Justia Nebraska Supreme Court Opinion Summaries

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Pursuant to the Nebraska Advantage Act, Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) entered an agreement with the Tax Commissioner with the aim of using incentives set forth in the Act for a project in Platte County. ADM sought a personal property tax exemption for the year 2010 under the Act for property involving agricultural processing equipment. The Department denied the exemption on the grounds that the personal property tax exemption claim had not been timely filed. The Tax Equalization Review Commission (TERC) affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) ADM did not timely file its claim for a personal property tax exemption for the subject property, and therefore ADM was not entitled to the exemption; and (2) TERC did not err when it affirmed the order of the Tax Commission denying ADM’s protest. View "Archer Daniels Midland Co. v. State" on Justia Law

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Melanie M., who lived in North Platte, Nebraska, received benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the Food Stamp Program. In 2014, the Department of Health and Human Services (Department) informed Melanie that it was going to change her benefits. Melanie requested an administrative hearing regarding the proposed changes. The Department informed Melanie that it would hold the hearing in Lincoln, Nebraska and that Melanie could participate in person or telephonically. Before the administrative hearing occurred, Melanie filed a complaint alleging that the Department’s regulations and procedural due process required that the Department grant her a face-to-face hearing at the Department’s North Platte office. The district court granted Defendants’ motion for summary judgment. The Supreme Court (1) affirmed the summary judgment as to Melanie’s due process claim, holding that the due process clause did not require a face-to-face hearing at the North Platte office; but (2) reversed on Melanie’s prayer for relief under the Department’s regulations, holding that the regulations required that the Department hold the face-to-face hearing at the local office. View "Melanie M. v. Winterer" on Justia Law

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After a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of three counts of first degree sexual assault of a child. Defendant was sentenced to fifteen to twenty-five years imprisonment on each count with two counts to be served consecutively and the third to be served concurrently with the other two. The court of appeals remanded the cause after finding plain error in the sentencing and ordered the district court to resentence Defendant’s convictions to be served consecutively to each other. The Supreme Court vacated the district court’s resentencing order and remanded with directions to reinstate the original sentences imposed by the district court, holding that it was not plain error for the district court to sentence Defendant concurrently for his third conviction under Neb. Rev. Stat. 28-319.01. View "State v. Lantz" on Justia Law
By Justia Inc
Posted in: Criminal Law
Updated:

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After voters in School District rejected a bond proposal to construct an addition to existing high school building, School District entered into a lease-purchase agreement with Bank, which agreed to finance the project. Appellants, residents and taxpayers in the school district, sought declaratory and injunctive relief contending that the agreement violated Neb. Rev. Stat. 79-10,105. The trial court denied relief, concluding (1) under section 79-10,105, lease-purchase agreements may be used to make school improvements without the voters’ approval if the project is not funded by bonded debt; and (2) School District in this case did not fund the project through bonded indebtedness. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Appellants’ claims were moot because, as of the time of this appeal, the addition had been completed, but the public interest exception to the mootness doctrine applied; and (2) section 79-10,105 does not prohibit a school district from entering into a lease-purchase agreement to finance a capital construction project if it has not created a nonprofit corporation to issue bonds for the school district, and because there was no evidence that this occurred in this case, School District did not violate section 79-10,105 by entering into the lease-purchase agreement with Bank. View "Nebuda v. Dodge County Sch. Dist. 0062" on Justia Law

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Taxpayer timely filed a 2010 personal property tax return properly listing certain taxable property. The property, however, was not placed on the tax rolls. In 2013, the Colfax County Board of Equalization placed the personal property back on the tax rolls. Taxpayer appealed. The Tax Equalization and Review Commission ultimately decided that the Board’s action was void on the grounds that the Board did not have authority to place the items of personal property on the tax rolls, thereby reversing and vacating the Board’s decision. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the Board’s action in placing Taxpayer’s personal property on the tax rolls for 2010 was void because it lacked statutory authority to do so under Neb. Rev. Stat. 77-1507(1). View "Cargill Meat Solutions Corp. v. Colfax County Bd. of Equalization" on Justia Law

