Nevada has a one-action rule which, with limited exceptions, requires a creditor seeking to recover a debt secured by real property to proceed against the security first prior to seeking recovery from the debtor personally. In the event that a law suit is filed in violation of the one-action rule, final judgment may be entered in favor of the creditor but that judgment “releases and discharges the mortgage or other lien.” NRS 40.455(3). Nevada law further provides that, with the exception of certain guaranties, any provision in an agreement relating to the sale of real property which contains a waiver of Nevada’s anti-deficiency laws may not be enforced by a court because doing so violates Nevada’s public policy. NRS 40.453.
Nevada law also addresses when the one-action rule may be waived in litigation. In the author’s view, the governing statute, NRS 40.435 is ambiguous. Section 2 of that statute states that if the one-action rule is timely interposed as an affirmative defense, the action must either be dismissed without prejudice or continued to allow the creditor to file amended pleadings to convert the action into one which does not violate the one-action rule. This suggests that the one-action rule must be asserted as an affirmative defense in the debtor’s answer to the complaint or it is waived by the debtor. The first sentence of section 3 of the statute, however, seems to suggest that the debtor has up until the entry of a final judgment to waive the one-action rule by stating: “[t]he failure to interpose, before the entry of a final judgment, the provisions of NRS 40.430 [the one-action rule] as an affirmative defense in such a proceeding waives the defense in that proceeding.”