Justia Nebraska Supreme Court Opinion Summaries

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court finding that Appellant's placing an electric fence within the county's right-of-way extending into a ditch violated Neb. Rev. Stat. 39-301 and granting an injunction against Appellant's encroaching on the public road right-of-way, holding that injunctive relief was proper. Appellant repeatedly erected an electric fence within the ditch right-of-way alongside a county road. The district court granted a permanent injunction against encroaching on the public road right-of-way thirty-three feet in either direction from the centerline, including road ditches within that distance from the centerline, by placing fences. The court found that successive criminal prosecution had proved to be an inadequate remedy. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err in (1) finding that placing the electric fence in the ditch violated section 39-301; and (2) failing to find that the County had an adequate remedy at law by way of criminal prosecution. View "County of Cedar v. Thelen" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the district court affirming Defendant's criminal misdemeanor convictions for violating Neb. Rev. Stat. 39-301 by repeatedly erecting an electric fence approximately three feet from the edge of a county gravel roadway and within the county's right-of-way extending into a ditch, holding that the evidence was sufficient to support Defendant's convictions. On appeal, Defendant argued that there was insufficient evidence presented to prove that he was the individual who placed the electric fence in the ditch and that the placement of the fence did not violate section 39-301. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the area of the ditch at issue in this case, which was within the county's right-of-way, was part of a "public road" for purposes of section 39-301; and (2) there was sufficient evidence to conclude that Defendant was responsible for erecting the fences. View "State v. Thelen" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court affirming a county board of adjustment's decision affirming the zoning administrator's grant of a zoning permit for construction of a new residence within an agricultural intensive district, holding that the district court did not err or abuse its discretion. The zoning administrator approved a zoning permit for the new residence. Appellants appealed, arguing that the zoning permit was for a "non-farm residence," and therefore, the construction was not permitted under zoning regulations. The board affirmed the zoning administrator's decision, and the district court affirmed. At issue in this appeal was whether the proposed residence was a "non-farm residence" under the applicable zoning regulations. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the board of adjustment correctly determined that the new residence was not a "non-farm residence." View "Hochstein v. Cedar County Board of Adjustment" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court convicting Defendant of multiple counts of sexual assault of a child and child abuse, holding that the district court did not err in admitting prior sexual assault evidence. Defendant was convicted of sexually assaulting and abusing his adopted daughter. On appeal, Defendant argued, among other things, that the district court erred in admitting evidence of a prior sexual assault allegedly committed by Defendant against another adopted daughter because Defendant was acquitted in that case. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the district court did not err in allowing the State to present the evidence of prior sexual assault where at least some of those assaults were alleged to have been committed by Defendant in other jurisdictions; and (2) Defendant was not entitled to relief on his remaining allegations of error. View "State v. Lierman" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the juvenile court terminating Father's parental rights to his minor child, holding that the juvenile court did not deny Father procedural due process and did not err when it determined that terminating Father's parental rights to the child was appropriate under Neb. Rev. Stat. 43-292(2) and (7) and was in the best interests of the child. The juvenile court terminated Father's parental rights to his child on three statutory bases. Father appealed, arguing that his procedural due process rights were violated and that the juvenile court erred when it terminated his parental rights. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Father was not denied procedural due process rights at the termination hearing; and (2) there was support in the record establishing grounds for termination under section 43-292(2) and (7) and the evidence demonstrated that termination of Father's parental rights was in the best interests of the child. View "In re Interest of Taeson D." on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law
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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and vacated in part Defendant's convictions and sentences for burglary, conspiracy to commit burglary, and theft involving a truck, a trailer, and several tools from a garage, holding that Defendant's convictions and sentences pursuant to counts III and IV of the State's amended information, which each asserted a separate offense of theft by unlawful taking ($5,000 or more) violated the constitutional prohibition against double jeopardy. Specifically, the Court held (1) two of Defendant's three convictions and sentences for theft by unlawful taking ($5,000 or more) based on the theft of tools from the garage must be vacated because allowing three convictions for the same offense is a clear violation of both the Nebraska and United States Constitutions; (2) the trial court did not err by excluding defense witnesses who were not disclosed by counsel until five days before trial; (3) Defendant's assertion relating to his attorney's generalized failure to communicate with Defendant while preparing for trial were unavailing; and (4) there was either no merit to Defendant's remaining claims of ineffective assistance of counsel or the record was insufficient for the Court to address the claims. View "State v. Sierra" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court granting summary judgment in favor of Plaintiff's employer's insurance broker and insurer and dismissing Plaintiff's action claiming that the broker had a duty to advise the employer to obtain workers' compensation insurance and that the insurer had a duty to defend the employer in the underlying action, holding that the district court did not err. Plaintiff was injured in an accident during the course and scope of his employement. Plaintiff reached a settlement with his employer and received an assignment of rights against his employer's insurance broker and insurer. Plaintiff then brought this action. The district court concluded that both the broker and the insurer were entitled to judgment as a matter of law. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err in (1) applying case law applicable to insurance agents rather than insurance brokers; (2) finding that the broker fulfilled its duties as an insurance broker to the employer; and (3) finding that the insurer did not owe a duty to defend the insurer. View "Merrick v. Fischer, Rounds & Associates, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant's conviction for violating a domestic abuse protection order, holding that there was sufficient evidence that Defendant was personally served with the protection order. On appeal, Defendant argued that his conviction must be reversed because the service return the State introduced at trial did not specifically state that Defendant was served with the protection order he allegedly violated. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) in cases alleging a violation of Neb. Rev. Stat. 42-924(4), in which the defendant does not receive the notice described in Neb. Rev. Stat. 42-926(2), the State must demonstrate that the defendant was personally served with the protection order; (2) the State in this case was required to demonstrate that Defendant was personally served with the order affirming the protection order; and (3) there was sufficient evidence of such service. View "State v. Gomez" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law
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The Supreme Court affirmed as modified the district court's confirmation of an arbitration award of almost $3 million under the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) and awarding attorney fees as a sanction under Neb. Rev. Stat. 25-824, holding that no grounds existed for vacating or modifying the award, and therefore, the parties were bound by their agreement to arbitrate and the arbitrator's construction of that agreement. The Supreme Court affirmed the district court's confirmation of the arbitration award and the denial of Appellants' motions to vacate and/or modify the award, holding (1) the district court did not err in confirming the arbitration award and denying the motions to vacate and/or modify the award; (2) the district court did not err by denying a motion to supplement the record; (3) the district court did not abuse its discretion in awarding attorney fees; and (4) the court did not err in awarding sanctions. View "Seldin v. Estate of Silverman" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the district court declining to make specific findings of fact for purposes of special immigrant juvenile (SIJ) status under federal law after rendering judgment dissolving the marriage of Mother and Father and awarding full custody of the parties' child to Mother, holding that the court had the authority to make these findings. After the court made an oral pronouncement granting the parties' divorce and awarding custody to Mother, it signed a decree that included findings sought regarding abuse, neglect, or abandonment and best interests of the child. The court, however, struck through those findings and therefore did not make the findings requested by Mother, concluding that it lacked the authority to make the requested findings. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the district court erred in not making the findings of fact requested by Mother because the court had the jurisdiction to make an initial child custody determination and to make the requested findings. View "Sabino v. Ozuna" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law