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Becker v. Walton

Court of Appeals of Nebraska

June 21, 2016

Douglas S. Becker, appellant,
v.
Tonya M. Walton, appellee.

         1. Pretrial Procedure: Appeal and Error. On appellate review, decisions regarding discovery are generally reviewed under an abuse of discretion standard.

         2. Trial: Appeal and Error. The standard of review of a trial court's determination of a request for sanctions is whether the trial court abused its discretion.

         3. Rules of the Supreme Court: Pretrial Procedure: Costs. A hearing on a motion for expenses pursuant to Neb. Ct. R. Disc. § 6-337(c) is a legal proceeding entirely separate from the underlying proceedings concerning the merits of the case.

         4. Costs: Appeal and Error. The appellate court reviewing a decision on a motion for expenses is to concern itself solely with the evidence established and produced at that hearing.

         5. Rules of the Supreme Court: Pretrial Procedure: Appeal and Error. The determination of an appropriate sanction under Neb. Ct. R. Disc. § 6-3 37(c) rests within the discretion of the trial court and will not be disturbed on appeal absent an abuse of discretion.

         6. Rules of the Supreme Court: Pretrial Procedure: Costs: Proof. Once the party making a motion for sanctions proves the truth of the matter previously denied and that reasonable expenses were incurred in doing so, the burden then shifts to the nonmoving party to prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, one of the four exceptions enumerated in the discovery rule.

         7. Rules of the Supreme Court: Pretrial Procedure: Proof. To be applicable, Neb. Ct. R. Disc. § 6-337(c) requires that a party must fail to admit the truth of any matter requested, and the party requesting the admissions must prove the truth of the matter.

         [24 Neb.App. 110] 8. Rules of the Supreme Court: Pretrial Procedure. Sanctions under Neb. Ct. R. Disc. § 6-337 exist not only to punish those whose conduct warrants a sanction but to deter those, whether a litigant or counsel, who might be inclined or tempted to frustrate the discovery process by their ignorance, neglect, indifference, arrogance, or, much worse, sharp practice adversely affecting a fair determination of a litigant's rights or liabilities.

         9. ___: ___. Sanctions under Neb. Ct. R. Disc. § 6-337 are designed to prevent a party who has failed to comply with discovery from profiting by such party's misconduct.

         10. ___: ___. An appropriate sanction under Neb. Ct. R. Disc. § 6-337 is determined in the factual context of each particular case and is initially left to the sound discretion of the trial court, whose ruling will be upheld in the absence of an abuse of discretion.

         11. Appeal and Error. In the absence of plain error, when an issue is raised for the first time in an appellate court, it will be disregarded inasmuch as a lower court cannot commit error in resolving an issue never presented and submitted to it for disposition.

         12. ___. An appellate court is not obligated to engage in an analysis that is not necessary to adjudicate the case and controversy before it.

         Appeal from the District Court for York County, James C. Stecker, Judge, on appeal thereto from the County Court for York County, Linda S. Caster Senff, Judge.

          Charles W. Campbell, of Angle, Murphy & Campbell, PC, L.L.O., for appellant.

          Daniel P. Chesire and Anastasia Wagner, of Lamson, Dugan & ...


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