Justia Health Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Nebraska Supreme Court
In re T.W.
In this case brought under the Developmental Disabilities Court-Ordered Custody Act (DDCCA) the Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court concluding that T.W. was a person in need of court-ordered custody and adopting the custody and treatment plan prepared by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) with additional restrictions, holding that the district court was entitled to modify the terms of the treatment plan if the additional terms are supported by sufficient evidence.The State filed a petition under the DDCCA for court-ordered custody of T.W., an adult male. The district court found that T.W. was a person in need of court-ordered custody and treatment and, in accordance with Neb. Rev. Stat. 71-1124, ordered DHHS to prepare a written custody and treatment plan. After a hearing, the district court adopted DHHS' treatment plan and added conditions to T.W.'s placement that were not part of the plan offered by the State. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the court's order, including the added conditions, conformed to the law, was supported by competent evidence, and was not arbitrary, capricious or unreasonable. View "In re T.W." on Justia Law
In re Interest of K.C.
The Supreme Court dismissed this purported appeal brought by K.C. after the district court ordered an evaluation of K.C. and preparation of a plan pursuant to the Development Disabilities Court-Ordered Custody Act (DDCCA), Neb. Rev. Stat. 71-1101 to 71-1134, holding that the order was not final or appealable.The State filed a petition pursuant to the act seeking court-ordered custody and treatment for K.C., alleging that K.C. was a person with a developmental disability who posed a threat of harm to others and was in need of court-ordered custody and treatment. After a hearing, the district court issued an order adjudicating K.C. under the DDCCA. Prior to submission of any plan or dispositional hearing, K.C. filed an appeal. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal, holding that the Court lacked jurisdiction over the appeal. View "In re Interest of K.C." on Justia Law
Ramaekers v. Creighton University
The Supreme Court dismissed this appeal from a district court's order denying injunctive relief, holding that this Court lacked jurisdiction to hear the appeal.Plaintiffs were ten students at Creighton University who brought this petition seeking to enjoin Creighton from administratively withdrawing students who did not comply with its COVID-19 vaccine policy. After a hearing, the district court denied the petitions, concluding that Plaintiffs failed to show irreparable harm or a likelihood of success on the merits. Plaintiffs appealed. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal, holding that the court's denial of a temporary injunction was not a final order, and therefore, this Court lacked jurisdiction over the appeal. View "Ramaekers v. Creighton University" on Justia Law
Baker-Heser v. State
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the judgment of the district court dismissing Plaintiffs' claims against the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) alleging violations of the Health Care Facility Licensure Act (HCFLA), Neb. Rev. Stat. 71-401 to -476, and granting summary judgment to DHHS on the claims alleging violations of the Nebraska Fair Employment Practice Act (NFEPA), Neb. Rev. Stat. 48-1101 to -1125, holding that there was no error.Plaintiffs were two former employees of a state hospital who highlighted inadequate record keeping for hospital psychiatrists. Plaintiffs were subsequently fired. Plaintiffs brought this action alleging violations of the NFEPA and the HCFLA. The district court dismissed Plaintiffs' claims based on the HCFLA on sovereign immunity grounds and then granted summary judgment in favor of DHHS on the NFEPA claims. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) because Plaintiffs did not establish that they engaged in protected activity, the district court properly entered summary judgment against them on the NFEPA claims; and (2) because the State did not waive its sovereign immunity to suit under the HCFLA, the court properly dismissed those claims. View "Baker-Heser v. State" on Justia Law
In re Guardianship of Nicholas H.
