Justia Communications Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Nebraska Supreme Court
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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court denying Appellant's request for attorney fees authorized but not mandated by statute, holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion in awarding no fees or costs. Appellant sued Defendant under federal and state wiretapping statutes and under Neb. Rev. Stat. 20-203. The jury found that Appellant met his burden of proof as to both the federal and state wiretapping claims and awarded damages of $4,800. The trial court sustained Appellant's motions for judgment notwithstanding the verdict and to alter or amend based on the jury's award of damages, awarding statutory damages of $10,000. The district court denied attorney fees and costs. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) trial courts are not required to provide an explanation of an award of attorney fees; (2) while Defendant obtained a jury verdict in his favor, it was less than half of the minimum damages statutorily mandated, and therefore, the district court did not abuse its discretion in awarding no attorney fees; and (3) the district court did not abuse its discretion by not awarding litigation costs. View "Brumbaugh v. Bendorf" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the portion of the district court's order granting in part a writ of mandamus requiring Doug Brown, the sheriff of Furnas County, to provide records to Herchel Huff pursuant to the public records statutes, holding that the district court erred when it determined that Huff had shown that Brown had a clear duty to provide the requested records. Huff, an inmate, sought, among other documents, the criminal history records of jurors who had convicted hims. Furnas County sheriff Kurt Kapperman required a deposit of $750 before fulfilling the request. Huff subsequently filed a petition for writ of mandamus naming Kapperman as the defendant and seeking an order compelling Kapperman to release all requested documents. The court permitted Huff to substitute Brown, the current sheriff, in the caption of the case in place of Kapperman and granted in part mandamus. The Supreme Court reversed in part, holding that the district court (1) did not err when it substituted Brown's name for Kapperman's; but (2) erred in issuing mandamus because Huff failed to demonstrate a prima facie case that he had been denied a request for public records that the sheriff had a clear duty to provide under Neb. Rev. Stat. 84-712. View "Huff v. Brown" on Justia Law

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According to the plain language of Neb. Rev. Stat. 84-712.05(3), public records useful to an energy policy debate must be released despite an advantage flowing to a competitor. Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) refused a public records request from potential competitors for documents showing cost and revenue information for each of its generation units. NPPD maintained that the requested documents fell within the exemption contained in section 84-712.05(3), which exempts from disclosure “proprietary or commercial information which if released would give advantage to business competitors and serve no public purpose.” The competitors sought a writ of mandamus to compel disclosure. The district court declined to issue a writ, concluding that the information sought was proprietary or commercial to NPPD and that, if released publicly, would give advantage to NPPD’s competitors. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that, construing the exemption at issue narrowly, NPPD failed to demonstrate by clear and conclusive evidence that the information sought would serve no public purpose. View "Aksamit Resource Management v. Nebraska Public Power District" on Justia Law

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According to the plain language of Neb. Rev. Stat. 84-712.05(3), public records useful to an energy policy debate must be released despite an advantage flowing to a competitor. Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) refused a public records request from potential competitors for documents showing cost and revenue information for each of its generation units. NPPD maintained that the requested documents fell within the exemption contained in section 84-712.05(3), which exempts from disclosure “proprietary or commercial information which if released would give advantage to business competitors and serve no public purpose.” The competitors sought a writ of mandamus to compel disclosure. The district court declined to issue a writ, concluding that the information sought was proprietary or commercial to NPPD and that, if released publicly, would give advantage to NPPD’s competitors. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that, construing the exemption at issue narrowly, NPPD failed to demonstrate by clear and conclusive evidence that the information sought would serve no public purpose. View "Aksamit Resource Management v. Nebraska Public Power District" on Justia Law