Zook v. Zook

Nebraska Supreme Court Online Library www.nebraska.gov/apps-courts-epub/ 08/05/2022 09:06 AM CDT - 128 - Nebraska Supreme Court Advance Sheets 312 Nebraska Reports ZOOK V. ZOOK Cite as 312 Neb. 128 Michael R. Zook and Teresa L. Chramosta, Copersonal Representatives of the Estate of Robert L. Zook, deceased, et al., appellees and cross-appellees, v. Jerry L. Zook, appellee and cross-appellant, and John B. Marshall, appellant. ___ N.W.2d ___ Filed August 5, 2022. No. S-21-176. 1. Limitations of Actions: Appeal and Error. The point at which a statute of limitations begins to run must be determined from the facts of each case, and the decision of the trial court on the issue of the statute of limitations normally will not be set aside by an appellate court unless clearly wrong. 2. ____: ____. The question of which statute of limitations applies is a question of law that an appellate court must decide independently of the conclusion reached by the trial court. 3. Contracts: Restitution: Unjust Enrichment. A claim for unjust enrich- ment is a quasi-contract claim for restitution. 4. Contracts: Restitution. Any quasi-contract claim for restitution is an action at law. 5. Judgments: Appeal and Error. In reviewing questions of law, an appellate court is obligated to reach a conclusion independent of the determinations reached by the lower courts. 6. Unjust Enrichment: Proof. To recover on a claim for unjust enrich- ment, the plaintiff must show that (1) the defendant received money, (2) the defendant retained possession of the money, and (3) the defendant in justice and fairness ought to pay the money to the plaintiff. The plain- tiff must also allege facts that the law of restitution would recognize as unjust enrichment. 7. Unjust Enrichment: Words and Phrases. Unjust enrichment is a flexible concept. But it is a bedrock principle of restitution that unjust enrichment means a transfer of a benefit without adequate legal ground. - 129 - Nebraska Supreme Court Advance Sheets 312 Nebraska Reports ZOOK V. ZOOK Cite as 312 Neb. 128 8. Unjust Enrichment. Unjust enrichment results from a transaction that the law treats as ineffective to work a conclusive alteration in owner- ship rights. 9. Unjust Enrichment: Contracts: Restitution: Liability. A third party is not liable in quasi-contract, unjust enrichment, or restitution merely because he or she has benefited from a contract between two others. There must be some misleading act, request for services or the like, to support such an action. 10. Unjust Enrichment: Contracts. One who is free from fault cannot be held to be unjustly enriched merely because one has chosen to exercise a legal or contractual right. Appeal from the District Court for Dawson County: James E. Doyle IV, Judge. Dismissed in part, vacated in part, and in part reversed and remanded with directions. John D. Icenogle, of Bruner, Frank, Schumacher & Husak, L.L.C., for appellant. Jonathan M. Brown, of Walentine O’Toole, L.L.P., for appel- lees and cross-appellees. Claude E. Berreckman, Jr., and Claire K. Bazata, of Berreckman & Bazata, P.C., L.L.O., for appellee …

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