Sunday, May 25, 2008

Justice Department to Monitor Elections in Colfax County Nebraska US Justice Department. The Justice Department today announced that on Tuesday, May 13, 2008, it will monitor elections in Colfax County, Neb., and Bergen County, N.J., to ensure compliance with the Voting Rights Act.Colfax and Bergen Counties are obligated to provide all election information, ballots and voting assistance information in Spanish as well as in English according to the Voting Rights Act. Colfax County Election Commissioner Rita Mundil never heard of any complaints and noted Colfax county is the only county in the State that offers bi-lingual ballots. Justice Department personnel will monitor polling place activities during voting hours at polling locations in these jurisdictions. Civil Rights Division attorneys will coordinate the federal activities and maintain contact with local election officials.Each year, the Justice Department deploys hundreds of federal observers from the Office of Personnel Management, as well as departmental staff, to monitor elections across the country. In calendar year 2006, for example, 966 federal observers and 575 Department personnel were sent to monitor 119 elections in 81 jurisdictions in 24 states. To file complaints about discriminatory voting practices, including acts of harassment or intimidation, voters may call the Voting Section of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division at 1-800-253-3931.More information about the Voting Rights Act and other federal voting laws is available on the Department of Justice Web site at

Nebraska Supreme Court allows expert in a medical malpractice case related to delayed treatment of a spinal cord injury to testify in his affidavit that had the defendant doctors not delayed diagnosing and treating the plaintiff's injury the plaintiff more likely than not would have experienced a better outcome from treatment. The Supreme Court distinguishes this proper opinion that a better outcome would result from giving improper opinions that the plaintiff lost a chance to recover. Rankin v. Stetson, S-07-073, 275 Neb. 775 an opinion framed in terms of loss of chance would not sustain Rankin’s burden of establishing that the defendants proximately caused her injury. We also note that Nebraska has not recognized the loss-of-chance doctrine. See Steineke v. Share Health Plan of Neb., 246 Neb. 374, 518 N.W.2d 904 (1994). Gross’ statements that Rankin would have had a “better prognosis” and a “chance of avoiding permanent neurological injury” do not equate with an opinion that it was more likely than not that Rankin would have had a better outcome if she had undergone surgery immediately following her injury. Opinions dealing with proximate causation are required to be given in terms that express a probability greater than 50 percent. Thus, Gross’ statements do not establish the required certainty to prove causation. While a 49-percent chance of a better recovery may be medically significant, it does not meet the legal requirements for proof of causation. The terms “chance” and “prognosis” by definition do not establish the certainty of proof that is required. On the other hand, an opinion expressed in terms that it is more likely than not that a plaintiff “would have had a better outcome” is sufficiently certain to establish causation. A better outcome is not the same as a chance of a better outcome. Rather, it is a definite result. In this case, there were statements within Gross’ affidavit that were sufficient to establish causation. When reviewing a summary judgment, we view Gross’ affidavit in a light most favorable to Rankin and give her the benefit of all reasonable inferences from such evidence. Contrary to the defendants’ assertion, Gross’ affidavit espoused more than a mere “loss of chance.” Gross opined that early surgical decompression of the spinal cord would more likely than not have led to an improved outcome for Rankin. This evidence established causation for the purpose of opposing the defendants’ motion for summary judgment on such issue. Thus, Gross’ affidavit satisfied the requirement that Rankin produce some expert testimony to establish that the actions or inactions of the defendants were a proximate cause of Rankin’s injury. Nebraska Advance Sheets Ran kin v. Stetson 787 Cite as 275 Neb. 775
