Justia Injury Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Nebraska Supreme Court
State v. Brown
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court granting summary judgment in favor of the State in this action brought by Plaintiff alleging that his injuries were proximately caused by the negligence of a state employee, holding that the State was immune based on the recreational activity exemption to the State's waiver of sovereign immunity.Plaintiff was sitting at a table in a State-owned recreation area when a park superintendent started mowing wet grass in the area with a riding lawnmower. The mower slipped on the grass, slid down a slope, and collided with the picnic table, throwing Plaintiff from the table and causing him to suffer injuries. Plaintiff brought a negligence lawsuit against the State. The district court granted summary judgment for the state, concluding that both the recreational activity and weather conditions exemptions in the State Tort Claims Act (STCA) applied. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err in granting summary judgment based on the STCA's weather conditions exemption. View "State v. Brown" on Justia Law
Saylor v. State
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court dismissing Defendant's lawsuit under the State Tort Claims Act (STCA), Neb. Rev. Stat. 81-8,209 to 81-8,235, based on a finding that Defendant's action was barred by the doctrine of claim preclusion, holding that claim preclusion applied.Defendant, an inmate, filed two cases against the State under the STCA. The district court entered two judgments. One judgment dismissed the first action with prejudice as barred by the STCA's statute of limitations and the other dismissed the second action with prejudice because Defendant had failed to comply with the preset claim presentment provisions of the STCA. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court properly dismissed the second action as barred by claim preclusion because Defendant could have, and should have, brought all of his claims in the first action but failed to do so. View "Saylor v. State" on Justia Law
McPherson v. Walgreens Boot Alliance, Inc.
The Supreme Court dismissed this interlocutory appeal from a district court order granting a motion to stay arbitration proceedings between the codefendants in the underlying negligence action, holding that the order staying arbitration was not immediately appealable.Walgreens Boot Alliance, Inc. contracted with Ferrandino & Son, Inc. to provide services at various locations through the United States. Ferrandino contracted with Patera Landscaping, LLC to perform snow removal services at three Walgreens locations in Omaha. Yvonne McPherson was injured when she slipped and fell on an icy sidewalk outside an Omaha Walgreens and filed a negligence action against Patera, Ferrandino, and Walgreens. Ferrandino filed a demand for arbitration seeking a determination that under the terms of the subcontract, Patera had a contractual duty to defend and indemnify both Ferrandino and Walgreens against McPherson's claims. Petera moved to stay the arbitration based on Neb. Rev. Stat. 25-2603. The district court granted the motion to stay arbitration, and Ferrandino appealed. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal, holding that the order staying arbitration was not immediately appealable. View "McPherson v. Walgreens Boot Alliance, Inc." on Justia Law
Sparks v. Mach
The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the judgment of the district court granting summary judgment in favor of Defendant and dismissing with prejudice Plaintiff's action for damages arising from a motor vehicle accident, holding that Plaintiff's first amended complaint validly commenced a proceeding within the applicable limitations period.Plaintiff filed a complaint against the David Mach, the special administrator for the Estate of Leo Mach, alleging negligence. Because, after filing the complaint, Plaintiff learned that the estate had closed and that David had been discharged as special administrator, Plaintiff moved to reopen the estate and reappoint David as special administrator. The county court granted the motion, and Plaintiff served David with the summons and the original complaint. Plaintiff later moved to amend the complaint, which the court sustained. Plaintiff then filed a second amended complaint. The district court granted summary judgment for David, and the court of appeals affirmed, finding that the original filing was a nullity. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Plaintiff's first amended complaint validly commenced. Proceeding within the applicable limitations period. View "Sparks v. Mach" on Justia Law
In re Guardianship & Conservatorship of Maronica B.
