Anthony K. v. Neb. Dep’t of Health & Human Servs.

Plaintiffs, individually and as guardians and next friends on behalf of their seven minor children, sued the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), several DHHS employees in their official and individual capacities, and the children’s guardian ad litem, alleging that over the course of the juvenile proceedings involving their oldest three children, Plaintiffs’ constitutional and statutory rights had been violated. The district court sustained Defendants’ motions do dismiss, concluding (1) Defendants were entitled to sovereign, qualified, absolute, and statutory immunities; and (2) Plaintiffs’ claims against the DHHS employees in their individual capacities were barred by the statute of limitations. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court (1) did not err in dismissing the claims against the DHHS, the DHHS employees in their official capacities, and the guardian ad litem on the basis that they were immune from Plaintiffs’ section 1983 claims; and (2) did not err in dismissing Plaintiffs’ claims against the DHHS employees in their individual capacities on the grounds that the claims were barred by the applicable statute of limitations.View "Anthony K. v. Neb. Dep’t of Health & Human Servs." on Justia Law

Anthony K. v. State

After Plaintiffs’ oldest three children were removed from Plaintiffs' care and eventually reunified with them, Plaintiffs, individually and as guardians and next friends on behalf of their seven minor children, sued the State, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), and several DHHS employees. The case was brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1983. In the complaint, Plaintiffs sought general and special damages for violations of their constitutionally protected rights to familial integrity, due process, and equal protection. The district court dismissed Plaintiffs’ complaint, concluding (1) only the State had been properly served; (2) the State was entitled to sovereign immunity as to Plaintiffs’ section 1983 claims that requested monetary damages; and (3) the State was entitled to summary judgment on Plaintiffs’ remaining causes of action. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court (1) properly dismissed DHHS and the DHHS employees for lack of proper service of process; (2) correctly determined that sovereign immunity barred Plaintiffs’ claims against the State for monetary damages under section 1983; and (3) erred in not granting the State’s motion to dismiss all of Plaintiffs’ causes of action but achieved the same result by dismissing all remaining causes of action against the State on summary judgment.View "Anthony K. v. State" on Justia Law

State v. Planck

After a jury trial conducted by the county court, Defendant was found guilty of driving while her motor vehicle operator’s license was administratively revoked. Defendant appealed, arguing, among other things, that the county court erred in refusing to give an instruction on the defense of entrapment by estoppel. The district court affirmed, concluding that Defendant failed to offer sufficient evidence to warrant an instruction on entrapment by estoppel. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court correctly found that the evidence was not sufficient to warrant the giving of an instruction on the defense of entrapment by estoppel.View "State v. Planck" on Justia Law

Gaver v. Schneider’s O.K. Tire Co.

Appellee was employed by Appellant on two separate occasions. On each occasion, Appellee signed a noncompete agreement. After Appellee’s second term of employment ended he filed a complaint seeking a declaratory judgment that the noncompete agreements were unenforceable. The district court entered declaratory judgment in favor of Appellee, determining that the noncompete agreements were unreasonable and unenforceable because the scope of the noncompete agreements was greater than reasonably necessary to protect Appellant against unfair competition. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the applicable noncompete agreement was greater than reasonably necessary to protect the legitimate interests of Appellant and was therefore unreasonable and unenforceable.View "Gaver v. Schneider’s O.K. Tire Co." on Justia Law

Manon v. Orr

At issue in this appeal were certain parcels of land included in the corpus of a trust established by Virginia Waechter. In 2010, Virginia sold the parcels as trustee of the trust to her daughter Peggy Orr and her daughter’s husband, Jeff Orr. Plaintiffs, Virginia’s son and other contingent beneficiaries of the trust filed a complaint asking that a constructive trust be placed on the real estate and alleging that Virginia was not competent to sell the land to Peggy and Jeff and that the sale showed indications of fraud. The district court dismissed the complaint, concluding that Plaintiffs lacked standing to seek a constructive trust and that Neb. Rev. Stat. 30-3855(a) bars a cause of action for intentional interference with an inheritance or gift. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Plaintiffs lacked standing to impose a constructive trust because, under case law and section 30-3855(a), they had only a mere expectancy; and (2) state law does not recognize a tort for intentional interference with an inheritance or gift.View "Manon v. Orr" on Justia Law

