Justia Nebraska Supreme Court Opinion Summaries

By
Jeremy and Kimberly Klein, and Robert and Elaine Lynch, (collectively, appellees) purchased a trust deed at a trustee’s sale for certain real estate. Prior to the trustee’s sale, treasurer’s tax deeds for the same real estate had been issued to a third party. By operation of law, a treasurer’s tax deed passed title free and clear of all previous liens and encumbrances, and therefore, the treasurer’s tax deeds had divested the trust deed of title. The treasurer’s tax deeds were recorded prior to the trustee’s sale, but appellees failed to examine the record prior to the trustee’s sale. Appellees brought this action in equity against appellant Oakland/Red Oak Holdings, LLC (Oakland), which was the beneficiary of the trust deeds, seeking to set aside the sale and to be reimbursed the purchase price of $40,001. The district court determined that the trustee’s sale was void and ordered that Oakland return the purchase price to the appellees. Oakland appealed. The Supreme Court determined that the district court erred in its determination, reversed, and remanded. View "Klein v. Oakland/Red Oak Hold." on Justia Law

By
In a direct appeal, Tracy Parnell challenged his convictions by jury of first degree murder, attempted first degree murder, two counts of use of a deadly weapon to commit a felony, and possession of a weapon by a prohibited person. His two primary arguments attacked denials of his motions to continue the trial and for a new trial. These arguments were premised upon untimely disclosures of opinions of a cellular analyst and relied on "Brady v. Maryland," and a discovery statute. He also argued the trial court erred: (1) in admitting his threats toward one of the victims were admitted in evidence by error; (2) his requested instruction on accomplice testimony was refused; and (3) his trial counsel provided ineffective assistance. Finding no merit in his arguments, the Supreme Court affirmed. View "Nebraska v. Parnell" on Justia Law

By
In 2013, Wilmer Interiano-Lopez was living in Sioux City, Iowa, and working for Tyson at a meatpacking plant in Dakota City, Nebraska. One of his jobs involved cutting the stomach or “paunch” of cows to allow the contents to fall out as they were processed on the “dump paunch line.” One day, Interiano-Lopez was working with a trainee who was hanging meat incorrectly and it was falling off the hooks as it passed down the dump paunch line. Interiano-Lopez had to lift and place the meat back on the hooks to complete his work, and his hands and arms became increasingly fatigued. At one point, a paunch fell from the hook and hit Interiano-Lopez on the right shoulder. He felt a pop in his shoulder and began experiencing severe pain and loss of strength in his arm. Interiano-Lopez was taken to the plant infirmary and thereafter to a hospital emergency room. He was diagnosed with a shoulder separation and was referred for orthopedic evaluation and treatment. In March 2014, Interiano-Lopez, through counsel, filed a petition in the Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Court seeking a determination of the rights and liabilities of the parties regarding the dump paunch line. Interiano-Lopez sought to be declared permanently and totally disabled or, in the alternative, to be awarded temporary total disability benefits, ongoing medical benefits, and vocational rehabilitation training. Tyson answered, including what it characterized as a counterclaim. Tyson denied liability, alleged Interiano-Lopez’ physical problems were caused by a preexisting condition, and alleged Interiano-Lopez had “received some workers’ compensation benefits for which [Tyson] is entitled to a credit.” The compensation court dismissed the petition but proceeded to trial on Tyson’s counterclaim and found Interiano-Lopez had failed to prove a workplace injury. Interiano-Lopez appealed. Because the Supreme Court concluded the compensation court acted without authority and in excess of its powers by proceeding to trial rather than dismissing the cause, the Supreme Court vacated the judgment of the court and remanded the case with directions to dismiss. View "Interiano-Lopez v. Tyson Fresh Meats" on Justia Law

