Articles Posted in Nebraska Supreme Court

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The Supreme Court affirmed the determination of the Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Court that it lacked jurisdiction over Appellant’s petition and dismissing his claim, holding that the compensation court correctly dismissed Appellant’s petition for injuries sustained on the job in Alaska. Appellant was a Nebraska resident when he was hired by Trident Seafoods, a State of Washington corporation without a permanent presence in Nebraska. Appellant sustained a work-related injury while working at Trident Seafoods’ Alaska plant. Appellant filed a petition in the Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Court claiming benefits under the Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Act. The compensation court dismissed the petition for lack of jurisdiction, finding that Trident Seafoods was not a statutory employer under Neb. Rev. Stat. 48-106(1). The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Trident Seafoods was not a statutory employer, and therefore, the Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Act did not apply. View "Hassan v. Trident Seafoods" 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 affirmed the judgment of the district court granting summary judgment in favor of M&D Trucking, LLC (M&D) and dismissing Appellants’ claims in this personal injury action, holding that there were no genuine issues of material fact. A truck driver failed to stop at a stop sign and struck a vehicle carrying members of a family, three of whom died. The driver was driving a truck and trailer with Turbo Turtle Logistics LLC signage on the date of the accident. M&D was the company hired to transport the load Johnson carried during the accident. Appellants brought this action against M&D, alleging that M&D was liable for the driver’s negligence through the doctrine of respondent superior and that M&D was negligent in hiring, training, or supervising the driver. The district court granted summary judgment for M&D. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the driver’s relationship with M&D was that of an independent contractor; (2) M&D did not have liability under that independent contractor relationship for the driver’s negligence; and (3) M&D was not a motor carrier responsible for the driver’s hiring, training, or supervision. View "Sparks v. M&D Trucking, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the finding of the Workers’ Compensation Court that Employee, who was injured during the course and scope of her employment, had reached maximum medical improvement prior to the stroke she suffered approximately three weeks after she filed her petition in the compensation court seeking temporary and permanent disability benefits and the compensation court’s award of permanent total disability, holding that the compensation court did not err. The stroke suffered by Employee was unrelated to her work injury or treatment and left Employee largely incapacitated. The compensation court awarded Employee permanent total disability benefits, thus rejecting Employer’s contention that the occurrence of the stroke relieved Employer of the ongoing responsibility to pay total disability benefits. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the compensation court did not err in (1) finding Employee reached maximum medical improvement prior to her stroke; (2) finding Employee was permanently and totally disabled; and (3) finding the stroke had no impact on Employee’s entitlement to ongoing permanent total disability benefits. View "Krause v. Five Star Quality Care, Inc." on Justia Law

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At issue in this appeal was whether the statutory scheme regulating intrastate motor carriers imputes an employer-employee relationship between a general contractor and a subcontracting motor carrier’s employee for purposes of vicarious liability under respondent superior. The employee of a registered motor carrier caused an accident while returning the motor carrier’s truck after delivering the final load of the day under a contract between the motor carrier and a general contractor, also a registered motor carrier. The representative of the injured party sued the the driver, the driver’s employer, and the general contractor. The trial court granted summary judgment for the general contractor. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the driver was not a common law employee or a statutory employee of the general contractor for purposes of vicarious liability under respondeat superior; and (2) the general contractor was not liable under any of the exceptions to a general contractor’s nonliability for the acts or omissions of an independent contractor. View "Cruz v. Lopez" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the district court dismissing Plaintiff’s amended complaint against two religious organizations alleging fraudulent concealment, holding that the district court properly determined that Plaintiff’s claims were barred by the statute of limitations. In her amended complaint, Plaintiff alleged that when she gave birth, Defendants kidnapped her newborn son and fraudulently concealed his adoption. The district court dismissed the amended complaint based upon the statute of limitations. On appeal, Plaintiff argued that her allegation of fraudulent concealment tolled the statute. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that because Plaintiff failed particularly to allege fraudulent concealment, the statute of limitations did not toll. View "Chafin v. Wisconsin Province Society of Jesus" on Justia Law

