Justia Nebraska Supreme Court Opinion Summaries

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Hamilton County EMS Association, IAFF Local 4956 (Union) filed a petition with Nebraska’s Commission of Industrial Relations (CIR) seeking to become the exclusive bargaining agent for employees of the Hamilton Coutny Ambulance Service. Hamilton County objected to the inclusion of two shift captains of the Union in the bargaining unit. The CIR concluded that the captains were not statutory supervisors under Nebraska’s Industrial Relations Act and could be included with the nonsupervisors’ bargaining unit. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the CIR did not err in classifying the two shift captains as nonsupervisors and allowing them to take part in the workers’ bargaining unit. View "Hamilton County EMS Ass’n v. Hamilton County" on Justia Law

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In 2000, Employee began working for Employer on Employer's farmland. Employee alleged that Employer promised him eighty acres of farmland if he continued his employment for ten years. Although Employee worked for Employer for more than ten years, Employer never signed over the eighty acres to Employee and subsequently terminated Employee’s employment. Employee filed a complaint against Employer for breach of contract. The district court concluded that the part performance exception to the statute of frauds applied in this case and granted Employee specific performance of the contract. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the court of appeal improperly relied upon Employee’s testimony as to his intent because to prove part performance, the alleged acts of performance must establish the exception without the aid of such testimony; but (2) there was other sufficient evidence to support the grant of specific performance in Employee’s favor. View "Ficke v. Wolken" on Justia Law
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In 1998, Appellant was convicted of first degree murder and other crimes. These appeals were based upon Appellant’s third motion for postconviction relief. The district court denied the motion without a hearing. Appellant appealed from the denial of his postconviction motion in case No. S-14-931. Appellant also filed a motion to proceed in forma pauperis on appeal, which the district court denied. Appellant filed an appeal from this denial in case No. S-14-1073. The Supreme Court (1) affirmed the judgment in case No. S-14-1073, holding that the district court did not err in denying Appellant’s application to proceed in forma pauperis; but (2) gave Appellant thirty days in which to pay the statutory docket fee for the appeal docketed as case No. S-14-931. View "State v. Sims" on Justia Law
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NAMN, LLC filed this action against Bernard Morello seeking, among other relief, an order declaring that a permanent easement existed over Morello’s property to allow vehicular access to NAMN’s property. The district court ruled that NAMN had a permanent easement implied from prior use for vehicle ingress and egress over Morello’s property and that NAMN was entitled to make reasonable upgrades to the easement. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court (1) did not err when it granted an easement to NAMN, as the equities did not preclude the relief granted to NAMN; (2) applied the correct legal standard as to the degree of necessity required for an easement implied by prior use; and (3) did not err when it granted an easement in favor of NAMN where the land abutted a public road. View "NAMN LLC v. Morello" on Justia Law

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After the filing of a partition of real estate action, the parties entered into a joint stipulation agreeing to sell the property at public auction. Following the sale, Plaintiffs sought confirmation of the sale and asked the court to approve the payment of fees and costs. After an evidentiary hearing, the district court awarded Plaintiff’s attorney, under the terms of the stipulation, fees in the amount of $5,224. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court (1) correctly concluded that attorney fees were not available under statutory law or case law regarding partition; and (2) did not abuse its discretion in interpreting the stipulation to limit fees to those incurred in connection with the responsibilities listed in the stipulation. View "Labenz v. Labenz" on Justia Law

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Appellant entered a plea of no contest to second degree murder. The court of appeals affirmed Appellant’s conviction and sentence. Appellant later filed a pro se motion for postconviction relief, raising various claims of ineffective assistance of counsel. The district court dismissed Appellant’s postconviction motion without an evidentiary hearing, concluding that the motion was time barred because it was filed more than one year following the conclusion of Appellant’s direct appeal. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Appellant’s argument that the limitation period did not begin to run until the time for him to file a petition for a writ of certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court had expired was without merit; and (2) the limitation period was not tolled during a period when Appellant was in federal custody and not in the custody of the State of Nebraska. View "State v. Huggins" on Justia Law
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Appellee suffered an accident arising out of and in the course of his employment. The Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Court awarded temporary benefits to Appellee. Nearly three years later, Employer petitioned to modify the award, alleging that Appellee had reached maximum medical improvement and had experienced a decrease in incapacity. The compensation court found that Appellee had reached maximum medical improvement. After a trial held on Employer’s petition to modify, the compensation court then filed a “Further Award,” determining that Appellee was permanently and totally disabled. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the compensation err did not err when it (1) admitted and relied upon reports of a psychiatrist and a neurologist when it considered Appellee’s preexisting mental and cognitive deficits in determining the extent of his disability; and (2) applied the odd-lot doctrine and found that Appellee was permanently and totally disabled. View "Gardner v. Int’l Paper Destruction & Recycling" on Justia Law

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This case arose from an automobile accident that occurred when the vehicle being driven by William Webster struck the vehicle being driven by Marcus Williams. Williams sued the City of Omaha, alleging that, at the time of the crash, Webster was fleeing to avoid apprehension by a police cruiser that was actively attempting to apprehend Webster. Therefore, Williams argued, the City was strictly liable for all of his damages under the pursuit statue, Neb. Rev. Stat. 13-911. The City argued that the pursuit statute did not apply because the officers intended only to stop the vehicle and not to “apprehend” Webster. The district court entered judgment in favor of Williams, finding that the City was strictly liable for Williams’ damages. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the district court did not err in concluding that the police officers made an active attempt to apprehend Webster prior to the collision; and (2) because the other requirements for a pursuit under Neb. Rev. Stat. 13-911 were satisfied, the officers’ pursuit of Webster was a proximate cause of the collision. View "Williams v. City of Omaha" on Justia Law
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Appellee, a corrections officer for the Douglas County Department of Corrections, sustained a concussion while aiding her supervisor, who was having a seizure. The collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between Douglas County and the Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge No. 8 provided “injured on duty” (IOD) benefits to Department employees who are injured while performing a high-risk duty. The Department’s director denied Appellee IOD benefits. Appellee filed this declaratory judgment action alleging that IOD benefits are wages under the Nebraska Wage Payment and Collection Act and that the County violated the Act by denying her these benefits. The court concluded that Appellee was entitled to IOD benefits and also awarded her attorney fees under the Wage Act. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the court correctly ruled that Appellee was injured while performing a high-risk duty. View "Timberlake v. Douglas County" on Justia Law

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The district court issue a decree of dissolution dissolving the marriage of Dale Coufal and Lavon Coufal. The court included in the marital estate the increase in value of the premarital portion of Dale’s public employee’s retirement account. Prior to the parties’ marriage, the increase in value was fixed and guaranteed by statute, but the interest accrued during the marriage. The district court concluded that the increase in value was part of the martial estate because it was accumulated and acquired during the course of the marriage through the joint efforts of the parties. The Supreme Court reversed in part, holding that the district court abused its discretion by including as a marital asset the increase in value of the nonmarital portion of the retirement account, as such increase in value was not due to the efforts or contribution of marital funds by the parties during the marriage and was readily identifiable and traceable to the nonmarital portion of the account. View "Coufal v. Coufal" on Justia Law
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