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Mid-Plains Community College v. NE Community College Insurance Trust

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Thursday, March 6, 2014

S-13-0491, Mid-Plains Community College, a Nebraska Corporation (Cross-Appellant) v. Underwriters at Lloyd’s, London (Appellant)

Lancaster County, Judge Andrew Jacobsen

Attorneys: John M. Guthery, Richard D. Sievers (Perry Guthery Haase & Gessford PC, LLO) (Appellant) --- Gary J. Nedved, Joel Bacon, Thomas P. McCarty (Keating O’Gara Nedved & Peter PCLLO)

Civil: Declaratory judgment action

Proceedings below: The district court found (1) that the indemnification agreement between Mid-Plains and Union Pacific was valid; (2) that Mid-Plains had statutory authority to enter into its contract with Union Pacific; (3) that Mid-Plains had "implicit and incidental power to indemnify Union Pacific;" (4) that Neb. Rev. Stat. § 85-1510(l) does not bar Mid-Plains from agreeing to indemnify private parties such as Union Pacific; (5) that the Nebraska Constitution does not bar Mid-Plains from indemnifying Union Pacific; (6) that the Political Subdivisions Tort Claim Act does not affect Mid-Plains’s contractual obligation to indemnify Union Pacific; and (7) that Mid-Plains is entitled to coverage under the Lloyd's policy under the policy's plain language. (T99). As a result, the District Court denied Lloyd's motion for summary judgment and granted Mid-Plains's motion for summary judgment.

Issues: l. The District Court erred in concluding that the Lloyd's policy provided coverage for the judgment entered against Union Pacific and in favor of its employee Strasburg, because NEs. Rev. Stat. § 85-1510(l) (Reissue 2008) prevents a community college such as Mid- Plains from indemnifying any person or entity except the colleges' board members, officers, employees, or agents.

2. The District Court erred by failing to hold that the indemnification provisions of the non-operating agreement were void as against public policy as the indemnification of a private party, not an agent or employee of Mid-Plains, is not permissible under Neb. Rev. Stat. § 85-1510(1).

3. The District Court erred in holding that Neb. Rev. Stat. § 85-1511 implies that community colleges can contract to indemnify, third parties, who are not an agent or employee, notwithstanding the restrictions in Neb. Rev. Stat. § 85-1510(1).

Cross-Appeal: Although the district court properly found that “any additional sum payable to or on behalf of [Mid-Plains] under the provisions of Policy JO86095 is the responsibility of Lloyd’s”, the district court’s decision lacks clarity and definiteness regarding the specific amount owed to Mid-Plains. 

This page was last modified on Friday, March 7, 2014