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McEwen v. Nebraska State College System

Court of Appeals of Nebraska

December 17, 2019

Dr. Robert McEwen, appellant,
v.
Nebraska State College System, appellee.

         1. Judgments: Appeal and Error. An appellate court independently reviews questions of law decided by a lower court.

         2. Contracts. The interpretation of a contract and whether the contract is ambiguous are questions of law.

         3.___. In interpreting a contract, a court must first determine, as a matter of law, whether the contract is ambiguous.

         4. Contracts: Words and Phrases. A contract is ambiguous when a word, phrase, or provision in the contract has, or is susceptible of, at least two reasonable but conflicting interpretations or meanings.

         5. Contracts. When the terms of a contract are clear, a court may not resort to rules of construction, and the terms are to be accorded their plain and ordinary meaning as an ordinary or reasonable person would understand them.

         6.___. The fact that the parties have suggested opposing meanings of a disputed instrument does not necessarily compel the conclusion that the instrument is ambiguous.

         7.___. A contract must receive a reasonable construction, and a court must construe it as a whole and, if possible, give effect to every part of the contract.

         8.___. Whatever the construction of a particular clause of a contract, standing alone, may be, it must be read in connection with other clauses.

         9. Appeal and Error. An appellate court is not obligated to engage in an analysis that is not necessary to adjudicate the case and controversy before it.

          Appeal from the District Court for Dawes County: Derek C. Weimer, Judge. Affirmed.

         [27 Neb.App. 897] Howard P. Olsen, Jr., and Adam A. Hoesing, of Simmons Olsen Law Firm, PC, for appellant.

          George E. Martin III and Leigh Campbell Joyce, of Baird Holm, L.L.P., for appellee.

          Riedmann, Bishop, and Arterburn, Judges.

          ...


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