State v. Hansen

Defendant was convicted of arson, conspiracy, and aiding the consummation of a felony for conspiring with her employee to burn down a house that was owned and insured by her friend. Defendant paid off her employee with household goods. Defendant appealed, arguing that the evidence was insufficient to support her conviction for aiding in the consummation of a felony. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that the record lacked sufficient evidence to show that Defendant intentionally aided another in profiting from the arson. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) by purchasing household goods for her employee as compensation for the arson, Defendant intentionally aided her employee in enjoying the returns or proceeds from his commission of the crime; and (2) therefore, the evidence was sufficient to support Defendant’s conviction for aiding the consummation of a felony.View "State v. Hansen" on Justia Law

In re Interest of Shayla H.

Father had custody of his three minor children that were “Indian children” within the meaning of the federal Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) and the Nebraska Indian Child Welfare Act (NICWA). The children were adjudicated as being within Neb. Rev. Stat. 43-247(3)(a) because they lacked proper parental care. The juvenile court determined that it was in the children’s best interests for Father to have only physical custody and awarded legal custody of the children to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). The court of appeals reversed, holding that the juvenile court erred by not addressing at the dispositional hearing whether the State made “active efforts,” as required by ICWA/NICWA, to return the children’s legal custody to Father. The State appealed, arguing that the “active efforts” standard did not apply to the disposition in this case, but rather, the “reasonable efforts” standard applicable in cases involving non-Indian children applied. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that at any point in an involuntary juvenile proceeding involving Indian children at which a party is required to demonstrate its efforts to reunify or prevent the breakup of the family, the “active efforts” standard of ICWA/NICWA applies.View "In re Interest of Shayla H." on Justia Law

State v. Payne

Pursuant to a plea agreement, Defendant pled no contest to first degree sexual assault of a child. Defendant did not file a direct appeal. Defendant later filed a second amended motion for postconviction relief, alleging that his trial counsel were ineffective for, among other things, advising him to plead no contest. The district court denied the motion without an evidentiary hearing, concluding that Defendant’s claims were procedurally barred due to his failure to file a direct appeal. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Defendant’s claims were not procedurally barred because Defendant’s trial counsel was still serving as counsel during the period in which the direct appeal could have been filed. Remanded.View "State v. Payne" on Justia Law

Charleen J. v. Blake O.

In 2010, the district court for Boone County issued a default judgment of paternity against the father of a child born out of wedlock. In 2013, the mother filed a complaint for custody in the district court for Madison County, where all parties lived. The district court for Madison County ultimately dismissed the case and vacated its prior orders, concluding that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction because the child’s paternity had been decided by the district court for Boone County. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that because the district court for Boone County did not transfer the cause or otherwise relinquish its continuing jurisdictional priority, the district court did not err in vacating its orders and dismissing the complaint.View "Charleen J. v. Blake O." on Justia Law

Huskey v. Huskey

Upon the divorce of Mother and Father, Mother was awarded custody of the parties’ two children, and Father was granted parenting time. Thereafter, Mother joined the military and was assigned to Fort Benning, Georgia for a one-year period. Pursuant to Neb. Rev. Stat. 43-2929.01, which affords procedural protections in cases involving child custody and parenting time to military parents affected by mobilization or deployment, the district court permitted the children to relocate to Georgia with Mother for the remainder of her temporary assignment. Father appealed. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal, holding that the Legislature did not intend for appellate review of truly temporary orders entered pursuant to section 43-2929.01(4)(a), and therefore, the Court lacked jurisdiction over the appeal.View "Huskey v. Huskey" on Justia Law