Justia Nebraska Supreme Court Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Employment Law

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Appellant, an over-the-road truck driver, filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits, alleging that he sustained injuries in the form of deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism in an accident that occurred during the course and scope of his employment. The compensation court applied a split test of causation used in heart attack cases, which requires proof of both legal and medical causation. The court then dismissed Appellant’s claim for failure to establish the medical cause prong. The Supreme Court affirmed the dismissal of Appellant’s claim, holding (1) the split test was properly applied to Appellant’s injuries in this case, as deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism present the same difficulties in attributing the cause of a heart attack to a claimant’s work and are similar in origin to a heart attack; and (2) the compensation court’s finding as to causation was not clearly wrong.View "Wingfield v. Hill Bros. Transp., Inc." on Justia Law

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In 2009, Appellant suffered injuries to both of his knees in a work-related accident. Appellant filed a request for loss of earning compensation. The Workers’ Compensation Court concluded that, notwithstanding findings of permanent impairment, because no permanent physical restrictions were specifically assigned by an expert for Appellant’s left knee, the court could not perform a loss of earning capacity calculation authorized under the third paragraph of Neb. Rev. Stat. 48-121(3) and that Appellant was thus limited to scheduled member compensation. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the compensation court erred as a matter of law in concluding that there must be expert opinion of permanent physical restrictions as to each injured member in order to perform a loss of earning capacity calculation under section 48-121(3). Remanded.View "Rodgers v. Neb. State Fair" on Justia Law

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Matthew Kim was working at a retail clothing store when the store was robbed and Kim was shot multiple times. Kim filed for workers’ compensation benefits. The Workers’ Compensation Court found (1) Kim was entitled to temporary total disability (TTD) benefits; (2) Kim’s inpatient treatment for chemical dependency, as well as an emergency room visit were compensable; and (3) Kim was entitled to payment of future medical expenses. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the compensation court (1) was not clearly wrong in finding Kim temporarily totally disabled and awarding him TTD benefits; (2) did not err in finding that the emergency room visit was related to the shooting and was compensable; (3) did not err in concluding that the inpatient treatment was compensable; and (4) did not err in finding that Kim was entitled to future medical expenses.View "Kim v. Gen-X Clothing, Inc." on Justia Law

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In 2007, Plaintiff was hired as a salesperson at Planet Group, Inc. As part of his employment, Plaintiff signed a Sales Compensation Plan, which set out the requirements for when a commission was earned and how it would be paid. In 2009, Plaintiff’s employment was terminated. Plaintiff filed an amended complaint against Planet Group, alleging that he was owed commissions on four of the projects he was working on that were ongoing at the time of his termination. The district court granted partial summary judgment to Planet Group on three of the projects, finding that the Compensation Plan required a signed contract prior to a commission’s being paid. Plaintiff appealed, arguing that Neb. Rev. Stat. 48-1229(4) does not permit an employer and an employee to contractually define when a commission becomes payable as “wages,” and therefore, he was entitled to commissions for two of the three projects at issue. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the 2007 legislative amendments to section 48-1229(4) allow an employer and employee to contractually define when a commission becomes payable; and (2) therefore, the commissions for the two projects were not payable to Plaintiff under the Compensation Plan.View "Coffey v. Planet Group, Inc." on Justia Law

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Appellant was a temporary employee at the University of Nebraska. After the University considering terminating Appellant’s employment, human resources completed a “threat assessment” in relation to the termination, which noted Appellant’s criminal record and history of becoming upset over discussion of work performance. When the University decided to terminate Appellant, an e-mail was circulated warning coworkers to alert campus police and lock their doors if they saw Appellant. Appellant filed this action under 42 U.S.C. 1983 against the University Board of Regents and two of its managers, making a “stigma plus” claim that he was deprived of a liberty interest in his good name without due process of law. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Defendants, concluding (1) there was no genuine issue of material fact that Appellant had not sufficiently suffered a constitutional violation; (2) the Board of Regents was shielded by sovereign immunity; and (3) the individual defendants were protected by qualified sovereign immunity because the alleged violation was not clearly established. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err in its judgment.View "Potter v. Bd. of Regents of Univ. of Neb." on Justia Law