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Brandon v. County of Richardson

Nebraska Supreme Court
624 N.W.2d 604 (2001)


Facts

JoAnn Brandon (plaintiff) filed suit against the County of Richardson (defendant) and Sheriff Charles Laux (defendant) for negligence, wrongful death, and intentional infliction of emotional distress arising out of events leading up to, and including, the murder of her daughter, Teena. Teena had developed a gender identity disorder and, while identifying herself as a male, began dating a woman in a nearby town. Subsequently, John Lotter and Thomas Nissen violently beat and raped Teena. When Teena reported the sexual assault to Sheriff Laux, she was questioned about the incident in an extremely graphic nature by Laux. Evidence also showed that Laux was aware of Lotter and Nissen’s criminal past and the fact that the two had made specific threats on Teena’s life following the rape. Subsequently, Teena and two others were found murdered in Richardson County. Lotter and Nissen were convicted of the murders. The trial court, sitting without a jury, found the County negligent and awarded economic damages in the amount of $6,223.20 and non-economic damages of $80,000. However, the trial court reduced the award on the negligence claim by 85 percent for the intentional torts of Lotter and Nissen and by 1 percent for the negligence of Teena and denied recovery for intentional infliction of emotional distress. JoAnn Brandon appealed and the County cross-appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Hendry, C.J.)

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  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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