Nebraska Supreme Court hears ‘landmark’ case of evicted tenant
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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