Justia Nebraska Supreme Court Opinion Summaries

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A 2004 dissolution decree awarded Kerry custody of the parties’ children, provided Michael with parenting time, and ordered Michael to pay child support. The parties settled a 2011 petition for an increase in support and counter-petition, but neither petition was dismissed. In 2013, the court granted Michael’s motion to compel compliance with the settlement. The Court of Appeals remanded with direction to prepare the applicable worksheets. Following remand, both appealed. In 2015, the Court of Appeals reversed in part. In 2013, while the first modification was ongoing, Michael sought changes of custody and child support. A summons issued, but a deputy was unable to serve Kerry. An appointed special process server later certified that personal service had been “effectuated,” but did not actually serve Kerry with a summons. Kerry objected to jurisdiction. The court found that Kerry received actual notice and had not been prejudiced by the manner of service. Kerry filed an answer. In 2014, the district court granted Michael’s application to modify the order. The Court of Appeals vacated, holding that Michael’s failure to serve the summons on Kerry within six months deprived the court of jurisdiction. The Nebraska Supreme Court reversed. Kerry waived service of process by making a general appearance in the second proceeding and the court retained jurisdiction to modify custody while an appeal on other issues was pending. View "Burns v. Burns" on Justia Law

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Nicole and Jeremy had three children, born in 2001, 2004, and 2005, and lived in Missouri. In 2007, Madysen, then 6 years old, reported that Jeremy had been sexually abusing her for more than a year. Jeremy was arrested. Nicole moved with the children to Nebraska and filed for divorce. The 2007 dissolution granted sole custody of the children to Nicole and stated that Jeremy “shall not have any parenting time.” The court ordered Jeremy to pay $50 per month in child support. IPursuant to a plea agreement, Jeremy was sentenced to 16 years’ confinement. Nicole married William in 2013; they sought adoption by a stepparent and to terminate Jeremy;s parental rights. Jeremy opposed the adoptions. The petitions asked the court to find that Jeremy had abandoned the children under Neb. Rev. Stat. 43-104, such that Jeremy’s consent was not required. Jeremy’s mother had consistently paid the ordered child support; Jeremy had sent the children cards. The court ordered that Jeremy’s consent was not required. The Court of Appeals reversed, concluding that the record did not support a finding upon clear and convincing evidence that Jeremy had abandoned his children. The Nebraska Supreme Court dismissed an interlocutory appeal for lack of jurisdiction, holding that the Court of Appeals had also lacked jurisdiction. The order was not final, pending an order on the adoption petition. View "In re Adoption of Madysen S." on Justia Law

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Lindner sued the City of La Vista, challenging ordinance No. 979, creating an off-street parking district adjoining a Cabela’s store, as unconstitutional. The district court found that the action was time barred and dismissed. The Nebraska Supreme Court reversed, stating that is was not apparent from the face of Lindner’s complaint when Lindner’s cause of action accrued. On remand, the court accepted evidence and determined that the four-year catchall limitations period, Neb. Rev. Stat. 25-212, applied and that Lindner’s action accrued more than four years before he filed suit. The court identified the dates when the city opted to pay for the cost of off-street parking through general revenues and sales tax revenues, enacted ordinance No. 983 authorizing the issuance of bonds, issued the bonds, and first paid on. Each of these events occurred greater than four years before Lindner filed his complaint. The Nebraska Supreme Court affirmed. The district court correctly identified the three undisputed dates when the city chose the funding mechanism to be used and implemented that decision. Even if using the latest event, October 16, 2006, as the date upon which - Lindner’s claim accrued, Lindner’s December 16, 2011, complaint was filed more than four years after the action accrued. View "Lindner v. Kindig" on Justia Law
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The Lindsays were minority shareholders of the 304 Corporation; its principal asset was Mid City Bank. In 2010, the Nebraska Department of Banking and Finance and the FDIC began an examination of the bank. In 2011, the Department appointed the FDIC as the bank's receiver, stating that “‘large commercial real estate loan and poor management practices . . . led to a deterioration of the bank’s capital’” so that there was “‘no option but to declare the insolvent institution receivership.’” The bank reopened and regained good standing. In 2014, the FDIC filed suit, alleging that Fitl “was grossly negligent and breached his fiduciary duties,” 12 U.S.C. 1821(d)(2)(A)(i). The Lindsays also filed suit, alleging breach of fiduciary duties. The court dismissed. The Nebraska Supreme Court affirmed. The Lindsays’ claims are similar to all other shareholders’ claims and did not arise from a special duty, since the injury was not “separate and distinct.” The district court correctly concluded that the Lindsays’ claims were derivative in nature and that as a result of the FDIC lawsuit, the Lindsays had no standing to bring a derivative action on behalf of the corporation. View "Lindsay v. Fitl" on Justia Law

