Saturday, October 27, 2007

Nebraska state courts retained jurisdiction to prosecute crimes involving Indians that preceded effective date of Unicameral's retrocession agreement with the Federal Government. State v. Wabashaw, S-06-642, 274 Neb. 394 Defendant was convicted of robbery and the court sentenced him as an habitual offender. The crime occurred on Indian territory. Nebraska Supreme Court affirms conviction as effective date (71 Fed. R eg. 7994 (Feb. 15, 2006)) of Nebraska's retrocession agreement (L.R. 17, Legislative Journal, 97th Leg., 1st S ess. 2356, 2358-59 (May 31,2001)) followed the crime. Congress abrogated its 1868 treaty with Indian tribes that required notice to the tribes before the State prosecuted an Indian (Public Law 280 18 U.S.C. § 1162(a) (2000)). Finally the Defendant's prior robbery conviction in South Dakota counted to enhance his sentence even though South Dakota courts (S.D. Codified Laws § 22-7-9 (2004))could not have considered the prior conviction due to passage of time (§ 29-2221 RRS Neb.).
Nebraska Insurance Guaranty Act bars all subrogation claims against insureds unless they are outside the scope of the insolvent insurer's policy. Car owner sued dealership for damages arising from repairs the plaintiff alleged were faulty. The car owner paid his $1000 deductible and his own insurer picked up the rest. The dealership's insurer became insolvent after the Plaintiffs started the lawsuit and the district court dismissed the action under the provisions of the Nebraska Insurance Guaranty Act that prohibits subrogation actions against responsible defendants. Nebraska Supreme Court agrees that the plaintiffs could not file action directly against the dealership unless the accident was beyond the coverage of the garage policy and material issues of fact prevented summary judgment for the dealership on coverage. Alsobrook v. Jim Earp Chrysler-Plymouth, S-06-383, 274 Neb. 374"Section 44-2403(4)(b) prohibits subrogation claims from being asserted against an insured of an insolvent insurer, except to the extent that the claim is outside of or in excess of the insurance policy issued by the insolvent insurer. T he district court erred in concluding, as a matter of law, that Alsobrook’s entire claim, in excess of the deductible, is barred by the A ct"

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Grand Island Lawn Company Owner Pleads Guilty to Harboring Illegal Immigrants. Yahoo business. David Wortman turned himself in for arrest last month, one day after U.S. Immigration and Customs enforcement raided Cloudburst Lawn and Sprinkler and arrested 19 suspected illegal immigrants. Agents believed 11 of those arrested were from Mexico, six were from El Salvador and two were from Guatemala.Wortman was under investigation by ICE, the IRS and the U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Attorney Joe Stecher said in a news release. Wortman was scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 22. In a plea deal, he agreed to be sentenced to 30 months in prison and to file new tax returns for 2005 and 2006. According to the criminal complaint, Wortman told federal officials that the company's gross sales in 2005 were more than $1.5 million. Stecher said Wortman cashed several checks from customers that were for less than $10,000 each but represented larger business dealings that should have been federally reported. Stecher said the 45 transactions totaled about $440,000 and were paid in groups of 22 to 108 checks. Under his plea agreement, Wortman agreed to forfeit the $440,000, not only for the unreported transactions, but also to pay $200,000 to the Labor Department to settle claims of unpaid overtime.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

The Heritage Foundation and The Federalist Society Host A Reception with Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas Omaha, NE, October 19th

Event details Friday, October 19, 2007 6:30 p.m. Reception 7:00 p.m. Remarks Hilton Omaha 1001 Cass Street Omaha, NE 68102

Sign up here for this special event. Justice Thomas is a national treasure and a great speaker. Just think if a few more decisions from the Supremes went his way. As John Lennon said, "Imagine!"

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The Nebraska Court of Appeals should have considered the defendant's ineffective counsel appeal because his challenge to the Nebraska terroristic threats statute was merit less.
State v. Nelson, S-06-449
Although defendant filed notice in his ineffective counsel appeal that he would allege that the Nebraska terroristic threats statute (28-311.01) is unconstitutional, the Nebraska Supreme Court holds the court of appeals should have heard the appeal. "(Defendant's) mere assertion that a statute may be unconstitutional does not automatically deprive the Court of Appeals of jurisdiction over the case. To conclude otherwise would amount to ceding the regulation of our docket, and that of the Court of Appeals, to the unsupported allegations of litigants. We find that for the constitutionality of a statute to be genuinely “involved” in an appeal,"
Nebraska Supreme Court rejects "ERISA" standards when it reversed summary judgment ruling that went against disability insurance recipient.

Sweem v. American Fidelity Life Assurance Co., S-06-870

The Douglas County District Court refused to admit plaintiff's evidence that she was still disabled after the disability insurer cut her off because she had not given this information to the insurer before it decided to end her benefits. Nebraska Supreme Court rejects the defendant's suggestion that plaintiff should have provided her evidence of continued disability before the insurer made its decision to terminate benefits as ERISA plan insurers often require."We discern no good reason to apply ERISA principles to this common-law action to recover benefits claimed due under an insurance policy, and American Fidelity directs us to no other state court decision which has done so."

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Justice William Connolly again hands a victory to bigger government units over smaller ones. This time he allows the reorganized Lyons-Decatur School District to bait and switch Decatur residents into believing they would have a say in whether the school district would keep their local school open. Citizens for Equal Education v. Lyons-Decatur Sch. Dist., S-06-159, 274 Neb. 278. Justice Connolly just cant help himself from finding "absurd results" from the plain meaning of statutes. This time he finds that an agreement between the residents of Decatur and Lyons when they merged their school districts in 1984 that the Decatur school would not close unless a majority of the Decatur voters approved did not mean that because that would be an "absurd" result. Section 79-419 said just that, but that would get in the way of consolidating small town schools into large ones that would support lots of extra staff. We really should be grateful for Justice Connolly for doing the Legislature's job. After all his Supreme Court justice's salary takes care of a baker's dozen of unicameral members.