Justia Professional Malpractice & Ethics Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Nebraska Supreme Court
Dondlinger v. Nelson
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court dismissing this legal malpractice action as time barred, holding that the court did not err in ruling that the continuing representation exception to the two-year statute of limitations in Neb. Rev. Stat. 25-222 did not apply and granting Defendants' motion for summary judgment.Plaintiffs filed a complaint against Defendants setting forth claims of professional negligence relating to Defendants' representation of Plaintiffs in a personal injury action. The district court dismissed the action with prejudice, concluding that the continuous representation doctrine did not toll the accrual of the action and that the action was time barred because Plaintiffs filed their claim more than one year after discovery of the alleged negligent act. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err when it dismissed the complaint as untimely. View "Dondlinger v. Nelson" on Justia Law
Wehrer v. Dynamic Life Therapy & Wellness, P.C.
The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the district court granting summary judgment in favor of Defendant on the ground that Plaintiff's cause of action was time barred by the statute of limitations for professional negligence under Neb. Rev. Stat. 25-222, holding that the district court erred in concluding that a massage therapist is a professional under section 25-222 and in granting summary judgment on that ground.Plaintiff, a customer of Defendant, a massage therapy establishment, alleged that Defendant's employee, a licensed massage therapist, improperly compressed a nerve on Plaintiff's neck, causing her to become unconscious, fall out of the massage chair, and sustain injuries. Plaintiff filed suit against Defendant, alleging that her injuries were caused by Defendant's negligence as the massage therapist's employer. The district court dismissed the complaint, concluding that Plaintiff's claim was time barred by the application of section 25-222. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the district court erred by finding that massage therapy is a "profession" within the meaning of section 25-222. The Supreme Court remanded the cause to the district court. View "Wehrer v. Dynamic Life Therapy & Wellness, P.C." on Justia Law
Rice v. Poppe
The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the district court in favor of Terrance Poppe in this legal malpractice action, holding that there was no merit to this appeal.Poppe represented Brenda Rice from Dale Rice. Thereafter, Rice filed this malpractice action against Poppe, alleging that Poppe did not advise her that a property settlement agreement waived her interest in Dale’s life insurance policies. The district court granted summary judgment for Poppe. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded. After a bench trial, the district court found in favor of Poppe. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err in concluding that Poppe did not breach any duty owed to Rice and, even assuming a breach of duty, that Rice could not show that Poppe’s actions were the proximate cause of her injury. View "Rice v. Poppe" on Justia Law
Colwell v. Mullen
The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the district court granting summary judgment in favor of Defendants, a tax attorney and the accounting firm for which he worked, in this malpractice action, holding that Plaintiffs’ claims claims were barred by the statute of limitations.Plaintiffs, a dentist and his professional corporation, brought this suit alleging six acts of legal and accounting malpractice. The district court granted summary judgment on Plaintiffs’ claims, concluding that the claims were barred by the statute of limitations set forth in Neb. Rev. Stat. 25-222. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err in finding that Plaintiffs’ action was barred by section 25-222. View "Colwell v. Mullen" on Justia Law
LeRette v. Howard
The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s partial granting of Defendants’ motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV) and modified the jury award in this case alleging legal malpractice and fraudulent misrepresentation.Plaintiffs filed a complaint against Steven Howard and his law firm alleging that Howard committed legal malpractice. The jury found in favor of Plaintiffs and awarded damages in the amount of $775,000. After trial, the district court partially granted Defendants’ JNOV motion, reducing the damages to $235,968.78. The Supreme Court affirmed as modified, holding (1) the trial court did not err in reducing the jury’s award of damages, but the jury award is modified to $350,000; (2) the trial court did not err in overruling Plaintiffs’ postverdict motion for sanctions; and (3) the trial court did not err in failing to dismiss Plaintiffs’ complaint for want of subject matter jurisdiction on the basis that the action was not brought by the real party in interest. View "LeRette v. Howard" on Justia Law
Amend v. Nebraska Public Service Commission
The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court dismissing Appellants’ complaint alleging that the Nebraska Public Service Commission (PSC) negligently failed to enforce Nebraska statutes and regulations against Pierce Grain Elevator, Inc. (PEI). The complaint was filed under Nebraska’s State Tort Claims Act (STCA). In dismissing the complaint, the district court concluded that Appellants’ suit was barred by the STCA’s discretionary function exception provided in Neb. Rev. Stat. 81-8,219(1). The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s determination that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction over the case, holding that Appellants’ claims were grounded in a state agency’s alleged failure to suspend or revoke a license and that the Legislature has preserved sovereign immunity for such conduct. View "Amend v. Nebraska Public Service Commission" on Justia Law
Zawaideh v. Dep’t of Health & Human Servs.
This was the second appeal in this case. Doctor, who was licensed to practice medicine in Nebraska and Washington, entered into an assurance of compliance with the Attorney General due to unprofessional conduct. The assurance of compliance was made part of Doctor's public record. Consequently, Doctor alleged that the Washington Department of Health learned via public record of the assurance of compliance and initiated a disciplinary action against him. Doctor was also made ineligible with the American Board of Family Medicine. Doctor filed a complaint against the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services and the Attorney General alleging that the Attorney General fraudulently and negligently misrepresented the adverse effects of the assurance of compliance. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Defendants, finding the misrepresentation claims to be contract claims subject to, and barred by, the State Contract Claims Act (Act). Doctor again appealed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err in finding that Doctor's claims were subject to, and barred by, the Act. View "Zawaideh v. Dep't of Health & Human Servs." on Justia Law