Articles Posted in Nebraska Supreme Court

by
The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the district court decreeing that a residence be repainted from a blue color to an earth tone after the homeowners association sued to enforce restrictive covenants. The Homeowners appealed, arguing that the plain language of the restrictive covenants did not control the color of repainting. The Supreme Court agreed, holding (1) the restrictive covenants at issue were not ambiguous and did not apply to the Homeowners’ repainting of their residence; and (2) the Homeowners did not, therefore, violate any restrictive covenants when they repainted their residence without first seeking and acquiring approval from the developer. View "Estates at Prairie Ridge Homeowners Ass’n v. Korth" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the Nebraska Tax Equalization and Review Commission (TERC), which affirmed the valuation of the Washington County Board of Equalization of two parcels of land owned by William Burdess located in Washington County. Both parcels consisted of agricultural land, a homesite, a secondary building, and wasteland. Burdess protested the 2013 through 2016 assessed values of the two parcels, arguing that the wasteland and homesite acres were not properly valued. The TERC affirmed the Board’s decision as to the value of the wasteland and homesite acres. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the TERC did not err in its valuation of the wasteland and in its valuation of the homesite acres associated with the property. View "Burdess v. Washington County Board of Equalization" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s order denying an intervener’s motion to intervene in her own behalf in this complaint alleging breach of a lease. Streck, Inc. filed a complaint against the Ryan Family, LLC alleging that the LLC breached a lease agreement containing an option to purchase real property and seeking specific performance. After the LLC responded, a member of the LLC moved to intervene in her own behalf and on behalf of the LLC. The district court denied the motion. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the intervenor failed to allege a direct and legal interest sufficient to support intervention in the litigation between the LLC and Streck. View "Streck, Inc. v. Ryan Family, LLC" on Justia Law

by
The right of an intervenor to offer evidence in a quiet title action is not restricted by the lis pendens statute. After Jacobsen Land and Cattle Company and the State entered into a purchase agreement for the sale of a parcel of Jacobsen’s land that included property fenced in with Terry Brown’s property, Brown filed and recorded a lis pendens with the county register of deeds. Brown then filed a quiet title action against Jacobsen, alleging ownership by adverse possession of the disputed property. The State moved for leave to intervene in the quiet title action. The court allowed the State to intervene. At trial, the court concluded that the State’s status as a subsequent purchaser under the lis pendens statute prevented the State from presenting evidence related to the adverse possession claim. After a trial, the court quieted title to the disputed property in Brown as against Jacobsen and any other entities claiming any interest therein. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that because the State was not permitted to offer evidence at trial, the matter remanded for a new trial. View "Brown v. Jacobsen Land & Cattle Co." on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s summary judgment orders that determined Mutual of Omaha Bank held a valid and enforceable deed of trust against Robert Watson’s homestead property. The court concluded that the primary deed of trust had first priority as an encumbrance on the property, ordered an execution sale, and foreclosed Watson from asserting any interest in the property. On appeal, Defendant argued that the district court erred in concluding that Watson and his then-spouse intended to encumber their homestead through the primary deed of trust. The Supreme Court held that, although its reasoning differed from the district court, the court did not err in finding that the primary deed of trust was valid and enforceable. View "Mutual of Omaha Bank v. Watson" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court concluding that property owned by Steven and Sara Colford was not subject to the neighboring subdivision’s restrictive covenants by virtue of the doctrine of implied reciprocal negative servitudes. Gary and Denise Walters and three other individuals (collectively, Plaintiffs) lived in a platted subdivision known as the Adamy subdivision. Plaintiffs filed suit against the Colfords and Daniel Adamy alleging that the Colford property was expressly subject to the Adamy subdivision restrictive covenants. The district court granted summary judgment for the Colfords. The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s grant of summary judgment for the Colfords, holding that the Colford property was not subject to the Adamy subdivision restrictions through the doctrine of implied reciprocal negative servitudes. View "Walters v. Colford" on Justia Law

by
In Hike I, Leo and Joanna Hike filed a petition of appeal seeking compensation after the State exercised its power of eminent domain in 2008 to acquire a parcel of the Hikes’ property for an expansion of a highway. The Supreme Court affirmed the jury verdict rendered in the case. In 2011, before the trial in Hike I, the State’s independent contractor began construction on the property taken from the Hikes. That same month, Leo noticed damage to the brick veneer of his and Joanna’s residence. The court precluded the Hikes from offering any evidence concerning the structural damage. In 2015, the Hikes filed the instant action claiming the same structural damage that they attempted to offer as evidence in Hike I. The trial court dismissed the complaint, finding that the claim was barred by the relevant statute of limitations. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the two-year statute of limitations period set forth in section 25-218 governs inverse condemnation actions against the State; and (2) the district court did not err in determining that the Hikes’ claim is barred by the two-year statute of limitations. View "Hike v. State" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed in part and in part vacated and dismissed a district court order that dismissed Homeowners’ amended petition in order challenging a conditional use permit issued by the Omaha Planning Board and a special use permit and rezoning granted by the Omaha City Council. The appeal arose from a conditional use permit, special use permit, and rezoning granted to Developers for a proposed convenience storage and warehouse facility. Homeowners filed an amended petition in error with the district court seeking to challenge the permits and rezoning. The district court dismissed the amended petition in error and affirmed the determinations of the city council and planning board. The Supreme Court (1) dismissed for lack of jurisdiction the portion of Homeowners’ appeal addressing the rezoning and special use permit and vacated the district court’s order in that regard for lack of jurisdiction; and (2) affirmed the district court’s order in regard to the conditional use permit. View "Landrum v. City of Omaha Planning Board" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed a Tax Equalization and Review Commission (TERC) order adjusting value that increased the “majority land use grass” subclass of the agricultural and horticultural land class of real property not receiving special value within Webster County in the amount of six percent. The Supreme Court held that, in adjusting the level of value for grassland upward by six percent, TERC did not improperly rely on Nebraska’s Property Tax Administrator’s statistical reports and opinion, as (1) the Administrator’s required reports under Neb. Rev. Stat. 77-1327 are competent evidence to support a TERC equalization order without setting out information about each real property transaction that was used for the statistical analysis; and (2) Webster County failed to meet its burden that TERC should not rely on the Administrator’s reports. View "County of Webster v. Nebraska Tax Equalization & Review Commission" on Justia Law

by
At issue in this case was the adjustment of the valuation of three subclasses of residential real property in Douglas County. The Tax Equalization and Review Commission (TERC) issued an order to show cause why it should not increase the valuation of two properties by seven percent and decrease the valuation of a third property by eight percent. TERC voted to adjust the valuations. Douglas County filed a motion to reconsider, which the TERC commissioners overruled. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding (1) TERC’s order to decrease the valuation of one property by eight percent was not supported by competent evidence and was arbitrary, capricious, and unreasonable; (2) TERC’s order to increase the valuation of the other two properties was supported by competent evidence and was not arbitrary, capricious, and unreasonable; and (3) TERC did not abuse its discretion by denying Douglas County’s motion to reconsider its order. View "County of Douglas v. Nebraska Tax Equalization & Review Commission" on Justia Law