Articles Posted in Government & Administrative Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the separate juvenile court of Lancaster County that the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) arrange and pay for Paxton H., a juvenile in its care and custody, to receive mental health services at a facility in Kansas, holding that the juvenile court’s order was in Paxton’s best interests. On appeal, DHHS acknowledged that Paxton required certain services but that it was not in his best interests to participate in a transition program several hours from his parents’ home. Instead, DHHS asserted that it would be better for Paxton to receive local services in Nebraska. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding that the juvenile court did not err in ordering DHHS to arrange and pay for Paxton to receive services at the Kansas facility. View "In re Paxton H." on Justia Law

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At issue was the tax exempt status of land purchased by the Upper Republican Natural Resources District (NRD) as part of a ground water integrated management plan. The NRD retired irrigated acres and converted them to grassland to achieve soil conservation and range management objectives and then leased much of the grassland for grazing. The parties here disputed, among other things, the extent to which the lease was at fair market value for a public purpose under Neb. Rev. Stat. 77-202(1)(a) and the scope of the questions properly before the Tax Equalization and Review Commission (TERC). The Supreme Court affirmed the determination of TERC that certain unimproved parcels of property, portions of two improved parcels, and contiguous parcels were used for a public purpose and therefore exempt and vacated those parts of the TERC’s opinion addressing issues other than whether the property was used for a public purpose. View "Upper Republican Natural Resources District v. Dundy County Board of Equalization" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the arbitration board finding that a discount to wholesale customers who renewed their contractual relationship with Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) was not discriminatory or an abuse of NPPD’s statutory rate-setting authority. Appellants were political subdivisions engaged in the distribution of electricity to retail electric customers and were wholesale customers of NPPD. Appellants brought this complaint after they elected not to renew their contractual relationship, alleging that the discount was discriminatory and that NPPD breached the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing by charging them a different rate. The arbitration board determined that the discount was reasonable and nondiscriminatory and that NPPD did not breach the contract or the covenant of good faith and fair dealing. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that NPPD’s rate structure was fair, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory and that the rate structure did not constitute a breach of contract or the implied covenant of good faith. View "In re Application of Northeast Nebraska Public Power District" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the Tax Equalization and Review Commission (TERC) affirming the valuations of certain grassland properties owned by the Betty L. Green Living Trust and the Richard R. Green Living Trust (the Trusts) that had been established by the county assessor and approved by the county board of equalization (the Board). In its decision, TERC concluded that the Trusts did not present competent evidence to rebut the presumption that the Board faithfully performed its duties and had sufficient competent evidence to make its determinations. The Supreme Court affirmed TERC’s order, holding that TERC’s decision conformed to the law, was supported by competent evidence, and was neither arbitrary, capricious, nor unreasonable. View "Betty L. Green Living Trust v. Morrill County Board of Equalization" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Court sustaining Appellant’s motion for summary judgment insofar as it awarded her benefits for two scheduled injuries but denied her claim that she was permanently and totally disabled. The Court held (1) there was no merit to Appellant’s first assignment of error that Appellant’s employer admitted, through its responses to Appellant’s requests for admission, that Appellant was permanently and totally disabled; but (2) the trial court erred in weighing the evidence in the summary judgment matter and concluding that Appellant was not permanently and totally disabled. View "Wynne v. Menard, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court vacated the order of the district court for Butler County that reversed the decision of the Butler County Board of Supervisors to deny an application by Butler County Landfill, Inc. (BCL) to expand its solid waste disposal landfill area located in Butler County. On appeal, the Board claimed that the district court erred in determining that the Board acted arbitrarily and capriciously when it denied BCL’s application. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal without reaching the merits of the appeal, holding that the district court lacked jurisdiction to enter its order, and therefore, this Court lacked jurisdiction over this appeal. View "Butler County Landfill v. Butler County Board of Supervisors" on Justia Law

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The legislature has not enacted any statute that exempts fraternal benefit societies from paying sales and use tax. Woodmen of the World Life Insurance Society, a Nebraska fraternal benefit society, requested an exemption from sales and use taxes from the Nebraska Department of Revenue (NDOR) and sought a refund of more than $2 million in sales and use taxes previously paid. NDOR denied Woodmen’s application. The Tax Commissioner upheld the determination. The district court affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) neither Neb. Rev. Stat. 77-2704.12(1) nor Neb. Rev. Stat. 44-1095 exempted Woodmen from sales and use tax; (2) Woodmen was not denied due process before the Tax Commissioner; and (3) the hearing officer did not abuse her discretion in excluding certain expert testimony. View "Woodmen of the World v. Nebraska Department of Revenue" on Justia Law

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At issue was whether the Platte River Whooping Crane Maintenance Trust, Inc. ("Crane Trust") was a charitable organization within the meaning of Neb. Rev. Stat. 77-202(1)(d). The Crane Trust sought a property tax exemption for six parcels of land ("subject properties") for tax year 2015. The Hall County Board of Equalization denied the application for a property tax exemption for the subject properties without giving an explanation. The Nebraska Tax Equalization and Review Commission ("TERC") affirmed the Board’s decision. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the subject properties met the requirements for a charitable tax exemption under section 77-202(1)(d). View "Platte River Crane Trust v. Hall County Board of Equalization" on Justia Law

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The district court did not have subject matter jurisdiction over Retroactive, Inc.’s appeal of the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission’s denial of its application for a Class C liquor license. Retroactive made an application of the Commission’s issuance of a Class C liquor license for its nightclub. The Commission denied the application. Retroactive then filed a petition for review, arguing that the Commission’s decision was arbitrary capricious and unsupported by the evidence, and exceeded the Commission’s authority. The City of Omaha filed a motion to dismiss for failure to name certain citizen objectors as “necessary parties” to the petition for review. The district court denied the motion and then reversed the Commission’s decision. The Supreme Court vacated the district court’s order reversing the Commission’s decision, holding that because Retroactive failed to include all parties of record in the Commission proceeding when it sought review in the district court, the court never acquired subject matter jurisdiction. View "Retroactive, Inc. v. Nebraska Liquor Control Commission" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the order of the Tax Equalization and Review Commission (TERC) affirming the decision of the Custer County Assessor regarding the 2012 taxable value of Donald V. Cain, Jr.’s agricultural property. On appeal, Cain argued, among other things, that the TERC violated his due process rights by not permitting him to argue how the preponderance of the evidence standard of proof applied to the adduced evidence. The court held (1) Cain waived the due process rights applicable in Liljestrand v. Dell Enterprises, 842 N.W.2d 575 (2014); and (2) TERC erred in affirming the Assessor’s valuations of Cain’s property for the 2012 tax year. View "Cain v. Custer County Board of Equalization" on Justia Law