Articles Posted in Nebraska Supreme Court

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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

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the district court dismissing Appellant’s appeal from a condemnation of Appellant’s land by the City of Papillion, Nebraska for lack of jurisdiction but affirmed the district court’s denial of Appellant’s motion for sanctions, holding that it was error to dismiss the condemnation action appeal for lack of jurisdiction. The City condemned land owned by Appellant. Following nearly five years and one judicial recusal, the district court dismissed Appellant’s condemnation appeal for lack of jurisdiction. The court also denied Appellant’s motion for sanctions asserting that the City’s motion for summary judgment was legally frivolous. The Supreme Court held (1) the district court incorrectly concluded that it lacked jurisdiction under the circumstances of this case; and (2) the court did not abuse its discretion in denying Appellant’s motion for sanctions. View "Pinnacle Enterprises, Inc. v. City of Papillion" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s order affirming the findings and modifying a cease and desist order of the Lower Loup Natural Resources District (LLNRD) Board directing Appellant to suspend use of ground water wells, holding that LLNRD had authority to impose a suspension of ground water access for noncompliance with LLNRD’s annual reporting requirements. Specifically, the Court held (1) the district court did not err in determining that LLNRD had authority to impose a suspension of ground water access for noncompliance with reporting requirements; (2) Appellant’s due process rights were not violated in the proceedings before the Board; (3) Appellant was not denied the possibility of competent judicial review; (4) the suspension of Appellant’s ground water access was not a taking without just compensation; (5) the district court did not err in declining to supplement LLNRD’s record and receive exhibits 4 and 5; (6) Appellant was not entitled to attorney fees because he was not the prevailing party; and (7) the district court did not err in its modification of the duration of Appellant’s penalty. View "Prokop v. Lower Loup Natural Resources District" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court granting Defendants’ motions to dismiss Plaintiff’s claim under the State Tort Claims Act (STCA), holding that the district court did not err in dismissing Plaintiff’s action against the State. Plaintiff, an inmate in the custody of the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services (DCS), alleged in his complaint that his personal property was seized and improperly disposed of by DCS personnel. The district court concluded (1) Plaintiff’s claims against the individual defendants were barred by qualified immunity, and (2) as to the State, the claim was barred under Neb. Rev. Stat. 81-8,219(2) because the claim was an exception to the STCA’s waiver of sovereign immunity. Defendant appealed from the portion of the order dismissing his action against the State. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that because the DCS personnel that detained Defendant’s property were “law enforcement officer[s]” covered by the exception to the waiver of sovereign immunity under section 81-8,219(2), the State did not waive sovereign immunity from Defendant’s claims. View "Rouse v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed in part the trial court’s partial denial of Defendant’s motion for return of some seized property, holding that the court’s partial denial of the motion was apparently premised on an incorrect reading of case law. Law enforcement seized personal property pursuant to a search warrant from a residence occupied by several persons, including Defendant. Defendant pleaded no contest to attempted possession of a controlled substance. Defendant later moved for return of some seized property. The district court overruled in part Defendant’s motion for return of personal property. The Supreme Court affirmed the portion of the district court’s order requiring the State to return items to Defendant but reversed the portion of the order denying return of other items, holding that where no evidence was presented by the State to rebut Defendant’s presumption of ownership, the court erred in finding that Defendant did not have exclusive possession of all the property. View "State v. McGuire" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court dismissal this appeal from an order of the district court denying Appellant’s request for a stay of an order of sale in a judicial foreclosure action, holding that the order denying the request for a stay was not appealable. The district court determined that Appellant and his former spouse owed Mutual of Omaha Bank $533,459, ordered an execution sale, and foreclosed Appellant and his former spouse from asserting any interest in the property. Mutual subsequently applied to and received from the district court a supplemental decree ordering that sums paid by Mutual that were not included in the initial decree be added to the amount due Mutual. After Appellant unsuccessfully requested a stay of the order of sale Appellant appealed. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal for lack of appellate jurisdiction, holding (1) because a supplemental decree like the one at issue in this case does not give rise to a right to seek a statutory stay the district court’s order denying Appellant’s request for a stay did not affect an essential legal right; and (2) therefore, the order was not final, and this Court lacked jurisdiction to decide the appeal. View "Mutual of Omaha Bank v. Watson" on Justia Law

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In this dispute in which an owner of one property sought to bind the purchaser of another property to the terms of a fifty-year lease agreement entered into between different parties, the Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court granting summary judgment in favor of the purchaser, holding that there was no error in the proceedings below. Specifically, the Court held (1) the statute of frauds barred the owner’s claim for breach of contract because there was no privity of contract and the purchaser did not expressly assume the lease; (2) equitable estoppel did not prevent the purchaser from raising the statute of frauds as a defense; and (3) there was no genuine issue of material fact, and therefore, the district court did not err in granting summary judgment in favor of the purchaser. View "Brick Development v. CNBT II" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the Court of Appeals reversing the decision of the district court quieting title to certain property in favor of Vandelay Investments, LLC and dismissing Plaintiff’s complaint, holding that the record did not support providing Plaintiff with a remedy he was not statutorily entitled to. Plaintiff’s complaint requested that the court set aside Vandelay’s tax deed and permit him to exercise a right of redemption. The district court dismissed Plaintiff’s complaint with prejudice and quieted title in favor of Vandelay. The Court of Appeals reversed and remanded, determining that Vandelay had failed to comply with statutory notice requirements before applying for the tax deed, rending its deed void. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) Vandelay complied with the statutory notice requirements before applying for the tax deed; and (2) Plaintiff failed to prove that the extension to the statutory redemption period for an owner with a mental disorder applied. View "Wisner v. Vandelay Investments, LLC" on Justia Law