Stauffer v. Benson

Appellees, husband and wife, entered into an agreement with Appellant under which Appellees were to purchase Appellant’s undivided one-third interest in a 160-acre parcel of real estate. Appellant subsequently backed out of the purchase agreement, and Appellees filed a breach of contract action against Appellant. A bench trial was held, at which time Appellant no longer had title to the property. The district court found in favor of Appellees and awarded damages, concluding that Appellant had breached the purchase agreement by refusing to sell her interest in the property to Appellees. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err in determining that Appellant breached the purchase agreement and failing to find repudiation of the contract. View "Stauffer v. Benson" on Justia Law

State v. Kudlacz

Appellant pled guilty to one count of issuing a bad check. Upon satisfactory completion of the conditions of his probation, the district court entered an order releasing Appellant from probation. Appellant then moved to set aside his conviction pursuant to Neb. Rev. Stat. 29-2264(2). The district court denied Appellant’s motion, concluding that because the conditions of Appellant’s probation included confinement in the county jail, Appellant did not fall within the class of persons whose convictions may be set aside pursuant to section 29-2264(2). The Supreme Court reversed, holding that section 29-2264(2) does not preclude relief merely because the person placed on probation was subjected to jail time as a condition of probation. Remanded. View "State v. Kudlacz" on Justia Law

State v. Hessler

Appellant was convicted of first degree murder, kidnapping, and first degree sexual assault on a child. Appellant was sentenced to death on the murder conviction. The Supreme Court affirmed the convictions and sentences on appeal. Appellant filed a petition for postconviction relief, which the district court denied. Appellant then filed a second postconviction petition and sought relief under the common-law writ of error coram nobis. The district court denied postconviction relief, concluding that Appellant failed to raise any ground for relief not previously available to him. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Appellant’s postconviction claims were procedurally barred because they were or could have been litigated on direct appeal or in his previous postconviction petition; and (2) Appellant failed to raise any basis warranting coram nobis relief. View "State v. Hessler" on Justia Law

Schellhorn v. Schmieding

Plaintiffs sought to quiet title in their favor to a disputed parcel of land of which Defendants were the record owners. Defendants filed a cross-claim seeking a prescriptive easement in the event that title was quieted in Plaintiffs. The district court quieted title in favor of Plaintiffs. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err in (1) quieting title of the disputed parcel in Plaintiffs where Plaintiffs did not fail to provide an exact and definite description of the land they claimed to have entered and possessed; and (2) quieting title in Plaintiffs where their adverse possession claim was not barred by the doctrine of laches. View "Schellhorn v. Schmieding" on Justia Law

Jacobson v. Shresta

Virginia Jacobson died from complications after choking on a piece of meat. Jacobson was under the care of Dr. Sherry Shresta and Dr. Gaston Cornu-Labat before she died. Virginia’s husband and the special administrator of Virginia’s estate (collectively, the Jacobsons) filed a wrongful death action against the doctors (Defendants). Defendants filed a motion to bifurcate on the issue of whether Defendants were employees of the hospital, a political subdivision. If Defendants were hospital employees, the Political Subdivisions Tort Claims Act (PSTCA) barred the Jacobsons’ action. Before hearing the bifurcated employment issue, the trial court rejected the Jacobsons’ claim that they were entitled to a jury trial on the employment issue. The district court then dismissed the complaint, finding that Defendants were employees. The court of appeals affirmed, concluding that the Jacobsons had waived their right to a jury trial because they failed to make a timely objection to the bench trial. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the Jacobsons, by their silence, could not have waived their right to a jury trial; but (2) the Jacobsons did not have a right to have a jury decide whether Defendants were political subdivision employees. View "Jacobson v. Shresta" on Justia Law

Correa v. Estate of Hascall

Gloria Correa was involved in a motor vehicle accident with E. Dean Hascall (Hascall). Hascall later died of causes unrelated to the accident. After Hascall’s estate was closed, Correa filed a negligence action against the estate and the estate’s personal representative, Neomi D. Hascall (Neomi). The estate and Neomi moved for summary judgment, arguing that dismissal would be appropriate because Correa filed suit against a closed estate and a discharged personal representative. Correa, however, filed an emergency motion to reopen the estate and assign a special administrator for purposes of service, which was granted. The district court granted summary judgment for the estate and Neomi and denied Correa’s motion for leave to file an amended complaint. The Supreme Court dismissed Correa’s appeal, holding that, because the special administrator was not served within six months of the commencement of this action, the district court lacked jurisdiction over Correa’s claims, and likewise, this Court lacked jurisdiction over Correa’s appeal. View "Correa v. Estate of Hascall" on Justia Law

Breci v. St. Paul Mercury Ins. Co.

