Justia Nebraska Supreme Court Opinion Summaries

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals dismissing Appellant's appeal from an order of the county court that ruled on Appellant's petition for trust administration, holding that the order from which Appellant attempted to appeal was not a final order.Appellant filed a petition for trust administration proceeding with regarding to a family trust. After the county court entered its order ruling on the petition Appellant appealed. The court of appeals dismissed the appeal. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the county court's ruling was not a final order in the trust administration proceeding; and (2) therefore, this Court lacked jurisdiction to hear this appeal. View "In re Estate of Scaletta" on Justia Law

Posted in: Trusts & Estates
by
The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the probate court denying a petition to assess state inheritance tax under Neb. Rev. Stat. 77-2002(1)(b) on real property that Decedents had deeded to their daughter (Daughter) decades prior while continuing to exercise control over and paying taxes on the property until they died, holding that the property was subject to Nebraska inheritance tax under section 77-2002(1)(b).Daughter brought this petition to assess state inheritance taxes on the subject real property. The county court concluded that the property should not be included in the Decedents' estate for purposes of inheritance tax because it was not "intended to take effect in possession or enjoyment, after his or her death." The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the stipulated facts showed that Decedents intended to retain possession and enjoyment of the property until death; and (2) therefore, the property was subject to Nebraska inheritance tax under section 77-2002(1)(b). View "In re Estate of Lofgreen" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court denying Appellant's petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to Neb. Rev. Stat. 25-217, holding that the petition did not state a cognizable ground for relief.Appellant pled no contest to attempted first degree sexual assault and was sentenced to a term of imprisonment. Appellant later filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus alleging that his conviction and sentence were void. The district court dismissed the action without prejudice pursuant to section 25-217. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the district court erred when it dismissed the habeas petition pursuant to section 25-217 because section 25-217 has no application to habeas corpus proceedings; and (2) upon de novo review, it was proper to dismiss the petition for writ of habeas corpus because none of the allegations in the petition set forth facts which, if true, would entitle Appellant to habeas relief. View "Childs v. Frakes" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court dismissing this complaint brought by Plaintiffs, Central States Development, LLC and Saint James Apartment Partners, against Defendants, Elizabeth Friedgut and the law firm of DLA Piper, LLP, holding that dismissal was proper.Friedgut, as DLA's employee, represented Plaintiffs in a dispute with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. Plaintiffs later brought a negligence case against Defendants in connection with that representation. The district court dismissed the complaint, concluding that Defendants did not have the requisite minimum contacts with Nebraska to establish personal jurisdiction. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err in dismissing the complaint for lack of personal jurisdiction. View "Central States Development v. Friedgut" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant's conviction of murder in the first degree and criminal conspiracy to commit first degree murder and his sentence of death, holding that Defendant was not entitled to relief on his allegations of error on appeal.Specifically, the Supreme Court held (1) there was no merit to Defendant's challenges to the death qualification of his jury; (2) the trial court did not err by refusing to sever the trials on the charges for first degree murder and conspiracy to commit first degree murder; (3) the court’s release of the victim’s mother from sequestration after she testified was not an abuse of discretion; (4) the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying Defendant's motions for a mistrial and a new trial after a verbal outburst and act of self-harm in front of the jury; and (5) Defendant's constitutional challenges to Nebraska's sentencing scheme were unavailing. View "State v. Trail" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law
by
The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the juvenile court granting a change of placement for Jordon B., holding that there was no error in the proceedings below.The juvenile court granted temporary custody of Jordon to Foster Parents based on concerns that Mother and Father were not able to care for him. After the court adjudicated Jordon to be a child within the meaning of Neb. Rev. Stat. 43-247(3)(a) the court approved a case plan with a primary permanency plan of reunification. Mother subsequently filed a motion for change of placement. Foster Parents filed a motion to intervene, as did Stepbrother, the adult stepbrother to Jordon. The court determined that Foster Parents and Stepbrother lacked standing to intervene. The court subsequently granted Mother's motion for a change of placement. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Foster Parents did not have standing to appeal the placement order or the right to intervene as parties; and (2) because Stepbrother was not a "sibling" to Jordon, his request to intervene was properly denied. View "In re Jordon B." on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law
by
In this case arising from a fatal vehicle accident the Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court granting a directed verdict in favor of Broken Bow Public Schools (BBPS) and dismissed the cross-appeals as moot, holding that the district court did not err.Michael and Cathy Christensen brought this case individually and as parents of their son, Chad Christensen, who was seriously injured when a BBPS activities van in which Chad was a passenger was head by a truck driven by Albert Sherbeck. The Christensens separately sued the Sherbeck estate. The cases were consolidated. The court of appeals reversed a directed verdict in favor of BBPS. On remand, the district court granted a directed verdict in favor of BBPS and against the Christensens, dismissed the Christensens' complaint, and dismissed as moot the third-party complaint brought by BBPS against the Sherbeck estate. The Supreme Court affirmed the district court's directed verdict for BBPS and dismissed the cross-appeals as moot, holding that the district court correctly interpreted the relevant statutes. View "Christensen v. Broken Bow Public Schools" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury
by
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court finding that the Village of Dorchester was entitled to summary judgment on REO Enterprises, LLC's claims remaining on remand, holding that there was no error.At issue was an ordinance enacted by the Village providing that renters of property could receive utility services from the village only if their landlord guaranteed that the landlord would pay any unpaid utility charges. REO brought this action seeking a declaration that the ordinance was unenforceable. The district court declared that the ordinance violated constitutional equal protection principles, but the Supreme Court reversed and remanded for consideration of REO's other claims. On remand, the district court granted summary judgment in favor of the Village on the remaining claims. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err in granting summary judgment in favor of the Village. View "REO Enterprises, LLC v. Village of Dorchester" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the Tax Equalization and Review Commission (TERC) affirming the decision of the Lancaster County Board of Equalization affirming the valuations of the agricultural land owned by Mary and Brad Moser for the tax year 2020 but reversing the County Board's decisions for the 2018 and 2019 tax years, holding that TERC erred.For the tax years 2018 and 2019, TERC reduced the value of the Mosers' irrigated acres to equalize those acres with a nearby parcel of agricultural property. The Supreme Court (1) reversed TERC's decision to the extent it ordered that irrigated cropland on certain property be valued as drylands cropland for the 2018 and 2019 tax years, holding that TERC's conclusions as to this property was factually incorrect, was not supported by competent evidence, failed to conform to the law, and was unreasonable; and (2) otherwise affirmed, holding that there was no error was to the 2020 tax year valuation. View "Lancaster County Bd. of Equalization v. Moser" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court reversed in part the decision of the district court granting summary judgment in three cases consolidated for appeal involving foreclosures of construction liens under the Nebraska Construction Lien Act, Neb. Rev. Stat. 52-125 to 52-159, holding that summary judgment was proper but that an award of attorney fees was not.At issue in these appeals was whether equitable considerations made summary judgment improper, whether prejudgment interest was authorized in each case, and whether attorney fees were recoverable. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding (1) summary judgment was proper because there was no dispute that the supplier complied with the provisions of the Nebraska Construction Lien Act; (2) an award of prejudgment interest was authorized because the claims were liquidated; and (3) under the circumstances, there was no statutory authorization for an award of attorney fees. View "Echo Group, Inc. v. Tradesmen International" on Justia Law