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In re Petition of Golden Plains Services Transportation, Inc.

Supreme Court of Nebraska

June 30, 2017

In re Petition of Golden Plains Services Transportation, Inc. Golden Plains Services Transportation, Inc., Doing Business as GPS Transportation, Appellant, Nebraska Public Service Commission, Appellee.

          1. Administrative Law: Statutes: Appeal and Error. The meaning and interpretation of statutes and regulations are questions of law for which an appellate court has an obligation to reach an independent conclusion irrespective of the decision made by the court below.

         2. Administrative Law. Generally, for purposes of construction, a rule or order of an administrative agency is treated like a statute.

         3. ___. Absent a statutory or regulatory indication to the contrary, language contained in a rule or regulation is to be given its plain and ordinary meaning.

         4. ___.A regulation is open for construction only when the language used requires interpretation or may reasonably be considered ambiguous.

         5. Public Service Commission: Administrative Law. The plain language of 291 Neb. Admin. Code, ch. 3, § 010.01C (2003), does not explicitly limit open class carriers to providing only prearranged services, nor does it explicitly restrict open class carriers from providing on-demand services.

         Appeal from the Public Service Commission. Reversed and vacated.

          Jack L. Shultz, of O'Neill, Heinrich, Damkroger, Bergmeyer & Shultz, PC, L.L.O., for appellant.

         [297 Neb. 106] Douglas J. Peterson, Attorney General, and L. Jay Bartel for appellee.

          Heavican, C.J., Wright, Miller-Lerman, Cassel, Stacy, and Kelch, JJ.

          KELCH, J.

         NATURE OF CASE

         This case requires the court to determine whether 291 Neb. Admin. Code, ch. 3, § 010.01C (2003) (Rule 010.01C), limits "open class" carriers to providing only prearranged transportation or whether they may also operate on a for-hire basis.

         FACTS

         Golden Plains Services Transportation, Inc. (Golden Plains), is a Nebraska carrier certified to provide open class services. In or before December 2015, the Nebraska Public Service Commission (Commission) received information that Golden Plains might have been operating "on a taxi basis" in its operations. Thereafter, the Commission sent a letter to Golden Plains, informing Golden Plains that it must immediately cease and desist all taxi service operations. Golden ...


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