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 affirming the determination of the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission (NADC) that Timothy Moore, while serving as the chair of the board of trustees for the village of Madrid, Nebraska, violated the Nebraska Political Accountability and Disclosure Act (NPADA), Neb. Rev. Stat. 49-1401 to 49-14,142, holding that there was no error.The NADC found that Moore violated the NPADA by having an interest in a contract with the Village Board by having an interest in a contract with the Village Board and failing to comply with the disclosure and abstention requirements of Neb. Rev. Stat. 49-14,103.01(5). The district court affirmed. On appeal, Moore argued that the district court erred in finding that he had a sufficient interest in the contract with the Village Board to trigger the disclosure and abstention provisions of section 49-14.103.01(5). The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Moore was not exempted from the disclosure and abstention requirements of section 49-14.013.01(5); and (2) the district court's judgment conformed to the law, was supported by competent evidence, and was neither arbitrary, capricious, nor unreasonable. View "Moore v. Nebraska Accountability & Disclosure Commission" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Tax Commission affirming the deficiency assessment imposed by the Nebraska Department of Revenue upon a Nebraska corporation, which purchased an interest in an airplane from a Kansas seller without paying Nebraska sales or use taxes, holding that there was no error.The Department issued a notice of deficiency determination to the corporation in the total amount of $161,373. The corporation appealed, claiming that no taxes were owed because the airplane purchase was a "sale for resale." The Tax Commission found that the purchase was not a sale for resale and affirmed the Department's deficiency assessment. The district court affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court's finding that the corporation's airplane purchase did not qualify as a nontaxable sale for resale was supported by sufficient competent evidence and was not contrary to law. View "Big Blue Express v. Nebraska Department of Revenue" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court vacated the order of the compensation court requiring Defendants to modify an existing home or potentially build a unit to meet the accessibility requirements of Allen Michael Lewis, holding that the compensation court's order did not provide a meaningful basis for appellate review.Lewis was injured in the course of his employment with MBC, resulting in the amputation of his left leg. Because of his restrictions, Lewis sought modification of his rental property from MBC and filed a motion to compel that would direct MBC to build the accessible house for his use. The compensation court found that Lewis' proposed house was not reasonable and necessary but directed MBC either to find an existing home to which modifications could be made or, alternatively, to provide housing for Lewis by either building or purchasing an accessible home for him. The Supreme Court vacated the order below, holding (1) the compensation court's order was confusing and the undertakings of each party were unclear; and (2) this case is remanded for the compensation court to enter an order in compliance with Workers' Comp. Ct. R. Of Proc. 11. View "Lewis v. MBC Construction Co." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of Nebraska's Commission of Industrial Relations (CIR) dismissing a complaint brought by a bargaining agent against a public employer for prohibited labor practices, holding that the public employer did not commit any of the prohibited practices alleged in the complaint.Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 31 (FOP), the exclusive collective bargaining agent for a bargaining unit consisting of members of the York Police Department, brought this action against the City of York as the political subdivision that employed FOP's bargaining unit. FOP alleged that, in relation to a residency requirement for a promotion, the Department engaged in prohibited labor practices. The CIR dismissed the petition and refused to award attorney fees. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the Department did not commit any of the alleged prohibited labor practices. View "Fraternal Order of Police v. City of York" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals reversing and vacating an award of penalties and attorney fees, holding that, for reasoning different from the court of appeals, the court of appeals did not err when it reversed the award of penalties and attorney fees.Martin Boring filed a petition against Zoetis LLC in the Nebraska Workers' Compensation Court (WCC) claiming a compensable injury arising from his employment with Zoetis. The WCC awarded Boring temporary and permanent benefits and ordered Zoetis to pay Boring penalties and attorney fees under Neb. Rev. Stat. 48-125. The court of appeals affirmed the benefits award but vacated the award of penalties and attorney fees. