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

In re Interest of Nathaniel M.

The county court for Madison County, sitting as a juvenile court, committed thirteen-year-old Nathaniel to a youth rehabilitation and treatment center. The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services appealed, arguing that the court did not have the authority under Neb. Rev. Stat. 43-286(1)(b)(i) to commit the juvenile when he was under the age of fourteen. Nathaniel was discharged from the rehabilitation and treatment center after the appeals were filed, causing the appeals to become moot. Acknowledging that the cases were moot, the Department asked the Supreme Court to decide them under the public interest exception to the doctrine of mootness. The Supreme Court declined to do so and dismissed the appeals, holding that, based on the manner in which the cases became moot and the possibility that the issue presented was one of last impression, the public exception to the mootness doctrine did not apply.View "In re Interest of Nathaniel M." on Justia Law

Shepard v. Houston

Neb. Rev. Stat. 29-4106(2) provides for retroactive application of its requirement that inmates convicted of a felony sex offense or other specified offense submit a DNA sample before being discharged from confinement. The statute further provides that an inmate will forfeit his past and future good time credit if the inmate refuses to submit a DNA sample. George Shepard was an inmate who was sentenced before the passage of section 29-4106(2) and refused to submit a DNA sample. Facing the impending forfeiture of his good time credit, Shepard filed a complaint for declaratory judgment challenging the application of section 29-4106 as violative of the prohibition against ex post facto laws. The district court declared section 29-4106(2) unconstitutional under the Ex Post Facto Clauses of the federal and state Constitutions as applied to Shepard. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err in determining that the retroactive application of section 29-4106(2) violates the constitutional prohibition against ex post facto laws.View "Shepard v. Houston" on Justia Law