Nebraska Supreme Court reverses accounting malpractice verdict that was against accountant in 1031 exchange dispute. Frank v. Lockwood, S-06-731, 275 Neb. 735 A Western Nebraska businessman sued his accountant after he sold some real estate but decided not to escrow the entire sale amount for a section 1031 exchange for other property. The accountant earlier advised him that he would be able to offset some of his gain from the real estate sales with his corporation's losses. The businessman was not able to offset the real estate sale income. The IRS gave the plaintiff an extension to file his tax return until October at the accountant's request but the accountant failed to advise the businessman to pay estimated taxes by the regular April 15 due date. The businessman incurred substantial penalties and interest because he did not file and pay his return until December, almost 2 months later than the extended due date. The Scotts Bluff County District Court jury awarded the businessman a verdict of $37000, all of his IRS penalties and interest. Nebraska Supreme Court reverses, holding the plaintiff businessman failed to prove that the IRS interest payment damaged him. The plaintiff should have proven that he could not have borrowed the unpaid tax amount at a rate lower than the IRS rate. While the Nebraska Supreme Court upholds the verdict for the IRS penalties, the court sends it back to the District Court to determine and award only for penalties related to failing to pay the taxes. Justice Connolly dissents. Frank v. Lockwood, S-06-731, 275 Neb. 735 The plaintiff's failure to file the return on time is not the accountant's fault. The penalties incurred by the Franks in this case appear to have been of two types—those incurred because the Franks failed to pay taxes when due on April 15, 2002, and those incurred because the Franks failed to file their returns when due as extended to October 15. Under federal law, I.R.C. § 6651 (2000) provides in subsection (a)(1) that a taxpayer may be assessed a penalty for failure to timely file a return and provides in subsection (a)(2) that a taxpayer may be assessed a separate penalty for failure to timely pay taxes due. In addition, I.R.C. § 6654 (2000) provides that penalties may be assessed for underpayment of estimated taxes. Nebraska law provides for similar penalties for failure to timely file returns, Neb. Rev. Stat. § 77-2789 (Reissue 2003), and for underpayment of estimated taxes, 316 Neb. Admin. Code, ch. 20, § 007 (1998). there was sufficient evidence from which the jury could find that L ockwood was negligent in failing to advise the Franks to pay an estimate of their 2001 tax liability on April 15, 2002. the district court did not err in denying L ockwood’s motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict with respect to any portion of the damages award that was attributable to penalties for the Franks’ failure to timely pay the extent such penalties are penalties for failure to timely file returns, under the facts of this case, they are not recoverable as damages. However, to the extent such penalties are penalties for failure to timely pay the taxes, under the facts of this case, they are recoverable as damages. Because the evidence in the record does not allow us to determine what portion of the penalties are for late payment of the taxes which are recoverable, we find it necessary to remand this cause to the district court for a new trial limited to a determination of the portion of damages attributable to penalties imposed for failure to timely pay taxes and, upon a proper showing, awarding the Franks an amount of damages equal to penalties for failure to timely pay taxes.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Follow up: Referee hearing discipline case against Kearney attorney William Orr recommends public reprimand over failed coffee shop franchising venture. Kearney Hub. Kearney attorney Jeff Orr should be publicly reprimanded for violations he committed while representing Barista's Daily Grind, an Omaha attorney has recommended to the Nebraska Supreme Court. Waldine Olson, who is acting as referee in Orr's disciplinary proceedings, has ruled that Orr violated four of 13 ethical standards and provisions listed in the State Bar Association's Code of Professional Responsibility and Rules of Professional Conduct. (Click here to view Referee Waldine Olson’s 36-page referee’s report in the Jeff Orr discipline case. The Supreme Court case - filed against Orr in August 2007 by the Bar Association - involves Orr's work in drafting a franchise agreement and disclosure statement for Kearney coffee company Barista's and its owners, Steve Sickler and Cathy Mettenbrink. Sickler and Mettenbrink blame Orr's legal work for the failure of their franchised business last year. Olson recommended a public reprimand for Orr instead of probation or suspension in a referee's report filed May 7. Olson said Orr did not "knowingly" or "intentionally" engage in conduct that involved "dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation." The referee said Barista's suffered "severe" consequences as a result of Orr's actions. "Although the exact nature and extent of the harm suffered by the clients was not addressed in detail, the evidence is clear and convincing that the consequences to the client were serious," Olson said. However, Olson said the Barista's case was an "isolated occurrence as opposed to a recurring pattern of