Jurisdiction; venue; procedure; appeal.
Jurisdiction, venue, procedure, and rights of appeal in all suits brought under the Political Subdivisions Tort Claims Act and sections 16-727, 16-728, 23-175, 39-809, and 79-610 shall be determined in the same manner as if the suits involved private individuals, except that such suits shall be heard and determined by the appropriate court without a jury.
Source:Laws 1969, c. 138, § 6, p. 629; R.S.1943, (1983), § 23-2406; Laws 1996, LB 900, § 1023.
In 1875, there was no right to a jury trial on any issue in a suit against the State or its political subdivisions because the common-law doctrine of sovereign immunity, and the related common-law doctrine of governmental immunity, operated to bar such suits at that time. Jacobson v. Shresta, 288 Neb. 615, 849 N.W.2d 515 (2014).
The Legislature has the right to decide the terms under which it will waive its sovereign and governmental immunity for tort actions against the State or its political subdivisions. Because a jury trial is not one of the terms of the State’s waiver of governmental immunity under the Political Subdivisions Tort Claims Act, a party is not entitled to a jury trial on its claim that a defendant is not a political subdivision employee. Jacobson v. Shresta, 288 Neb. 615, 849 N.W.2d 515 (2014).
Whether an employee of a political subdivision is acting within his scope of employment is not a question for the jury. Bohl v. Buffalo Cty., 251 Neb. 492, 557 N.W.2d 668 (1997).
An action under the Political Subdivisions Tort Claims Act is tried to the court without a jury. Findings of fact by the trial court will not be overturned unless clearly wrong. Hume v. Otoe County, 212 Neb. 616, 324 N.W.2d 810 (1982); Buttner v. Omaha P. P. Dist., 193 Neb. 515, 227 N.W.2d 862 (1975).
In a proceeding brought under the Political Subdivisions Tort Claims Act, the findings of fact by the trial court will not be overturned unless clearly wrong. Lee v. City of Omaha, 209 Neb. 345, 307 N.W.2d 800 (1981); Lindgren v. City of Gering, 206 Neb. 360, 292 N.W.2d 921 (1980); Daniels v. Andersen, 195 Neb. 95, 237 N.W.2d 397 (1975); Craig v. Gage County, 190 Neb. 320, 208 N.W.2d 82 (1973).