State Farm Fire & Cas. Co. v. Dantzler

State farm Fire & Casualty Company issued a rental dwelling policy to Jerry Dantzler. The tenants of Dantzler’s rental property sued Dantzler for personal injuries allegedly sustained by a Dantzler’s tenant as a result of exposure to lead-based paint. Dantzler tendered the claim to State Farm. State Farm subsequently filed an action for declaratory judgment against Dantzler and the tenants asking for a determination of whether its policy precluded coverage for the tenants’ personal injury claim. The district court granted summary judgment for State Farm, concluding as a matter of law that the pollution exclusion barred coverage under State Farm’s policy. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that a genuine issue of material fact existed as to whether the tenant’s injuries were the result of a “discharge, dispersal, spill, release or escape of pollutants” as described in the pollution exclusion. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that all manners of exposure to lead-based paint involve discharge, dispersal, spill, release, or escape, and therefore, the manner of exposure was not a material fact that prevented summary judgment. Remanded. View "State Farm Fire & Cas. Co. v. Dantzler" on Justia Law

McDougle v. State ex rel. Bruning

Eric McDougle held licenses as a mental health practitioner and as a provisional alcohol and drug counselor. The director of the Division of Public Health of the Department of Health and Human Services (Department) issued an order revoking McDougle’s licenses after finding that McDougle engaged in unprofessional conduct. McDougle petitioned for judicial review, naming the Department and the State as parties to the petition and timely serving process upon them. The State filed a motion to dismiss the petition for review on the ground that McDougle failed to timely request preparation of the official record upon the Department. The district court granted the motion. At issue before the Supreme Court was whether the Department was a “party of record” under the Administrative Procedure Act such that McDougle was not required to timely request the preparation of the official record as a prerequisite to the district court’s jurisdiction over the petition for review. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the Department was properly a party to the petition for review and was properly served with a copy of that petition, and therefore, McDougle was not required to separately serve the Department with a copy of the petition and a request to prepare the official record. Remanded. View "McDougle v. State ex rel. Bruning" on Justia Law

State ex rel. Loontjer v. Gale

The Nebraska Constitution generally prohibits the Legislature from authorizing games of chance but contains an exception for live horseracing under certain conditions. At issue in this case was L.R. 41CA, a resolution to amend Neb. Const. art. III, 24 by permitting wagering on “replayed” horseraces in addition to wagering on live horseraces and specifying how the Legislature must appropriate the proceeds from a tax placed on wagering for live and replayed horseraces. The Secretary of State granted the writ of mandamus sought by the relator in this case, holding (1) the separate-vote provision of Neb. Const. art. XVI, 1 requires the Legislature to present constitutional amendments to voters in a manner that allows them to vote separately on distinct and independent subjects; and (2) L.R. 41CA violates the separate-vote provision, and therefore, article XVI, section 1 bars its placement on the November 2014 general election ballot. View "State ex rel. Loontjer v. Gale" on Justia Law

Weber v. N. Loup River Pub. Power & Irrigation Dist.

William Weber and Dixie Weber irrigated eight tracts of water from the upper Taylor-Ord Canal under contract with North Loup Public Power and Irrigation District. In June 2010, flooding occurred that destroyed a diversion dam that North Loup had utilized to deliver water to irrigators. Due to the extent of the damage, North Loup concluded that water would not be provided to irrigators on the upper Canal during the 2010 irrigation season. At the time of the flooding, the Webers had not yet paid their 2010 irrigation charges. The Webers sued North Loup, alleging breach of contract and negligence and claiming damages resulting from reduced crop yields. The district court granted summary judgment for North Loup, concluding that because the Webers had not paid the 2010 irrigation charges, North Loup had no duty under the contracts to deliver water to the Webers during 2010. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the Webers’ failure to pay was both a nonfulfillment of a condition and a material breach of contract that relieved North Loup of its duty to perform; and (2) the Webers’ negligence claim failed as a matter of law because North Loup owed no duty to the Webers. View "Weber v. N. Loup River Pub. Power & Irrigation Dist." on Justia Law

State v. Rodriguez

After a jury trial, Appellant was convicted for driving under the influence, third offense. The court of appeals affirmed Appellant’s conviction and sentence. The Supreme Court reversed the court of appeals, holding (1) the court of appeals committed reversible error when it affirmed the district court’s overruling of Appellant’s motion to suppress evidence obtained as a result of a traffic stop that was based on an anonymous tip, as, contrary to the district court’s conclusion, there was not reasonable suspicion to justify the traffic stop; and (2) double jeopardy did not preclude a remand for a new trial. Remanded for a new trial. View "State v. Rodriguez" on Justia Law

