Justia Nebraska Supreme Court Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Contracts
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The Supreme Court dismissed in part and reversed in part Appellant's appeal of the district court's rulings finding that Jerald Schreiber was unjustly enriched and ordering him to pay an additional $400,184 to a limited liability company (LLC) he owned in equal shares with his brother, Steven Schreiber, holding that the district court erred in part.Steven brought a complaint seeking the dissolution of the LLC at issue. The district court ordered dissolution and directed a receiver to liquidate the LLC's assets, including two buildings owned by the company but located on property owned by Jerald. Because Jerald made the sole offer to purchase the buildings, the parties agreed that the district court should order the receiver to accept the offer but that Steven and the LLC could continue to pursue a claim of unjust enrichment. The district court concluded that Jerald had been unjustly enriched and denied Jerald's motion asking the district court to provide further directions to the receiver. The Supreme Court (1) dismissed the order denying Jerald's motion for further directions for lack of jurisdiction; and (2) reversed the district court's order finding that Jerald was unjustly enriched, holding that the district court erred. View "Schreiber Brothers Hog Co. v. Schreiber" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the decision of the court of appeals reversing the judgment of the district court dismissing Millard Gutter Company's suit against Farm Bureau Property & Casualty Insurance Company without prejudice, holding that the district court correctly dismissed the first-party bad faith claims for lack of standing.After a storm, Millard Gutter obtained assignments of the right to insurance proceeds due under policies of Shelter. Thereafter, Millard filed suit against Shelter in its own name, as assignee, alleging breach of contract and first-party bad faith in failing to settle the claims. The district court granted Shelter's motion to dismiss, concluding that the complaint did not contain sufficient factual allegations to establish standing to assert first-party bad faith claims. The court of appeals reversed in part, concluding that Millard Gutter had stated a plausible claim for first-party bad faith. The Supreme Court reversed in part, holding that Millard Gutter lacked standing to prosecute the policyholders' tort actions for first-party bad faith against Shelter. View "Millard Gutter Co. v. Farm Bureau Property & Casualty Insurance Co." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court dismissing this action brought by Millard Gutter Company against Shelter Mutual Insurance Company seeking to recover damages for breach of insurance contracts and for first-party bad faith, holding that the district court did not err in concluding that Millard Gutter did not have standing to assert first-party bad faith claims against Shelter.After a storm, Millard Gutter obtained assignments from various policyholders of Shelter. Thereafter, Millard filed suit against Shelter in its own name, as assignee, alleging breach of contract and first-party bad faith in failing to settle the claims. The district court granted Shelter's motion to dismiss, concluding that the complaint did not contain sufficient factual allegations to establish standing to assert first-party bad faith claims. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Millard Gutter lacked standing to prosecute the policyholders' tort actions for first-party bad faith against Shelter. View "Millard Gutter Co. v. Shelter Mutual Insurance Co." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the district court finding that Plaintiff did not waive its right to arbitration by its litigation-related conduct, holding that reversal was required in light of Morgan v. Sundance, Inc., __ U.S. __ (2022).Plaintiff sued Defendant for breach of contract. Defendant moved to dismiss the complaint with prejudice, arguing that Plaintiff waived its breach of contract claim under the parties' agreement by filing suit on the claim rather than commencing it in arbitration. Plaintiff subsequently filed a demand for arbitration and a motion to stay the case for arbitration. The district court granted Plaintiff's motion to stay the case, concluding that Defendant suffered no prejudice because of Plaintiff's litigation-related conduct. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that prejudice is not required to prove a party waived its right to stay a court case pending arbitration under section 3 of the Federal Arbitration Act following the United States Supreme Court's decision in Morgan. View "Kingery Construction Co. v. 6135 O Street Car Wash, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the judgment of the district court finding that Dietzel Enterprises, Inc. (Dietzel) was the first party to materially breach a contract between Dietzel and J.A. Wever Construction, LLC and awarding Wever damages, holding that the evidence did not support the entirety of the damages awarded to Wever.Wever contracted with Dietzel to perform excavation work for the construction of a transmission line, but Dietzel eventually abandoned the project before work was completed. Dietzel brought this action asserting various claims, and Wever counterclaimed for breach of contract. The district court awarded judgment in favor of Wever. The Supreme Court reversed in part, holding (1) the evidence in the record did not support the entirety of the court's damages award; and (2) the district court did not otherwise err. View "Dietzel Enterprises, Inc. v. J. A. Wever Construction, LLC" on Justia Law

Posted in: Contracts
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The Supreme Court dismissed this appeal from a district court's order denying injunctive relief, holding that this Court lacked jurisdiction to hear the appeal.Plaintiffs were ten students at Creighton University who brought this petition seeking to enjoin Creighton from administratively withdrawing students who did not comply with its COVID-19 vaccine policy. After a hearing, the district court denied the petitions, concluding that Plaintiffs failed to show irreparable harm or a likelihood of success on the merits. Plaintiffs appealed. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal, holding that the court's denial of a temporary injunction was not a final order, and therefore, this Court lacked jurisdiction over the appeal. View "Ramaekers v. Creighton University" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court denying a motion to vacate a decree of specific performance that also sought an order of joinder, holding the there was no error.Wilkinson Development, Inc. brought an action against Ford & Ford Investments for specific performance of a real estate contract concerning the purchase of commercial real estate. The district court granted Wilkinson's complaint for specific performance. PSK, LLC, a subsequent purchaser of the subject real estate, later filed the motion at issue on appeal seeking vacation of the degree and an order of joinder. The district court denied the motion. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that there was no merit to any of PSK's assignments of error. View "Wilkinson Development, Inc. v. Ford & Ford Investments" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the order of the district court that overruled Community First Bank's motion for summary judgment, sustaining First Central Bank McCook's motion for summary judgments and dismissing Community First's breach of contract claims, holding that genuine issues of fact existed precluding summary judgment.On appeal, Community First argued that the district court erred in determining that the contract between Community First and First Central was a participation agreement that did not create a debtor-creditor relationship between the two banks. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded the case for further proceedings, holding (1) the contract between the parties was ambiguous; and (2) a genuine issue of material fact existed regarding the provisions of the contract between the parties. View "Community First Bank v. First Central Bank McCook" on Justia Law

Posted in: Banking, Contracts
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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals vacating the order of the district court entering judgment on an arbitrator's award, holding that the court of appeals erred in finding the award ambiguous and ordering a remand to the arbitrator for further clarification.Signal 88, LLC brought this contract action against Lyconic, LLC. The district court ordered the dispute to be submitted to arbitration. The arbitrator issued a decision, after which Lyconic applied for an order confirming the arbitration award. The district court confirmed the award but, in the process, modified it. The court of appeals vacated the judgment, determining that the arbitrator's award was ambiguous. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the district court erred in modifying rather than confirming the award; and (2) the court of appeals erred in finding that the arbitrator's award was ambiguous. View "Signal 88, LLC v. Lyconic, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court denying West Corporation's motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict and motion for a new trial after the jury found that West breached contracts with a former employee, Kenneth Marr, holding that there was no reversible error on the part of the district court.A few months after his resignation from West, Marr brought this action alleging that he was contractually entitled to compensation that West had refused to pay. The jury entered a verdict in favor of Marr, finding West liable for damages in the amount of $400,540. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that there was no prejudicial error in the district court's evidentiary rulings and that the district court did not err in denying West's motions for judgment notwithstanding the verdict and for a new trial. View "Marr v. West Corp." on Justia Law