Articles Posted in Civil Procedure

by
The Supreme Court dismissed this appeal after the district court administratively dismissed a negligence action for failure to timely submit a proposed scheduling order and then granted a motion to reinstate the case, holding that the district court’s reinstatement order was not a final, appealable order. On appeal, Appellants argued that the district erred when it applied the local rules regarding reinstatement of cases instead of Neb. Rev. Stat. 25-201.01 to decide whether to reinstate the case. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal, holding that the order vacating dismissal and reinstating the case put the parties back in approximately the same litigation posture as before the action was dismissed, and there was no reason to disrupt the progression of the case by entertaining an interlocutory appeal. View "Fidler v. Life Care Centers of America" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court reversed the order of the Court of Appeals denying Paul Gerber’s motion seeking to recover attorney fees from P & L Finance Co., Inc., holding that, while the pleading was styled as a “Motion for Attorney Fees,” Gerber’s request for attorney fees was, in substance, an application under Neb. Rev. Stat. 21-2,114 for an order of indemnification from P & L. In his filing, Gerber sought an order requiring P & L to indemnify him for attorney fees he incurred in the appeal of a case where he was made a party because he was a director of P & L. In denying the request, the Court of Appeals stated that there was no course of practice in the appellate courts that recognizes the recovery of attorney fees from a non-adverse party. The Supreme Court remanded the matter to the Court of Appeals with directions to consider Gerber’s filing consistent with section 21-2,114 as an application for an order of indemnification against P & L, holding that the appellate court should have considered the filing as an application for indemnification. View "Gerber v. P & L Finance Co." on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure

by
The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal brought from an order of the district court extending a harassment protection order for one year as moot but applied the public interest exception to mootness to address whether a respondent against whom a harassment protection order is sought must appear in person rather than through counsel. During a show cause hearing, the district court concluded that because Respondent appeared through counsel rather than appearing in person, the ex parte harassment protection order against him would automatically be extended for one year. The court allowed Petitioner to testify and allowed Respondent’s counsel to cross-examine Petitioner. The court then found that Petitioner had presented evidence sufficient to extend the harassment protection order for one year to expire on October 5, 2018. The Supreme Court held (1) Respondent’s appeal from the harassment protection order was moot; and (2) through a plain reading of Neb. Rev. Stat. 28-311.09(8)(b), a respondent is entitled to appear by and through his or her counsel. View "Weatherly v. Cochran" on Justia Law

by
Millard Gutter Company’s voluntary dismissal of its civil action against American Family Insurance Company had no effect on the district court’s authority to make further rulings, but the court erred in taxing technology expenses and jury expenses as costs. After Millard Gutter filed a voluntary dismissal without prejudice, the district court entered a judgment of dismissal and taxed costs to Millard Gutter, including expenses incurred by American Family in setting up courtroom technology and expenses incurred by the court in compensation prospective jurors. On appeal, Millard Gutter argued that once it filed a voluntary dismissal, the district court lacked authority to make any further rulings and, alternatively, that the district court erred in taxing technology expenses and jury expenses as costs. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and in part reversed, holding (1) because Millard Gutter had no statutory right to voluntary dismissal at the time it filed its dismissal, the district court’s authority to make further rulings was unaffected by that filing; and (2) the district court abused its discretion in taxing such expenses as costs. View "Millard Gutter Co. v. American Family Insurance Co." on Justia Law

by
In this appeal from a default judgment, the Supreme Court reversed the district court’s decision denying Appellant’s motion for reconsideration or, in the alternative, to set aside the default judgment on the basis of several defenses. Appellee filed a breach of contract action against Appellant. When Appellant did not file a responsive pleading, the district court granted Appellee’s motion for default judgment. Appellant filed a motion for reconsideration or, in the alternative, to set aside the default judgment. In support of the motion to set aside, Appellant alleged several defenses, including lack of personal jurisdiction and improper venue. The district court overruled Appellant’s motion. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Appellant made a showing sufficient to warrant setting aside the default judgment because Appellant made prompt application to set aside the default and demonstrated at least one meritorious defense in support of its motion. View "Applied Underwriters Captive Risk Assurance Co., Inc. v. Oceanside Laundry, LLC" on Justia Law

by
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

by
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

by
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

by
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

by
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