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In this workers’ compensation case, the Supreme Court affirmed the compensation court’s findings that Plaintiff was entitled to benefits and that the court did not have jurisdiction to resolve issues regarding a third-party settlement but reversed the compensation court’s denial of Plaintiff’s request that she be awarded penalties, attorney fees, and interest. Plaintiff was driving a school bus when the bus was struck by a drunk driver, injuring Plaintiff. Plaintiff’s employer (Employer) paid workers’ compensation benefits for a time but refused to pay benefits when Plaintiff asserted that she was permanently disabled as a result of her injuries. The workers’ compensation court concluded (1) Plaintiff was entitled to additional benefits; (2) the court did not have jurisdiction to grant relief requested by Employer concerning a settlement that Plaintiff entered into with the third party who caused her injuries; and (3) Plaintiff was not entitled to penalties, attorney fees, and interest. The Supreme Court held that the compensation court (1) correctly concluded that it lacked jurisdiction to resolve disputes related to Plaintiff’s settlement with the third-party tortfeasor; (2) correctly found that Plaintiff was entitled to permanent partial disability benefits; but (3) was clearly wrong in denying Plaintiff penalties, attorney fees, and interest because there was no reasonable controversy regarding her entitlement to benefits. View "Gimple v. Student Transportation of America" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Workers’ Compensation Court determining that Appellant’s injuries did not “arise out of” his employment, holding that Appellant’s assignment of error on appeal was without merit because he waived his argument by failing to present it to the compensation court. At trial, Appellant argued only that his injury arose out of employment because his fall, which resulted in injuries, resulted from a risk of employment. On appeal, however, Appellant argued that his injury arose out of employment under the “increased-danger” rule. The Supreme Court held that the trial court did not commit plain error by not applying the increased-danger rule, and Appellant waived his argument on appeal by failing to present it to the compensation court. View "Maroulakos v. Walmart Associates, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the dismissal of Appellant’s wrongful discharge claim on the ground that it was barred by the doctrine of claim preclusion. Appellant filed a complaint against her former employer, alleging violation of title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and wrongful discharge in violation of Nebraska law and public policy. A federal district court granted summary judgment for Defendant, concluding that the claim was governed by the Nebraska Fair Employment Practice Act (NFEPA) and was not a general state law tort claim for wrongful discharge. Appellant’s title VII claim remained pending in the federal court. Appellant then filed the instant complaint against Defendant in the district court for Lancaster County, alleging wrongful discharge “in violation of Nebraska law and public policy.” The district court dismissed the wrongful discharge claim, concluding that it was barred by the doctrine of claim preclusion because the federal district court had already decided the claim on the merits and dismissed it as time barred. The Supreme Court affirmed. View "Hill v. AMMC, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the denial of Appellant’s motion to dismiss or stay proceedings and compel arbitration, holding that the issue of whether the arbitration agreement in this case was enforceable was properly decided by the district court and not an arbitrator. Thomas Cullinane, as special administrator for the estate of his mother, Helen Cullinane, filed a wrongful death action against Appellant, Beverly Enterprises - Nebraska, Inc., doing business as Golden LivingCenter - Valhaven (GLCV). GLCV filed a motion to dismiss or stay proceedings and compel arbitration in accordance with the terms of a written arbitration agreement between GLCV and Helen. GLCV asserted that Eugene Cullinane, Helen’s husband, while acting as Helen’s attorney in fact, signed the agreement when he and Helen were admitted to the facility. The district court found that Eugene’s execution of the arbitration agreement could not be binding upon Helen, nor her estate, and thus dismissed GLCV’s motion. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err in determining that the arbitration agreement was not binding upon Helen or her estate. View "Cullinane v. Beverly Enterprises - Nebraska, Inc." on Justia Law