By
The City of Springfield filed suit against the City of Papillion, and Sarpy County, seeking to enjoin Papillion from annexing land which had been indicated as Springfield’s area of future growth in a map adopted by the County in 1995. The district court for Sarpy County found that Springfield lacked standing; Springfield appealed. After review, the Nebraska Supreme Court found that Springfield asserted an infringement of its statutory governmental functions and rights under the County Industrial Sewer Construction Act. That infringement was sufficient to grant standing. The Court reversed the district court and remanded the case for further proceedings. View "City of Springfield v. City of Papillion" on Justia Law

By
A police officer discovered Bruce Rask asleep in the cab of his running pickup truck. Rask was ultimately charged with several offenses including driving under the influence (third offense). A jury later found him guilty, and on appeal, the district court affirmed. Rask appealed, raising six points of error at trial. Finding no merit to any of these claims, the Supreme Court affirmed. View "Nebraska v. Rask" on Justia Law

By
In 2011, the City of Omaha enacted an ordinance requiring contractors doing work within the City to obtain a license. Appellant challenged the ordinance on various grounds. As relevant on appeal, Appellant alleged that the passage of the ordinance did not comply with the procedural requirements of the Omaha City Charter, that the ordinance placed an unfair restriction on and monopolized the City’s contracting industry, and that the ordinance violated his constitutional rights. The district court granted summary judgment for the City on all but one of Appellant’s claims. After a bench trial, the district court ruled in favor of the City, concluding that the City was empowered to enact the ordinance and that the ordinance did not prevent Appellant from working on his own property. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the City had the authority to enact the ordinance. View "Malone v. City of Omaha" on Justia Law

By
In 1984, the State charged Defendant with the murder of his grandmother for hiring her killing. After a stipulated bench trial, the district court found Defendant guilty of second degree murder. The district court sentenced Defendant to life imprisonment. The Supreme Court affirmed on direct appeal. In 2012, Defendant filed a motion for postconviction relief, alleging, inter alia, ineffective assistance of counsel, prosecutorial misconduct, and prejudicial conduct by the trial judge. The district court denied the motion after a limited evidentiary hearing. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err in denying Defendant’s motion for postconviction relief. View "State v. Saylor" on Justia Law

By
After a jury trial, Defendant was found guilty of murder in the first degree, use of a deadly weapon to commit a felony, and possession of a deadly weapon by a prohibited person. Defendant appealed, arguing that the district court committed several errors in its evidentiary rulings and that there was insufficient evidence to support her convictions because of a lack of physical evidence and the credibility of the witnesses. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Defendant’s assignments of error relating to the district court’s evidentiary rulings were without merit; and (2) there was sufficient evidence to support Defendant’s convictions. View "State v. Jenkins" on Justia Law
By
Posted in:
Updated:

By
Mother and Father divorced pursuant to a decree that granted Mother full custody of the parties' two daughters, with regular visitation for Father. Almost a decade later, Mother filed an application to modify visitation. Father counterclaimed, seeking full custody of the parties’ children on the ground that Mother’s current spouse resided with and had unsupervised access to the children and is a registered sex offender due to a felony involving his minor stepdaughter. The district court denied Mother’s application to modify and denied Father’s counterclaim. Father filed a petition for further review. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Mother met her statutory burden to produce evidence that her spouse was not a significant risk to the girls; and (2) the district court did not abuse its discretion by finding that the girls were not at significant risk. View "Hopkins v. Hopkins" on Justia Law
By
Posted in:
Updated:

By
Lawrence Bixenmann tripped and fell on a stake that the owner of Dickinson Land Surveyors (Dickinson) had placed on the property of Lawrence and Norma Bixenmann while performing a land survey. The Bixenmanns brought this negligence action against Dickinson. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Dickinson, concluding that the Bixenmanns were required to present expert testimony as to the standard of care required of surveyors and that the “common knowledge” exception to the requirement of expert testimony did not apply. The Supreme Court affirmed, albeit on a different ground, holding that there was no privity of contract between the Bixenmanns and Dickinson and no facts establishing a duty to the Bixenmanns, and therefore, the district court did not err in granting summary judgment in favor of Dickinson. View "Bixenmann v. Dickinson Land Surveyors, Inc." on Justia Law
By
Posted in:
Updated: