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Tyler F. v. Sara P.

Court of Appeals of Nebraska

November 15, 2016

Tyler F., Appellant,
v.
Sara P., Appellee. Geoffrey V., as next friend of J.F., a minor child. APPELLEE AND CROSS-APPELLANT,
v.
SARA P., APPELLEE AND CROSS-APPELLEE, AND TYLER F, APPELLANT AND CROSS-APPELLEE.

         1. Statutes: Appeal and Error. Statutory interpretation presents a question of law, which an appellate court reviews independently of the lower court's determination.

         2. Paternity: Limitations of Actions. A civil proceeding to establish the paternity of a child may be instituted by (1) the mother or alleged father of such child, either during pregnancy or within 4 years after the child's birth, or (2) the guardian or next friend of such child or the State, either during pregnancy or within 18 years after the child's birth.

         3. Paternity: Guardians and Conservators: Words and Phrases. In the context of a paternity action, a next friend is one who, in the absence of a guardian, acts for the benefit of an infant or minor child.

         4. Actions: Parent and Child: Guardians and Conservators. Actions brought by the next friend of the child are causes of action that seek to establish the child's rights rather than those of the parent.

         5. Guardians and Conservators. It is generally recognized that a next friend must have a significant relationship with the real party in interest, such that the next friend is an appropriate alter ego for the party who is not able to litigate in his or her own right.

         6. Paternity: Guardians and Conservators. When a child is residing with its natural guardian, there is no legal basis, reason, or cause for a next friend to institute a paternity action on the child's behalf.

         7. Actions: Pleadings: Parties. The character in which one is a party to a suit, and the capacity in which a party sues, is determined from the allegations of the pleadings and not from the caption alone.

         [24 Neb.App. 371] 8. Courts: Actions: Parties: Complaints: Pleadings: Records. If the capacity in which a party sues is doubtful, a court may examine the complaint, the pleadings as a whole, and even the entire record.

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

         Appeals from the District Court for Lancaster County: Steven D. Burns, Judge. Reversed and remanded with directions.

          Andrea Finegan McChesney, of McChesney & Farrell Law. and Joshua M. Livingston, Senior Certified Law Student, for appellant.

          Joel Bacon and Tara L. Gardner, of Keating, O'Gara, Nedved & Peter, P.C., L.L.O., for appellee Geoffrey V.

          Inbody, Riedmann, and Bishop, Judges.

          ...


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