misconduct" by Orr. The referee said Orr practiced law more than 40 years with no previous complaints. "The numerous letters from clients, business and community leaders, and members of the bar speak to his good standing and his reputation as a competent and ethical practitioner," Olson said. Orr's community service, including membership on the Supreme Court Task Force on Gender Fairness, also played a role in the disciplinary recommendation, the referee said. Following a March hearing, Olson filed a 36-page report May 7 that cleared Orr of nine misconduct allegations and found him in violation of four others. Olson said Orr took on the Barista's case knowing he was not competent to handle the work. "Not only had he never undertaken such a task previously, but also he was warned by an intellectual properties lawyer, whom he respected, that franchise law is 'pretty specialized,'" Olson said of Orr. In 2002, Sickler and Mettenbrink hired Orr to assist them in franchising their coffee shop concept. Orr told Sickler and Mettenbrink that he had experience in franchising businesses, Supreme Court records show. In March, Orr testified that he had experience in reading and reviewing franchise agreements and disclosure statements for companies such as Wendy's, Quizno's, Dairy Queen, McDonald's, Baskin-Robbins and Ford. However, Orr said during the hearing that he had never drafted a franchise agreement. In drafting Barista's franchise agreement, Orr said he relied heavily on a Quizno's agreement he had worked on previously. Orr said he did not research Nebraska law when he drafted Barista's agreement. "... Although he knew that certain aspects of franchising were governed by the Federal Trade Commission, he did not adequately prepare himself for the task," Olson said of Orr. Supreme Court documents show Kearney attorney Bradley Holbrook helped Orr get a second opinion on the Barista's documents from Omaha attorneys Robert Kirby and Gary Batenhorst. The Omaha attorneys told Orr and Holbrook the disclosure statement did not comply with FTC rules. Batenhorst characterized deficiencies in the disclosure statements as "major," court documents said. In his recommendation to the Supreme Court, Olson said Orr attempted to correct deficiencies in the disclosure statement and there was no evidence that Orr attempted to conceal his errors. "Orr disclosed to the client that the documents he had drafted would require considerable changes and they could not be used to sell additional franchises until the changes had been made," Olson said. "The evidence suggests a good faith, although misguided, attempt to resolve the problem." Orr has practiced law in Kearney since 1967 and is a partner and shareholder of Jacobsen, Orr, Nelson & Lindstrom P.C. Barista's closed its two Kearney locations at 4402 Second Ave. and 2400 Central Ave. last summer after Sickler and Mettenbrink defaulted on loan payments and lost ownership of their properties to Kearney State Bank & Trust Co. in a foreclosure. Before learning that their disclosure statement did not comply with FTC rules, Barista's sold 21 franchises between 2003 and 2006. Barista's Daily Grind currently operates in west Kearney under new ownership. The Supreme Court will decide whether to accept Olson's recommendation. Public reprimands can take various forms, including a press release to the media.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Case summary: Omaha attorney gets to take her Third offense driving while intoxicated case to the Nebraska Supreme Court. Nebraska Judicial Branch Case Summaries. S-07-0464, State (Appellant) v. Willow T. Head Douglas County, Judge Peter C. Bataillon Attorneys: James M. Masteller (County Attorney’s Office) (Appellant) --- James E. Schaefer, Jill A. Daley (Gallup & Schaefer) Criminal: DUI, 3rd offense Proceedings below: The trial court found two valid prior convictions and enhanced Head’s DUI to 3rd offense. The State filed an application for error proceedings which was granted. The Nebraska Court of Appeals in 2006 sent the case back to the District Court because Head's motion to quash evidence of the prior convictions was not ripe for review. State v. Head, 712 N.W.2d 822, 14 Neb.App. 684 (Neb.App. 04/18/2006) The Court of Appeals reversed the decision of the district court and remanded with directions. See State v. Head, memorandum opinion, A-07-0464, January 3, 2008. Head filed a petition for further review which was granted by the Nebraska Supreme Court. Issues on Review: The court of appeals (1) had no statutory authority to remand for further proceedings under Neb. Rev. Stat. § 29-2316 because jeopardy attached; (2) erred in relying on State v. Keen, 272 Neb. 123 (2006) to reach the finding that the district court improperly rejected Head’s 2002 DUI conviction based on its interpretation of State v. Loyd, 265 Neb. 232 (2003) as State v. Keen did not overrule State v. Loyd.
