Justia Government & Administrative Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Nebraska Supreme Court
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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court affirming a county board of adjustment's decision affirming the zoning administrator's grant of a zoning permit for construction of a new residence within an agricultural intensive district, holding that the district court did not err or abuse its discretion. The zoning administrator approved a zoning permit for the new residence. Appellants appealed, arguing that the zoning permit was for a "non-farm residence," and therefore, the construction was not permitted under zoning regulations. The board affirmed the zoning administrator's decision, and the district court affirmed. At issue in this appeal was whether the proposed residence was a "non-farm residence" under the applicable zoning regulations. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the board of adjustment correctly determined that the new residence was not a "non-farm residence." View "Hochstein v. Cedar County Board of Adjustment" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the ruling of the Tax Equalization and Review Commission (TERC), which reduced the county's $16.3 million valuation of commercial real estate used as an ethanol plant to $7.3 million based upon the taxpayer's appraisal, holding that there was no error appearing on the record. The original $16.3 million valuation in this case was based upon mass appraisal techniques. TERC reduced the value based upon the appraisal of the taxpayer, finding that because the appraiser performed the appraisal according to professional approved standards his appraisal report was competent evidence sufficient to rebut the presumption in favor of the Board of Equalization's determination affirming the county assessor's valuation of the property. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that TERC's determination that the Board's valuation was unreasonable and arbitrary was supported by competent evidence and was not arbitrary, capricious, or unreasonable. View "Wheatland Industries v. Perkins County Board of Equalization" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the court of appeals' decision reducing Terry Bortolotti's weekly income benefit awarded by the workers' compensation court from the maximum to the minimum and eliminating the award of out-of-pocket medical expenses, holding that the reduced weekly benefit was correct but that the medical expense award should be reinstated. In upholding the reduced weekly benefit, the Supreme Court held (1) the compensation court erroneously based the determination of Bortolotti's average weekly wage on a superseded and inoperative pleading, and the court of appeals' determination of average weekly wage was supported by competent evidence in the record; and (2) as to Bortolotti's medical expenses, the court of appeals failed to give Bortolotti's testimony the inferences mandated by the deferential standard of review. View "Bortolotti v. Universal Terrazzo & Tile Co." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the Public Service Commission's (PSC) grant of an application filed by TransCanada Keystone Pipeline, LP for approval of a major oil pipeline route and eminent domain authority and finding that the "Mainline Alternative Route" (MAR) was in the public interest, holding that TransCanada carried its burden of proving that the MAR was in the public interest and that the errors assigned by intervenors in the proceedings were without merit. The MAR approved by the PSC was a thirty-six-inch major oil pipeline and related facilities to be constructed through Nebraska. Landowners, two Indian tribes, and the Sierra Club all intervened in the proceedings. The Supreme Court affirmed on appeal, holding (1) the PSC had jurisdiction to consider TransCanada's application; (2) TransCanada met its burden of proof; (3) the PSC properly considered the MAR; and (4) the intervenors were afforded due process. View "TransCanada Keystone Pipeline, LP v. Dunavan" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court affirming the order of the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission granting Abay, LLC a Class D liquor license for its convenience store but restricting Abay from offering "single can sales" and "spirits/wine sales less than .375," holding that there was competent evidence in the record for the district court's decision and that it was not arbitrary, capricious, or unreasonable. On judicial review, the district court determined that the Commission's restrictions on Abay's liquor license were within the Commission's authority under the Nebraska Liquor Control Act, Neb. Rev. Stat. 53-101 to 53-1,122, were reasonable, and were not arbitrary or capricious. