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Mansuetta v. Mansuetta

Supreme Court of Nebraska

January 27, 2017

Valerie A. Mansuetta, appellant,
v.
Nicholas T. Mansuetta, appellee.

         1. Declaratory Judgments. Whether to entertain an action for declaratory judgment is within the discretion of the trial court.

         2. Judges: Words and Phrases. A judicial abuse of discretion exists when a judge, within the effective limits of authorized judicial power, elects to act or refrain from acting, but the selected option results in a decision which is untenable and unfairly deprives a litigant of a substantial right or a just result in matters submitted for disposition through a judicial system.

         3. Declaratory Judgments. The general rule is that an action for a declaratory judgment will not be entertained when another equally serviceable remedy has been provided.

         4. Declaratory Judgments: Jurisdiction. Jurisdiction of a declaratory judgment action will not be entertained if there is pending, at the time of the commencement of the declaratory action, another action or proceeding to which the same persons are parties, and in which are involved, and may be adjudicated, the same identical issues that are involved in the declaratory action.

         Appeal from the District Court for Buffalo County: William T. Wright, Judge.

         Judgment vacated, and cause remanded with directions.

          Kent A. Schroeder, of Ross, Schroeder & George, L.L.C., for appellant.

          Heather Swanson-Murray, of Swanson Murray Law, L.L.C., PC, for appellee.

          [295 Neb. 668] Heavican, C.J., Wright, Miller-Lerman, Cassel, Stacy. Kelch, and Funke, JJ.

          Miller-Lerman, J.

         NATURE OF CASE

         Nicholas T. Mansuetta, the appellee, filed a complaint for dissolution of marriage in the district court for Buffalo County, case No. CI14-172. During the pendency of the dissolution case, Valerie A. Mansuetta, the appellant, filed a separate complaint for declaratory judgment in the same court, seeking an order regarding the parties' rights under their prenuptial agreement. This separate action gives rise to this appeal. Valerie appeals from the order in the declaratory judgment action, in which the district court found the agreement to be wholly valid and enforceable. We determine that the district court abused its discretion by entertaining Valerie's declaratory judgment action when another action was pending involving the same parties and the same issues. Therefore, we vacate the order of the district court and remand the cause with directions to enter an order dismissing Valerie's complaint for declaratory judgment.

         STATEMENT OF FACTS

         Nicholas and Valerie were married on February 14, 2008. On February 13, the day before they were married, Nicholas and Valerie executed a prenuptial agreement. The parties dispute the events leading up to the execution of the prenuptial agreement. Generally, Valerie asserts that she did not see a copy of the agreement until it was placed in front of her on February 13 and that she and Nicholas never discussed a prenuptial agreement prior to its execution. In contrast, Nicholas generally contends that he and Valerie had many discussions regarding executing a prenuptial agreement, that Valerie had received a draft of the agreement several days ...


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