Case summary: Omaha dentist appeals license revocation. The Nebraska Supreme Court in 2001 had disciplined the dentist who was also a member of the Bar for narcotics abuse. Nebraska Judicial Branch. S-07-0588, Shaun O. Parker, D.D.S., Appellant v. State of Nebraska, Appellee Lancaster County, Judge Jeffre CheuvrontAttorneys: Jerry Katskee (Appellant); Jon Bruning and Lisa Anderson (Attorney General’s Office). Civil: Revocation of professional license Proceedings Below: Parker filed a petition for review with the district court seeking to review the decision by the Chief Medical Officer/Director (CMO) for the Department of Health and Human Services Regulation and Licensure (DHHS), which decision revoked his license to practice dentistry. The district court affirmed the agency's findings of fact, conclusions of law, and order, which order revoked Parker's license to practice dentistry in Nebraska. Issues: On appeal, Parker argues: (1) Whether Parker was denied procedural due process by DHHS in the crucial stages of the proceedings against him, to wit: (a) the investigation of the complaint derived from a confidential informant; (b) the presence of the attorney general at the closed session investigation; (c) the subsequent recommendations by the CMO; (2) whether the punishment meted out to Parker, viz., the revocation of license to practice his profession, fit the nature of the alleged infraction; (3) whether the district court erred in not considering the impact of the failure of the hearing officer to consider the arguments of Parker on constitutional issues by remanding the case to the CMO for further proceedings as permitted by Neb. Rev. Stat. § 84-917(5)(b)(i); (4) whether the district court erred in its order by holding that its de novo review presented clear and convincing evidence that Parker engaged in unprofessional conduct and that the discipline imposed was appropriate under the circumstances; (5) whether the entire administrative procedure is flawed and grants arbitrary and dictatorial powers to the CMO; (6) whether the findings of fact and conclusions of law of the CMO were arbitrary, capricious, and unreasonable; and (7) whether the district court erred in its order by not finding the administrative findings of fact and conclusions of law were arbitrary, capricious, and unreasonable.
County employee Douglas County fired for dropping ice wins reinstatement. Pierce v. Douglas Cty. Civil Serv. Comm., S-07-252, 275 Neb. 722 Douglas County facilities engineer and International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 571 member Nathan Pierce could not go unescorted near a co-worker at the Douglas County Hospital because he had angry confrontation with her before. Later as he went through her area he dropped a cup of ice near her nurse's station. Douglas County terminated him. Nebraska Supreme Court reverses the termination ruling and orders him reinstated because the District Court had jurisdiction to rule on Pierce's claim that the county board breached the collective bargaining agreement with the union. Also the violation if any was not serious enough to merit termination. "the district court had jurisdiction over Pierce’s claims that the Department breached the collectiver bargaining agreement (CBA) as far as those allegations were relevant to Pierce’s termination. However, we need not reach the merits of Pierce’s claims under the CBA. We conclude that the evidence shows the Department did not consider Pierce’s alleged conduct to be a serious violation of the Commission’s personnel manual, warranting termination. We therefore reverse the district court’s order affirming Pierce’s termination "
Nebraska Supreme Court upholds subrogation waiver clause between owner and contractor when a television tower under construction collapsed, also the contractor was liable for damage the construction work and other property to the subrogated insurance company, even when the subrogated insurance company complained that gross negligence caused the accident. Lexington Ins. Co. v. Entrex Comm. Servs., S-06-1452, 275 Neb. 702 "the danger with exculpatory clauses is that a party injured by another’s gross negligence will be unable to recover its losses. But such danger is not present in cases involving waivers of subrogation because the waiver only applies to losses covered by insurance, so “there is no risk that an injured party will be left uncompensated.”..Waivers of subrogation serve in avoiding disruption of construction projects and reducing litigation among parties to complicated construction contracts. Concluding that waivers of subrogation cannot be enforced against gross negligence claims would undermine this underlying policy by encouraging costly litigation to contest whether a party’s conduct was grossly negligent. Therefore, we conclude that “public policy favors enforcement of waivers of subrogation even in the face of gross negligence [claims]..the majority approach furthers the policy underlying the use of waiver of subrogation clauses in construction contracts. That court explained that a waiver of subrogation is useful in construction contracts because it avoids disrupting the project and eliminates the need for lawsuits.37 The majority approach furthers this purpose. Applying the waiver to all losses covered by the owner’s property insurance policy eliminates litigation over liability issues and whether the claimed loss was damage to the Work or non-Work property."
