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Armstrong v County of Dixon, No. S10-235 (Oct. 28, 2011)

Armstrong v County of Dixon, No. S10-235 (Oct. 28, 2011)

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10/31/2011

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R
ichaRd
L. a
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.
___ N.W.2d ___Fild Octor 28, 2011. No. S-10-235.1.
Judgments: Statutes: Appeal and Error.
Statutor intrprtation is a attr of law in connction with which an appllat court has an oliation to rach anindpndnt, corrct conclusion irrspctiv of th dtrination ad  thtrial court.2.
Attorney Fees: Appeal and Error.
On appal, a trial court’s dcision awardinor dnin attorn fs will  uphld asnt an aus of discrtion.3.
Courts: Eminent Domain: Attorney Fees: Appeal and Error.
Undr N. Rv.Stat. § 76-726(2) (Rissu 2009), th court ncopassd in th prssion “thcourt havin jurisdiction of a procdin institutd  a condn undr [N.Rv. Stat. §] 76-705 [(Rissu 2009)]” includs th district court to which anappal is tan undr N. Rv. Stat. § 76-715 (Rissu 2009). Th provisionin § 76-726(2) allowin an award of attorn fs whn “(a) th court rndrs a judnt in favor of th condn or () a sttlnt is ffctd” authorizs thdistrict court as wll as th count court to award attorn fs upon th happn-in of ithr (a) or ().4.
Eminent Domain: Attorney Fees: Words and Phrases.
Whil N. Rv. Stat.§ 76-720 (Rissu 2009), providin for th award of attorn fs upon th hap-pnin of crtain vnts, is couchd in trs of “a,” in th asnc of unusualand copllin rasons, th court “shall” ntr such an award.5.
Eminent Domain: Attorney Fees: Appeal and Error.
Th rsults of an wor don in connction with a condnation procdin which ar rlvant and at-rial and proprl introducd in vidnc on appal in th district court, whnvrprpard, a  considrd  th lattr court in awardin rasonal attornfs. Th district court is not rquird to allow a f for such srvics. On thothr hand, th court should not  prcludd fro tain such factors intoaccount in dtrinin a rasonal f.6.
Eminent Domain: Attorney Fees.
In awardin attorn fs undr N. Rv.Stat. § 76-720 (Rissu 2009), th propr factors to  considrd  th court arth iportanc of and th rsult of th cas, th difficultis throf, th dr of profssional sill donstratd, th dilinc and ailit rquird and rcisd,th princ and profssional trainin of th attorn, th difficult of th qus-tions of fact and law that ar raisd, and th ti and laor ncssaril rquirdin th prforanc of thos dutis.
Ptition for furthr rviw fro th Court of Appals,
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Chif Jud, and
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,Jud. Judnt of Court of Appals affird in part and inpart rvrsd, and caus randd with dirctions.
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ARmSTRONg
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. COUNTy OF DIxON 623Cit as 282 N. 623
 
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624 282 NebRASkA RePORTS
Jason S. Dol and Trac L. buttnr, of Stratton, DLa &Dol, P.C., L.L.O., for appllants.matthw V. Rusch and Willia F. Austin, of ericson &Sdrstro, P.C., for appll.
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NATURe OF CASeIn this invrs condnation procdin, th district courtfor Dion Count ntrd judnt on a jur vrdict infavor of Richard L. Arstron and Cnthia A. Arstronand aainst th Count of Dion for $4,049 and awarddth Arstrons attorn fs in th aount of $5,600. ThArstrons appald th judnt to th Nrasa Courtof Appals, which affird th judnt. Th Arstronsptitiond for furthr rviw liitd to th issu of attornfs. W rantd th Arstrons’ ptition for furthr rviw.bcaus th Court of Appals isconstrud th controllinstatuts, w rvrs that portion of th Court of Appals’ dci-sion which affird th award of attorn fs, and w randth caus to th Court of Appals with dirctions to rvrsth award of attorn fs in th district court and rand thcaus to th district court with dirctions to award attorn fsin accordanc with this opinion.STATemeNT OF FACTSIn th sur of 2004, th Count of Dion (th Count)an a road aintnanc projct on a count road that ranadjacnt to th Arstrons’ proprt. Th Arstrons’ tnantav th Count prission to do wor on th proprt, includ-in radin and rovin fncs and trs. Aftr uch of thwor had n copltd, Richard Arstron instructd thtnant to ordr th Count off th proprt.Th Arstrons initiall fild an action aainst th Count inth district court on Sptr 1, 2006. In th coplaint, thalld clais of nlinc, constitutional invrs condna-tion, and a violation of th Opn mtins Act. Th souht
 
daas in css of $65,000. Aftr so discovr had ncopltd, in Octor 2007, th Count ad a sttlntoffr of $5,000. Th Arstrons dclind th offr and didnot a a countroffr. Th da for trial was schduld toconc in Jul 2008, th Arstrons disissd th districtcourt action, and th nt w, th fild a nw action statina clai for statutor invrs condnation in th count courtfor Dion Count. Th procdin fild in th count courtivs ris to th currnt appal.In th count court, th Arstrons rouht an invrs con-dnation procdin undr N. Rv. Stat. § 76-705 (Rissu2009). In accordanc with procdurs st forth in th inntdoain statuts, N. Rv. Stat. §§ 76-701 throuh 76-726(Rissu 2009), th count court appointd a oard of apprais-rs. Th appraisrs found that th Arstrons should  co-pnsatd $800 for th tain and daas. Th Arstronsfild a otion for attorn fs in th count court, rlinon § 76-726(2). Th count court dtrind that it lacdauthorit to award th rqustd attorn fs, thus ffctivldnin th otion. Th count court plaind its rulin,statin that undr th controllin statuts, th count courtcould award rasonal attorn fs onl “in spcific liitdcircustancs” which “[wr] not currntl prsnt . . . i..thr has n no sttlnt ffctd; thr has n no waivrof appal  all intrstd partis, and th award assssd th appraisrs dos not ris to th lvl of a ‘court rndr[d] judnt’.”Sction 76-715 provids that “[]ithr condnr or con-dn a appal fro th assssnt of daas  thappraisrs to th district court . . . .” Th Arstrons appaldth appraisrs’ award to th district court undr § 76-715.In th district court, th souht daas in th aount of $13,434 plus rasonal attorn fs. Prior to trial in th dis-trict court, th partis stipulatd that discovr copltd inconnction with th prior disissd district court action wasrlvant to th currnt district court procdin and that thr-for, th products of such discovr, includin intrroatoris,rqusts for adissions, rqusts for production of docunts,and dpositions, could  usd in th currnt procdin. Aftr
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ARmSTRONg
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. COUNTy OF DIxON 625Cit as 282 N. 623

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