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In re Estate of Panec

Court of Appeals of Nebraska

November 4, 2014

IN RE ESTATE OF ELLEN M. PANEC, DECEASED. REBECCA GRIFFIN, APPELLANT,
v.
WILLIAM J. PANEC, PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE OF THE ESTATE OF ELLEN M. PANEC, DECEASED, APPELLEE

Page 332

Appeal from the County Court for Jefferson County: STEVEN B. TIMMMM, Judge.

Eric B. Brown, of Atwood, Holsten, Brown & Deaver Law Firm, P.C., L.L.O., for appellant.

Vincent M. Powers and Elizabeth Govaerts, of Vincent M. Powers & Associates, for appellee.

MOORE, Chief Judge, and IRWIN and PIRTLE, Judges.

OPINION

Page 333

[22 Neb.App. 498] Pirtle, Judge.

INTRODUCTION

Rebecca Griffin (Rebecca) appeals from the August 7, 2013, order of the county court for Jefferson County, distributing settlement proceeds of $616,000 between herself and William J. Panec, the surviving spouse, personal representative, and appellee herein. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

BACKGROUND

Ellen M. Panec and her husband, William, were involved in a serious automobile collision in Lincoln, Nebraska, on September 19, 2011. Both sustained injuries, and Ellen was hospitalized for 54/7 weeks following the collision before she passed away. William eventually recovered from his injuries. The parties stipulated that the medical expenses incurred for the care of Ellen after the collision were fair and reasonably necessary. The total cost for her medical care was approximately $215,000. The parties further stipulated

Page 334

that Ellen's injuries ultimately caused her death on October 28 and that the reasonable funeral and burial costs were $21,341.84.

Prior to Ellen's death, on October 3, 2011, a lawsuit was filed in the district court for Lancaster County on Ellen's behalf for claims arising from Ellen's personal injuries resulting from the collision. A companion complaint was also filed in the district court for Lancaster County on William's behalf for the injuries he suffered as a result of the same collision.

On August 22, 2012, an amended complaint was filed in the district court for Lancaster County on behalf of Ellen's estate. This amended complaint alleged that Ellen's injuries were fatal, but that prior to her death, she had required hospitalization, and that she had " suffered pain, suffering, inconvenience, disability and incurred healthcare expenses."

Prior to the collision, Ellen had been diagnosed with " stage 4" lung cancer, as well as brain cancer and esophageal cancer. At the time of the collision, Ellen was 68 years old and she and William had been married for almost 7 years. It was a second marriage for both Ellen and William. Ellen had one daughter, Rebecca, from her prior marriage. Ellen was not working at [22 ...


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