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Credit Management Services, Inc. v. Jefferson

Supreme Court of Nebraska

April 10, 2015

CREDIT MANAGEMENT SERVICES, INC., APPELLANT,
v.
LORINDA JEFFERSON, APPELLEE

Appeal from the District Court for Douglas County, DUANE C. DOUGHERTY, Judge, on appeal thereto from the County Court for Douglas County, THOMAS K. HARMON, Judge.

John M. Guthery, of Perry, Guthery, Haase & Gessford, P.C., L.L.O., for appellant.

No appearance for appellee.

HEAVICAN, C.J., WRIGHT, CONNOLLY, STEPHAN, McCORMACK, MILLER-LERMAN, and CASSEL, JJ.

OPINION

Page 433

[290 Neb. 665] Wright, J.

NATURE OF CASE

Under certain circumstances, Neb. Rev. Stat. § 25-1708 (Cum. Supp. 2014) provides for the award of costs to plaintiffs in actions for the recovery of money. Pursuant to this statute, Credit Management Services, Inc. (CMS), filed a motion for costs in its action for the recovery of money against Lorinda Jefferson. She had voluntarily paid CMS' claim after the action was filed but before a judgment was entered.

The county court interpreted § 25-1708 as precluding the award of costs to a plaintiff where he or she received a voluntary payment from the defendant after the action was filed but before a judgment was entered. The county court overruled CMS' motion for costs, and on appeal, the district court affirmed the county court's determination that CMS was not entitled to costs. We conclude that CMS was entitled to costs. Therefore, we reverse the order of the district court and remand the cause with directions.

Page 434

SCOPE OF REVIEW

The standard of review for an award of costs is whether an abuse of discretion occurred. White v. Kohout, 286 Neb. 700, 839 N.W.2d 252 (2013). A judicial abuse of discretion exists when the reasons or rulings of a trial judge are clearly [290 Neb. 666] untenable, unfairly depriving a litigant of a substantial right and denying just results in matters submitted for disposition. Fisher v. PayFlex Systems USA, 285 Neb. 808, 829 N.W.2d 703 (2013).

Statutory interpretation is a question of law, which we must resolve independently of the trial court. In re Interest of Nedhal A., ...


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