In Nebraska, physicians, lawyers, accountants, architects, engineers, medical technicians, and certain investment advisors render "professional" services, but real estate brokers do not—that is, for purposes of Nebraska's professional negligence statute of limitations, section 25-222 of the Revised Statutes of Nebraska ("25-222"). As evidenced by this summary of Nebraska law, the Nebraska Supreme Court has repeatedly used a definitional, classificatory approach in determining to whom the statute's protection may be extended. That is, the court has focused on who ranks as a "professional" before allowing certain parties to use 25-222 as a defense. To determine which occupations are "professions," the court has long adhered to one definition of "professional," which was recently modified in Tylle v. Zoucha, a case holding that real estate brokers were not professionals for purposes of 25-222. The court's continued attempt to apply a definition that will necessarily change and grow as our society continues to expand its perception of "professionals" will only provoke constant litigation, challenging the modern meaning of the definition. Focusing on the line of cases in which the court has utilized this definitional approach to 25-222, this Note analyzes the development of the statute and the logic behind the court's classificatory interpretation of the statute. This Note concludes that by enacting 25-222, the Nebraska Legislature did not intend to separate particular professions from others for statute of limitations purposes. Instead, the intention was to separate professional negligence claims, based on the breach of a professional standard of care, from ordinary negligence claims, based on the breach of the reasonable person standard of care. This conclusion is supported by an examination of the statutory language selected for 25-222, the principles of professional negligence, and the legislative history leading to the passage of the statute.
Janine E. Rempe,
Defining "Professionals" within 25-222: An Approach Intended by Nebraska's Legislature?,
68 Neb. L. Rev.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/nlr/vol68/iss3/9