Justia Contracts Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Nebraska Supreme Court
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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

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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

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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

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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

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the judgment of the district court dismissing certain defendants for lack of personal jurisdiction, holding that the defendants' contacts were too attenuated for them to have purposefully established minimum contacts within Nebraska.The out-of-state defendants at issue on appeal facilitated the sale of allegedly defective software installed by a local mechanic in four of Plaintiff's trucks. Plaintiff asserted against them claims for strict liability, negligence, and breach of implied warranties. The district court granted the defendants' motion to dismiss, concluding that Plaintiff failed to make a prima facie showing of jurisdiction. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the quality and nature of the defendants' activities related to this action did not support personal jurisdiction. View "Wheelbarger v. Detroit Diesel ECM, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part and remanded this matter for a new trial, holding that the district court erred in proceeding to a trial without a jury on Plaintiff's causes of action for breach of contract, breach of guaranty, and unjust enrichment.Plaintiff's brought this complaint against Defendants for, among other causes of action, forcible entry and detainer. The district court granted relief on the forcible entry and detainer claim, ordering restitution. After a bench trial, the district court heard the remaining causes of action and awarded damages to Plaintiff. The Supreme Court reversed in part, holding (1) Plaintiff's remaining causes of action were legal in nature, and the issues of fact that arose thereunder entitled Defendants to a jury trial unless waived; and (2) there was no waiver of Defendants' right to a jury trial. View "132 Ventures, LLC v. Active Spine Physical Therapy, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court dismissed in part and reversed in part Appellant's appeal of the district court's rulings finding that Jerald Schreiber was unjustly enriched and ordering him to pay an additional $400,184 to a limited liability company (LLC) he owned in equal shares with his brother, Steven Schreiber, holding that the district court erred in part.Steven brought a complaint seeking the dissolution of the LLC at issue. The district court ordered dissolution and directed a receiver to liquidate the LLC's assets, including two buildings owned by the company but located on property owned by Jerald. Because Jerald made the sole offer to purchase the buildings, the parties agreed that the district court should order the receiver to accept the offer but that Steven and the LLC could continue to pursue a claim of unjust enrichment. The district court concluded that Jerald had been unjustly enriched and denied Jerald's motion asking the district court to provide further directions to the receiver. The Supreme Court (1) dismissed the order denying Jerald's motion for further directions for lack of jurisdiction; and (2) reversed the district court's order finding that Jerald was unjustly enriched, holding that the district court erred. View "Schreiber Brothers Hog Co. v. Schreiber" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the decision of the court of appeals reversing the judgment of the district court dismissing Millard Gutter Company's suit against Farm Bureau Property & Casualty Insurance Company without prejudice, holding that the district court correctly dismissed the first-party bad faith claims for lack of standing.After a storm, Millard Gutter obtained assignments of the right to insurance proceeds due under policies of Shelter. Thereafter, Millard filed suit against Shelter in its own name, as assignee, alleging breach of contract and first-party bad faith in failing to settle the claims. The district court granted Shelter's motion to dismiss, concluding that the complaint did not contain sufficient factual allegations to establish standing to assert first-party bad faith claims. The court of appeals reversed in part, concluding that Millard Gutter had stated a plausible claim for first-party bad faith. The Supreme Court reversed in part, holding that Millard Gutter lacked standing to prosecute the policyholders' tort actions for first-party bad faith against Shelter. View "Millard Gutter Co. v. Farm Bureau Property & Casualty Insurance Co." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court dismissing this action brought by Millard Gutter Company against Shelter Mutual Insurance Company seeking to recover damages for breach of insurance contracts and for first-party bad faith, holding that the district court did not err in concluding that Millard Gutter did not have standing to assert first-party bad faith claims against Shelter.After a storm, Millard Gutter obtained assignments from various policyholders of Shelter. Thereafter, Millard filed suit against Shelter in its own name, as assignee, alleging breach of contract and first-party bad faith in failing to settle the claims. The district court granted Shelter's motion to dismiss, concluding that the complaint did not contain sufficient factual allegations to establish standing to assert first-party bad faith claims. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Millard Gutter lacked standing to prosecute the policyholders' tort actions for first-party bad faith against Shelter. View "Millard Gutter Co. v. Shelter Mutual Insurance Co." on Justia Law

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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