The Supreme Court of Nebraska, in a four-three decision in the Stadler v. Curtis Gas, Inc. case, abolished the immunity from tort liability that the University of Nebraska Board of Regents had previously enjoyed. The Board of Regents is one of the state agencies in Nebraska for which immunity from tort liability had not been specifically removed by legislative enactment. State agencies and subdivisions, prior to Stadler, were generally held liable when they breached a contract. Nebraska has joined a group of states which have judicially abrogated sovereign immunity, at least to some extent. In deciding whether immunity exists, one must look to the statute creating or regulating the agency in question. For example, some statutes specifically provide that liability shall be limited to a compulsorily purchased insurance policy, and that the state or agency is completely immune. In such a case, the Stadler decision has no applicability. However, if procedural immunity is waived by statute but the legislature has not removed the substantive immunity, then one should apply the governmental-proprietary test to determine whether the issue of liability may be decided.
George C. Rozmarin,
Governmental Tort Liability—An Interim Solution for Nebraska—Stadler v. Curtis Gas, Inc., 182 Neb. 6, 151 N.W.2d 915 (1967) (rehearing denied Sept. 22, 1967),
47 Neb. L. Rev. 762
Available at: http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/nlr/vol47/iss4/9