Justia Injury Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Nebraska Supreme Court
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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court finding that the exclusivity provisions of the Nebraska Workers' Compensation Act (the Act), Neb. Rev. Stat. 48-101 to 48-1,117 barred the claim of an employee of the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services that the Department violated the Nebraska Fair Employment Practice Act (NFEPA), Neb. Rev. Stat. 48-1101 to 48-1125, holding that the district court lacked jurisdiction over the employee's NFEPA action.Plaintiff was injured while participating in mandated self-defense training and sought and received workers' compensation benefits from the time she was injured. After Plaintiff was unable to find a position with the Department that would accommodate her physical restrictions she brought this action against the Department for wrongful termination on the basis of her disability, in violation of NFEPA. The district court granted summary judgment for the Department on the basis of the exclusivity provisions of the Act barred Plaintiff's NFEPA claim as a matter of law. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court correctly determined that it lacked jurisdiction over Plaintiff's NFEPA claim. View "Dutcher v. Nebraska Dep't of Correctional Services" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court granting summary judgment to Keating, O'Gara, Nebved & Peter, LLC (collectively, KONP) after finding that Plaintiff's defamation claim was not supported by evidence of actual malice or special damages and that certain statements attribution to KONP were absolutely privileged, holding that there was no error.In a vote, Bellevue Police Officers Association (BPOA) members expressed no confidence in Plaintiff, former chief of police for Bellevue. KNOP, a law firm representing BPOA and BPOA members, drafted a press release issued by BPOA addressing allegations of misconduct against Plaintiff. Plaintiff filed suit against KNOP alleging, among other claims, that he was defamed and placed in a false light by the press release. The district court granted summary judgment for KNOP. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err or abuse its discretion in (1) admitting certain testimony; (2) finding that Plaintiff's false light claim was subsumed; (3) concluding that Plaintiff's civil conspiracy claim failed; and (4) finding that certain statements were absolutely privileged. View "Elbert v. Young" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court in this case arising from the death of a television crew member who was shot and killed while filming law enforcement activities at the scene of a robbery when officers fired their weapons at the suspect, holding that there was no error.The filming in this case was conducted pursuant to a contract between the City of Omaha and the television production activity. The estate of the deceased crew member sued the city for wrongful death, and the city brought a third-party claim against the production company. The district court granted summary judgment against the city on its third-party claims. After a trial as to the estate's wrongful death claim, the court rendered judgment for the city, ruling that the wrongful death action was barred by sovereign immunity. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err in its judgment. View "Dion v. City of Omaha" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court vacated the order of the district court requiring Jeremy Barnett to repay funds he received in a personal injury lawsuit and the order dismissing Barnett's case for failing to do so, holding that the district court lacked the authority to require Barnett to repay the funds.Barnett was injured while getting into a taxicab and filed a personal injury lawsuit against the taxicab's driver and the corporations that purportedly employed the driver. Before trial, the driver and corporations filed an offer to confess judgment. Barnett filed an acceptance. Later, the court of appeals vacated a district court order entering judgment based on the offer to confess judgment. The district court later required Barnett to repay funds he received from one of the corporations and its liability insurer while the prior appeal was pending. When Barnett did not repay those funds, the district court dismissed his lawsuit as a sanction. The Supreme Court vacated the judgment, holding that the district court did not have the authority to order Barnett to repay the funds. View "Barnett v. Happy Cab Co." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court granting summary judgment in favor of Christopher Gillis and dismissing the claim brought by Lori and Robert Bogue that, as a result of negligence during a surgical procedure, Lori suffered injuries, holding that there was no error.The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Gillis on statute of limitations grounds, thus rejecting the Bogues' argument that under the continuous treatment doctrine the statute of limitations did not begin to run until the conclusion of Gillis' treatment of Lori approximately one year after the date of the surgery. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err in concluding that the statute of limitations began to run on the date of the surgery. View "Bogue v. Gills" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the order of the district court granting summary judgment in favor of Freedom Healthcare, LLC in this medical malpractice action, holding that the record presented genuine issues of material fact that precluded summary judgment.In his complaint, Plaintiff alleged that Freedom Healthcare acted negligently when it performed hemocyte tissue autograft therapy on Plaintiff's knees, causing an infection requiring extensive treatment and hospitalization. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Freedom Healthcare, concluding that Plaintiff had failed to put forward competent expert testimony that Freedom Healthcare had breached the applicable standard of care. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the district court erred when it disregarded Plaintiff's expert's testimony and granted summary judgment on negligence; and (2) there existed an inference of negligence under the theory of res ipsa loquitur, presenting a question of material fact for the fact-finder. View "Evans v. Freedom Healthcare, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the compensation court denying James Spratt's request seeking to modify his workers' compensation award, holding that the compensation court erred in holding that it lacked the statutory to do so and, alternatively, that the principal of finality precluded relief.Spratt injured his back while working for Crete Carrier Corporation and received a workers' compensation award granting medical rehabilitation services for his lumbar back. Spratt subsequently requested that the compensation court modify the original award so that he may receive thoracic back treatment. The compensation court denied Spratt's request for modification. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the compensation court erred in concluding that it lacked the power to modify the original award to treat Spratt's thoracic back; and (2) modification was not precluded by the law-of-the-case doctrine. View "Spratt v. Crete Carrier Corp." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the district court reversing the judgment of the county court dismissing the complaint brought by North Star Mutual Insurance Company without prejudice, holding that North Star violated the rule against claim splitting when it filed a subrogation action in its own name, without joining its insured.Julie Blazer, who was insured with North Star, was driving her vehicle when she was struck by a pickup truck driven by Travis Stewart. After paying Balzer insurance benefits as a result of the accident North Star filed suit against Stewart. North Star brought the negligence action in its own name as a subrogee of Blazer but did not join Blazer as a party. The county court dismissed the complaint without prejudice for lack of standing. The district court reversed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the allegations of the complaint were insufficient to demonstrate that North Star had standing to commence this action in its own name. View "North Star Mutual Insurance Co. v. Stewart" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court that granted summary judgment in favor of highway construction contractors and subcontractors (collectively, contractors) in this action alleging negligent maintenance of a construction site, holding that the contractors were entitled to summary judgment.Officer Curtis Blackbird died on duty when his police cruiser crashed into a parked crane and a portion of Highway 94 that was closed for construction. Plaintiff brought this action against the contractors, alleging negligence. The district court granted summary judgment for the contractors. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that there was no triable issue of fact, and therefore, the district court properly granted summary judgment in favor of the contractors. View "Porter v. Knife River, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the order of the district court concluding that the statute of limitations for negligence, as set forth in Neb. Stat. Ann. 25-207, begins to run on the date of a plaintiff's injury, holding that that court erred in granting summary judgment in favor of a tire repair company on the grounds that it was barred by the statute of limitations.A pickup truck owned by a construction company was involved in an accident that occurred when the right rear tire of the vehicle suffered a tread separation, resulting in a roll-over. Employees of the company that were passengers in the pickup truck at the time of the accident brought a negligence suit against the tire repair company that mounted the tire. The tire repair company moved for summary judgment based on the four-year statute of limitations. Because the action was brought more than four years after installation of the tire but within four years of the accident the district court granted the motion. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Employees' cause of action for ordinary negligence accrued at the time of the accident and not at the time the tire company installed the tire. View "Susman v. Kearney Towing & Repair Center, Inc." on Justia Law