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

In re Interest of Justine J.

The State petitioned to remove Mother’s two daughters, age fourteen and age eleven, from Mother’s home and to terminate Mother’s parental rights to the girls. The juvenile court found that the children came within the meaning of Neb. Rev. Stat. 435-292(1) (abandonment) and (9) (aggravated circumstances) insofar as Mother was concerned, but the court also found that termination of Mother’s parental rights to the two girls was not in the girls’ best interests. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the juvenile court did not commit plain error in finding that there was not clear and convincing evidence that termination of Mother’s parental rights was in the children’s best interests. View "In re Interest of Justine J." on Justia Law

Dean v. State

In 1989, James Dean and Ada JoAnn Taylor (Appellees) were swept into the investigation into the 1985 death of Helen Wilson. Both Appellees ultimately confessed to their involvement in Wilson’s murder after receiving “help” from law enforcement officers to remember the details of the crime. DNA tests later determined that neither Appellee had any involvement in the crime. Appellees subsequently received pardons. In 2010, Appellees brought actions against the State pursuant to the Nebraska Claims for Wrongful Conviction and Imprisonment Act. The district court found in favor of Appellees and awarded each of them damages. The State appealed, arguing that Appellees could not recover under the Act because they made false statements in connection with the crime. Dean cross-appealed, challenging his damages award. The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment as to the State’s liability but reversed and vacated the award of damages, holding (1) the district court did not err in its interpretation of the phrase “false statement” or in finding that Appellees did not make false statements under the Act; and (2) because the district court did not clearly state whether its damage award to Dean was based on his actual damages without regard to the statutory cap, Dean’s damage award must be recalculated. View "Dean v. State" on Justia Law

Christiansen v. County of Douglas

Beginning in 1974, Douglas County’s retired employees paid the same amount as active employees for health insurance coverage. In 2009, the County Board of Commissioners adopted a resolution that charged retirees premiums that were higher than the rate paid by active employees. Shortly before the change was to take effect, retired employees of the County (Plaintiffs) sued the County. The district court entered judgment in favor of Plaintiffs, concluding that equitable estoppel prohibited the County from increasing the premiums to be paid by the retirees above those paid by active employees. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that because the retirees had no contractual right to pay the same premiums as active employees, the district court erred in using equitable estoppel to create such a contractual obligation. Remanded with direction to enter judgment for the County on Plaintiffs’ claims. View "Christiansen v. County of Douglas" on Justia Law

In re 2007 Appropriations of Niobrara River Waters

Nebraska Department of Natural Resources (NPPD) was the owner or lessee of three water appropriations to divert water from the Niobrara River for hydropower generation. In 2007, the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources (Department) issued closing notices to several hundred junior appropriators, including Joe McClaren Ranch, LLC and Weinreis Brothers (the junior appropriators), directing them to cease water diversions from the Niobrara in favor of NPPD’s senior appropriations. The junior appropriators challenged the Department’s administration of the Niobrara and sought to stay any future closing notices. After a second hearing on remand, the Department denied the junior appropriators’ claims. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the Department (1) erred in admitting certain evidence relating to the statutory procedure for cancellation of appropriations, but the error was harmless; (2) did not err in finding that the junior appropriators failed to prove NPPD had abandoned or statutorily forfeited its appropriations; (3) did not err in determining that it had property determined the flow demand for NPPD’s appropriations; and (4) did not err in failing to conduct a futile call analysis on the main stem of the Niobrara. View "In re 2007 Appropriations of Niobrara River Waters" on Justia Law

Warner v. Simmons

Appellant suffered a legal injury when she fell while using a wooden plank walkway at a cabin owned by Lee Simmons, doing business as Niobrara River Ranch, LLC (Niobrara Ranch). Appellant filed an amended complaint against Simmons and Niobrara Ranch (together, Defendants), alleging negligence for failure to inspect the premises, to maintain the premises in a reasonably safe manner, or to warn Appellant of the dangerous condition on the premises. The jury returned a verdict in favor of Defendants. On appeal, Appellant contended that the Nebraska jury instruction on burden of proof in premises condition liability cases is not compatible with Nebraska’s comparative fault statute. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the trial court did not err in giving the contested jury instruction, as it was a correct statement of the law regarding a plaintiff’s burden of proof in premises condition liability cases. View "Warner v. Simmons" on Justia Law

Simmons v. Precast Haulers, Inc.

Michael Simmons was employed by Precast Haulers, Inc. when he sustained extensive injuries to his whole body during the course of his employment. Precast Haulers conceded that Michael’s injuries and the related medical bills were compensable. In addition, the trial court ordered Precast Haulers to (1) provide and pay for custom wheelchairs and a wheelchair-accessible van, (2) reimburse Michael for home health care services provided by his wife, and (3) pay for Michael’s attorney fees. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) there was sufficient competent evidence to establish that a wheelchair-accessible van was an “appliance” that would help restore Michael’s health; (2) sufficient competent evidence supported the award of compensation for Michael’s spouse for “on-call” nursing hours; and (3) the trial court did not err in the amount of attorney fees it awarded. View "Simmons v. Precast Haulers, Inc." on Justia Law

In re Interest of Joseph S.

The State filed an amended petition seeking termination of Mother’s parental rights to her three minor children, alleging the children were within the meaning of Neb. Rev. Stat. 43-292(2) because Mother had substantially and continuously or repeatedly neglected and refused to give necessary parental care and protection. The juvenile court ordered the children to remain in the temporary custody of the Department of Health and Human Services, finding that the State had failed to present a prima facie case that termination of Mother’s parental rights was appropriate under section 43-292(2). The court of appeals affirmed, holding that Mother’s noncompliance with voluntary State-offered services was not acceptable evidence to be used to satisfy the requirements of section 43-292(2). The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the State made at least a prima facie case that the requirements of section 43-292(2) were met due to Mother’s history of drug use and improper supervision. Remanded. View "In re Interest of Joseph S." on Justia Law