Kelliher v. Soundy

Michael Kelliher and Travis Soundy had equal membership rights in Clover Investments, LLC, which purchased a bar. Soundy then purchased Kelliher’s interest in Clover. Kelliher and Soundy subsequently negotiated an agreement for Kelliher to earn back his interest in Clover that required Kelliher to manage the bar and make capital improvements. Kelliher fulfilled his duties under the management agreement. Soundy subsequently terminated the management agreement, and the next year, Clover sold the bar to Schijohn, LLC. Kelliher sued Soundy, Clover, and Schijohn and filed a notice of lis pendens against the property. The district court granted partial summary judgment in favor of Schijohn on Kelliher’s quiet title claim. Before trial on the remainder of Kelliher’s claims, the court canceled the notice of lis pendens based on its earlier dismissal of the claim against Schijohn. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) this Court had jurisdiction over the appeal under the collateral order doctrine; and (2) the district court erred when it cancelled the notice of lis pendens, as the perceived merits of the underlying action were not good cause to cancel the notice while time for appeal remained. View "Kelliher v. Soundy" on Justia Law

Brock v. Dunning

Appellant was injured while on duty as a deputy sheriff with the Douglas County sheriff’s office. While Appellant was receiving workers’ compensation benefits, a County employee had Appellant placed under surveillance. The Sheriff’s Office later terminated Plaintiff’s employment on the basis that Appellant had been “untruthful and deceptive” regarding the extent of his injuries. The Douglas County Sheriff’s Merit Commission affirmed the termination. The district court affirmed. Thereafter, Appellant filed a petition in the district court against the Douglas County Sheriff and the County (collectively, Appellees), alleging wrongful discharge in retaliation for having pursued a workers’ compensation claim and violations of 42 U.S.C. 1983 based on three theories of liability. The district court granted Appellees’ motion for summary judgment. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err when it determined (1) Appellant’s first cause of action was barred under Neb. Rev. Stat. 13-919(1); and (2) Appellees did not violate Appellant’s constitutional right to property, right to freedom of speech, or right to privacy. View "Brock v. Dunning" on Justia Law

Big John’s Billiards, Inc. v. State

In 2008, the Nebraska Legislature amended the Nebraska Clean Indoor Act to prohibit smoking in public places and places of employment. Four indoor facilities were exempted from that prohibition. Plaintiff, a corporation that operates a billiards hall, filed an action seeking a declaratory judgment that the Act was unconstitutional. Specifically, Plaintiff claimed that three exemptions from the Act violated the prohibition against special legislation. The district court concluded that the exemptions for guest rooms, tobacco retail outlets, and cigar bars were unconstitutional special legislation. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding (1) the exemptions for tobacco retail outlets and cigar bars are unconstitutional special legislation which are severable from the Act; (2) the exemption for guest rooms is not special legislation; and (3) the Act is not an unconstitutional impairment of contract or an unconstitutional regulatory taking. View "Big John's Billiards, Inc. v. State" on Justia Law

Telrite Corp. v. Neb. Pub. Serv. Comm’n

Telrite Corporation was designated as an eligible telecommunications carrier and a Nebraska eligible telecommunications carrier by the Nebraska Public Service Commission (PSC). The designation allowed Telrite to participate in the “Lifeline” program and receive subsidies from federal and state funds for the provision of telecommunications service to low-income households. Soon after receiving its designations, Telrite held its first enrollment event in Omaha. Telrite, however, used the wrong enrollment form at the event. Consequently, the PSC revoked Telrite’s ETC designation and ordered Telrite to cease and desist from offering services as a Lifeline provider in Nebraska. The Supreme Court reversed the order, holding that the penalty ordered by the PSC was excessive. Remanded. View "Telrite Corp. v. Neb. Pub. Serv. Comm'n" on Justia Law

Hoppens v. Neb. Dep’t of Motor Vehicles

A police officer found Appellant in the driver’s seat of a vehicle parked in an Omaha Police Department parking lot. The officer observed signs of intoxication and placed Appellant under arrest. Appellant declined the take a chemical test. Following an administrative license revocation hearing, the Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) revoked Appellant’s driving privileges for one year. Appellant petitioned for review, arguing that he was on private property not open to public access, and therefore, the DMV did not have jurisdiction to revoke his license. The district court dismissed Appellant’s petition. The Supreme Court affirmed the revocation of Appellant’s driving privileges, holding that the arresting officer’s sworn report did not need to state or support an inference that the motor vehicle was driven or operated on property open to public access to confer jurisdiction on the DMV. View "Hoppens v. Neb. Dep't of Motor Vehicles " on Justia Law