Articles Posted in Civil Procedure

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The Supreme Court reversed the district court’s dismissal of Plaintiffs’ amended complaint with prejudice for failure to state a claim because amendment to state a claim was plausible. Plaintiffs, the next-door neighbors of a rental house at which a natural gas explosion occurred, injuring Plaintiffs, sued the rental house’s landowner and property manager based upon a negligence theory. The district court dismissed Plaintiffs’ amended complaint with prejudice less than five months after the action commenced, without providing a post response opportunity to amend and based upon a no-duty-owed conclusion. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that that the district court erred in finding that amendment of the complaint would have been futile and thus erred in dismissing the complaint with prejudice. The court remanded the cause with direction to grant the neighbors leave to amend their complaint. View "Eadie v. Leise Properties, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court dismissed Appellant’s appeal from an order dismissing his amended complaint alleging that the conditions at the Nebraska State Penitentiary (NSP) violate his rights under Nebraska law and that his claims are representative of all inmates housed in the segregation units at the NSP, holding that this matter was moot. Appellant sued the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services (DCS), its director, and other officials and employees of the DCS, asserting that prison officials violate his rights when they place another prisoner in his “medically designed one-man segregation single-cell,” which disturbs his circadian rhythm. The district court dismissed the amended complaint for failing to state a cause of action. The Supreme Court dismissed Appellant’s appeal, holding that because Appellant no longer resided at the NSP, this matter was moot. View "Nesbitt v. Frakes" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court dismissed for lack of jurisdiction Appellant’s appeal from the denial of the portion of his complaint and associated motion asking the district court to declare void a dissolution decree that it had issued more than a year previously. Appellant filed a “complaint” under the same case number as the dissolution decree asserting that the decree was void by virtue of a motion to dismiss he filed prior to the entry of the decree. However, Appellant’s notice of appeal was from an April 4 order denying his requests for various temporary orders and retaining for decision his application to modify the custody provisions of the decree. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal, holding that it had no jurisdiction over the appeal because the April 4 ruling was not a final order. View "Tilson v. Tilson" on Justia Law

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At issue in this custody action was whether the district court’s consent to adoption or the court’s stay of the custody action pending the resolution of the adoption petition presented a final order. Plaintiff, the former partner of the biological mother of the child in this case, brought this custody action, alleging that she had loco parentis status to the child. Approximately one month after Plaintiff’s custody action was filed. Defendant, the biological mother, and her wife then filed a petition in county court for stepparent adoption. The district court consented to the adoption and state the custody action pending the resolution of the adoption petition. Plaintiff appealed the order consenting to the adoption proceeding. The Supreme Court dismissed this appeal, holding that neither that order granting consent to adoption nor the order staying the custody proceedings pending further order of the court presented a final, appealable order. View "Jennifer T. v. Lindsay P." on Justia Law

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At issue in this action against Tenant, which abandoned leased property and then surrendered the property, was whether the district court correctly awarded damages to the date Landlord, which elected to sell the property, reached a tentative agreement to sell the property rather than to an actual sale date. The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s damages award, holding that, although Landlord did not elect to accept Tenant’s abandonment and terminate the lease, the duration of finalizing the sale was not reasonable. The court, however, reversed the district court’s dismissal of Tenant’s out-of-state guarantor for lack of jurisdiction, holding that the guaranty established sufficient connections to Nebraska. View "Hand Cut Steaks Acquisitions, Inc. v. Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon of Nebraska, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed as modified the district court’s order dismissing with prejudice Plaintiff’s complaint for lack of personal jurisdiction. Plaintiff, an attorney, filed a complaint for breach of contract against Defendant. The trial court dismissed the complaint with leave to amend. Plaintiff then filed an amended complaint including claims for tortious conversion and a violation of Nebraska’s Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act. The Supreme Court affirmed the dismissal of the complaint, holding (1) neither general nor specific personal jurisdiction over Defendant existed; but (2) the district court erred in dismissing the complaint with prejudice. The court modified the district court’s order to a dismissal without prejudice. View "Nimmer v. Giga Entertainment Media, Inc." on Justia Law