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the WCC erred when it found that there was no reasonable controversy based solely on its reliance on the judicial admission in Zoetis' answer. View "Boring v. Zoetis LLC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court affirming the decision of the Nebraska Law Enforcement Training Center (NLETC) denying Plaintiff's application to obtain certification to work in law enforcement in Nebraska, holding that the district court did not commit plain error.Plaintiff, who previously served as a law enforcement officer in Georgia, applied to obtain certification to work in Nebraska law enforcement. In denying the application, the NLETC determined that Plaintiff had provided answers regarding his personal background that were untrue and failed to disclose requested information. After an administrative hearing, the Police Standards Advisory Council upheld the decision. The district court affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not plainly err by upholding the denial of Plaintiff's application for reciprocity certification. View "Swicord v. Police Standards Advisory Council" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court affirming the decision of the State Personnel Board determining that an award of "front pay," commonly viewed as money awarded in lieu of employment reinstatement, was not appropriate, holding that there were no errors in the record.After the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) terminated Appellant's job as a health program manager, Appellant challenged the termination. Appellant sought lost wages, including lost benefits, front pay, and back pay. DHHS eventually withdrew the allegations against Appellant but contested his claim for front pay. The district court concluded that the Personnel Board lacked authority to grant the equitable relief of front pay. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err when it found that Appellant could be reinstated and, therefore, Appellant's claim for front pay was properly denied. View "Christopherson v. Nebraska Dept. of Health & Human Servs." on Justia Law

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In these consolidated appeals, the Supreme Court affirmed the district court's dismissal of separate actions challenging the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services' (DHHS) denial of an administrative appeal hearing, holding that the district court correctly determined that the hearing request was untimely submitted to DHHS under the governing regulation.Robert Colwell, DDS, P.C., was a Nebraska corporation through which Colwell (collectively, Colwell) provided medical services. Colwell entered into an agreement with Managed Care of North America (MCNA), which provided managed care services to Nebraska's Medicaid program, agreeing to provide dental services for individuals enrolled in Nebraska Medicaid. When MCNA allegedly failed to compensate Colwell for covered services, Colwell filed one action challenging the MCNA's decision to terminate the Medicaid provider agreement with Colwell. In this action, Colwell filed a request for a fair hearing with DHHS, which DHHS denied and dismissed. Colwell then filed another action challenging the DHHS order of dismissal. The district court dismissed both appeals for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Colwell's request for a hearing before DHHS was not timely filed within ninety days of the "date of the action." View "Colwell v. Managed Care of North America" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court concluding that income taxpayers did not meet their burden of proof that they abandoned their domicile in Nebraska and acquired a domicile in the United Kingdom (U.K.), holding that competent evidence supported the district court's factual findings.The Department of Revenue issued to Appellants a notice of proposed deficiency determination for individual income tax for tax years 2012 to 2014. Appellants requested a redetermination that no money was due, claiming that the U.K. was their domicile. The Tax Commissioner determined that Appellants failed to sustain their burden of proof. The district court affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court's ultimate decision to affirm the Tax Commissioner's order was not in error. View "Houghton v. Nebraska Department of Revenue" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the Nebraska Workers' Compensation Court on remand appointing an employee's "Form 50" physician and clarifying that it was not ordering a review of the employee's treatment regimen, holding that the order complied with this Court's mandate.Employee injured her back in the course and scope of her employment. As part of a settlement between Employee and her employer and its insurer (collectively, Employer), Employee completed a Form 50 anticipating that Employer would pay for treatment of Employee's injuries by her Form 50 physician. Employee chose a Nebraska doctor to serve as her Form 50 physician, but when she moved to Florida, she informed Employer that she had chosen a Florida doctor as her new Form 50 physician. Employer subsequently stopped paying for Employee's treatment. The compensation court ordered Employer to pay Employee's medical bills. The Supreme Court reversed, ruling that Employer was not required to pay for Employee's Florida medical treatment because Employee had not followed the statutory procedures to change her Form 50 physician. On remand, the compensation court appointed the Florida doctor as Employee's Form 50 physician. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the compensation court did not err in its order on remand. View "Rogers v. Jack's Supper Club" on Justia Law