Articles Posted in Nebraska Supreme Court

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the district court upholding the decision of the City of Omaha Zoning Board of Appeals denying Appellants' request for a variance from the requirements of Omaha's zoning code based on a claim of unnecessary hardship, holding that the district court did not err or abuse its discretion in upholding the Board's decision. Appellants owned a 4.66-acre parcel of land that was zoned for agricultural use. After the City of Omaha Planning Department concluded that the property was being used for activities not permitted by ordinance in an agricultural district Appellants applied for a variance requesting waiver that would allow them to deviate from zoning requirements. The Board denied Appellants' request for a variance. The district court affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that competent evidence supported the district court's findings and its conclusion that Appellants' situation did not warrant a variance under Neb. Rev. Stat. 14-411. View "Bruning v. City of Omaha Zoning Board of Appeals" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decree dissolving Appellant's marriage to Appellee, holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion in determining the valuation dates for the marital assets and in classifying, valuing, and dividing the marital estate. On appeal, Appellant challenged the division of property, asserting that all assets must be valued using a single date and that a coverture formula was required to establish the premarital value of a business. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding (1) using a single date to value all assets would imagine upon the discretion necessary to equitably divide a marital estate, and therefore, the district court did not abuse its discretion in valuing marital assets on dates that rationally related to the property being divided; and (2) the coverture formula depends upon speculation and assumptions generally inconsistent with such valuations, and therefore, the district court did not abuse its discretion when it declined to apply that method. View "Rohde v. Rohde" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the district court's order granting a mortgage company's motion for summary judgment, holding that a subordination clause in a land contract for the purchase of a residence effectively subordinated the rights of the purchasers to the rights held by later assignees of the note and deed of trust. The purchasers of the property entered into the land contract with a seller-trust. After the purchasers took possession, the seller-trust signed a promissory note and a deed of trust to a bank for a certain amount of money in order to pay a previously existing mortgage on the property. The note and deed of trust were eventually assigned to the mortgage company. When the seller-trust defaulted on its loan, the purchasers filed suit to enjoin a trustee sale of the property, asserting that his claim to the property was superior to that of the mortgage company. The district court granted summary judgment for the mortgage company. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the subordination clause meant that the rights of any existing lenders of the seller-trust would take precedence over the purchasers' rights or interest in the property until the purchasers have paid the contract price in full. View "Wintroub v. Nationstar Mortgage, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the declaratory and injunction entered by the district court enjoining the City of Arapahoe, Nebraska from enforcing an ordinance against Brooke Wilkison to prohibit his retention of a pit bull at his home within the city limits, holding that Brooke failed to show that allowing him to retain the dog in his home was necessary. The district court's order determined that the city ordinance, if enforced against Brooke, would violate the federal Fair Housing Act (FHA), 42 U.S.C. 3601 to 3619, by permitting a discriminatory housing practice and precluding Brooke from mitigating the ill effects of his handicap by living with his emotional assistance animal. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the district court did not err in holding that the FHA applies to the ordinance enacted by the city; but (2) Brooke failed to prove that an accommodation from the city's ban on certain breeds of dogs was essential to his equal enjoyment of his property. View "Wilkison v. City of Arapahoe" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the district court finding that it lacked jurisdiction over the assessment decision of the Board of Equalization of the City of Omaha exercising a quasi-judicial function as a result of Appellant's failure to file an appeal bond with the city clerk within twenty days, holding that the statutory scheme requires that an appellant execute a bond with the city clerk within twenty days, which Appellant did not do in this case. Appellant personally appeared before the Board to protest a proposed special assessment to be levied on his property. The Board denied Appellant's protest. The City Council for the City of Omaha subsequently levied the special assessment on Appellant's property. Appellant appealed, The district court found that Appellant had failed to comply with Neb. Rev. Stat. 14-813 by not filing an appeal bond with the city clerk within twenty days, thus dismissing Appellant's appeal for lack of jurisdiction. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court correctly dismissed Appellant's appeal for lack of jurisdiction. View "Glasson v. Board of Equalization of City of Omaha" on Justia Law

