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The Supreme Court affirmed the determination of the county court that Plaintiff, personal representative of the estate of Richard A. Hasterlik and an individual beneficiary, did not qualify for preferential inheritance tax treatment under Neb. Rev. Stat. 77-2004 on the ground that Plaintiff failed to prove that the decedent stood in the acknowledged relation of a parent to her. On appeal, Plaintiff argued that the county court erred in finding that the evidence did not establish that Plaintiff was a person to whom the deceased, for more than ten years prior to his death, stood in the acknowledged relation of a parent. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the county court’s factual determination was not clearly wrong. View "In re Estate of Hasterlik" on Justia Law

Posted in: Trusts & Estates

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The Supreme Court overruled the application of the collateral order doctrine to the extent that it authorized an interlocutory appeal from a denial of sovereign immunity. Plaintiff brought this negligence action against the Bellevue Public School District (BPS) and Bradley Nord, alleging that while Nord was a BPS teacher and Plaintiff was a student, Nord made nonconsensual sexual contact with Plaintiff that began a sexual relationship between the two occurring primarily on BPS premises. BPS and Nord filed separate motions to dismiss, claiming sovereign immunity under the Political Subdivisions Tort Claims Act’s intentional tort exception. The motions were denied. Nord filed a motion to reconsider or to alter or amend, which motion was also denied. BPS appealed, and Nord cross-appealed. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal and cross-appeal because the appeal from the order at issue was not statutorily authorized. View "E.D. v. Bellevue Public School District" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s decree dissolving the marriage of Jennifer Westwood and Cheryl Darnell and dividing their marital estate. After a trial, the district court awarded each party the personal property and automobile in her possession, her separate retirement account, and any bank accounts in her own name. Westwood was also ordered to make an equalization payment to Darnell. Westwood appealed, asserting three assignments of error. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err in its division of the parties’ marital property. View "Westwood v. Darnell" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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The Supreme Court dismissed Appellant’s appeal from the county court’s order appointing a special administrator in this will contest, holding that the Court lacked jurisdiction over the appeal. Two siblings filed a petition in the county court contesting the validity of Marcia G. Abbott-Ochsner’s will presented for informal probate by their brother, who had been appointed as the personal representative of the estate. The personal representative transferred the will contest to the district court. Afterward, the county court granted the siblings’ request to appoint a special administrator for the estate pursuant to Neb. Rev. Stat. 30-2425 pending resolution of the district court proceedings. The brother appealed, arguing that the county court lacked jurisdiction to appoint a special administrator because the case had been transferred to the district court. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal, holding that the county court’s order did not affect with finality Appellant’s substantial rights, and therefore, the order appealed from was not a final order. View "In re Estate of Abbott-Ochsner" on Justia Law

Posted in: Trusts & Estates

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court denying Appellant postconviction relief after an evidentiary hearing mandated by the Court’s decision in the first appeal. Appellant pled guilty to first degree murder. Appellant later sought postconviction relief, claiming that DNA evidence had been planted. The district court denied relief, concluding that Appellant’s claim was procedurally barred. The Supreme Court remanded, determining that Appellant’s claim was not procedurally barred and that Appellant alleged facts which, if proved, could constitute an infringement of his constitutional rights. Appellant then filed an amended motion for postconviction relief alleging, among other claims, that his constitutional rights were violated by the planting of DNA evidence. After an evidentiary hearing, the district court denied Appellant’s amended motion for postconviction relief for failure to meet his burden of proof. The Supreme Court (1) vacated and set aside the district court’s order granting leave to file an amended motion for postconviction relief and the portion of its order concerning those claims which were outside the scope of the Court’s mandate; and (2) affirmed in all other respects the district court’s order denying postconviction relief, holding that Appellant’s remaining claim was without merit. View "State v. Henk" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s denial of Keshaud Hunt’s motion to transfer his case charging him with multiple felonies arising from two armed robberies to juvenile court. Hunt was fifteen years old when he committed the offenses underlying the charges. The Court also affirmed the district court’s denial of Hunt’s request for disposition under the Nebraska Juvenile Code and imposition of consecutive prison sentences. The Court held (1) the district court’s basis for retaining jurisdiction over Hunt was supported by appropriate evidence, and therefore, the court did not abuse its discretion in refusing to transfer the case to juvenile court; and (2) there was no abuse of discretion in the sentences imposed. View "State v. Hunt" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the ruling of the district court granting Applied Underwriters Captive Risk Assurance Company, Inc.’s (AUCRA) motion to stay a court case filed by Citizens of Humanity, LLC and CM Laundry, LLC (collectively, Citizens) pending arbitration, including arbitration on the issue arbitrability. Underlying this litigation was a dispute in which AUCRA claimed that it was owed money from Citizens. Citizens filed a complaint against AUCRA in the district court. AUCRA filed a motion to dismiss or, in the alternative, to stay this action pending arbitration. The district court sustained the motion to stay this action pending arbitration. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Neb. Rev. Stat. 25-2602.01(f)(4) invalidated the delegation provision in the parties’ agreement, which had the effect of referring the issue of arbitrability to the arbitrator and operated to reserve issues of arbitrability for the court to decide. The court remanded the cause for further proceedings, including the enforceability of the remainder of the arbitration provision. View "Citizens of Humanity, LLC v. Applied Underwriters Captive Risk Assurance Co." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court construing the meaning of provisions in a divorce decree and incorporated property settlement agreement (PSA) regarding payment of post-majority child support to require Father to pay post-majority child support if certain conditions were met and denying Father’s request to modify such support. The Court held (1) once a decree for dissolution becomes final, its meaning, including the settlement agreement incorporated therein, is determined as a matter of law from the four corners of the decree itself; (2) the district court did not err in finding that the terms of the decree and incorporated PSA were ambiguous or in construing the decree and incorporated PSA to require Father to pay post-majority child support under certain circumstances; and (3) the district court did not err in denying Father’s complaint to modify the decree. View "Carlson v. Carlson" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the Nebraska Power Review Board (Board) transferring two newly annexed territories from the Elkhorn Rural Public Power District (ERPPD) to the City of Neligh’s electrical service area and assessing the economic impact at $490,445.90. At issue on appeal was what compensation was owed to ERPPD for reintegration costs under Neb. Rev. Stat. 70-1010(2)(b). The Court held that the Board’s actions were arbitrary, capricious, and unreasonable because the Board erred in failing to award compensation for reintegration costs under section 70-1010(2)(b) to ERPPD for the lost substation unit. View "In re Application of City of Neligh" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment against Borrowers in this action brought by Bank seeking to recover a deficiency owed by Borrowers after it exercised powers of sale under deeds of trust. On appeal, Borrowers argued, among other things, that the district court erred in awarding an excessive verdict for Bank that was unsupported by the evidence. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding (1) there was sufficient evidence to support the amount of damages awarded by the district court; and (2) the district court did not err by refusing Borrowers’ requested jury instructions. View "First National Bank North Platte v. Cardenas" on Justia Law