Justia Nebraska Supreme Court Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Real Estate & Property Law
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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court finding that Plaintiff did not qualify for an extended redemption period under Neb. Rev. Stat. 77-1827 and that the tax certificate sale process at issue in this case did not violate Plaintiff's constitutional rights, holding that there was no error.Because Plaintiff did not pay her 2013 property taxes the Lancaster County treasurer to a private party. Three years later, the tax certificate holder applied for and obtained a tax deed to the property. Plaintiff subsequently brought this action seeking to quiet title to the property in her name, arguing that the issuance of the tax deed had violated her rights under the state and federal constitutions and that she had a statutory right to a five-year redemption period under Neb. Rev. Stat. 77-1827. The district court dismissed all claims. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err when it determined that Plaintiff was not entitled to the statutory extended redemption period or when it dismissed her constitutional claims. View "Nieveen v. TAX 106" 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 judgment of the district court affirming the county court's denial of Defendant's motion for a return of his seized firearm, holding that the lower courts erred.Law enforcement officers seized Defendant's shotgun incident to an arrest. Following his successful completion of probation, Defendant filed a motion in the county court to return his shotgun. The county court denied the motion and ordered that the firearm be destroyed. The district court affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the State failed to meet its burden to show that Defendant's seized firearm was contraband or subject to forfeiture or that the government had some other continuing interest in the property. View "State v. Zimmer" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court granting summary judgment for Continental Resources in this quiet title action against Kevin and Terry Fair, holding that the district court did not err in granting Continental's summary judgment motion to quiet title.At issue on appeal was the constitutionality of the statute that authorize the process allowing the county in which a property is located to sell a tax certificate for the property to a private party if the property owner fails to pay property taxes. If the owner fails to pay the taxes owed after a period of time and the tax certificate purchaser complies with certain requirements, the purchaser can obtain a deed to the property free of encumbrances. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Nebraska's tax certificate sale statutes are not unconstitutional in the manner assigned by Fair. View "Continental Resources v. Fair" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court dismissed in part and affirmed in part the interlocutory appeal brought in this negligence action, holding that the district court did not err in denying summary judgment based on the discretionary function exemption and that this Court lacked appellate jurisdiction over the remainder of this appeal.Plaintiff landowners alleged that an employee of the Sargent Irrigation District (SID), a political subdivision in Custer County, negligently mixed and over applied an herbicide mixture, causing damage to Plaintiffs' corn crop. SID moved for summary judgment, arguing that Plaintiffs' claims fell within the discretionary function or duty exception to the Political Subdivisions Tort Claims Act, Neb. Rev. Stat. 13-901 et seq. The court denied the motion for summary judgment. The Supreme Court dismissed in part and affirmed in part, holding (1) the district court did not err in denying summary judgment based on the discretionary function exemption; and (2) the remainder of SID's assigned errors were not reviewable under Neb. Rev. Stat. 25-1902(1)(d). View "Clark v. Sargent Irrigation District" 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

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court that instructed a receiver to continue its management of agricultural land, in which Appellants, the testator's children, each held fractional life estates along with the testator's surviving spouse, holding that it was too late to attack the receiver's appointment.In 2019, the court appointed a receiver. In 2021, the court provided further instructions to the receiver. Appellants appealed, arguing that the district court appointed a receiver for 2021 without either party requesting the appointment and without deciding that a receiver was needed or necessary. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the receiver was appointed in 2019, not 2021, and the district court did not abuse its discretion in its instructions to the receiver. View "Seid v. Seid" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court dismissing this lawsuit on the grounds that Defendants were not timely served, holding that a defendant's filing of an "Appearance of Counsel" does not constitute a voluntary appearance that relieves a plaintiff of the ordinary obligation to serve the defendant with the lawsuit.Plaintiff filed suit against Defendants alleging that Defendants provided Plaintiff with incorrect information regarding the income tax consequences of a sale of land. Attorneys for Defendants filed a document entitled "Appearance of Counsel," after which there was no activity in the case for nearly a year. The district court dismissed the case on the grounds that Plaintiff had not timely served Defendants. Plaintiff filed a motion to reinstate the case, asserting that the Appearance of Counsel was equivalent to service under Neb. Rev. Stat. 25-516.01(1). The district court denied the motion. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the Appearance of Counsel was not a voluntary appearance and that Defendants were not timely served. View "Stone Land & Livestock Co. v. HBE, LLP" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the rulings of the district court on summary judgment invalidating a transfer-on-death (TOD) executed by Wife before her death naming Daughter as the designated beneficiary to her interest in a house titled solely in Wife's name and dismissing Daughter's counterclaim for slander of title, holding that the TOD deed was not invalid.Husband, who died during the course of these proceedings, brought this action alleging that he was the rightful owner of the house at issue because, in part, the TOD deed was invalid because "Nebraska deeds conveying an interest in real property held by a married person must be executed by both spouses." Daughter counterclaimed for slander of title. The court sustained Husband's motion for partial summary judgment, finding that the TOD deed was void as a matter of law for failing to satisfy Neb. Rev. Stat. 40-104. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) as a matter of law, section 40-104 does not apply to TOD deeds; and (2) the TOD in this case was not void, and Daughter counterclaim was no longer moot. View "Chambers v. Bringenberg" on Justia Law