Articles Posted in Nebraska Supreme Court

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Lori Greenwood was injured while working for J.J. Hooligans, LLC. Greenwood was informed that because of nonpayment, FirstComp Insurance Company (FirstComp) was not the workers’ compensation insurance carrier on the date of the accident. Greenwood filed a petition against J.J. Hooligan’s and FirstComp seeking workers’ compensation benefits. FirstComp filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that it was not a proper party because it had timely notified J.J. Hooligan’s that it had terminated its insurance coverage for nonpayment of its premium and therefore did not provide workers’ compensation insurance on the date of the accident. The Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Court sustained the motion to dismiss. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that FirstComp failed to present sufficient competent evidence as to whether it complied with the employer notice of cancellation requirement in Neb. Rev. Stat. 48-144.03 to warrant an order of dismissal. View "Greenwood v. J.J. Hooligan’s, LLC" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed a complaint against William McCoy using the pseudonyms “Jane Doe” and “John Doe.” Plaintiffs alleged that McCoy had sexually abused “Jane Doe” while she was a minor and that John Doe, who later married her, suffered a loss of consortium as a result of McCoy’s alleged sexual abuse of Jane Doe. The district court granted the motion to dismiss on the grounds that the action was time barred under the applicable statutes of limitations and that the complaint was not brought in the real names of the parties in interest. The Supreme Court affirmed on the basis that the action was barred by the applicable statutes of limitations. View "Doe v. McCoy" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s summary judgment for the County of Lancaster in this complaint filed by the City of Lincoln seeking reimbursement of expenses paid on its employee’s behalf after a deputy sheriff with the County made contact with the employee, injuring the employee’s shoulder. The district court concluded (1) the County’s procurement of liability insurance did not constitute a waiver of its sovereign immunity for claims less than the policy’s retained insurance limit; and (2) because the amount in controversy was $63,418, the County did not waive its sovereign immunity by obtaining insurance for claims exceeding $250,000. The Supreme Court affirmed for reasons different from those stated by the district court, holding (1) the County’s procurement of insurance did not constitute a waiver of immunity as to a claim arising out of a battery; and (2) therefore, the County’s policy did not cover the underlying event, and there was no waiver of immunity regardless of the retained insurance limit. View "City of Lincoln v. County of Lancaster" on Justia Law

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The personal representative of James McGauley’s estate brought a wrongful death action against Washington County for the death of McGauley, a quarry worker who was killed while operating a dump truck on a road being built up by Martin Marietta Materials, Inc. on behalf of the County. The district court dismissed the plaintiff’s claims against the County, concluding that the discretionary function exception of the Political Subdivisions Tort Claims Act (PSTCA) applied, and therefore, the County had sovereign immunity. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the County’s decision to allow Marietta to build up the road was a discretionary function not subject to the PSTCA. View "McGauley v. Washington County" on Justia Law

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Appellants Mary and Terry Cohan brought a medical malpractice action against Appellees alleging that Appellees’ negligent treatment caused Mary’s breast cancer to progress undiagnosed for one year, which led to Mary suffering damages from a shortened life expectancy and physical and mental suffering. Appellees moved for a directed verdict on the basis that Appellants failed to make a prima facie case of causation and damages against them. The district court granted the motion, concluding that there was no sufficient proof of damage or causation other than the loss of chance of a lower rate of non-recurrence, which did not constitute a proper measure of damage at the time. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part and remanded for a new trial, holding (1) this court declines to adopt the loss-of-chance doctrine; but (2) Appellants presented evidence that could have sustained a finding for Mary on the issue of damages under the traditional medical malpractice standard. View "Cohan v. Medical Imaging Consultants" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs sued the State and the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (collectively, the State) after a state employee falsely told them that K.D.M. had no sexual abuse history and, upon K.D.M’s placement in Plaintiffs’ home, K.D.M. sexually assaulted their child. The district court dismissed the complaint, concluding that the State was immune from suit because the employee consciously deceived Plaintiffs and the State Tort Claims Act “specifically excepts from its waiver of governmental immunity claims that are based on misrepresentation and deceit.” The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that because Plaintiffs’ claims arose out of the State employee’s misrepresentation, they were barred. View "Jill B. v. State" on Justia Law

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Appellants, the parents and special administrators of the estate of Melissa Rodriguez, who was killed by Michael Loyd, brought this negligence and wrongful death action against numerous defendants. The defendants were treated as three groups - the Lasting Hope defendants, the UNMC defendants, and the City defendants. Appellants claimed that the defendants were negligent in failing to protect Melissa from Loyd. The district court granted the defendants’ motions to dismiss the second amended complaint. On appeal, Appellants challenged the dismissal of the Lasting Hope and the UNMC defendants. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the district court (1) erred when it dismissed Appellants’ second amended complaint for failure to state a claim with respect to the Lasting Hope defendants; and (2) erred when it denied Appellants’ motion to amend the second amended complaint to add allegations relative to the UNMC defendants and dismissed the UNMC defendants. View "Rodriguez v. Catholic Health Initiatives" on Justia Law

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Norman Kroemer, an employee of Ribbon Weld, LLC sustained an eye injury in connection with the use of Omaha Track Equipment, LLC’s (OTE) tools. Kroemer and Ribbon Weld entered into a compromise lump-sum settlement for $80,000. After payment of the lump sum, Ribbon Weld’s subrogation interest totaled just over $200,000. Kroemer then sued OTE and Ribbon Weld. Kroemer and OTE engaged in mediation to settle the third-party claim and ultimately negotiated a compromise settlement of claims in the amount of $150,000. The district court determined that the settlement was reasonable and allocated $0 to Ribbon Weld. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and in part reversed and remanded, holding (1) the district court’s approval of the settlement was not an abuse of discretion under the circumstances; but (2) the district court did abuse its discretion in not allocating any of the settlement proceeds to Ribbon Weld. View "Kroemer v. Omaha Track Equipment, LLC" on Justia Law

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ACI Worldwide Corp. sued Baldwin Hackett & Meeks, Inc., its cofounders, and other company principals (collectively, BHMI), alleging that BHMI misappropriated its trade secrets. BHMI counterclaimed, alleging that ACI tortiously interfered with a business relationship and violated provisions of Nbraska’s unlawful restraint of trade statutes. In 2014, a jury found against ACI on its misappropriation claim. In 2015, a jury found in favor of BHMI on all of its counterclaims. ACI then filed posttrial motions to vacate the jury’s judgments, reopen the evidence, and grant a new trial on the basis that ACI had discovered new evidence. The district court overruled ACI’s posttrial motions. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court (1) did not abuse its discretion in overruling ACI’s motion to vacate the 2014 and 2015 judgments; and (2) did not abuse its discretion in awarding BHMI $2,732,962.50 in attorney fees. View "ACI Worldwide Corp. v. Baldwin Hackett & Meeks, Inc." on Justia Law

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While Tyler Thomas and Joshua Keadle were both students at Peru State College, Keadle allegedly abducted, raped, and murdered Thomas. Appellants filed a fifth amended complaint against the Board of Trustees of the Nebraska State Colleges under the State Tort Claims Act, seeking damages for the wrongful death of Thomas, for Thomas’ pain and suffering prior to her death, and for the severe emotional distress of Appellants as Thomas’ parents and next of kin. The causes of action were premised upon the Board’s alleged negligence. The district court granted summary judgment for the Board. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the risk of Keadle’s alleged abduction, rape, and murder of Thomas was not foreseeable as a matter of law. View "Thomas v. Board of Trustees of Nebraska State Colleges" on Justia Law