Judgments: Jurisdiction: Appeal and Error.
When a jurisdictional issue does not involve a factual
dispute, determination of a jurisdictional issue is a matter
of law which requires an appellate court to reach a
conclusion independent from the trial court's; however,
when a determination rests on factual findings, a trial
court's decision on the issue will be upheld unless the
factual findings concerning jurisdiction are clearly
Actions: Parties: Standing. Whether a party
who commences an action has standing and is therefore the
real party in interest presents a jurisdictional issue.
Jurisdiction: Standing. Because the
requirement of standing is fundamental to a court's
exercise of subject matter jurisdiction, either a litigant or
a court can raise the question of standing at any time.
Standing. The stage of the litigation in
which a party claims that its opponent lacks standing affects
how a court should dispose of the claim.
Standing: Pleadings: Words and Phrases. If a
motion challenging standing is made at the pleadings stage,
it is considered a "facial challenge" and a court
will review the pleadings to determine whether there are
sufficient allegations to establish the plaintiff's
Standing: Jurisdiction: Pleadings: Evidence: Proof:
Words and Phrases. If a motion challenging standing,
and thus the court's subject matter jurisdiction, is
raised after the pleadings stage and the court holds an
evidentiary hearing and reviews evidence outside the
pleadings, it is considered a "factual challenge"
and the party opposing the challenge must offer evidence to
support its burden of establishing subject matter
Jurisdiction: Pleadings: Appeal and Error.
Where the trial court's decision on a question of subject
matter jurisdiction is based on a factual [304 Neb. 489]
challenge, the court's factual findings are reviewed
under the clearly erroneous standard. But aside from any
factual findings, the trial court's ruling on subject
matter jurisdiction is reviewed de novo, because it presents
a question of law.
Actions: Parties. Neb. Rev. Stat. §
25-301 (Reissue 2016) establishes an absolute requirement
that all actions be brought in the name of the real party in
interest, and the only allowable exceptions to this rule are
set forth in Neb. Rev. Stat. § 25-304 (Reissue 2016).
Construed together, Neb. Rev. Stat. § 25-304 (Reissue
2016) and Neb. Rev. Stat. § 25-302 (Reissue 2016) permit
an assignee of a chose in action to maintain an action
thereon in the assignee's own name when the assignment
being sued upon is in writing.
Jurisdiction. Whether a court has subject
matter jurisdiction is a threshold issue that should be
resolved prior to an examination of the merits.
Actions: Parties: Standing. Because Neb.
Rev. Stat. § 25-304 (Reissue 2016) allows assignees of
choses in action to "sue on any claim assigned in
writing," evidence of an oral assignment of a chose in
action is insufficient as a matter of law to confer standing
to sue on the assignee.
Jurisdiction: Appeal and Error. When a lower
court does not gain jurisdiction over the case before it, an
appellate court also lacks the jurisdiction to review the
merits of the claim.
from the District Court for Douglas County: James T. Gleason,
A. Lautenbaugh, of Law Offices of Scott Lautenbaugh, for
Michael J. O'Bradovich, PC, for appellee.
Heavican, C.J., Miller-Lerman, Cassel, Stacy, Funke, Papik,
and Freudenberg, JJ.
Hawley brought this civil action against John Skradski for
breach of contract, conversion, and tortious interference
with a business relationship or expectation. A jury trial was
held, and at the close of Hawley's case in chief, the
district court granted Skradski's motion for a directed
verdict. Hawley appeals. Because we find Hawley lacked
standing to bring the action in his own name, we vacate the
district court's judgment and dismiss the appeal.
Neb. 490] BACKGROUND
filed this lawsuit against Skradski in the district court for
Douglas County on October 28, 2015. Hawley is the only named
plaintiff. Hawley's complaint alleged he purchased a
heating and air conditioning (HVAC) business from an entity
affiliated with Skradski in 2008 and operated that HVAC
business on premises leased from Skradski. The complaint
alleged that in July 2011, Hawley ceased operating the HVAC
business and vacated the leased premises. It further alleged
that thereafter, Skradski "took possession of the
premises" and "[u]nbeknownst to [Hawley] and
without his authorization, [Skradski] began operating the
business he had sold to [Hawley]" using the same
premises. Hawley alleged that Skradski converted
"payments, work orders, business lists, contacts,
contracts and the like, and converted various other assets of
the business to his use" and that this "caused the
value of the business to decrease." Hawley sought to
recover damages in an unspecified amount, relying on theories
of breach of contract, conversion, and tortious interference
with a business relationship or expectation.
answer generally denied the allegations of the complaint and
specifically denied having sold the HVAC business to Hawley
individually. Instead, Skradski's answer alleged that in
2008, he sold the HVAC business to KNR Capital Corp. (KNR)
and leased the business premises to the same corporate
entity. In addition, Skradski's answer alleged that
Hawley's complaint ...