The Supreme Court vacated the order of the county court denying a motion to rescind and unwind a agreement entered into to settle Maronica B.'s personal injury claim against Davion Brewer and his automobile insurance carrier, holding that the county court lacked subject matter jurisdiction.Maronica sustained serious injuries when a car that Davion was driving and in which Maronica was a passenger collided with a school bus. Maronica's mother and then-conservator applied to the county court for permission to settlement Maronica's claims against Davion and his insurer. The county court authorized the settlement. Thereafter, Maronica's father, the successor conservator, moved to rescind and unwind the agreement on the grounds that the settlement potentially limited Maronica's recovery against non-settling parties. The county court denied the motion. The Supreme Court vacated the county court's order and dismissed this appeal, holding that the county court did not have subject matter jurisdiction. View "In re Guardianship & Conservatorship of Maronica B." on Justia Law
Carson v. Steinke
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court in this medical malpractice action brought by Parents against the two doctors involving in the birth and emergency care of their infant son, holding that Parents were not entitled to relief on their allegations of error.On appeal, Parents argued that the district court abused its discretion by excluding expert testimony concerning causation due to a lack of pretrial disclosure and lack of foundation and that a reasonable jury could have found in their favor of their malpractice claims. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court (1) did not abuse its discretion by excluding the expert testimony; and (2) the district court correctly directed verdicts for the defendants because Parents failed to present sufficient evidence to allow a reasonable jury to make findings in their favor on each element of their malpractice claims. View "Carson v. Steinke" on Justia Law
Bohling v. Tecumseh Poultry LLC
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court dismissing Plaintiff's malicious prosecution claim after finding that claim preclusion applied and that the complaint failed to state a claim, holding that claim preclusion applied.Plaintiff twice sued Defendant, her former employer, for malicious prosecution seeking damages based on her criminal prosecution, which occurred in Johnson County. After the Johnson County district court dismissed the civil action with prejudice for failure to state a claim Plaintiff sued in Lancaster County. Defendant filed a motion to dismiss and asked the court to consider public records from the Johnson County civil and criminal proceedings involving Defendant. The district court dismissed the complaint. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court properly dismissed the second malicious prosecution action because the dismissal with prejudice of Defendant's first malicious prosecution action became a judgment on the merits, and the other elements of claim preclusion were satisfied. View "Bohling v. Tecumseh Poultry LLC" on Justia Law
Clark v. Scheels All Sports, Inc.
The Supreme Court affirmed the district court's judgment in favor of Scheels All Sports, Inc. and dismissing Plaintiff's allegations that she tripped and fell due to a dangerous condition on the premises, holding that there was no error.On appeal, Plaintiff argued, among other things, that the district court erred in prematurely shifting the evidentiary burden to her as the nonmoving party to show the existence of a genuine factual dispute when Scheels had not met its prima facie burden as the moving party. Specifically, Plaintiff argued that the only way Scheels could meet its initial burden was to offer evidence affirmatively negating Plaintiff's negligence claim. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the 2017 amendments to Neb. Rev. Stat. 25-1332(2) expressly allow a moving party to show the absence of a genuine dispute as to any material fact that "an adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence to support the fact; (2) Scheels satisfied its prima facie burden; and (3) Plaintiff did not show a genuine dispute of material fact sufficiency to preclude summary judgment. View "Clark v. Scheels All Sports, Inc." on Justia Law
Angel v. Neb. Dep’t of Natural Resources
The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the district court granting summary judgment in favor of the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources and dismissing Plaintiffs' lawsuit alleging negligence and nuisance, holding that immunity in the Safety of Dams and Reservoirs Act, Neb. Rev. Stat. 46-1601 to 46-1670, barred the claims.This lawsuit arose from the 2019 failure of Spencer Dam, leading to the destruction of nearby property and one person's death. Plaintiffs, the property owners and the decedent's surviving spouse, sued the Department alleging that the Department and its predecessor entities caused the Dam's failure and interfered with their use and enjoyment of their property. The court entered summary judgment in favor of the Department, determining that the Department had immunity under the Act. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the Act provided the Department with immunity for the claims asserted against it, and therefore, the Department was entitled to judgment as a matter of law. View "Angel v. Neb. Dep't of Natural Resources" on Justia Law
Estate of Block v. Estate of Becker
The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the district court dismissing the underlying negligence complaint due to a lack of "solid evidence" as to the element of proximate cause, holding that Plaintiffs showed the existence of a material fact.Clay Block was killed when he fell from the balcony of his friend's second-story apartment. Block's estate and family (Plaintiffs) brought suit alleging that Defendants were negligent in failing to repair or replace the balcony railing despite notice that it was unsafe and in failing to warn Block that the railing was unsafe. The district court granted summary judgment for Defendants. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Plaintiffs presented sufficient evidence to support their allegation of proximate cause to preclude summary judgment. View "Estate of Block v. Estate of Becker" on Justia Law