Justia Contracts Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Nebraska Supreme Court
Rose v. American Family Insurance Co.
The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court granting summary judgment after determining that Plaintiff's claim for underinsured motorist benefits against American Family Insurance Company was time-barred, holding that Plaintiff's action was untimely.Plaintiff sought underinsured motorist benefits against American Family Insurance Policy, but the district court determined that the action was barred by a two-year limitation provision in the insurance policy. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of American Family. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court correctly found that Plaintiff's action was untimely. View "Rose v. American Family Insurance Co." on Justia Law
Dodge County Humane Society v. City of Fremont
The Supreme Court vacated the order of the district court finding that the city council of the City of Fremont (Council) and the City of Fremont (City) lacked reasonable sufficient evidence to terminate a contract with the Dodge County Humane Society for animal control, holding that the district court lacked petition in error jurisdiction to review the decision.At a regularly scheduled meeting, the Council approved a motion authorizing Fremont's mayor to terminate the contract for animal control. The Humane Society later filed a petition in error alleging that the Council and the City had no cause to terminate the contract. Thereafter, the district court entered a temporary injunction / temporary restraining order in favor of the Humane Society. The County and City moved to dismiss, asserting that the Council's decision to authorize the mayor to send a letter was not an action that could support a petition in error. The district court sustained the petition in error and ordered the contract to be reinstated. The Supreme Court vacated the order below, holding (1) the Council did not exercise a judicial or quasi-judicial function in voting on the motion to send the disputed letter to the Humane Society; and (2) therefore, the district court lacked jurisdiction to review this action. View "Dodge County Humane Society v. City of Fremont" on Justia Law
Bruce Lavalleur, P.C. v. Guarantee Group, L.L.C.
The Supreme Court reversed in part the judgment of the district court granting Defendant's motion for a directed verdict in this breach of contract action and remanded the cause for a new trial, holding that the district court erred by granting a directed verdict on statute of frauds grounds.Defendant, a limited liability company, asked Plaintiff, a certified public accountant (and his professional corporation), to provide accountancy services in connection with Defendant's development of a residential neighborhood. After Plaintiff provided the agreed-upon services and Defendant failed to pay Plaintiff brought suit for breach of an oral contract. The district court granted Defendant's motion for a directed verdict, concluding that the parties' oral agreement was unenforceable because it fell under Neb. Rev. Stat. 36-202(1), a provision of the statute of frauds requiring agreements "not to be performed within one year" to be in writing. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) a reasonable jury could find the parties formed an enforceable contract; (2) because the contract did not have to be in writing under section 36-202(1), the district court erred in granting a directed verdict on that ground; and (3) there was no other basis upon which to grant a directed verdict. View "Bruce Lavalleur, P.C. v. Guarantee Group, L.L.C." on Justia Law
BCL Properties, Inc. v. Boyle
The Supreme Court vacated the district court's judgment awarding attorney fees in this action brought over a dispute between a general contractor and a property owner related to a residential construction contract but otherwise affirmed the judgment, holding that there was no statute or uniform course of procedure that allowed recovery of attorney fees on this record.After Property Owner failed to pay a construction lien General Contractor filed a breach of contract action and sought to foreclosure on the lien. Property Owner counterclaimed. The district court entered judgment in favor of General Contractor. Thereafter, the district court granted prejudgment interest in the amount of $49,946 and attorney fees in the amount of $115,473. The Supreme Court vacated the judgment in part, holding that the district court (1) erred in awarding attorney fees pursuant to Neb. Rev. Stat. 52-157 of the Nebraska Construction Lien Act; and (2) Property Owner was not entitled to relief on her remaining allegations of error. View "BCL Properties, Inc. v. Boyle" 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
In re Estate of Wiggins
The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the county court in favor of the decedent's brother in this estate case, holding that, under the circumstances of this case, the county court erred.Jordon R. Wiggins died, leaving two minor children and an ex-wife. In response to a claim against the estate regarding life insurance coverage that Wiggins was required under the divorce decree to maintain for the children's benefit, Wiggins's ex-wife, as guardian and next friend of the minor children, his brother, and his father, as personal representative of Wiggins's estate, entered into a settlement agreement. Thereafter, the parties jointly filed a petition for a declaration of their rights and obligations under the agreement. The county court ruled in favor of the brother, and the ex-wife appealed. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded the cause with directions for the county court to rescind the agreement and conduct further proceedings, holding that a mutual mistake as to the existence of a fact that was a material inducement to the contract is not ground for reformation, although it may be ground for rescission. View "In re Estate of Wiggins" on Justia Law
Brush & Co. v. W. O. Zangger & Son, Inc.
