In a replevin action, judgment must be in alternative, i.e., for return of property or its value in case return cannot be had, and prevailing party does not have option to take judgment for value of property absolutely.
NRS 17.120, “Replevin; judgment to be in alternative and with damages,” provides as follows:
1. In an action to recover the possession of personal property, judgment for the plaintiff may be for the possession or the value thereof, in case a delivery cannot be had, and damages for the detention or the value of the use thereof. If the property has been delivered to the plaintiff, and the defendant claim a return thereof, judgment for the defendant may be for a return of the property or the value thereof, in case a return cannot be had, and damages for taking and withholding the same or the value of the use thereof.
2. In an action on a contract or obligation for the direct payment of money, payable in a specified or agreed kind of money or currency, judgment for the plaintiff, whether the same be by default or after verdict, or decision of the court or master, may follow the contract or obligation, and be made payable in the kind of money or currency therein specified or thereby agreed.
3. In an action against any person for the recovery of money received by such person in a fiduciary capacity, or to the use of another, judgment for the plaintiff, whether the same be by default or after verdict, or decision of the court or master, may be made payable in the same kind of money or currency so received by such person.
Replevin, sometimes known as “claim and delivery,” is an old-fashioned legal remedy in which a court requires a defendant to return specific goods to the plaintiff at the outset of the action. Although rarely used, replevin can be a very powerful weapon in a case where somebody is wrongly holding your property, because it deprives the defendant of the use of your property while the case is awaiting trial, which increases the likelihood of a quick settlement.
See “Claim and Delivery.”
~From Elements of Claims and Defenses in Nevada by Day Williams