Nebraska Revised Statute 25-21,201

Chapter 25


Actions against state; jurisdiction; enumeration of claims.

The several district courts of the judicial districts of the state shall have jurisdiction to hear and determine (1) all claims or petitions for relief that may be presented to the Legislature and which may be by any law or by any rule or resolution of the Legislature referred to such courts for adjudication, (2) all setoffs, counterclaims, and claims for damages, liquidated or unliquidated, on the part of the state against any person making a claim against the state or against the person in whose favor such claim arose, (3) all cases in which the State of Nebraska has a lien or any other interest, apparent or real, upon or in any real estate in the state and in which any party may desire to have the lien or interest of the state fixed and determined or foreclosed and cut off, and permission is hereby given to any party to join the state as a party in any such actions or proceedings in such courts involving real estate in or upon which the state has, appears to have, or claims any interest or lien, and (4) all cases in which the State of Nebraska or the Board of Educational Lands and Funds of the State of Nebraska is the owner of or has or claims any interest in any bonds or other obligations of any drainage district, irrigation district, municipal corporation, other political or governmental subdivision of the State of Nebraska and in which any party may desire to have the ownership of or interest in such bonds or other obligations determined, the validity thereof adjudicated, or any rights and liabilities arising therefrom fixed and determined, and permission is hereby given to any party to join the State of Nebraska as a party in any such actions or proceedings in such courts involving the ownership or interest of the state or the Board of Educational Lands and Funds in such bonds or other obligations.


  • Laws 1877, § 1, p. 19;
  • R.S.1913, § 1177;
  • C.S.1922, § 1100;
  • C.S.1929, § 27-319;
  • Laws 1937, c. 61, § 1, p. 239;
  • Laws 1941, c. 49, § 1, p. 239;
  • C.S.Supp.,1941, § 27-319;
  • R.S.1943, § 24-319;
  • Laws 1967, c. 137, § 1, p. 423;
  • Laws 1988, LB 864, § 1;
  • R.S.Supp.,1988, § 24-319.

Cross References

  • Actions involving the state, attorney's fees and other expenses, see sections 25-1802 to 25-1807.
  • For limitation of actions, see section 25-218.
  • State Claims Board, see section 81-8,220.
  • State Contract Claims Act, see section 81-8,302.
  • State Miscellaneous Claims Act, see section 81-8,294.
  • State Tort Claims Act, see section 81-8,235.


  • 1. Permission to sue

  • 2. Jurisdiction

  • 3. Procedure

  • 4. Miscellaneous

  • 1. Permission to sue

  • This section covers all the claims and demands on which the state may be sued. Gentry v. State, 174 Neb. 515, 118 N.W.2d 643 (1962).

  • A special act of Legislature, waiving sovereignty of state and creating liability of state in favor of an individual, contravenes Article III, section 18, of the Constitution. Cox v. State, 134 Neb. 751, 279 N.W. 482 (1938).

  • Suit to foreclose mortgage involving realty to which state has legal title cannot be maintained without state's consent. Northwestern Mutual Life Ins. Co. v. Nordhues, 129 Neb. 379, 261 N.W. 687 (1935).

  • Legislative permission may be given to sue state for private property damaged for public use. Gledhill v. State, 123 Neb. 726, 243 N.W. 909 (1932).

  • Recovery cannot be had for damages caused by negligence of officer, agent or employee of state, without express provision therefor by law, even though suit is authorized by Legislature. Shear v. State, 117 Neb. 865, 223 N.W. 130 (1929).

  • Action growing out of contract originally authorized by legislative enactment and disallowed by auditor may be brought against state without permission of Legislature. Peterson v. State, 113 Neb. 546, 203 N.W. 1002 (1925).

  • State has waived its immunity only in cases expressly provided by statute. State ex rel. Davis v. Mortensen, 69 Neb. 376, 95 N.W. 831 (1903).

