Articles Posted in Nebraska Supreme Court

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the Workers’ Compensation Court awarding an injured employee unspecified vocational rehabilitation. A vocational rehabilitation counselor recommended formal training. A vocational rehabilitation specialist, however, “denied” the proposed plan, concluding that formal training was not reasonable or necessary. The compensation court dismissed Employer’s petition to eliminate the formal training requirement and ordered that Employee was entitled to participate in the proposed vocational rehabilitation plan. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the findings of the compensation court were supported by competent evidence, and the plan would comport with the statutory goal to return the injured employee to “suitable employment.” View "Anderson v. EMCOR Group, Inc." 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 judgment in favor of Plaintiff, a former officer at the Tecumseh State Correctional Institution, and against Scott Busboom, an officer at the facility, holding that Busboom was entitled to qualified immunity on Defendant’s claim that he was denied due process when he was placed on unpaid investigatory suspension without any opportunity to be heard. The district court determined that Busboom was not entitled to qualified immunity in his individual capacity because Busboom had signed the letter suspending Plaintiff while acting under color of state law and that “any reasonable officer” in his position would have understood that Plaintiff was entitled to a hearing before being deprived of a protected property interest. In reversing, the Supreme Court held (1) when Plaintiff was suspended without pay, the law did not clearly establish that a public employer must first provide notice and an opportunity to respond to allegations of misconduct to an employee with a protected property interest in continued employment, and therefore, Busboom was entitled to qualified immunity; and (2) Plaintiff failed to show that he was deprived of due process because he did not receive a posttermination hearing. View "White v. Busboom" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the orders of the district court sustaining Defendants’ motion for summary judgment and overruling Plaintiff’s motion to alter or amend the judgment in this action brought by Plaintiff against the Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska and Kevin Ruser. In her complaint, Plaintiff asserted claims of discriminatory wage and employment practices based on her sex, as well as claims of employment retaliation arising from occurrences while she was a supervising attorney for the civil clinic law program at the University of Nebraska College of Law. The district court concluded that Plaintiff failed to establish a prima facie case of wage discrimination, failure to promote because of sex, retaliation, and retaliation in violation of public policy. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err when it sustained Defendants’ motion for summary judgment with respect to Plaintiff’s claims and did not abuse its discretion when it overruled Plaintiff’s subsequent motion to alter or amend the judgment. View "Knapp v. Ruser" 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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The Supreme Court ruled that the Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Court did not err in determining that Bennett Construction, a sole proprietorship owned and operated by Mark Bennett, was neither Robert Kohout’s direct employer nor his statutory employer under the facts of this case. Kohout was injured as a result of falling from the roof of a barn on the property of Brian Shook and sought workers’ compensation benefits from Bennett Construction. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Nick Bennett, Mark’s son, lacked apparent authority to enter into a contract with Shook on behalf of Bennett Construction; and (2) Nick did not enter into a joint venture with Mark or Bennett Construction concerning the Shook job. View "Kohout v. Bennett Construction" on Justia Law

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In this case brought under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act and the Federal Safety Appliance Acts (FSAA), the Supreme Court held that the trial court did not err in overruling Plaintiff’s motion for a directed verdict in his favor on the question of whether his employer, Union Pacific Railroad Company (UP), violated the FSAA. Plaintiff alleged that UP violated the FSAA because the quick-release lever on the handbrake on a railcar was inefficient, leading to his back injury. The Supreme Court concluded that because there was conflicting evidence on whether the handbrake failed to function in the normal, natural, and usual manner, the district court properly submitted that issue to the jury. View "Winder v. Union Pacific Railroad Co." on Justia Law

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This matter arose from Plaintiff’s termination against Nebraska Machinery Company (NMC) after thirty-eight years of employment. Plaintiff filed an amended complaint against NMC seeking damages for wrongful discharge in violation of Nebraska’s Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), the Nebraska Fair Employment Practice Act (FEPA), and public policy. After a hearing, the district court granted summary judgment in favor of NMC. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Plaintiff’s assignments of error were without merit and that the district court did not err in granting summary judgment in favor of NMC. View "Oldfield v. Nebraska Machinery Co." on Justia Law

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Dan Anderson filed suit against Union Pacific Railroad Company under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act, asserting that he suffered permanent injuries resulting from a fall during the course of his employment. The jury returned a special verdict for Anderson and awarded him damages of $920,007, which included $266,925 for past medical expenses. On appeal, Union Pacific challenged, among other things, the district court’s instructions to the jury on res ipsa loquitur. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the district court committed reversible error in instructing the jury on res ipsa loquitur and in overruling Union Pacific’s resulting motion for new trial. Remanded for a new trial. View "Anderson v. Union Pacific Railroad Co." on Justia Law

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After Douglas County Youth Center terminated Daniel Archie’s employment, Archie brought an administrative appeal. The Douglas County Civil Service Commission reversed the termination and ordered that Archie be reinstated. The district court affirmed. The court of appeals reversed the decisions of the district court and the Commission and ordered that the termination of Archie’s employment be reimposed, concluding that the district court’s order was arbitrary, capricious, and unsupported by sufficient, relevant evidence. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that sufficient, relevant evidence supported the Commission’s decision and that the decision was not arbitrary and capricious. View "Douglas County v. Archie" on Justia Law