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In 2010, Plaintiffs purchased real estate from Charter West National Bank. Plaintiffs later filed suit, alleging that Charter West represented that the property would be free and clear of all liens but manipulated the language of the deed to reflect that the conveyance was subject to liens of record. Charter West moved to compel arbitration pursuant to the real estate purchase agreement, which contained an arbitration clause. Plaintiffs filed an objection asserting that the arbitration clause was void because it failed to comply with Nebraska’s Uniform Arbitration Act, and the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) was inapplicable because the transaction did not involve interstate commerce. The district court denied the motion to compel arbitration without prejudice based on a lack of evidence that the transaction affected interstate commerce as to trigger the provisions of the FAA. Charter West appealed. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal on the grounds that there was no final, appealable order entered by the district court capable of appellate review. View "Wilczewski v. Charter West Nat'l Bank" on Justia Law

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Chad Johnson and Stewart Minnick entered into an agreement whereby Johnson would purchase farmland he had been renting from Minnick and Minnick’s sister after Minnick’s death. The purchase price of the farmland was to be funded by an insurance policy owned by Johnson on Minnick’s life. After Minnick died, the insurer paid the policy proceeds to Johnson. Johnson tendered the the proceeds of the policy to the personal representative of Minnick’s estate, but the personal representative refused to convey the farmland. Johnson brought this action for specific performance and other relief. The district court concluded that the purchase agreement was unenforceable. The Supreme Court affirmed but under different reasoning from that of the district court, holding (1) the purchase agreement was not specifically enforceable as a matter of law because Johnson lacked an insurable interest in Minnick’s life; and (2) Johnson’s claim for damages was time barred. View "Johnson v. Nelson" on Justia Law
By Justia Inc
Posted in: Contracts
Updated:

By Justia Inc
Plaintiff brought this legal malpractice action for himself and three other individuals for whom he served as attorney in fact (collectively, Plaintiff). Plaintiff named as defendants an attorney and the firm at which the attorney practiced at the time the alleged malpractice occurred (collectively, Attorney), claiming that Attorney negligently failed to obtain signatures on a guaranty for a loan that Plaintiff made to a third party and failed to inform Plaintiff of the missing signatures. When the third party defaulted on the loan, Plaintiff could not obtain a judgment against the intended guarantors for the full amount of the third party’s obligation. A jury returned a general verdict for Attorney. The district court granted Plaintiff’s motion for a new trial, concluding that plain error permeating the proceedings. The Supreme Court vacated the district court’s order sustaining Plaintiff’s motion for a new trial and remanded with instructions to reinstate the judgment for Attorney, holding that the district court incorrectly concluded that plain error permeated the trial and thus abused its discretion in sustaining Plaintiff’s motion for a new trial. View "Balames v. Ginn" on Justia Law

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After a jury trial, Defendant was found guilty of first degree sexual assault and sentenced to imprisonment for thirty to thirty-two years. Defendant filed a pro se petition for a writ of habeas corpus alleging that because he was a foreign national, he had a right to contact the Mexican consulate for advice and assistance with his criminal prosecution and because he was not informed of his rights under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, the district court lost its jurisdiction to proceed to judgment and lacked the legal authority to impose the sentence. The district court denied Defendant’s motion to proceed in forma pauperis on the ground that Defendant’s action was frivolous. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err when it determined that Defendant’s habeas corpus action was frivolous and therefore denied his request to proceed in forma pauperis. View "Gonzalez v. Gage" on Justia Law
By Justia Inc
Posted in: Criminal Law
Updated:

By Justia Inc
Defendant owed $277 to a cash advance company, which assigned the debt to Plaintiff. Plaintiff filed a complaint for the recovery of money in county court, but prior to the entry of judgment, Defendant voluntarily paid Plaintiff the amount sought. Plaintiff subsequently filed a motion for costs of the action. The county court overruled the motion for costs and dismissed the complaint, concluding that Neb. Rev. Stat. 25-1708 precludes an award of costs when there have been voluntary payments made after the action was filed but before judgment was entered. The district court affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the county and district courts erred in interpreting the statute to provide for an exception where the defendant voluntarily paid the plaintiff’s claim before a judgment was entered; and (2) therefore, Plaintiff was entitled to its costs in this action. View "Credit Mgmt. Servs., Inc. v. Jefferson" on Justia Law
By Justia Inc
Posted in: Consumer Law
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