  • 2. Jurisdiction

  • Where statutes provide an exclusive remedy against state and a particular forum for a judicial trial, one branch of Legislature alone cannot extend jurisdiction to another forum. Scotts Bluff County v. State, 133 Neb. 508, 276 N.W. 185 (1937).

  • District court of Lancaster County is given jurisdiction to try appeals upon claims disallowed by Auditor of Public Accounts. Lyman-Richey Sand & Gravel Co. v. State, 123 Neb. 674, 243 N.W. 891 (1932), 83 A.L.R. 1301 (1932).

  • Action growing out of contract, after claim has been presented to and disallowed wholly or in part by Auditor of Public Accounts, must be brought in district court of Lancaster County, and resolution of only one branch of Legislature cannot vest any other court with jurisdiction. McNeel v. State, 120 Neb. 674, 234 N.W. 786 (1931).

  • District court has no original jurisdiction and appeal must be taken in statutory manner from order of Auditor of Public Accounts or Secretary of State in allowing or disallowing claim. Pickus v. State, 115 Neb. 869, 215 N.W. 129 (1927); State v. Lancaster County Bank, 8 Neb. 218 (1879); State v. Stout, 7 Neb. 89 (1878).

  • 3. Procedure

  • This section must be read together with sections 77-2407 and 77-2408 and Neb. Const., Art. VIII, section 9, in order to properly present a valid appeal to the district court from a denial of a contract claim against the state. VisionQuest, Inc. v. State, 222 Neb. 228, 383 N.W.2d 22 (1986).

  • Making an administrative agency a party defendant in an appeal under the provisions of § 60-420 or § 84-917(2) is not an action against the state within the meaning of this and following sections so as to require service of summons on the Governor and Attorney General. Leach v. Dept. of Motor Vehicles, 213 Neb. 103, 327 N.W.2d 615 (1982).

  • State was a necessary party to action to quiet title to land acquired for highway purposes. Rumbel v. Ress, 166 Neb. 839, 91 N.W.2d 36 (1958).

  • Board of Educational Lands and Funds was properly made party defendant under this section. County of Garden v. Schaaf, 145 Neb. 676, 17 N.W.2d 874 (1945).

  • State may be made a party defendant to suit to quiet title to real estate. Reavis v. State, 140 Neb. 442, 300 N.W. 344 (1941).

  • Where Legislature failed to provide method by which summons could be served on state in workman's compensation case, state was not subject to suit. Anstine v. State, 137 Neb. 148, 288 N.W. 525 (1939).

  • State's constitutional immunity from suit cannot be waived by voluntary general appearance by Attorney General. McShane v. Murray, 106 Neb. 512, 184 N.W. 147 (1921); O'Connor v. Slaker, 22 F.2d 147 (8th Cir. 1927).

  • Limitation does not run on claim against state until legislative leave has been given to sue. Commonwealth Power Co. v. State, 104 Neb. 439, 177 N.W. 745 (1920); Lancaster County v. State, 74 Neb. 211, 104 N.W. 187 (1905), affirmed on rehearing 74 Neb. 215, 107 N.W. 388 (1906).

  • Legislature may waive the running of the statute of limitations and it cannot be set up as a defense. Lancaster County v. State, 97 Neb. 95, 149 N.W. 331 (1914).

  • 4. Miscellaneous

  • State's immunity from suit without its consent is unaffected by declaratory judgments statute. Offutt Housing Co. v. County of Sarpy, 160 Neb. 320, 70 N.W.2d 382 (1955).

  • Statutes authorizing suits against the state are to be strictly construed. Frye v. Sibbitt, 145 Neb. 600, 17 N.W.2d 617 (1945).

  • In authorized suit on claim against the state, case should be determined upon equitable principles based upon justice and right. Commonwealth Power Co. v. State, 104 Neb. 439, 177 N.W. 745 (1920).

  • Mandamus does not lie to compel state to perform contracts. State ex rel. Davis v. Mortensen, 69 Neb. 376, 95 N.W. 831 (1903).