Mark A. Putnam, appellant,
Keri G. Scherbring et al., appellees.
Evidence: Appeal and Error. Generally, the
control of discovery is a matter for judicial discretion, and
decisions regarding discovery will be upheld on appeal in the
absence of an abuse of discretion.
Appeal and Error. Appellate review of a district
court's use of inherent power is for an abuse of
Judgments: Words and Phrases. An abuse of discretion
occurs when a trial court's decision is based upon
reasons that are untenable or unreasonable or if its action
is clearly against justice or conscience, reason, and
Rules of the Supreme Court: Trial: Time. Under case
progression standards adopted by the Nebraska Supreme Court,
civil jury cases are to be disposed of within 1 year to 18
months of filing, absent extraordinary circumstances.
Rules of the Supreme Court: Judges: Motions for
Continuance. Trial judges are encouraged to
implement firm, consistent procedures for minimizing
continuances to meet the case progression standards of the
Nebraska Supreme Court.
Rules of the Supreme Court: Attorneys at Law:
Courts. Each member of the bar shall cooperate with
the judiciary in meeting the case progression standards of
the Nebraska Supreme Court.
Courts. Nebraska courts, through their inherent
judicial power, have the authority to do all things necessary
for the proper administration of justice.
Trial: Courts. A trial court has broad discretion to
make discovery and evidentiary rulings conducive to the
conduct of a fair and orderly trial.
for further review from the Court of Appeals. Inbody,
Riedmann, and Bishop, Judges, on appeal thereto from [297
Neb. 869] the District Court for Douglas County, Thomas A.
Otepka, Judge. Judgment of Court of Appeals reversed, and
cause remanded with directions.
Herbert J. Friedman, of Friedman Law Offices, P.C., L.L.O.,
and Paul Gaiter, of Butler, Gaiter & O'Brien, for
C. Laughlin and Jacqueline M. DeLuca, of Fraser Stryker,
P.C., L.L.O., for appellees.
S. Trent-Vilim, of Lamson, Dugan & Murray, L.L.P, for
amicus curiae Nebraska Defense Counsel Association.
Heavican, C.J., Wright, Miller-Lerman, Cassel, Stacy, Kelch,
and Funke, JJ.
order to enforce progression orders in an automobile
negligence case, the district court excluded untimely
disclosed expert opinions regarding medical bills. Relying
upon our decision regarding a discovery sanction,
divided panel of the Nebraska Court of Appeals decided that
the district court had abused its discretion. We granted
further review and now reverse.
district court excluded untimely disclosed expert opinion
testimony which was necessary to lay the foundation for past
medical bills presented as damages. The chronology of the
case is particularly important, as it drove the district
Neb. 870] 1. Cause of Action and Pleadings
December 2008, Mark A. Putnam's motor vehicle collided
with the motor vehicle driven by Keri G. Scherbring but owned
by her parents, Dale J. Scherbring and Janet K. Scherbring.
April 2012, approximately 40 months after his cause of action
arose, Putnam filed suit against the Scherbrings alleging
that he sustained injuries and damages as a result of
Keri's negligent driving. He sought general and special
damages, including resulting medical expenses incurred since
Scherbrings admitted that Keri's negligence proximately
caused the accident but denied that it proximately caused
injury to Putnam. Thus, Putnam had to prove the extent of his
resulting damages and that such damages were proximately
caused by the accident.
2. Case Progression
(a) Dismissed for Lack of Prosecution
August 28, 2013, the district court sent notice to the
parties' counsel that unless further action was taken,
the case would be dismissed for lack of prosecution pursuant
to the Rules of Dist. Ct. of Fourth Jud. Dist. 4-10 (rev.
2010). The parties did not follow the procedure or take any
action to avoid dismissal.
October 1, 2013, the district court dismissed Putnam's
action for lack of prosecution. Upon Putnam's motion to
reinstate, the district court vacated the order of dismissal
and reinstated the case.
Initial Scheduling Order
October 16, 2013, the court entered the first scheduling
order in this case. The order adopted the parties'
stipulated proposed ...