Justia Nebraska Supreme Court Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Labor & Employment Law

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Plaintiff brought an employment discrimination suit against her former employers, alleging that she had been unlawfully terminated in violation of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA). The district court granted partial summary judgment for Pierce on the issue of whether the employers were “integrated” for purposes of the FMLA. After an ensuing trial, the jury returned a verdict on both the FMLA and the ADAAA claims. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the trial court did not err in granting partial summary judgment and finding as a matter of law that the employers were integrated for purposes of the FMLA; (2) the trial court did not abuse its discretion in ruling on Plaintiff’s motions in limine; and (3) there was sufficient evidence to support the verdict. View "Pierce v. Landmark Mgmt. Group" on Justia Law

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Appellant sustained injuries in an accident arising out of and in the course of his employment. Appellant filed a petition in the workers’ compensation court seeking temporary and permanent disability benefits. The compensation court awarded Appellant temporary total disability benefits for the period from August 10, 2010 to December 8, 2010 and permanent total disability benefits starting May 2, 2014. The court declined to award Appellant future medical expenses, penalties, attorney fees, or interest. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding that the compensation court (1) did not commit reversible error in excluding the deposition of a doctor that had been taken in connection with a separate negligence action; (2) did not err when it did not award future medical expenses; but (3) erred in denying temporary total disability benefits for the period from December 9, 2010 through May 1, 2014 without providing an explanation which formed the basis for its ruling. Remanded. View "Tchikobava v. Albatross Express, LLC" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff’s employment as captain in the Washington County sheriff’s office was terminated after an investigation into his conduct. Plaintiff filed suit against the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 36 and Michael Robinson, the County sheriff, alleging (1) as against Lodge No. 36, breach of contract arising from the Lodge’s refusal to provide representation after he requested it, and (2) as against Robinson, interference with a business relationship, alleging that Robinson obstructed the Lodge’s ability to fulfill its duty of fair representation. The district court granted Defendants’ motions to dismiss. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court (1) did not err in dismissing Plaintiff’s amended complaint for failure to file a grievance and in concluding that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction; and (2) did not err in finding that Plaintiff was immune from suit under the doctrine of sovereign immunity. View "Lamb v. Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 36" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff’s employment as captain in the Washington County sheriff’s office was terminated after an investigation into his conduct. Plaintiff filed suit against the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 36 and Michael Robinson, the County sheriff, alleging (1) as against Lodge No. 36, breach of contract arising from the Lodge’s refusal to provide representation after he requested it, and (2) as against Robinson, interference with a business relationship, alleging that Robinson obstructed the Lodge’s ability to fulfill its duty of fair representation. The district court granted Defendants’ motions to dismiss. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court (1) did not err in dismissing Plaintiff’s amended complaint for failure to file a grievance and in concluding that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction; and (2) did not err in finding that Plaintiff was immune from suit under the doctrine of sovereign immunity. View "Lamb v. Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 36" on Justia Law

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After EyeCare Specialties, P.C. of Lincoln terminated the employment of Cindy Marshall, Marshall sued, alleging that EyeCare discriminated against her because of her skin condition, tremors, and perceived disability related to her past prescription drug abuse. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of EyeCare. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) a genuine issue of material fact existed concerning whether EyeCare discriminated against Marshall because of her skin condition and tremors, both of which EyeCare perceived to substantially limit Marshall’s ability to work; and (2) Marshall failed to present evidence that EyeCare discriminated against her for having a perceived drug addiction that substantially limited one or more major life activities. View "Marshall v. EyeCare Specialties, P.C." on Justia Law

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The Omaha Police Officers Association (Union) and the City of Omaha (City) entered into a collective bargaining agreement that was to remain in effect from 2008 until 2013. In 2014, the Union filed a complaint against the City requesting that the district court declare that the collective bargaining agreement between the Union and the City had rolled over to the 2014 calendar year. In support of its complaint, the Union claimed that the City did not timely provide written notice of its intent to negotiate or modify the terms of the contract for 2014. The City, in turn, argued that the Union’s action was barred by the doctrines of waiver and equitable estoppel. The district court granted summary judgment to the Union. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the City failed to establish the required elements of equitable estoppel; (2) the Union did not waive its stated intention to allow the Contract to extend for another year; and (3) the district court did not abuse its discretion in ordering the parties to pay their own attorney fees. View "Omaha Police Union Local 101 v. City of Omaha" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed a disability discrimination action under the Nebraska Fair Employment Practice Act, alleging that his Employer was aware of his disabilities and discriminated against him under the Act and that his Employer terminated his employment for violating standards or conditions of employment that did not apply to employees without disabilities. The jury returned a verdict for the Employer. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the trial court erred in excluding testimony by a vocational rehabilitation counselor that was relevant to show the Employer’s knowledge and previous accommodation of Plaintiff’s mental impairments after a work-related accident, and the error was prejudicial. Remanded for a new trial. View "Arens v. NEBCO Inc." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff, a registered nurse employed by Good Samaritan Hospital, commenced this action in the Workers’ Compensation Court alleging that mental injuries she received as the result of three assaults that occurred during the course of her employment rendered her unable to work. The compensation court found in favor of Plaintiff, concluding that Plaintiff sustained a 100 percent loss of earning power due to the psychological injuries. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the compensation court was not clearly wrong in finding that Plaintiff suffered from major depressive disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder as a result of her psychological injury while working for Good Samaritan and that she was left permanently and totally disabled as a result. View "Hynes v. Good Samaritan Hosp." on Justia Law

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Hamilton County EMS Association, IAFF Local 4956 (Union) filed a petition with Nebraska’s Commission of Industrial Relations (CIR) seeking to become the exclusive bargaining agent for employees of the Hamilton Coutny Ambulance Service. Hamilton County objected to the inclusion of two shift captains of the Union in the bargaining unit. The CIR concluded that the captains were not statutory supervisors under Nebraska’s Industrial Relations Act and could be included with the nonsupervisors’ bargaining unit. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the CIR did not err in classifying the two shift captains as nonsupervisors and allowing them to take part in the workers’ bargaining unit. View "Hamilton County EMS Ass’n v. Hamilton County" on Justia Law

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Appellee suffered an accident arising out of and in the course of his employment. The Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Court awarded temporary benefits to Appellee. Nearly three years later, Employer petitioned to modify the award, alleging that Appellee had reached maximum medical improvement and had experienced a decrease in incapacity. The compensation court found that Appellee had reached maximum medical improvement. After a trial held on Employer’s petition to modify, the compensation court then filed a “Further Award,” determining that Appellee was permanently and totally disabled. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the compensation err did not err when it (1) admitted and relied upon reports of a psychiatrist and a neurologist when it considered Appellee’s preexisting mental and cognitive deficits in determining the extent of his disability; and (2) applied the odd-lot doctrine and found that Appellee was permanently and totally disabled. View "Gardner v. Int’l Paper Destruction & Recycling" on Justia Law