The Supreme Court reversed the order of the county court purporting to discharge the Office of Public Guardian (OPG) and appoint the ward's parents as successor coguardians over their objection, holding that the parents had standing to appeal and that the Public Guardianship Act, Neb. Rev. Stat. 30-4101 to 30-4118, did not permit the discharge of the OPG.Nicholas was an adult with severe mental illness who was in need of a guardian. His parents served as his court-appointed coguardians until they petitioned to have the OPG appointed as Nicholas's guardian pursuant to the Act. The county court appointed the OPG as Nicholas's guardian, but OPG later filed a motion for discharge, asserting that Nicholas's parents should be named successor guardians. After a hearing, the court granted the OPG's motion for discharge and directed that Nicholas's parents be appointed his successor coguardians. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the OPG failed to prove that its services were no longer necessary, and therefore, the county court erred in discharging the OPG under section 30-4117. View "In re Guardianship of Nicholas H." on Justia Law
In re Guardianship & Conservatorship of Alice H.
The Supreme Court reversed the portion of the county court's decision ordering Douglas County to pay the balance of the attorney fees owed by a former guardian-conservator to the successor guardian-conservator, holding that the county court's order did not conform to the law and was not supported by competent evidence.In 2007, a guardian-conservatorship was established for Alice H. In Douglas County. Pamela Grimes was appointed her guardian-conservator. In 2012, the court appointed Jodie McGill to serve as Alice's guardian-conservator. In 2016, the county court surcharged Grimes $37,505.70 in attorney fees to McGill. Grimes paid only a portion of the fees. In 2018, McGill asked the county court to order Douglas County to pay the balance. The court granted that request. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the order neither conformed to the law nor was supported by competent evidence. View "In re Guardianship & Conservatorship of Alice H." on Justia Law
Tran v. State
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
Fidler v. Life Care Centers of America
The Supreme Court dismissed this appeal after the district court administratively dismissed a negligence action for failure to timely submit a proposed scheduling order and then granted a motion to reinstate the case, holding that the district court’s reinstatement order was not a final, appealable order.On appeal, Appellants argued that the district erred when it applied the local rules regarding reinstatement of cases instead of Neb. Rev. Stat. 25-201.01 to decide whether to reinstate the case. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal, holding that the order vacating dismissal and reinstating the case put the parties back in approximately the same litigation posture as before the action was dismissed, and there was no reason to disrupt the progression of the case by entertaining an interlocutory appeal. View "Fidler v. Life Care Centers of America" on Justia Law
Cullinane v. Beverly Enterprises – Nebraska, Inc.
The Supreme Court affirmed the denial of Appellant’s motion to dismiss or stay proceedings and compel arbitration, holding that the issue of whether the arbitration agreement in this case was enforceable was properly decided by the district court and not an arbitrator.Thomas Cullinane, as special administrator for the estate of his mother, Helen Cullinane, filed a wrongful death action against Appellant, Beverly Enterprises - Nebraska, Inc., doing business as Golden LivingCenter - Valhaven (GLCV). GLCV filed a motion to dismiss or stay proceedings and compel arbitration in accordance with the terms of a written arbitration agreement between GLCV and Helen. GLCV asserted that Eugene Cullinane, Helen’s husband, while acting as Helen’s attorney in fact, signed the agreement when he and Helen were admitted to the facility. The district court found that Eugene’s execution of the arbitration agreement could not be binding upon Helen, nor her estate, and thus dismissed GLCV’s motion. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err in determining that the arbitration agreement was not binding upon Helen or her estate. View "Cullinane v. Beverly Enterprises - Nebraska, Inc." on Justia Law
In re Estate of Vollmann
The Supreme Court held that “medical assistance” provided to Medicaid recipients includes costs for room and board and other “nonmedical” expenses at nursing facilities, and therefore, those costs can be recovered from the recipient’s estate. In this case, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) filed a petition for allowance of a claim for services provided to the decedent while he resided at two different nursing homes. The county court sustained DHHS’ motion for summary judgment, concluding that the services defined as room and board fell within the parameters of services provided under the Medical Assistance Act. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that DHHS was statutorily authorized to recover the sums it paid for room and board costs and other expenses from the decedent’s estate. View "In re Estate of Vollmann" on Justia Law