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Several indoor tanning salons filed claims for tax refunds with the Department of Revenue for admissions taxes. Apparently, in 2012, the Attorney General’s office had issued an opinion that Neb. Rev. Stat. 77-2703(1) did not authorize subjecting tanning salons to admissions taxes. The Department has since repealed the regulation listing tanning salons among the businesses subject to the tax and has ceased collecting the tax. The Tax Commissioner disallowed the claims, stating that “[a] refund of a tax improperly or erroneously collected can only be issued by the State directly to the purchaser who paid the tax.” The district court consolidated the cases and affirmed. The Nebraska Supreme Court affirmed, agreeing that the salon customers were the taxpayers of the admissions tax. View "Aline Bae Tanning, Inc. v. Neb. Dep't. of Revenue" on Justia Law
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The Nebraska Constitution confers on the Legislature the authority to define crimes and fix their punishment and on the Parole Board “power to grant paroles after conviction and judgment, under such conditions as may be prescribed by law, for any offenses committed against the criminal laws of this state except treason and cases of impeachment.” A statute provides: Every committed offender shall be eligible for parole when the offender has served one-half the minimum term. Because it is impossible to determine when an offender has served one-half of a life sentence, the section has been interpreted to mean that an inmate sentenced to life imprisonment is not eligible for parole until the Board of Pardons commutes the sentence to a term of years. Adams, an inmate serving two sentences of life imprisonment, challenged the statute as an unconstitutional usurpation of the Board's authority. The district court dismissed and the Nebraska Supreme Court affirmed, reasoning that the commutation requirement was a “condition” prescribed by the Legislature within the meaning of the constitution’s “conditions clause,” which “reserves to the Legislature the ability to add to or subtract from the [Board’s] power to grant paroles in all cases except in cases of treason or impeachment.” View "Adams v. State" on Justia Law

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Shurigar submitted a “Nebraska Concealed Handgun Permit Application” and acknowledged that one year earlier, he had been found to be in possession of a loaded pistol in Oklahoma and had pled guilty to “Transporting Loaded Firearm in Motor Vehicle, Misdemeanor.” Because of this prior conviction, the State Patrol denied Shurigar’s application. The district court affirmed the denial, finding that Shurigar’s conviction disqualified him from obtaining a permit under Section 69-2433(8): An applicant shall: Not have had a conviction of any law of this state relating to firearms, unlawful use of a weapon, or controlled substances or of any similar laws of another jurisdiction within the ten years preceding the date of application. Shurigar argued that his conviction was not similar to Neb. Rev. Stat. 37-522, which provides: “It shall be unlawful to have or carry, except as permitted by law, any shotgun having shells in either the chamber, receiver, or magazine in or on any vehicle on any highway.” The Nebraska Supreme Court affirmed, stating that the Legislature deemed a person to be a risk for violating Section 37-522, which makes it unlawful to transport a loaded shotgun on a highway in Nebraska; there is no reason why a person violating another jurisdiction’s law against transporting a loaded pistol on a highway would be less of a risk of committing future crimes than a person transporting a loaded shotgun. View "Shurigar v. Nebraska State Patrol" on Justia Law
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In November, 2003, Guitron was reported missing. Guitron’s remains were discovered in April 2010, under a woodpile on an abandoned farm in rural Kimball County. The cause of death was determined to be two gunshot wounds; a bullet recovered from Guitron’s skull was fired from a pistol purchased by Ash’s sister. Guitron’s death was found to have occurred on October 15, 2003. In August 2003, Ash and his 15-year old girlfriend, whom Ash later married, began living with Guitron in Fort Collins, Colorado. The three were methamphetamine users. After several weeks, Ash and Meehan moved out and began living in a tent near Grover, Colorado. Ash was ultimately convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison. The Nebraska Supreme Court remanded because the court erred in denying Ash’s request for a continuance after the state disclosed, on the brink of trial, that a codefendant would be testifying pursuant to a plea agreement. Ash again was found guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced to life. The Nebraska Supreme Court affirmed, finding Ash’s claim of insufficient evidence to support the verdict without merit; that none of Ash’s claims of trial court error had merit; and that any claim of ineffective assistance of counsel was either affirmatively disproved by the record or not sufficiently presented for review. View "State v. Ash" on Justia Law
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In May 2013, Deines filed a complaint seeking to recover earned commissions from his former employer under the Nebraska Wage Payment and Collection Act. Essex filed an answer which, among other things, alleged Deines had been paid all commissions he was owed. After the case had been pending for approximately 15 months, the trial court issued a notice of intent to dismiss. The notice required the parties to take certain action within 30 days or the case would be dismissed for want of prosecution. No action was taken within the prescribed time and the court entered an order dismissing the case for want of prosecution. Deines subsequently filed a successful motion to reinstate the case. The Nebraska Supreme Court dismissed an appeal. The order was neither a judgment nor a final order. View "Deintes v. Essex Corp." on Justia Law
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Pittman filed a negligence action for injuries he sustained when he was struck by a vehicle while standing in or near a parking lot owned and maintained by 2nd Street. The driver of the vehicle was Rivera, another patron who had been forcibly removed from 2nd Street earlier that evening by an employee of 2nd Street. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants, finding that Rivera’s conduct in striking Pittman with his vehicle was not reasonably foreseeable and that therefore, 2nd Street did not breach its duty of reasonable care. The Nebraska Supreme Court affirmed, agreeing that 2nd Street owed a general duty based on premises liability and that when Rivera returned to the premises, driving a vehicle, it was not reasonably foreseeable that Rivera would use his vehicle to assault Pittman. View "Pittman v. Rivera" on Justia Law
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