Weber v. N. Loup River Pub. Power & Irrigation Dist.

William Weber and Dixie Weber irrigated eight tracts of water from the upper Taylor-Ord Canal under contract with North Loup Public Power and Irrigation District. In June 2010, flooding occurred that destroyed a diversion dam that North Loup had utilized to deliver water to irrigators. Due to the extent of the damage, North Loup concluded that water would not be provided to irrigators on the upper Canal during the 2010 irrigation season. At the time of the flooding, the Webers had not yet paid their 2010 irrigation charges. The Webers sued North Loup, alleging breach of contract and negligence and claiming damages resulting from reduced crop yields. The district court granted summary judgment for North Loup, concluding that because the Webers had not paid the 2010 irrigation charges, North Loup had no duty under the contracts to deliver water to the Webers during 2010. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the Webers’ failure to pay was both a nonfulfillment of a condition and a material breach of contract that relieved North Loup of its duty to perform; and (2) the Webers’ negligence claim failed as a matter of law because North Loup owed no duty to the Webers. View "Weber v. N. Loup River Pub. Power & Irrigation Dist." on Justia Law

State v. Rodriguez

After a jury trial, Appellant was convicted for driving under the influence, third offense. The court of appeals affirmed Appellant’s conviction and sentence. The Supreme Court reversed the court of appeals, holding (1) the court of appeals committed reversible error when it affirmed the district court’s overruling of Appellant’s motion to suppress evidence obtained as a result of a traffic stop that was based on an anonymous tip, as, contrary to the district court’s conclusion, there was not reasonable suspicion to justify the traffic stop; and (2) double jeopardy did not preclude a remand for a new trial. Remanded for a new trial. View "State v. Rodriguez" on Justia Law

Kelliher v. Soundy

Michael Kelliher and Travis Soundy had equal membership rights in Clover Investments, LLC, which purchased a bar. Soundy then purchased Kelliher’s interest in Clover. Kelliher and Soundy subsequently negotiated an agreement for Kelliher to earn back his interest in Clover that required Kelliher to manage the bar and make capital improvements. Kelliher fulfilled his duties under the management agreement. Soundy subsequently terminated the management agreement, and the next year, Clover sold the bar to Schijohn, LLC. Kelliher sued Soundy, Clover, and Schijohn and filed a notice of lis pendens against the property. The district court granted partial summary judgment in favor of Schijohn on Kelliher’s quiet title claim. Before trial on the remainder of Kelliher’s claims, the court canceled the notice of lis pendens based on its earlier dismissal of the claim against Schijohn. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) this Court had jurisdiction over the appeal under the collateral order doctrine; and (2) the district court erred when it cancelled the notice of lis pendens, as the perceived merits of the underlying action were not good cause to cancel the notice while time for appeal remained. View "Kelliher v. Soundy" on Justia Law

Brock v. Dunning

Appellant was injured while on duty as a deputy sheriff with the Douglas County sheriff’s office. While Appellant was receiving workers’ compensation benefits, a County employee had Appellant placed under surveillance. The Sheriff’s Office later terminated Plaintiff’s employment on the basis that Appellant had been “untruthful and deceptive” regarding the extent of his injuries. The Douglas County Sheriff’s Merit Commission affirmed the termination. The district court affirmed. Thereafter, Appellant filed a petition in the district court against the Douglas County Sheriff and the County (collectively, Appellees), alleging wrongful discharge in retaliation for having pursued a workers’ compensation claim and violations of 42 U.S.C. 1983 based on three theories of liability. The district court granted Appellees’ motion for summary judgment. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err when it determined (1) Appellant’s first cause of action was barred under Neb. Rev. Stat. 13-919(1); and (2) Appellees did not violate Appellant’s constitutional right to property, right to freedom of speech, or right to privacy. View "Brock v. Dunning" on Justia Law

Big John’s Billiards, Inc. v. State

In 2008, the Nebraska Legislature amended the Nebraska Clean Indoor Act to prohibit smoking in public places and places of employment. Four indoor facilities were exempted from that prohibition. Plaintiff, a corporation that operates a billiards hall, filed an action seeking a declaratory judgment that the Act was unconstitutional. Specifically, Plaintiff claimed that three exemptions from the Act violated the prohibition against special legislation. The district court concluded that the exemptions for guest rooms, tobacco retail outlets, and cigar bars were unconstitutional special legislation. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding (1) the exemptions for tobacco retail outlets and cigar bars are unconstitutional special legislation which are severable from the Act; (2) the exemption for guest rooms is not special legislation; and (3) the Act is not an unconstitutional impairment of contract or an unconstitutional regulatory taking. View "Big John's Billiards, Inc. v. State" on Justia Law