The Supreme Judicial Court reversed the decision of the district court granting a partial summary judgment construing a long-term written lease between Owner and Tenant and, after a trial, entering a judgment regarding the parties dispute over minimum rent, holding that a factual issue existed precluding summary judgment.Owner sued Tenant for breach of contract after the parties could not agree when renegotiating minimum rent, alleging express breach of contract, declaratory judgment, and breach of the implied duty of good faith and fair dealing. The district court entered partial summary judgment in favor of Owner construing the lease but held that there were material facts in dispute as to whether Owner violated the implied duty of good faith and fair dealing when renegotiating. After a trial, the court entered judgment for Owner. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the provision in the lease regarding minimum rent is ambiguous, and therefore, the court's entry of partial summary judgment on the issue must be reversed. The Court remanded the case for further proceedings. View "Brush & Co. v. W. O. Zangger & Son, Inc." on Justia Law
Callahan v. Brant
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court granting summary judgment in favor of Plaintiffs' insurer and its agent in this negligence action brought by Plaintiffs seeking to recover damages after their home was destroyed in a fire, holding that the district court did not err.Insureds purchased a homeowners insurance policy from Insurer through a licensed insurance producer (Agent). Insureds later filed a complaint alleging that Agent negligently advised them on the estimated replacement value of their home and negligently misrepresented the adequacy of their policy limits in the event of a total loss. Insureds also alleged that Insurer was liable under a theory of respondent superior. The district court granted summary judgment for Insurer and Agent. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Insureds' claims failed as a matter of law and that the district court did not err in granting summary judgment. View "Callahan v. Brant" on Justia Law
Brauer v. Hartmann
The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the district court affirming, with minor modifications, the judgment of the county court finding for Plaintiff on his first cause of action but against him on his second and third causes of action, holding that there was no error.Plaintiff, an attorney, sued his former clients alleging breach of contract per an hourly fee agreement, breach of contract per a contingency fee agreement, and fraudulent misrepresentation. The county court found for Plaintiff on his first cause of action but for Defendants on the remaining causes of action. The district court primarily affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Plaintiff was not entitled to relief on any of his allegations of error. View "Brauer v. Hartmann" on Justia Law
Avis Rent A Car System, Inc. v. McDavid
The Supreme Court reversed the order of the district court entering summary judgment in favor of Avis Rent A Car System, Inc. and against Roynetta McDavid in this lawsuit alleging that McDavid breached the idemnification provision of the parties' rental agreement, holding that the district court erred in denying summary judgment to McDavid.In Nebraska, McDavid rented a car from Avis to take a trip with her family. When the traveling party reached Tennessee, McDavid's sister, despite an admonition to the contrary, drove the car and was involved in an accident with another vehicle. Three passengers in the other vehicle were injured in the collision and filed suit against McDavid's sister. Avis paid the injured parties $40,100, and when McDavid did not reimburse Avis, Avis brought suit, alleging that McDavid breached the rental agreement's indemnification provision. The district court granted summary judgment for Avis. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Avis failed to demonstrate a right to indemnity under the rental agreement, and therefore, the district court erred in granting summary judgment to Avis. View "Avis Rent A Car System, Inc. v. McDavid" on Justia Law