer that the hospital in Carson City was
required by state law to pay "prevailing wages" because the
private hospital corporation utilized $95 million in industrial
development revenue bond.
The prevailing wage is paid to construction workers on public
works projects. The state labor commissioner surveys construction
project wages and comes up with the wages that must be paid.
Carson City District Judge Michael Griffin ruled earlier that
the hospital had to pay prevailing wages to its carpenters. But he
suspended those payments while the hospital appealed to the Supreme
The high court's majority opinion, written by Justice Ron
Parraguirre, affects state policy on many construction projects.
More than $810 million in tax-exempt industrial revenue bonds have
been issued by the state.
The majority ruling sided with the argument by the hospital's
lawyer that no public money is being be used to pay off the bond,
and prevailing wages historically are paid only where taxpayers'
money is used to finance construction.
"In this case, the project at issue does not fit the definition
of a public work and does not involve a public body," Parraguirre
Justice Bill Maupin dissented, saying the hospital project was
subject to Nevada's prevailing wage laws that govern public