Telrite Corp. v. Neb. Pub. Serv. Comm’n

Telrite Corporation was designated as an eligible telecommunications carrier and a Nebraska eligible telecommunications carrier by the Nebraska Public Service Commission (PSC). The designation allowed Telrite to participate in the “Lifeline” program and receive subsidies from federal and state funds for the provision of telecommunications service to low-income households. Soon after receiving its designations, Telrite held its first enrollment event in Omaha. Telrite, however, used the wrong enrollment form at the event. Consequently, the PSC revoked Telrite’s ETC designation and ordered Telrite to cease and desist from offering services as a Lifeline provider in Nebraska. The Supreme Court reversed the order, holding that the penalty ordered by the PSC was excessive. Remanded. View "Telrite Corp. v. Neb. Pub. Serv. Comm'n" on Justia Law

Hoppens v. Neb. Dep’t of Motor Vehicles

A police officer found Appellant in the driver’s seat of a vehicle parked in an Omaha Police Department parking lot. The officer observed signs of intoxication and placed Appellant under arrest. Appellant declined the take a chemical test. Following an administrative license revocation hearing, the Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) revoked Appellant’s driving privileges for one year. Appellant petitioned for review, arguing that he was on private property not open to public access, and therefore, the DMV did not have jurisdiction to revoke his license. The district court dismissed Appellant’s petition. The Supreme Court affirmed the revocation of Appellant’s driving privileges, holding that the arresting officer’s sworn report did not need to state or support an inference that the motor vehicle was driven or operated on property open to public access to confer jurisdiction on the DMV. View "Hoppens v. Neb. Dep't of Motor Vehicles " on Justia Law

State v. Knutson

Defendant, a teacher at a public school, was charged with five counts of sexual assault and child abuse involving four minor girls: T.P., M.K., E.M., and E.A. Three of the girls were Defendant’s students when the conduct occurred, and Defendant tutored the fourth girl, E.A. After a jury trial, Defendant was found guilty of the charges involving E.A. but was acquitted of the charges involving the other three girls. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the district court did not err in denying Defendant’s motion to sever the charges and joining them all in a single trial; (2) the district court did not err in denying Defendant’s motion to suppress his cell phone records; and (3) the evidence was sufficient to support the convictions for child abuse and child enticement for an illegal sexual purpose. View "State v. Knutson" on Justia Law

Robertson v. Jacobs Cattle Co.

Appellants - four of the partners in the Jacobs Cattle Company partnership - sought dissolution and liquidation of the partnership. Appellees - the partnership and the remaining partners - filed a counterclaim seeking dissociation of Appellants instead of dissolution. The district court dissociated Appellants and ordered the partnership to buy out their interests. In a previous appeal, the Supreme Court held that judicial dissociation was proper but determined that the district court erred in calculating the proper distributions to buy out the dissociated partners. On remand, the district court determined that the profit from the hypothetical capital gain should be credited to the partners’ accounts in accordance with their capital percentages, rather than the income percentages. This resulted in a lower buyout distribution to the dissociated partners. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the district court erred in calculating the distributions required for the buyout. Remanded. View "Robertson v. Jacobs Cattle Co." on Justia Law

Neb. Accountability & Disclosure Comm’n v. Skinner

Two employees of Northwest Rural Public Power District (NRPPD), a political subdivision, purchased short radio advertisements on the subject of wind energy, electricity rates, and generation duplication, which were broadcast before the November 2, 2010 general election. Michael Van Buskirk, a candidate for NRPPD’s board of directors, filed complaints with the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission (Commission), contending the radio advertisements were directed at his campaign. The Commission found that the employees had expended public funds “for the purpose of campaigning” in violation of the Nebraska Political Accountability and Disclosure Act (Act). The district court reversed, concluding that the use of NRPPD funds to purchase the advertisements did not constitute “campaigning” within the definition of the Act. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the district court’s conclusion that the employees had not violated the Act was based on an interpretation of the statute that was contrary to law. Remanded. View "Neb. Accountability & Disclosure Comm'n v. Skinner" on Justia Law