The Hall County District Court judge hearing a divorce case sent the attorneys his ruling and directed the wife's lawyer to prepare the decree. Husband filed a motion for new trial and then appealed the case within 30 days of the decree date but more than 30 days after the trial judge hearing a divorce case made his ruling in a letter and directed the wife's attorney to prepare the decree. The court clerk file-stamped the judge's letter-ruling. Nebraska Supreme Court, J Gerrard, rules the decree date is the correct date to start the 30 day appeal period running and admonishes the court clerk to not file this paperwork in the court file. Wagner v. Wagner, S-06-427, 275 Neb. 693. This case illustrates why trial courts should take care to ensure that regardless of how a final judgment is prepared, only the signed final order is filed with the clerk of the court. The clerk should not file stamp any document prepared by the trial court that is not a court order intended to have legal effect. But a filing that does not finally dispose of a case does not become a final, appealable order just because it is file stamped, and the trial court’s order in this case was clearly not meant to be a final determination of the rights and liabilities of the parties. Therefore, we conclude that the letter in this case was not a final, appealable order, and reverse the decision of the Court of Appeals.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Nebraska Supreme Court holds that the trial court should decide whether a dispute should go to arbitration, and in this case between an importer and a distributor of coffee, the defendant had waived arbitration when it filed pleadings in the court case. Good Samaritan Coffee Co. v. LaRue Distributing, S-07-300, 275 Neb. 674 "a waiver defense raised in the context of prior litigation-related activity is presumed to be decided by a court, rather than an arbitrator. A nd shifting of this issue to an arbitrator is only proper where there is “‘clea[r] and unmistakabl[e] evidence’” of such an intent in the parties’ arbitration agreement. T he arbitration agreement at issue in this case fails to meet this standard. party seeking arbitration may be found to have waived its right to arbitration if it “‘(1) knew of an existing right to arbitration; (2) acted inconsistently with that right; and (3) prejudiced the other party by these inconsistent acts.’” E ach of these factors strongly weighs in favor of a finding that LaRue has waived its right to arbitration in this case."

Saturday, May 10, 2008

In another guaranty dispute, the Nebraska Supreme Court reverses the Nemaha County District Court in party when the Supreme Court finds a guarantor's obligation to guarantee the payment of two promissory notes his son and daughter-in-law signed extended only to his unconditional promise to guarantee payment on the first promissory note, but not to the Bank's extension of credit to the son and daughter-in-law from a second promissory note when the primary borrowers showed they were creditworthy according to the financial disclosures they made to the bank. The Nemaha County Court found the guarantor liable for the entire indebtedness, including the second extension of credit. The District Court dismissed the guarantor entirely. The Supreme Court holds the guarantor liable for the initial indebtedness, but not for the extension. First Nat. Bank of Unadilla v. Betts, S-07-023, 275 Neb. 665
Nebraska Supreme Court affirms judgment that non-compete agreement between and insurance agency and one of its brokers was enforceable even after the broker's original employer had merged with another firm. The successor company had valid consideration for a non-compete agreement that barred the defendant from soliciting the company's customers for 2 years after his termination. The Nebraska Supreme Court upheld the trial court's damage calculation by which the Douglas County District Court determined the damages from breaching the non-compete agreement by finding the amount of revenue the defendant generate from the prohibited customers for two years after his termination minus the expenses the plaintiff would have incurred had it retained the business. While the trial court rejected the plaintiff's CPA experts conclusions, it accepted some of his findings as to revenues and expenses. Because the court took the expert's testimony as fact testimony, it did not need to determine if the CPA's testimony passed the Daubert test. Aon Consulting v. Midlands Fin. Benefits, S-06-1256, S-07-034 , 275 Neb. 642
