Justia Nebraska Supreme Court Opinion Summaries

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Appellant was injured while working as a staff home nurse at the Eastern Nebraska Veterans’ Home. Appellant filed a petition in Workers’ Compensation Court alleging that she suffered from complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) and had sustained injuries to her left and right upper limbs as a result of the accident. The compensation found that Appellant was entitled to temporary total disability (TTD) benefits and permanent partial disability benefits. Appellant appealed the award. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding that the compensation court (1) did not err in finding that Appellant was permanently partially disabled and suffered a seventy-five percent loss of earning capacity; (2) did not err by denying Appellant a waiting-time penalty, attorney fees, and interest; but (3) erred in failing to consider mileage expenses for all of Appellant’s travel to injury-related medical appointments. Remanded. View "Armstrong v. State" on Justia Law

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Defendant was convicted of one count of third degree assault of an officer and one count of possession of a controlled substance. The Supreme Court affirmed the convictions, holding (1) the district court did not err in overruling Defendant’s motion to suppress evidence gathered by a law enforcement officer, as the evidence was obtained in accordance with the protections set forth under the Fourth Amendment; and (2) there was sufficient evidence to support the conviction of third degree assault of an officer. View "State v. Wells" on Justia Law

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Defendant pled guilty to three misdemeanor charges and was sentenced. The district court and court of appeals affirmed. In an order granting Defendant leave to proceed in forma pauperis on the second appeal, the district court intended to deny payment of attorney fees beyond the first appeal. On appeal to the Supreme Court, Defendant argued that the district court erred in ordering that his attorney fees would not be paid at public expense. The Supreme Court vacated the order to the extent that it may be construed as addressing attorney fees and otherwise affirmed, holding (1) the district court’s order in forma pauperis did not have the legal effect of denying Defendant’s appellate counsel payment for their representation because the district court was not the proper court to address the issue, and no application for payment was made pursuant to the statutory procedure; and (2) Defendant’s remaining claims regarding denial of permission to withdraw his guilty pleas and allegedly excessive sentences were without merit. View "State v. Ortega" on Justia Law
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Posted in: Criminal Law
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This case involved an intrachurch dispute between the members of Bethel Lutheran Church (Bethel), a nonprofit corporation organized under Nebraska law. The Bethel congregation voted by at least two-third majority vote to disaffiliate from the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) and instead sought to affiliate with the Lutheran Congregation in Mission for Christ. Bethel’s governing documents were subsequently amended, including its constitution. The minority members filed suit seeking a declaration that the majority members’ efforts in changing affiliation and adopting new corporate governance documents were prohibited and void because they were not given permission to do so by the ELCA. The district court dismissed the action for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that this case did not involve a doctrinal dispute but, rather, simply involved the interpretation and application of church governance documents and could be decided using neutral principles of law. Remanded. View "Aldrich v. Nelson" on Justia Law

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Appellant was convicted of two counts of first degree murder and two counts of use of a weapon to commit a felony. The Supreme Court vacated Appellant’s sentences of life imprisonment without parole for the murder charges and remanded with instructions to sentence Appellant to life imprisonment on the murder charges. Appellant filed an amended motion for postconviction relief, alleging, among other claims, ineffective assistance of counsel. The district court denied relief. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the district court did not err in denying relief, without an evidentiary hearing, on Appellant’s claims of ineffective assistance of counsel for failure to call certain witnesses; and (2) Appellant remaining assignments of error either lacked merit or were procedurally barred. View "State v. Thorpe" on Justia Law

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Jason and Stacy’s marriage was dissolved by a decree entered in 2011. Jason was required to pay child support for three minor children. In 2013, Jason obtained genetic testing which established that he was not the father of the youngest child. Jason sought equitable relief in the form of an order suspending his child support obligation without actually terminating the parental relationship. The district court denied the requested relief. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err in its judgment where there is no statute allowing a court to suspend Jason’s obligation to pay child support without affecting the legal determination of paternity. View "Stacy M. v. Jason M." on Justia Law
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Posted in: Family Law
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In 1979, Appellant was convicted of uttering a forged instrument and second degree forgery. Appellant escaped from prison in 1987. In 1997, Appellant was convicted of first degree murder in a California court. In 2006, Appellant was granted a voluntary transfer to the Nebraska prison system. In 2013, Appellant filed a pro se petition for a writ of habeas corpus against certain officials of the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services, arguing that when he was transferred to Nebraska, he resumed serving his sentences for the 1979 Nebraska convictions and that the maximum term for those sentences had been completed in 2011. The district court denied and dismissed the petition, concluding that Nebraska was holding Appellant as an agent for California and that Appellant would not begin serving his Nebraska sentences until after he had been released from his California sentence. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court correctly found that Appellant was not entitled to habeas corpus relief. View "Johnson v. Gage" on Justia Law
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Posted in: Criminal Law
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Appellee, on behalf of her minor child, filed a petition and affidavit for a harassment protection order against her child’s boyfriend, Appellant. The district court filed an ex parte harassment protection order and, after a show cause hearing, ordered that the harassment protection order remain in effect for a period of one year. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the district court erred when it admitted certain exhibits into evidence; and (2) there was insufficient evidence to support the issuance of the harassment protection order. Remanded with directions to vacate the harassment protection order. View "Richards v. McClure" on Justia Law
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Posted in: Injury Law
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Dwight Whitesides and Linda Whitesides’ marriage was dissolved pursuant to a dissolution decree entered in 2012. The court entered its decree reflecting a stipulation entered into by the parties regarding the disposition of Dwight’s interest in a partnership. In 2013, Dwight moved to alter or amend the decree of dissolution, contending that division of the partnership interest could not be accomplished. The district court overruled the motion but made findings regarding the interest’s assignability and Dwight’s compliance with the decree. Linda appealed. The Supreme Court affirmed as modified, holding that the the district court’s findings deprived Linda of due process, and therefore, the extraneous findings were struck as surplusage. View "Whitesides v. Whitesides" on Justia Law
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Posted in: Family Law
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Upon learning that the parties’ child had relocated with Mother to New York, Father filed a complaint in the district court seeking an award of legal and physical custody of the child. Mother filed an answer and a counterclaim seeking permission to move the child to New York. The district court denied Mother’s request to move the child to New York, awarded primary physical custody of the child to Father, removed restrictions on Grandmother’s visitation with the child, and calculated Mother’s child support obligation. The court of appeals affirmed in part and reversed in part, concluding that the district court abused its discretion in denying Mother permission to move the child to New York and in awarding physical custody of the child to Father. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in its resolution of these two issues in favor of Father. View "Schrag v. Spear" on Justia Law
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Posted in: Family Law
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