Justia Real Estate & Property Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Nebraska Supreme Court
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In this quiet title action for adverse possession of a small parcel of land adjacent to parcel on which Lillie Brown's home stood, the Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the district court granting Brown's motion for summary judgment and finding that she had adversely possessed the parcel of land at issue, holding that the district court did not err.After learning that she did not own the parcel at issue, Brown filed her motion to quiet title. The district court granted summary judgment for Brown and quieted title in her favor. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err in its evidentiary rulings and properly granted summary judgment in favor of Brown. View "Brown v. Morello" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the court of appeals dismissing for lack of jurisdiction Steven Clason's appeal of a district court order denying his request to quiet title to certain property in his name, holding that the order was not appealable because not all counterclaims were resolved.Clason owned property that was sold to Producers Livestock Credit Corporation (PLCC) after Clason defaulted on his loan payments. Clason refused to surrender the property to PLCC and filed a complaint alleging that the purported sale of the property to PLCC was void. Clason requested that the court enter an order quieting title to the property in him. PLCC filed a counterclaim and requested that Clason's complaint be dismissed. The district court entered judgment in favor of PLCC and against Clason, dismissed the case with prejudice, and ordered that title be quieted in PLCC. The court of appeals dismissed the appeal for lack of jurisdiction. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court's order was not appealable because not all of PLCC's counterclaims were resolved. View "Clason v. LOL Investments, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the order of the district court affirming the findings of the county court in this division fence dispute, holding that the county court order was a conditional order from which no appeal could be taken, and therefore, the district court and this Court did not acquire jurisdiction.The parties in this case owned adjacent properties on which cattle grazed. Plaintiffs filed a fence dispute complaint in the county court seeking contribution in connection with the planned construction of a fence on a portion of the boundary between the parties' property. The county court ordered Defendants to perform or monetarily contribute to the construction of a division fence between the properties. The district court affirmed the county court's findings and remanded the matter for further proceedings on the issue of contribution. The Supreme Court dismissed Defendants' appeal, holding that the county court's order was a conditional order and, as such, was not appealable to the district court. View "Evert v. Srb" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court evicting Defendant from a property and quieting title to it in Plaintiff, Defendant's former husband's corporation (the corporation) but awarding Plaintiff a judgment for the money she provided for its downpayment, holding that the district court did not err.After Plaintiff failed to pay rent for two years the corporation initiated eviction proceedings. Plaintiff denied being a tenant and claimed to co-owned the property. Plaintiff then filed a complaint asking the district court to quiet title to the property in the corporation and restore the premises to it. Defendant filed a countercomplaint requesting partition or, alternative, a constructive trust and restitution. The district court quieted title to the property in Plaintiff. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the court did not err in quieting title to the corporation, declining to partition the property or impose a constructive trust upon it, restoring the premises to the corporation, and awarding Defendant a monetary judgment for an unpaid loan. View "Dreesen Enterprises, Inc. v. Dreesen" on Justia Law

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In this case stemming from a fire that destroyed part of the Old Market area in Omaha the Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court finding that the Metropolitan Utilities District (MUD) was not immune from suit and denying MUD's motion for summary judgment, holding that there was no merit to MUD's assignments of error.Multiple lawsuits were initiated as a result of the damage caused by the fire. After various settlements, MUD was the only remaining defendant involved in these consolidated appeals. Plaintiffs alleged that MUD failed properly to mark a gas line, failed to timely shut off the gas at the scene of the fire, and failed properly to abandon an old gas line. MUD filed a motion to dismiss in each case, arguing that it was immune from suit on the basis of the discretionary function exception to the Political Subdivisions Tort Claims Act (PSTCA). The district court denied the motion. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that MUD was not immune from suit under the discretionary function exception to the PSTCA. View "Mercer v. North Central Service, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court finding in favor of the plaintiff subdivision in this dispute between two subdivisions, holding that the defendant subdivision's assignments of error were without merit.At issue was the cost of maintenance for a private street that connected the two subdivisions to public roads. The developers of the subdivisions adopted covenants requiring the subdivisions to share maintenance costs for the private street, but the defendant subdivision later modified its covenants to repudiate its responsibility to pay for the street's maintenance costs. The plaintiff subdivision sued and was awarded $18,733 in damages for its past due share of the street's maintenance costs. The district court also ordered the defendant subdivision to continue contributing its share of costs for the street maintenance and to not again repudiate its obligation to contribute. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that there was no error in the district court's judgment. View "Equestrian Ridge Homeowners Ass'n v. Equestrian Ridge Estates II Homeowners Ass'n" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court approving the Dodge County Board of Adjustment's grant of variance for a 4-H pigpen built in violation of county setback requirements, holding that competent evidence supported the district court's factual findings and that the district court did not err or abuse its discretion in approving the variance.The variance was based on, within the meaning of Neb. Rev. Stat. 23-168.03(1)(c), peculiar and exceptional practical difficulties or exceptional and undue hardships. In affirming the Board's decision to grant a variance, the district court found that the Board's decision was reasonable, well considered, and within the Board's discretion. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not make an error of law or abuse its discretion in determining that the narrowness or shape of the property resulted in sufficient hardship to justify upholding the Board's decision to grant the variance. View "Dolezal-Soukup v. Dodge County Board of Adjustment" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the district court finding that E. Jane Egan lacked standing to challenge the Lancaster County Board of Commissioners' issuance of a special use permit allowing Randy Essink to construct and operate a poultry production facility on land within the county's agricultural zoning district and that the permit was appropriately issued, holding that the district court did not err.Egan and Janis Howlett challenged the Board's decision in the district court, asserting that the proposed poultry production facility would lead to adverse effects on the environment, properly values, public health, and local infrastructure. The district court affirmed the issuance of the special use permit, concluding that Egan did not have standing and that the permit was appropriately issued. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err by failing to find that Egan had standing and finding that the special use permit was properly approved. View "Egan v. County of Lancaster" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court reversing and vacating the decision of the County of Knox board of supervisors approving a conditional use permit for an expansion of H&H Cattle's feedlot to 20,000 head of cattle, holding that there was no merit to Defendants' appeal.In 2003, H&H Cattle, the predecessor in interest of Epic Land and Cattle, LLC, obtained an impact easement from the mother of Plaintiffs. Thereafter, the County's board of supervisors approved a conditional use permit for an expansion of H&H Cattle's feedlot to 7,500 head of cattle. Fourteen years later, H&H Cattle again sought expansion of its feedlot. Relying in part on the 2003 impact easement, the board of supervisors granted the conditional use permit. The district court reversed and vacated the decision approving the permit. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the district court did not err in finding Plaintiff was unable to execute an easement that bound the shares of her children; (2) Defendants' arguments regarding estoppel by deed and ratification were without merit; and (3) any reliance on the easement was not reasonable. View "Harts v. County of Knox" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court finding compensation totaling $4,625,967 for Elkhorn School District's taking of forty-three acres of Tribedo, LLC's property, holding that the district court did not err in its trial rulings nor in accepting the jury verdict for total compensation due to Tribedo.After the board of appraisers awarded $2,601,600 for the taking Tribedo appealed, alleging that the award did not reflect the fair market value of the property taken and did not adequately compensate for damages to the remainder of Tribedo's property. Following the jury's verdict, Elkhorn moved for a new trial. The district court denied the motion and granted Tribedo's posttrial motions for an award of interest and attorney fees. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) there was no error in the proceedings below; (2) the district court did not err when it accepted the jury verdict; and (3) the district court did not abuse its discretion when it awarded Tribedo $590,925 in attorney fees. View "Douglas County School District No. 10 v. Tribedo, LLC" on Justia Law