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While dating April, Johnson made threats concerning April’s relationship with her former husband Edward. The night before April’s death, Johnson was upset that Edward had repaired April’s van. April’s neighbors reported hearing loud arguing in the early morning hours of December 11, 2011. On December 12, April did not report to work. Officers found April’s body. A pathologist opined that her death was a homicide caused by a stab wound to her abdomen and suffocation, On December 15, Johnson was arrested in Michigan driving April’s van, which contained Johnson’s blood-stained T-shirt and shoes. The DNA matched April’s profile. Johnson was convicted of first-degree murder, use of a deadly weapon to commit a felony, and possession of a deadly weapon by a prohibited person. On appeal, Johnson unsuccessfully claimed that the court erred by admitting cumulative, gruesome autopsy photographs; brought a Batson challenge; and challenged testimony and exhibits about Johnson’s DNA profile. Johnson’s motion for post-conviction relief alleged ineffective assistance of counsel for failing to move for discharge on the basis of speedy trial, failing to object to the prosecutor’s voir dire comments, failing to properly examine various witnesses, failing to argue after moving for a directed verdict, failing to object to the state’s closing argument, failing to sever one count, and failing to allow Johnson to testify. The Nebraska Supreme Court affirmed the denial of the motion without holding an evidentiary hearing. Johnson failed to allege sufficient facts to demonstrate violation of his constitutional rights. View "State v. Johnson" on Justia Law

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An insured obtained life insurance policies and named her trust as the owner. Her insurance agent stole the renewal premiums. The policies lapsed. The insured and the trust’s beneficiaries sued the trustee; the trustee brought a third-party claim against the agent. The court bifurcated the trial. Pursuant to a jury verdict on the first stage, the court entered an order against the trustee. Before trial on the third-party claim, the court certified its order as final. The Nebraska Supreme Court dismissed an appeal for lack of jurisdiction, holding that the certification under Neb. Rev. Stat. 25-1902 was an abuse of discretion. The court expressed concern with the propriety of the court’s determination that there was no just reason for delay. The intent behind the statute was to prevent interlocutory appeals, not to make them easier. The court should ordinarily make specific findings setting forth the reasons for its order. Here, the court’s order merely used the language of the statute and did not explain why certification was appropriate. The court noted the interrelationship of the claims and that a delay of three-four months before the third-party complaint would be ready for trial would not likely cause an unusual hardship. View "Rafert v. Meyer" on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals reversing the district court’s exclusion of untimely disclosed expert opinions regarding medical bills in order to enforce progression orders in an automobile negligence case. The court of appeals reversed the judgment in favor of Defendants, concluding that the district court abused its discretion in excluding, as a discovery sanction, nearly all of Plaintiff’s medical bills, as well as testimony from Plaintiff’s expert witness that the bills were reasonable and necessary. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the district court did not need to apply the factors set forth in Norway v. Union Pacific Railroad, 407 N.W.2d 146 (Neb. 1987) to enforce its progression order; and (2) it was not an abuse of discretion to exclude evidence disclosed more than one year after the discovery deadline imposed by the court’s progression order. View "Putnam v. Scherbring" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the district court’s dismissal of this appeal, applied the savings clause of Neb. Rev. Stat. 25-1144.01, and reinstated the appeal, holding that, contrary to the conclusion of the district court, the notice of appeal was timely filed. Plaintiff sued Defendants to collect amounts due on a guaranty. The jury returned a verdict in favor of Plaintiff. One day after judgment on the verdict was entered, Plaintiff filed a motion for costs and Defendants filed a motion for new trial. The court granted the motion for costs and overruled the motion for new trial. Defendants then filed a notice of appeal. The court of appeals dismissed the appeal as untimely. The Supreme Court reversed and reinstated the appeal, holding that the appeal time did not start to run until the motion for new trial was ruled upon, and because Defendants filed their notice of appeal within thirty days of that date, their appeal should not have been dismissed as untimely. View "Lindsay International Sales & Service v. Wegener" on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure