Articles Posted in Labor & Employment Law

by
After Douglas County Youth Center terminated Daniel Archie’s employment, Archie brought an administrative appeal. The Douglas County Civil Service Commission reversed the termination and ordered that Archie be reinstated. The district court affirmed. The court of appeals reversed the decisions of the district court and the Commission and ordered that the termination of Archie’s employment be reimposed, concluding that the district court’s order was arbitrary, capricious, and unsupported by sufficient, relevant evidence. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that sufficient, relevant evidence supported the Commission’s decision and that the decision was not arbitrary and capricious. View "Douglas County v. Archie" on Justia Law

by
Bruce Evertson was killed in a two-vehicle accident during the course and scope of his employment. Bruce’s estate filed a wrongful death claim against the insurer of the other driver. The county court accepted a settlement in the matter and allocated the proceeds among Bruce’s widow, Darla Evertson, and adult children. Darla received workers’ compensation benefits from Travelers Indemnity Company as a result of Bruce’s death. Travelers filed a subrogation claim to Darla’s settlement proceeds. The county court ordered that Travelers was not entitled to any distribution of Darla’s proceeds and did not provide Travelers any future credit against the workers’ compensation benefits it owed Darla. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court vacated the decision of the court of appeals and remanded with directions to vacate the order of the county court, holding that the county court lacked subject matter jurisdiction to hear and decide the subrogation matter. View "In re Estate of Evertson" on Justia Law

by
Kristina Hartley filed a gender discrimination action against Metropolitan Utilities District of Omaha (MUD) under the Nebraska Fair Employment Practice Act (NFEPA), alleging that she was not promoted because of gender discrimination and that MUD’s stated reasons for promoting a male colleague instead of her were pretextual. The jury returned a verdict in favor of Hartley. The district court awarded Hartley $56,800 for attorney fees. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the district court did not err in excluding post promotional performance evaluations of Hartley; (2) the evidence was sufficient to support the jury’s verdict; and (3) the attorney fees awarded to Hartley were not excessive. View "Hartley v. Metropolitan Utilities District of Omaha" on Justia Law

by
Plaintiff, a trooper with the Nebraska State Patrol, was an applicant for a lateral transfer to the position of “Executive Protection Trooper.” After another applicant was awarded the position, Plaintiff filed a public records request under Neb. Rev. Stat. 84-712 seeking records relating to the interview and selection process for the Executive Protection Trooper position. The State Patrol denied Plaintiff’s request. Plaintiff sought a writ of mandamus in the district court again seeking the records that were the subject of his public records request. The trial court denied Plaintiff’s petition, concluding that the records could be withheld under section 84-712.05(7). The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err in denying Plaintiff’s petition for writ of mandamus because the records Plaintiff sought to view were exempted under section 84-712.05(7). View "Steckelberg v. Nebraska State Patrol" on Justia Law

by
In 2012, Dennis Nichols injured his back while operating a forklift in the course of his employment. Nichols later underwent three surgeries on his back. Nichols filed a workers’ compensation claim for low-back and psychological injuries sustained as a result of the workplace accident. After a trial, the Workers’ Compensation Court entered judgment in favor of Nichols, finding that Nichols was permanently and totally disabled as a result of his workplace injury. The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the compensation court but modified the award of temporary total disability to reflect a total of 81.854 weeks of temporary total disability, in accordance with the periods and amounts stipulated by the parties. View "Nichols v. Fairway Bldg. Prods., LP" on Justia Law

by
In 2013, Wilmer Interiano-Lopez was living in Sioux City, Iowa, and working for Tyson at a meatpacking plant in Dakota City, Nebraska. One of his jobs involved cutting the stomach or “paunch” of cows to allow the contents to fall out as they were processed on the “dump paunch line.” One day, Interiano-Lopez was working with a trainee who was hanging meat incorrectly and it was falling off the hooks as it passed down the dump paunch line. Interiano-Lopez had to lift and place the meat back on the hooks to complete his work, and his hands and arms became increasingly fatigued. At one point, a paunch fell from the hook and hit Interiano-Lopez on the right shoulder. He felt a pop in his shoulder and began experiencing severe pain and loss of strength in his arm. Interiano-Lopez was taken to the plant infirmary and thereafter to a hospital emergency room. He was diagnosed with a shoulder separation and was referred for orthopedic evaluation and treatment. In March 2014, Interiano-Lopez, through counsel, filed a petition in the Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Court seeking a determination of the rights and liabilities of the parties regarding the dump paunch line. Interiano-Lopez sought to be declared permanently and totally disabled or, in the alternative, to be awarded temporary total disability benefits, ongoing medical benefits, and vocational rehabilitation training. Tyson answered, including what it characterized as a counterclaim. Tyson denied liability, alleged Interiano-Lopez’ physical problems were caused by a preexisting condition, and alleged Interiano-Lopez had “received some workers’ compensation benefits for which [Tyson] is entitled to a credit.” The compensation court dismissed the petition but proceeded to trial on Tyson’s counterclaim and found Interiano-Lopez had failed to prove a workplace injury. Interiano-Lopez appealed. Because the Supreme Court concluded the compensation court acted without authority and in excess of its powers by proceeding to trial rather than dismissing the cause, the Supreme Court vacated the judgment of the court and remanded the case with directions to dismiss. View "Interiano-Lopez v. Tyson Fresh Meats" on Justia Law

by
Plaintiff brought an employment discrimination suit against her former employers, alleging that she had been unlawfully terminated in violation of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA). The district court granted partial summary judgment for Pierce on the issue of whether the employers were “integrated” for purposes of the FMLA. After an ensuing trial, the jury returned a verdict on both the FMLA and the ADAAA claims. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the trial court did not err in granting partial summary judgment and finding as a matter of law that the employers were integrated for purposes of the FMLA; (2) the trial court did not abuse its discretion in ruling on Plaintiff’s motions in limine; and (3) there was sufficient evidence to support the verdict. View "Pierce v. Landmark Mgmt. Group" on Justia Law

by
Appellant sustained injuries in an accident arising out of and in the course of his employment. Appellant filed a petition in the workers’ compensation court seeking temporary and permanent disability benefits. The compensation court awarded Appellant temporary total disability benefits for the period from August 10, 2010 to December 8, 2010 and permanent total disability benefits starting May 2, 2014. The court declined to award Appellant future medical expenses, penalties, attorney fees, or interest. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding that the compensation court (1) did not commit reversible error in excluding the deposition of a doctor that had been taken in connection with a separate negligence action; (2) did not err when it did not award future medical expenses; but (3) erred in denying temporary total disability benefits for the period from December 9, 2010 through May 1, 2014 without providing an explanation which formed the basis for its ruling. Remanded. View "Tchikobava v. Albatross Express, LLC" on Justia Law

by
Plaintiff’s employment as captain in the Washington County sheriff’s office was terminated after an investigation into his conduct. Plaintiff filed suit against the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 36 and Michael Robinson, the County sheriff, alleging (1) as against Lodge No. 36, breach of contract arising from the Lodge’s refusal to provide representation after he requested it, and (2) as against Robinson, interference with a business relationship, alleging that Robinson obstructed the Lodge’s ability to fulfill its duty of fair representation. The district court granted Defendants’ motions to dismiss. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court (1) did not err in dismissing Plaintiff’s amended complaint for failure to file a grievance and in concluding that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction; and (2) did not err in finding that Plaintiff was immune from suit under the doctrine of sovereign immunity. View "Lamb v. Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 36" on Justia Law

by
Plaintiff’s employment as captain in the Washington County sheriff’s office was terminated after an investigation into his conduct. Plaintiff filed suit against the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 36 and Michael Robinson, the County sheriff, alleging (1) as against Lodge No. 36, breach of contract arising from the Lodge’s refusal to provide representation after he requested it, and (2) as against Robinson, interference with a business relationship, alleging that Robinson obstructed the Lodge’s ability to fulfill its duty of fair representation. The district court granted Defendants’ motions to dismiss. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court (1) did not err in dismissing Plaintiff’s amended complaint for failure to file a grievance and in concluding that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction; and (2) did not err in finding that Plaintiff was immune from suit under the doctrine of sovereign immunity. View "Lamb v. Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 36" on Justia Law