Articles Posted in Nebraska Supreme Court

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court denying Plaintiff’s motion for new trial in this personal injury action. Plaintiff sued Defendant for negligence after an automobile collision, claiming that her neck, back, and wrists were injured in the accident. Defendant admitted that her negligence caused the collision and “some injury” to Plaintiff but denied the nature and extent of the injuries and damages claimed by Plaintiff. The jury returned a unanimous verdict for Defendant. The district court denied Plaintiff’s motion for new trial and entered judgment on the jury’s verdict. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the jury’s verdict was supported by sufficient evidence. View "Lewison v. Renner" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed as modified the district court’s order dismissing with prejudice Plaintiff’s complaint for lack of personal jurisdiction. Plaintiff, an attorney, filed a complaint for breach of contract against Defendant. The trial court dismissed the complaint with leave to amend. Plaintiff then filed an amended complaint including claims for tortious conversion and a violation of Nebraska’s Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act. The Supreme Court affirmed the dismissal of the complaint, holding (1) neither general nor specific personal jurisdiction over Defendant existed; but (2) the district court erred in dismissing the complaint with prejudice. The court modified the district court’s order to a dismissal without prejudice. View "Nimmer v. Giga Entertainment Media, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court dismissing Appellants’ complaint alleging that the Nebraska Public Service Commission (PSC) negligently failed to enforce Nebraska statutes and regulations against Pierce Grain Elevator, Inc. (PEI). The complaint was filed under Nebraska’s State Tort Claims Act (STCA). In dismissing the complaint, the district court concluded that Appellants’ suit was barred by the STCA’s discretionary function exception provided in Neb. Rev. Stat. 81-8,219(1). The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s determination that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction over the case, holding that Appellants’ claims were grounded in a state agency’s alleged failure to suspend or revoke a license and that the Legislature has preserved sovereign immunity for such conduct. View "Amend v. Nebraska Public Service Commission" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Landlord in this negligence action brought by Tenant seeking to recover damages for injuries she sustained when falling on the entry step of the single-family home she rented. The Supreme Court held (1) the district court did not err in the portion of the ruling in the summary judgment order that Landlord was not obligated to warn Tenant of a dangerous condition on the property; but (2) genuine issues of material fact precluded an award of summary judgment with respect to Tenant’s allegation that Landlord failed to exercise reasonable care to repair and maintain the property as required by the parties’ lease. View "Benard v. McDowall, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court granting the State’s motion to dismiss Plaintiff’s claim for damages under the Nebraska Claims for Wrongful Conviction and Imprisonment Act, holding that Plaintiff failed to sufficiently plead a claim of actual innocence. Defendant was convicted of attempted first degree sexual assault and attempted third degree sexual assault of a minor. The court of appeals reversed Defendant’s convictions and remanded the cause for a new trial. While the state sought further review, Defendant completed his prison sentence. Defendant subsequently filed this claim alleging that he had been entrapped. The district court granted the State’s motion to dismiss on the ground that the affirmative defense of entrapment is legally insufficient to show actual innocence as opposed to legal innocence, which is a required element of a wrongful conviction claim. The court of appeals reversed. The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals, holding that Defendant failed sufficiently to allege facts to support a finding of actual innocence. View "Nadeem v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the trial court entering judgment for Defendants in this tort action filed by a pilot injured in an airplane crash. Patrick O’Brien, a pilot who was seriously injured when the plane he was flying crashed on approach to an airport, sued the aircraft’s designer and manufacturer and the designer and manufacturer or the aircraft’s pneumatic deicing system, asserting strict liability, negligence, and fraudulent misrepresentation claims. The jury returned a general verdict for Defendants. O’Brien appealed, assigning sixty-five claims. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that there was no merit to any of O’Brien’s assigned errors. View "O'Brien v. Cessna Aircraft Co." on Justia Law

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A court can consider an exception to the State’s waiver of immunity for tort claims under the State Tort Claims Act (STCA) sua sponte and for the first time on appeal. In so holding, the Supreme Court overruled Nebraska cases holding that an STCA exception is an affirmative defense that the State must plead and prove. Here, Defendant appealed the district court’s order dismissing his negligence claim under the STCA and his due process and Eighth Amendment claims under 42 U.S.C. 1983. The district court dismissed Defendant’s claims against Defendants - state officials and employees of the Nebraska Board of Parole and the Department of Correctional Services - concluding that all of Defendant’s claims were barred by sovereign immunity, qualified immunity, or pleading deficiencies. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the STCA exception for claims of false imprisonment applied, which exception barred Defendant’s tort claim under the doctrine of sovereign immunity; and (2) the district court did not err in ruling that Defendants were shielded from Defendant’s section 1983 action by absolute or qualified immunity. View "Davis v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the holding of the Court of Appeals reversing the decision of the Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Court finding that Employee’s work-related injury was fully resolved within three days of the work accident and that Employee’s need for additional medical treatment was the result of a non-work-related injury. The Supreme Court held (1) there was sufficient competent evidence to support the Workers’ Compensation Court’s determination that Employee’s work-related injury was fully resolved prior to his subsequent fall; and (2) the Workers’ Compensation Court was not clearly wrong in finding that Employee did not meet his burden of proving that his subsequent injury was the result of his workplace accident. View "Hintz v. Farmers Cooperative Ass’n" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals reversing the district court’s exclusion of untimely disclosed expert opinions regarding medical bills in order to enforce progression orders in an automobile negligence case. The court of appeals reversed the judgment in favor of Defendants, concluding that the district court abused its discretion in excluding, as a discovery sanction, nearly all of Plaintiff’s medical bills, as well as testimony from Plaintiff’s expert witness that the bills were reasonable and necessary. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the district court did not need to apply the factors set forth in Norway v. Union Pacific Railroad, 407 N.W.2d 146 (Neb. 1987) to enforce its progression order; and (2) it was not an abuse of discretion to exclude evidence disclosed more than one year after the discovery deadline imposed by the court’s progression order. View "Putnam v. Scherbring" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s order dismissing with prejudice Plaintiff’s complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. Plaintiff, which operated commercial grain warehouses and elevators and owned trading businesses through Nebraska, filed a complaint alleging that several defendants engaged in a pattern of behavior with the intent to deprive it of information, an opportunity to be heard, and due process of law. The district court concluded that Defendants were entitled to immunity under Nebraska’s Consumer Protection Act and the Noerr-Pennington doctrine and that Plaintiff’s claims of conspiracy and aiding and abetting required an underlying tort to be actionable. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Plaintiff failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted because Defendants were entitled to immunity under the Noerr-Pennington doctrine and Plaintiff alleged only underlying statutory violations; and (2) any amendment to Plaintiff’s petition would be futile. View "Salem Grain Co. v. Consolidated Grain & Barge Co." on Justia Law