Marcia M. Harring, appellant,
Janis J. Gress and Fredrick Gress, Copersonal Representatives of the Estate of Darin J. Gress, deceased, appellees.
Motions to Dismiss: Appeal and Error. A district court's
grant of a motion to dismiss is reviewed de novo.
Courts: Justiciable Issues. Ripeness is a justiciability
doctrine that courts consider in determining whether they may
properly decide a controversy.
Courts. The fundamental principle of ripeness is that courts
should avoid entangling themselves, through premature
adjudication, in abstract disagreement based on contingent
future events that may not occur at all or may not occur as
from the District Court for Thayer County: Vicky L. Johnson,
Judge. Reversed and remanded for further proceedings.
L. Werner, PC, L.L.O., for appellant.
Burkholder, of McHenry, Haszard, Roth, Hupp, Burkholder &
Blomenberg, P.C., L.L.O., for appellees.
Heavican, C.J., Wright, Miller-Lerman, Cassel, and Stacy, JJ.
M. Harring filed suit in the district court seeking the
allowance of an unliquidated claim against the decedent's
[295 Neb. 853] estate and the imposition of a lien against
real property owned by the estate or, in the alternative, a
trust, constructive or otherwise, to secure payment of that
claim, as well as judgment for attorney fees and costs. The
estate's motion to dismiss was granted, and Marcia
appeals. We reverse, and remand for further proceedings.
was previously married to the decedent, Darin J. Gress.
Justin Gress, son of Marcia and Darin, was born in 2000.
and Darin were divorced in 2009. That decree provided in
"12. Pursuant to the stipulation of the parties in
regard to Justin's funds, the Court approves creation of
a joint account requiring the signatures of both parties for
disbursement for college expenses. Any savings held in the
name of Justin and not used for his education shall be
transferred to him when he reaches his age of majority or
becomes otherwise emancipated.
"13. Pursuant to the stipulation of the parties, Darin
and Marcia are ordered to equally pay for Justin's
reasonable secondary educational expenses not otherwise
covered by his savings accounts. Such expenses include
tuition, books, and housing."
died on May 15, 2015, and his estate is being probated in the
Thayer County Court. Janis J. Gress and Fredrick Gress are
the copersonal representatives of the estate; Justin is an
heir at law.
August 4, 2015, Marcia filed a claim with Darin's estate
on Justin's behalf. The claim sought one-half of
Justin's reasonable secondary educational expenses not
otherwise covered by his savings accounts, due upon incurring
such expenses. The claim indicated that it was contingent and
unliquidated. This claim was disallowed by the estate.
filed suit in the district court against the estate, seeking
that the court order the claim filed on August 4, 2015, be
[295 Neb. 854] "allowed, " and further that the
court confirm the lien of the court's judgement against
real property owned by the estate. Marcia also filed a second
cause of action against Janis and Fredrick, arguing that they
owed a fiduciary duty to the estate to pay all lawful claims
and that this duty was ...