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In this declaratory judgment action in which ex-husband (Husband) sought a declaration that he was entitled to one-half of the proceeds of a home awarded to the ex-wife (Wife) in the divorce decree and sold two years later when Wife decided to remarry, the Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court declaring that Wife had timely refinanced the house and that, therefore, Husband was not entitled to one-half of the proceeds from its later sale, holding that the district court's judgment was correct. A provision in the dissolution decree stated that Wife would have the home refinanced into her own name within twelve months of entry of the decree and that, if she did not, the house should be sold and the parties should equally divide any proceeds. Wife was approved for refinancing within one year of the entry of the dissolution decree, but the bank did not schedule closing on the refinance until thirteen months after the entry of the dissolution decree. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that because Wife made a good faith effort to complete refinancing within twelve months and Husband did not incur any harm as a result of the delay in closing, the sale of the house and equal division of the proceeds was not required. View "Bayne v. Bayne" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court granting summary judgment in favor of Defendants - E&A Consulting Group (E&A), Sanitary Improvement District No. 237 (SID No. 237), and the City of La Vista (the City) - in this case alleging that Defendants were negligent in ways that led to Plaintiffs’ homes being flooded, holding that the district court did not err in granting summary judgment for Defendants. Specifically, Plaintiffs alleged that Defendants owed a legal duty to design and build a drainage solution for a 100-year storm or rain event. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding (1) Plaintiffs did not object to the failure of E&A and SID No. 237 to file statements of undisputed fact cited to the record as required by Neb. Rev. Stat. 25-1332(2) and therefore waived this argument on appeal; and (2) the district court did not err in granting summary judgment in this negligence action because Plaintiffs failed to show that any breaches by Defendants were the proximate cause of the flooding. View "Ecker v. E & A Consulting Group, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court dismissing Plaintiffs’ claims seeking a declaratory judgment that a redevelopment project in the City of Falls City was not planned or adopted in accordance with the Community Development Law, Neb. Rev. Stat. 18-2101 to 18-2144, and requesting a permanent injunction to prevent the project from proceeding, holding that all of Plaintiffs’ assignments of error were without merit. Specifically, the Supreme Court held (1) all of Plaintiffs’ claims challenging the procedure by which the redevelopment project was adopted and the validity and enforceability of the redevelopment agreement and bond were foreclosed by sections 18-2129 and 18-2042.01; and (2) two meetings challenged in this suit did not violate Nebraska’s Open Meetings Act, Neb. Rev. Stat. 84-1407 to 84-1414. View "Salem Grain Co. v. City of Falls City" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the district court quieting title to certain land in Terry and Linda Brown after finding that the Browns established their entitlement to the disputed land by adverse possession, holding that the Browns’ interest in the disputed land began with permission and did not ripen into adverse possession. On appeal, the State argued that the district court erred when it found that the Browns’ evidence satisfied their burden of proof and established their entitlement to the disputed land by adverse possession. The Supreme Court agreed and reversed, holding that where the Browns’ use of the disputed land began with permission of a lease, the Browns failed to establish that their possession of the disputed land was under a claim of ownership, and therefore, their possession did not ripen into title by adverse possession. View "Brown v. Jacobsen Land & Cattle Co." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court granting summary judgment in favor of the owners of the Quart House Pub and its premises (collectively, Quart House) in this negligence action brought by Lee and Amy Larsen and Plattsmouth Chiropractic Center, Inc. (collectively, Plattsmouth Chiropractic), holding that summary judgment was proper. A fire that broke out in the basement of Quart House Pub the fire spread and damaged property belonging to Plattsmouth Chiropractic. Plattsmouth Chiropractic sued Quart House alleging that equipment located in the basement of the pub had been negligently maintained. The district court granted summary judgment for Quart House. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the district court did not abuse its discretion in striking the testimony of Plattsmouth Chiropractic’s expert as to the cause of the fire; and (2) without that testimony, Plattsmouth Chiropractic could not present evidence that would allow a finder of fact to find that negligent maintenance caused the fire. View "Larsen v. 401 Main Street, Inc." on Justia Law