A credit union sued former members of the credit union’s board of directors. The former directors submitted the lawsuit to the credit union’s insurer, seeking coverage under the policy. The insurer denied coverage. The former directors sued, seeking a declaratory judgment that the policy covered the credit union’s claims. The district court ruled in favor of the former directors but later reconsidered and granted summary judgment to the insurer. The former directors settled with the credit union while reconsideration was pending. The Supreme Court affirmed the grant of summary judgment for the insurer, holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion in (1) vacating its earlier judgment granting the former directors’ motion for declaratory judgment, as the former directors did not establish that they were entitled to summary or declaratory judgment; and (2) allowing the insurer to amend its answer, as the settlement potentially gave rise to new policy-based defenses that were not barred by equitable estoppel. View "Breci v. St. Paul Mercury Ins. Co." on Justia Law

Tierney v. Four H Land Co. Ltd. P’ship

This case involved a parcel of real estate previously owned by Four H Land Company Limited Partnership (Four H). Four H twice applied for a conditional use permit (CUP) to operate a sand and gravel pit on the property. James Tierney and Jeffrey Tierney objected to the applications. To resolve their dispute, the Tierneys, Four H, and Western Engineering Company (Western), the operator of the sand and gravel pit, entered into an agreement in 1998 in which the Tierneys agreed to waive their right to appeal the issuance of the CUP, and Four H and Western accepted various conditions regarding operation of the sand and gravel pit. In 2009, the Tierneys brought an action for specific performance, alleging that Four H and Western had not fulfilled the conditions of the agreement. The district court dismissed the Tierneys’ complaint for specific performance, concluding that Four H and Western had not met the requirements of the 1998 CUP and the agreement but that specific performance was not an appropriate remedy. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that specific performance was an appropriate remedy for Four H’s and Western’s breach, and the district court should have ordered it. Remanded. View "Tierney v. Four H Land Co. Ltd. P'ship" on Justia Law

Skyline Manor, Inc. v. Rynard

Emerson Link was elected as the resident director of Skyline Manor, Inc., a Nebraska non-profit corporation without members whose management was vested in a board of directors. Skyline owns the Skyline Retirement Community (SRC) in Omaha. After attending and participating in a board meeting, Link filed a derivative action on behalf of Skyline, alleging that five of Skyline’s directors had engaged in financial mismanagement. The district court dismissed the complaint, concluding that Link lacked standing to bring the derivative action because, at the time Link was elected as the resident director, Skyline was not operating SRC as a retirement community, and therefore, Link’s election was null and void. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Link had standing to bring this derivative action because Link was duly elected as the resident director and was serving in that capacity at the time he filed the derivative action. Remanded. View "Skyline Manor, Inc. v. Rynard" on Justia Law

J.M. v. Hobbs

At issue in this case was the Legislature’s amendments to anti-attachment statutes to allow a civil judgment to attach to the distributed retirement assets of State Patrol officers and other public employees who have committed any of six specified crimes. Appellant was a retired State Patrol Officer who was convicted of one of the specified crimes, first degree sexual assault of a child. J.M., the victim’s guardian and conservator, sued Appellant on the victim’s behalf and obtained a civil judgment against Appellant. J.M. subsequently attempted to obtain an order in aid of execution. Appellant challenged the constitutionality of the amendment. The district court concluded that the amendment was unconstitutional as special legislation and dismissed J.M.’s motion. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court correctly determined that the amendment constitutes special legislation. View "J.M. v. Hobbs" on Justia Law