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Nebraska Supreme Court hears ‘landmark’ case of evicted tenant

By: - January 11, 2023 6:45 pm
Nebraska Supreme Court

The Nebraska Supreme Court is housed at the Nebraska State Capitol Building in Lincoln. (Rebecca S. Gratz for the Nebraska Examiner)

LINCOLN — The Nebraska Supreme Court began hearing arguments Wednesday on a case looking at  whether Nebraskans being evicted from their homes have a constitutional right to a jury trial.

Legal Aid of Nebraska and Nebraska Appleseed consider it a “landmark case.” They are jointly representing defendant Teresa Holcomb, the tenant, against NP Dodge Management. 

NP Dodge has asserted that Holcomb violated a clause about crime-free housing by threatening to attack two other residents in a common area.

The Legal Aid and Appleseed team have argued that Holcomb deserves a jury trial to determine whether her “words of frustration” violated the clause.

The appeal to the Supreme Court followed a decision by a Douglas County District judge who upheld a county court’s ruling allowing NP Dodge to evict Holcomb from a South Omaha apartment complex.

Kasey Ogle, an Appleseed lawyer, said that eviction proceedings are “extremely fast” and that a jury trial would offer more opportunity for tenants to present a defense.

Caitlin Cedfiedt of Legal Aid hopes the spotlight will remain on the eviction process.

“There was a lot of talk about the eviction process when the pandemic began, but this has been — and will continue to be — an issue throughout the state regardless of the pandemic,” she said.

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Cindy Gonzalez
Cindy Gonzalez

Senior Reporter Cindy Gonzalez, an Omaha native, has more than 35 years of experience, largely at the Omaha World-Herald. Her coverage areas have included business and real estate development; regional reporting; immigration, demographics and diverse communities; and City Hall and local politics. She has won awards from organizations including Great Plains Journalism, the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing (SABEW) and the Associated Press. Cindy has been recognized by various nonprofits for community contributions and diversity efforts. She chairs the board that oversees the local university’s student newspaper.

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