Building supplier sued widow of deceased construction company owner for over $1 million of defaulted construction loans that the defendant and her husband had guaranteed. The Douglas County District Court after cross-motions for summary judgment dismissed the bank's complaint. Nebraska Supreme Court reverses, awarding full judgment to the plaintiff. The Supreme Court finds the widow did not limit her liability to $525000 in their company's financing agreement with the Plaintiff, and further the plaintiff's releasing deeds of trust on the defendant's office buildings in 1991 did not impair the widow's collateral because she allowed new substantial loans with other banks to encumber the same property. Builders Supply Co. v. Czerwinski, S-06-1138, 275 Neb. 622We recognize that the A greement contains language relative to the $525,000 upon which Czerwinski relies. However, aguaranty is an independent contract that imposes responsibilities different from those imposed in an agreement to which it is collateral. S ee National Bank of Commerce Trust & Sav. Assn. v. Katleman, 201 Neb. 165, 266 N.W.2d 736 (1978). It is the guaranty agreement that contains the express condition on the guarantor’s liability and that defines the obligations and rights of both guarantor and guarantee. Id. T he language relied upon by Czerwinski in the A greement relative to the $525,000 merely described B uilders’ obligation to extend credit to B enchmark to a specific amount.the record indicates that she signed deeds of trust on the office building in 1999 and 2000 for $100,000 and $600,000 respectively, suggesting that she was aware of the availability of the office building to serve as collateral in a substantial amount. T he $600,000 encumbrance remained into 2006, the inference from which is that through her actions, Czerwinski impaired the office building collateral rather than B uilders

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals won't party on. 20 USC 1091(r) excluded some students from eligibility for federal student loans if they have a record of drug convictions. Students for a Sensible Drug policy sued to invalidate the laws in the District Court of South Dakota, contending the laws result in double punishments, contrary to the Double Jeopardy Clause. Eighth Circuti Court of Appeals affirms, finding the law is a civil remedy and the exclusion provisions relate rationally to the purpose of keeping dope head kids out of college. Protestants for the Common Good, and United Church ofChrist, Justice and Witness Ministries,joinded the case as amici, wonder what side they were on? 071159P.pdf 04/29/2008 Students for Sensible Drug Pol v. Margaret Spellings U.S. District Court for the District of South Dakota [PUBLISHED] [Benton, Author, with John R. Gibson and Wollman, Circuit Judges]"section 20 USC 1091(r) is meant to deter other students from possessing or selling drugs on campus, it also encourages rehabilitation, school safety, a drug-free society, and ensuring tax dollars are spent on students who obey the laws. The statute is rationally related to these alternative purposes. “The Act’s rational connection to a nonpunitive purpose is a ‘[m]ost significant’ factor in our determination that the statute’s effects are not punitive.” And the statute is not excessive in relation to these alternative purposes."

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Prosecutors ask the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider its ruling granting a new trial to former QWest executive Joseph Nacchio. "Prosecutors have asked a federal appeals court to review an earlier decision granting a new trial to former Qwest Chief Executive Joe Nacchio. The federal prosecutors asked the full 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Wednesday to reconsider the case and affirm Nacchio's conviction.A three-judge panel of the appeals court last month threw out Nacchio's conviction on 19 counts of insider trading. It ruled that the trial judge incorrectly excluded the defendant's expert testimony from an expert in economics and securities fraud. Nacchio was convicted last year of illegally selling $52 million worth of stock when he knew that Denver-based Qwest Communications International was at financial risk but didn't tell investors."
Guatemala man gets 20-32 years in Kearney stabbing A Guatemala man has been sentenced to 20 to 32 years in prison for stabbing his girlfriend and her sister in their northwest Kearney apartment. Mauro Yos-Chiguil pleaded guilty in March to second-degree murder and felony second-degree assault charges in Buffalo County Court. Authorities have said the 33-year-old Yos-Chiguil stabbed his girlfriend and mother of his twin sons in her head, shoulder, chest and stomach. She was released after treatment at a local hospital. Also injured was the girlfriend’s teenage sister. After he completes his sentence, Yos-Chiguil could face deportation. Authorities have said he is an illegal immigrant
Governor Heineman appoints Attorney Rob Otte to replace Lancaster County District Court Judge Earl Witthof. The Governor forgot that judge slots are for career public sector lawyers. "Dave Heineman’s office announced the appointment of 51-year-old Robert Otte on Friday. A spokeswoman for Heineman said Otte will be replacing Judge Earl Witthoff, who retired in March. Otte is a partner at the law firm of Morrow, Poppe, Otte & Watermeier. The governor’s office said Otte has handled real estate and other business law cases and has trial experience in state and federal courts. Otte is a 1978 graduate of the University of Nebraska in Lincoln and was awarded his law degree from UNL law school in 1981.
