Justia Contracts Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Nebraska Supreme Court
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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the district court finding that Plaintiff did not waive its right to arbitration by its litigation-related conduct, holding that reversal was required in light of Morgan v. Sundance, Inc., __ U.S. __ (2022).Plaintiff sued Defendant for breach of contract. Defendant moved to dismiss the complaint with prejudice, arguing that Plaintiff waived its breach of contract claim under the parties' agreement by filing suit on the claim rather than commencing it in arbitration. Plaintiff subsequently filed a demand for arbitration and a motion to stay the case for arbitration. The district court granted Plaintiff's motion to stay the case, concluding that Defendant suffered no prejudice because of Plaintiff's litigation-related conduct. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that prejudice is not required to prove a party waived its right to stay a court case pending arbitration under section 3 of the Federal Arbitration Act following the United States Supreme Court's decision in Morgan. View "Kingery Construction Co. v. 6135 O Street Car Wash, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the judgment of the district court finding that Dietzel Enterprises, Inc. (Dietzel) was the first party to materially breach a contract between Dietzel and J.A. Wever Construction, LLC and awarding Wever damages, holding that the evidence did not support the entirety of the damages awarded to Wever.Wever contracted with Dietzel to perform excavation work for the construction of a transmission line, but Dietzel eventually abandoned the project before work was completed. Dietzel brought this action asserting various claims, and Wever counterclaimed for breach of contract. The district court awarded judgment in favor of Wever. The Supreme Court reversed in part, holding (1) the evidence in the record did not support the entirety of the court's damages award; and (2) the district court did not otherwise err. View "Dietzel Enterprises, Inc. v. J. A. Wever Construction, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court dismissed this appeal from a district court's order denying injunctive relief, holding that this Court lacked jurisdiction to hear the appeal.Plaintiffs were ten students at Creighton University who brought this petition seeking to enjoin Creighton from administratively withdrawing students who did not comply with its COVID-19 vaccine policy. After a hearing, the district court denied the petitions, concluding that Plaintiffs failed to show irreparable harm or a likelihood of success on the merits. Plaintiffs appealed. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal, holding that the court's denial of a temporary injunction was not a final order, and therefore, this Court lacked jurisdiction over the appeal. View "Ramaekers v. Creighton University" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court denying a motion to vacate a decree of specific performance that also sought an order of joinder, holding the there was no error.Wilkinson Development, Inc. brought an action against Ford & Ford Investments for specific performance of a real estate contract concerning the purchase of commercial real estate. The district court granted Wilkinson's complaint for specific performance. PSK, LLC, a subsequent purchaser of the subject real estate, later filed the motion at issue on appeal seeking vacation of the degree and an order of joinder. The district court denied the motion. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that there was no merit to any of PSK's assignments of error. View "Wilkinson Development, Inc. v. Ford & Ford Investments" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the order of the district court that overruled Community First Bank's motion for summary judgment, sustaining First Central Bank McCook's motion for summary judgments and dismissing Community First's breach of contract claims, holding that genuine issues of fact existed precluding summary judgment.On appeal, Community First argued that the district court erred in determining that the contract between Community First and First Central was a participation agreement that did not create a debtor-creditor relationship between the two banks. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded the case for further proceedings, holding (1) the contract between the parties was ambiguous; and (2) a genuine issue of material fact existed regarding the provisions of the contract between the parties. View "Community First Bank v. First Central Bank McCook" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals vacating the order of the district court entering judgment on an arbitrator's award, holding that the court of appeals erred in finding the award ambiguous and ordering a remand to the arbitrator for further clarification.Signal 88, LLC brought this contract action against Lyconic, LLC. The district court ordered the dispute to be submitted to arbitration. The arbitrator issued a decision, after which Lyconic applied for an order confirming the arbitration award. The district court confirmed the award but, in the process, modified it. The court of appeals vacated the judgment, determining that the arbitrator's award was ambiguous. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the district court erred in modifying rather than confirming the award; and (2) the court of appeals erred in finding that the arbitrator's award was ambiguous. View "Signal 88, LLC v. Lyconic, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court denying West Corporation's motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict and motion for a new trial after the jury found that West breached contracts with a former employee, Kenneth Marr, holding that there was no reversible error on the part of the district court.A few months after his resignation from West, Marr brought this action alleging that he was contractually entitled to compensation that West had refused to pay. The jury entered a verdict in favor of Marr, finding West liable for damages in the amount of $400,540. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that there was no prejudicial error in the district court's evidentiary rulings and that the district court did not err in denying West's motions for judgment notwithstanding the verdict and for a new trial. View "Marr v. West Corp." on Justia Law

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In this dispute between competitors in the bingo hall gaming industry that sued each other for breach of contract, the Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the judgment of the trial court, holding that the court should not have awarded postjudgment interest in favor of VKGS, LLC.After a trial on VKGS's claims, the jury found Planet Bingo, LLC and its wholly owned subsidiary, Melange Computer Services, Inc. (together, Planet Bingo), liable for $558,405. After a separate trial on Planet Bingo's claims, the jury found VKGS liable for $2,990,000. The trial court awarded VKGS postjudgment interest from the time of the first verdict and then entered judgment in favor of Planet Bingo, while offsetting VKGS' award. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding that the district court (1) did not err in bifurcating trial of the parties' claims; (2) did not err in declining to dismiss Planet Bingo's claims, in refusing VKGS' evidence, or in declining to give VKGS' jury instructions; and (3) erred in awarding VKGS postjudgment interest. View "VKGS, LLC v. Planet Bingo, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the district court finding that Lola Urban had superior title to certain real estate and was entitled to have her son, Richard Urban, ejected from the property, holding that the district court erred.Francis and Lola Urban sold a quarter section of land to Richard by means of an installment land contract. Years later, Lola, as trustee of Francis' testamentary trust and as an individual, filed suit against Richard seeking to compel Richard to specifically perform his obligations under the contract. Lola requested that if Richard failed to pay the balance owed the property be foreclosed. Lola then amended her complaint to assert an alternative claim for ejection of Richard from the property. The district court found that Lola was barred from foreclosing on the property under the applicable statute of limitations but was entitled to have Richard ejected from the property. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the statute of limitations and the doctrine of adverse possession precluded the use of ejectment. View "Beckner v. Urban" on Justia Law

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In this construction defect case brought by homeowners against several contractors, the Supreme Court affirmed the ruling of the district court that the limitations period against each contractor began to run upon the substantial completion of each contractor's project.The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the contractors in this case, generally agreeing that the limitations period for the homeowners' claims against the contractors began to run on the dates that each contractor substantially completed its work. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err in finding that Homeowners' claims against the contractors were time barred as matter of law under Neb. Rev. Stat. 25-223 and by denying their oral motion seeking leave to amend their complaint to add a new claim. View "McCaulley v. C L Enterprises, Inc." on Justia Law