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the Act empowers the Commission to include conditions on a liquor license if those restrictions are consistent with the purpose of the Act and are reasonably necessary to the protection of the health and welfare of the people of the State and to the promotion and fostering of temperance in the consumption of alcohol; and (2) the district court's order was not arbitrary, capricious, or unreasonable, and there was competent evidence in the record for its decision. View "Abay, LLC v. Nebraska Liquor Control Commission" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the district court upholding the decision of the City of Omaha Zoning Board of Appeals denying Appellants' request for a variance from the requirements of Omaha's zoning code based on a claim of unnecessary hardship, holding that the district court did not err or abuse its discretion in upholding the Board's decision. Appellants owned a 4.66-acre parcel of land that was zoned for agricultural use. After the City of Omaha Planning Department concluded that the property was being used for activities not permitted by ordinance in an agricultural district Appellants applied for a variance requesting waiver that would allow them to deviate from zoning requirements. The Board denied Appellants' request for a variance. The district court affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that competent evidence supported the district court's findings and its conclusion that Appellants' situation did not warrant a variance under Neb. Rev. Stat. 14-411. View "Bruning v. City of Omaha Zoning Board of Appeals" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the district court affirming the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission's order cancelling Appellant's liquor license, holding that the Commission and the district court disregarded the plain language of the Commission's "disturbance rule," 237 Neb. Admin. Code ch. 6, 019.01F. The Commission found that Appellant violated the disturbance rule when it "allowed or permitted a disturbance" at an event it hosted. The district court concluded that the record supported the Commission's findings. On appeal, Appellant argued that the district court erred in agreeing with the Commission that the disturbance occurred when Appellant hosted the event because the regulation applies only where a licensee allows any unreasonable disturbance "to continue without taking the steps" as set forth in the rule. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the Commission and the district court ignored the words "to continue," and therefore, the decisions below did not conform to the law. View "McManus Enterprises v. Nebraska Liquor Control Commission" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the district court's order affirming the denial of LeVeta Winslow's 2016 application for Medicaid benefits, holding that Nebraska's Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Division of Medicaid and Long-Term Care properly determined that Winslow was ineligible for Medicaid due to excess resources. DHHS determined that Winslow was ineligible for Medicaid because her resources, which included a house, were above $4,000. The district court affirmed the denial of benefits, finding that the house did not qualify for Winslow's home and thus was not exempt from consideration as an available resource as Winslow's home. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the district court correctly determined that the house was not subject to the home exemption for Winslow's Medicaid application; (2) the district court erred in determining that the property was not eligible for the other real property exception because Winslow lacked authority to liquidate while it was held by a revocable trust; and (3) Winslow failed to provide sufficient documentation that she was under the available resource limit if she could exclude the house, and therefore, the district court did not err in failing to find that DHHS was required to provide Winslow an IM-1 form for the house while it was held by the trust. View "Winslow v. State ex rel. Peterson" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court affirming the decision of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) terminating Appellant's status as a Medicaid service provider, holding that the district court's affirmance of the sanction imposed by DHHS was not arbitrary, capricious, or unreasonable. Based on Appellant's failures to adhere to the standards for participation in Medicaid, DHHS terminated Appellant's provider agreements for good cause and then informed Appellant of her permanent exclusion from the Medicaid program. The DHHS director of the Division of Medicaid and Long-Term Care ruled that DHHS' decision to terminate Appellant as a Medicaid service provider was proper. The district court affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the court's finding that Appellant billed for overlapping services was based on competent evidence; and (2) DHHS' sanction to permanently exclude Appellant from the Medicaid program was not arbitrary or capricious. View "Tran v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the district court finding that it lacked jurisdiction over the assessment decision of the Board of Equalization of the City of Omaha exercising a quasi-judicial function as a result of Appellant's failure to file an appeal bond with the city clerk within twenty days, holding that the statutory scheme requires that an appellant execute a bond with the city clerk within twenty days, which Appellant did not do in this case. Appellant personally appeared before the Board to protest a proposed special assessment to be levied on his property. The Board denied Appellant's protest. The City Council for the City of Omaha subsequently levied the special assessment on Appellant's property. Appellant appealed, The district court found that Appellant had failed to comply with Neb. Rev. Stat. 14-813 by not filing an appeal bond with the city clerk within twenty days, thus dismissing Appellant's appeal for lack of jurisdiction. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court correctly dismissed Appellant's appeal for lack of jurisdiction. View "Glasson v. Board of Equalization of City of Omaha" on Justia Law