Saunders County murder case from 1977 could end up in juvenile court. "A 48-year-old man charged in a 30-year-old murder could see his case transferred to juvenile court.Jeffrey D. Glazebrook was 17 when May McReynolds, a 97-year-old retired school teacher, was raped on Nov. 6, 1977. She died two weeks later as a result of injuries suffered during her attack. Glazebrook, an inmate at the Tecumseh State Correctional Institution, was charged in conjunction with the crime in March, after a cold case investigator found that DNA from hairs found on McReynolds’ night clothes matched Glazebrook’s DNA. Glazebrook appeared in Saunders County District Court on Friday morning, where he was expected to enter a plea to first-degree murder and first-degree sexual assault charges. Instead, said Tom Klein, Glazebrook’s attorney, Judge Mary Gilbride advised Glazebrook that he may be able to have his case transferred to juvenile court. After Friday’s hearing, Klein said he was not yet sure if he would ask to have Glazebrook’s case transferred. “I had not had the opportunity to discuss that with him,” Klein said. There is no statute of limitations on transferring a first-degree murder charge to juvenile court, Saunders County Attorney Scott Tingelhoff said. Even so, it’s rare to transfer a case from to juvenile court so many years after the crime. “It’s a unique situation,” he said. Glazebrook is currently serving a sentence of 16 1/2 years to 38 years for the 1991 rape of a 45-year-old Lincoln woman. His projected release date is in July 2010. He is next scheduled to appear in Saunders County District Court 8:30 a.m. May 30. Klein said he expected Glazebrook would either enter a plea or a request to have the case transferred to juvenile court during that hearing.
Nebraska Supreme Court denies Goodyear's claim that the Nebraska Department of Revenue should have created regulations to define what sales tax credits Goodyear could receive for property purchases before the Revenue Department could deny credits to Goodyear under the LB775 business tax incentive programs. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. v. State, S-06-1103, 275 Neb. 594The Nebraska Supreme Court denied Goodyear's appeal that it was entitled to credits for sales taxes on some equipment and parts purchases. Goodyear also appealed because the Nebraska Department of Revenue did have have regulations to interpret the disputed sections of the law. The Supreme Court held the Revenue Department did not need the regulations. "In the present case, § 77-4111 requires the Commissioner to adopt and promulgate those rules and regulations, but only those rules that are necessary for carrying out the purposes of L.B. 775. The purpose of L.B. 775 is to “accomplish economic revitalization of Nebraska” and to “encourage new businesses to relocate to Nebraska, retain existing businesses and aid in their expansion, promote the creation and retention of new jobs in Nebraska, and attract and retain investment capital in the State of Nebraska.”We conclude that promulgating rules and regulations regarding interpretation of qualified property is not necessary for carrying out those purposes."

Friday, May 02, 2008

Residents of the Ponca Hills area in Omaha appealed the Douglas County Board Equalization's decision to exempt residential properties an Omaha Catholic Diocese there used for lay ministry. Nebraska Supreme Court dismisses their appeal finding that the neighbors did not have standing to appeal the County's decision to exempt real estate from taxation with a petition in error to the Douglas County District Court. McClellan v. Board of Equal. of Douglas Cty., S-06-1072, 275 Neb. 581 "The Legislature’s stated purpose in the Tax Equalization and Review Commission Act (TERC) (Neb. Rev. Stat. § 77-5007) was to create an efficient mode of review by a single body which would provide a more consistent review of tax exemption and equalization decisions made by a board of equalization. The language of § 77-202.04 very specifically lists who may appeal from exemption decisions. The Legislature did not see fit to allow every indirectly affected taxpayer to appeal from the exemption status of someone else’s property. Instead, the Legislature determined that giving standing to the county assessor to appeal the grant of an exemption was sufficient to protect the public’s general interest in what properties are included on the tax rolls."
Nebraska Supreme Court finds a way around the law of the case doctrine on an appeal following remand. The Nebraska Supreme Court excepts law of the case doctrine and reconsiders worker compensation review panel's decision on injured worker's first trial that the worker compensation court judge should consider both the labor markets where the worker was injured and where she presently lived when evaluating the workers lost earning capacity. Money v. Tyrrell Flowers, S-07-681, 275 Neb. 602. At first trial judge found found the plaintiff had permanent and total disability because after her injury she moved to a small town that had few jobs. The worker compensation review panel reversed, requiring the trial judge to consider both the large and small towns' job markets. On retrial the trial judge found permanent total disability because the plaintiff was an "odd lot worker." The review panel then affirmed the trial court's odd lot worker ruling. Nebraska Supreme Court affirms, ruling that even if the the law of the case doctrine would have limited the trial court on retrial to considering the plaintiff's disability in the two labor markets, the Nebraska Supreme Court's intervening Giboo v. Certified Transmission Rebuilders 746 N.W.2d 362 (2008) decision merited excepting the first review panel's law of the case decision.