Justia Nebraska Supreme Court Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Government & Administrative Law
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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court finding that the exclusivity provisions of the Nebraska Workers' Compensation Act (the Act), Neb. Rev. Stat. 48-101 to 48-1,117 barred the claim of an employee of the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services that the Department violated the Nebraska Fair Employment Practice Act (NFEPA), Neb. Rev. Stat. 48-1101 to 48-1125, holding that the district court lacked jurisdiction over the employee's NFEPA action.Plaintiff was injured while participating in mandated self-defense training and sought and received workers' compensation benefits from the time she was injured. After Plaintiff was unable to find a position with the Department that would accommodate her physical restrictions she brought this action against the Department for wrongful termination on the basis of her disability, in violation of NFEPA. The district court granted summary judgment for the Department on the basis of the exclusivity provisions of the Act barred Plaintiff's NFEPA claim as a matter of law. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court correctly determined that it lacked jurisdiction over Plaintiff's NFEPA claim. View "Dutcher v. Nebraska Dep't of Correctional Services" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the Tax Equalization and Review Commission (TERC) affirming the judgment of the Perkins County Board of Equalization dismissing a 2021 property valuation protest brought by Mid America Products/Wheatland Industries LLC (Wheatland) because it was not timely filed, holding that there was no error.Wheatland, which owned a real estate parcel in Perkins County, protested the Perkins County assessor's valuation for the 2021 tax year. The Board automatically dismissed the 2021 protest as a matter of law. TERC affirmed, concluding that the Board correctly dismissed Wheatland's protest because the protest had not been timely filed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that because Wheatland's protest was filed after the statutory June 30 deadline, the Board properly dismissed the protest of the 2021 property valuation. View "Mid America Agri Products v. Perkins County Bd. of Equalization" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the district court's judgment affirming the Nebraska Department of Revenue's denial of Gelco Fleet Trust's claim for a refund on sales tax it allegedly overpaid on the purchase price of a new vehicle, holding that there were no errors on the record.Gelco submitted a claim for refund of sales tax, which the Department denied. On appeal, the district court affirmed the Department's decision, determining that the Department properly included the disputed amount in the sales price and calculation of sales tax. The Supreme Court affirmed holding that the district court's determination conformed to the law, was supported by competent evidence, and was neither arbitrary capricious, nor unreasonable. View "Gelco Fleet Trust v. Neb. Dep't of Revenue" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the Public Service Commission (PSC), which approved the application of Black Hills Nebraska Gas, LLC seeking an enlargement or extension of its natural gas mains in Sarpy County, holding that there was no error.On appeal, the Metropolitan Utilities District (MUD) contended that Black Hills' application was contrary to a 2010 order that MUD argued conclusively established that it was in the public interest for MUD to provide natural gas service to the area at issue in the application. The Supreme Court disagreed and affirmed, holding that the PSC had authority to determine the public interest with respect to the current application. View "In re Application No. P-12.32 of Black Hills Nebraska Gas, LLC" on Justia Law

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Z.H. completed law school in 2000. In 2019 and 2020, Z.H. took the Nebraska bar examination but did not pass. Because of rheumatoid arthritis that limits her mobility, Z.H. received accommodations, but not all of the accommodations she requested. In 2021 she was required to appear in person while other applicants took the exam remotely. Z.H. averred that during the 2021 examination, which she ultimately passed, she experienced extreme mental stress, anxiety, and physical pain as well as additional scrutiny.She requested specific accommodations should she have to retake the exam and damages. Her affidavit set forth expenses to include $5,906.25 in attorney fees and mailing costs and $450,000 in damages for violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. 12101, the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. 701, and the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses. Z.H. sought reimbursement for hotel costs and other expenses and punitive damages. The Nebraska Supreme Court dismissed for lack of jurisdiction, finding that the action was not authorized by rule or statute. View "In re Appeal of Z.H." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the district court affirming the determination of the Nebraska Department of Labor that Appellant was disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits for fourteen weeks after his employment at JBS Swift Beef ended because he was discharged for misconduct, holding that remand was required.In his appeal to the district court, Appellant argued that the appeal tribunal erred in finding that he was disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits because he was discharged for misconduct and in thus imposing a fourteen-week benefit disqualification upon him. The district court affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that there was no competent evidence to support the district court's finding that JBS met its burden to prove Appellant was discharged for misconduct. View "Badawi v. Albin" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the compensation court denying James Spratt's request seeking to modify his workers' compensation award, holding that the compensation court erred in holding that it lacked the statutory to do so and, alternatively, that the principal of finality precluded relief.Spratt injured his back while working for Crete Carrier Corporation and received a workers' compensation award granting medical rehabilitation services for his lumbar back. Spratt subsequently requested that the compensation court modify the original award so that he may receive thoracic back treatment. The compensation court denied Spratt's request for modification. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the compensation court erred in concluding that it lacked the power to modify the original award to treat Spratt's thoracic back; and (2) modification was not precluded by the law-of-the-case doctrine. View "Spratt v. Crete Carrier Corp." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the Department of Motor Vehicles revoking Appellant's operator's license, holding that there was no error.Following a second hearing, the hearing officer recommended an order revoking Appellant's operator's license. The district court affirmed. On appeal, Appellant argued, among other things, that the district court erred in finding that the Department had jurisdiction to revoke Appellant's operator's license because the submitted report was not properly sworn to by the arresting officer. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err in affirming the Department's revocation of Appellant's operator's license. View "Pope v. Department of Motor Vehicles" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court dismissed this appeal from the judgment of the district court dismissing Appellants' appeal from a decision of the Madison County Board of Commissioners for lack of appellate jurisdiction, holding that this Court lacked jurisdiction.At issue in this appeal was the Madison County Board of Commissioners' approval of the Elkhorn Valley Sportsman Club's application for a conditional use permit. Appellants appealed the Board's decision to the district court, which dismissed the appeal for failure to pay the docket fee. The Supreme Court dismissed Appellants' subsequent appeal, holding that the district court did not err in dismissing this appeal from the Board's determination for lack of appellate jurisdiction. View "Kowalewski v. Madison County Board of Commissioners" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the district court dismissing for lack of subject matter jurisdiction Main St Properties LLC's (MSP) complaint seeking to enjoin a zoning ordinance adopted by the city council for the City of Bellevue, holding that the court erred in dismissing MSP's complaint.After MSP received a notice of zoning violation MSP appealed to the board of adjustment, which upheld the zoning violation. While MSP's appeal was pending, the city council approved an ordinance to rezone MSP's property. MSP then filed a complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief against the City. The district court granted the City's motion to dismiss, concluding that the court lacked subject matter jurisdiction because MSP failed to file a petition in error. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded the cause for further proceedings, holding that the complaint was sufficient to survive a motion to dismiss. View "Main St Properties LLC v. City of Bellevue" on Justia Law