The Nebraska Supreme Court recently moved a series of cases involving Domina Law Group pc llo’s clients and questions from the Nebraska Court of Appeals docket to the Supreme Court’s docket. These cases are now pending for oral argument before the Supreme Court of Nebraska:
Gary’s Implement v. Bridgeport Tractor Parts, Inc.
Supreme Court Case No. S-10-000122
This case, expected to be argued in November 2010, was appealed following a second trial resulting in a $1.25 million jury verdict in favor of Bridgeport Tractor Parts, DLGpc’s client. Before Domina Law Group pc llo’s involvement in the case in 2003, the first jury returned a verdict adverse to Bridgeport Tractor Parts for more than $400,000. After a successful appeal and a new trial, Bridgeport Tractor presented its case, once again, to a Morrill County jury. This time the result was much different. The jury found favorable to Bridgeport Tractor Parts and returned a verdict of $1.25 million in its favor. This resulted in reversal of positions from the outcome of the original case of nearly $1.65 million.
The issues presented on appeal concern the trial court’s decision to admit expert testimony and the sufficiency of the evidence.
David Domina, who tried the case for Bridgeport Tractor Parts, has expressed optimism about prospects on appeal.
Suchan, et al., v. Mastny
Supreme Court Case No. S-10-000432
This case was moved from the Court of Appeals docket to the Supreme Court’s docket in late September. In this case, due to an unfortunate set of family relations, circumstances, and testamentary documents, four siblings could not resolve the issue of a debt which was owed by one of the children to the parents, and ultimately the parents’ estate. Domina Law Group, undertook representation of three sisters who challenged their incarcerated brother’s right to receive funds from his parents’ trusts before paying a substantial debt noted on the parents’ books and records but not mentioned in their trusts.
At trial, the court concluded the parents’ books clearly reflected a debt, but no intention to collect it. On appeal, the sisters, represented by Domina Law Group, claim the existence of the debt and the parents’ persistent acknowledgement of it, proves it must be satisfied. “There is no evidence the debt was forgiven. A gift of debt must be proven by the debtor,” Dave Domina said. Domina argues for the appellant sisters that the brother, who is incarcerated, failed to sustain his burden of proving either (a) payment of the debt, or (b) forgiveness of the debt. As a result, the sisters contend the debt should be set off against any distribution of assets from the parents’ trusts.
Oral argument is likely near the end of the year.
Behrens, et al., v. Blunk
Supreme Court Case No. S-10-000342
This case presents an interesting question of first impression to the Nebraska Supreme Court. Domina Law Group pc llo represents a former securities broker and the receiver for the Securities Exchange Commission, who took over all the broker’s assets and prosecuted a professional negligence case in his name. The former securities broker was charged with and convicted of federal crimes.
The District Court in Omaha dismissed the SEC receiver’s claim because the broker, whose assets were taken by the receiver and in whose name the case was prosecuted, refused to answer written discovery questions. The former broker refused because his criminal trial was rapidly approaching in United State District Court and he insisted upon invoking his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination in the civil case. The SEC receiver responded to discovery to the extent he could do so without the cooperation of the broker, a criminal defendant and securities violator.
On appeal, Domina Law Group pc llo requests the reversal of the District Court’s decision to dismiss the case as “improvident.” “We are asking the appellate court to rule the brief delay necessary to complete the criminal proceedings justified additional time to respond to the discovery, and find it is improper for the lower court to impose dismissal of the SEC receiver’s case as a sanction,” Dave Domina said. Domina noted judicial decisions made in other jurisdictions, and cited in the appellant’s brief, are believed to favor DLGpc’s client’s position.
Oral argument is expected early in 2011.