It is with great sadness that our firm announces the passing of our beloved partner, Doug Krenzer, on May 15, 2023.
Doug joined the firm in 2000, shortly after it was founded in 1999. He received his undergraduate degree at Colorado College in 1993 and his Juris Doctorate from the University of Nebraska College of Law in 1996. He gained great insight to the litigation practice by working in the litigation department of a national insurer after graduating from law school. He later applied that experience to great benefit in the firm’s litigation practice including the representation of insurance companies and their insureds in significant litigation involving property damage, bodily injury, coverage and all of forms of liability claims. His advice was relied upon by property and casualty companies across the United States. He tried numerous cases to verdict before judges and juries in State and Federal courts and participated in mediation in jurisdictions across the country.
Doug quickly became a great asset to the firm and was a consummate professional. He worked tirelessly on behalf of our clients and was an integral part of firm leadership. He practiced law as a zealous advocate with great compassion for the clients he served. He was well regarded by all who dealt with him: clients, Judges, mediators, other lawyers, and his colleagues in the firm. He was selfless in helping associates, legal assistants and partners alike and constantly studied the law and its latest developments to improve his representation of firm clients. Doug was known for his work ethic, scrupulous preparation, and creativity. One of his greatest attributes was his patience and civility, even in the face of adversarial conduct and stress. Above all, he cared for his clients and left no stones unturned to best represent their interests and ensure the best possible outcome.
Doug leaves a lasting impact, not only with the practice of law and our firm, but also with his community. Despite the long hours and rigors of litigation practice, he always found time for his family and for others. The proud father of four wonderful children, Doug also coached youth soccer and basketball, and taught Sunday School. He devoted time as a board member of Together Inc., an organization devoted to helping develop affordable housing, food security, and health and wellness for those in need in our community. He was elected to the Westside Community Schools Board of Education, upon which he served at the time of his death. He prized education and supported it throughout his lifetime.
Doug was recognized in our profession and most recently was invited to be a Fellow of the Nebraska Bar Foundation, and organization dedicated to serving the citizens of Nebraska and the legal profession for improvement in civics education, the administration of justice and the fulfillment of the American vision of equal justice for all. Fellows are selected by invitation only based on their dedication to improving the administration of justice, leadership in the legal profession, civic service, and integrity.
Even while struggling with his final illness, Doug continued to be devoted to his family, his clients and his colleagues. He fought nobly and with dignity, without complaint. To the end, he was concerned about how his treatment might advance the science to help others that followed.
Doug’s accomplishments in the court room and appellate courts are too numerous to mention. He has left an indelible mark on the profession, his clients, the community, and our firm. He will never be forgotten.
Our deepest sympathies are expressed to Doug’s wife, Dr. Kari Krenzer, his children Emma, Peter, Bethany and Audrey, as well as his parents Gail and Vern Krenzer, his brothers Jeff and Andrew, his mother and father-in-law, Linda and Bill Orr, and extended family and friends. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.
Our firm remains dedicated to representing clients in the manner Doug exemplified: zealously and ethically with the best interests of our clients always our foremost goal.
Locher Pavelka is pleased to announce that Douglas W. Krenzer is among the 2021 class of Fellows to the Nebraska State Bar Foundation. Selection to become a Fellow is a prestigious honor granted annually to 30 lawyers or less and is based on their integrity and character, distinction in the profession or the community, contributions to the profession or the community, and their contributions to the Nebraska State Bar Foundation. Founded in 1963, the Nebraska State Bar Foundation is dedicated to serving the citizens of Nebraska and the legal profession through the administration and funding of innovative and creative programs directed toward the improvement of the administration of justice and the fulfillment of the American vision of equal justice for all. For additional information regarding the Nebraska State Bar Foundation, please visit the organization’s website at www.nebarfnd.org.
Locher Pavelka is pleased to announce that Cristina Fackler has joined the firm as an associate attorney. Ms. Fackler is a law graduate of Universitat zu Koln (Rechtsassessor 2013) and Creighton University School of Law (Individualized Course of Study, 2017). She is licensed to practice law in Germany (inactive) and the State of Iowa, and is a member of the Iowa State Bar Association and the Omaha Bar Association. Ms. Fackler's practice will focus primarily on civil litigation.
Locher Pavelka is pleased to announce that Joel Feistner has become a partner with the firm effective April 1, 2017. Mr. Feistner is a 1994 graduate of Colorado College, a 1998 graduate of the University of Nebraska College of Law and has been with the firm since its formation in 1999.
Locher Pavelka is pleased to announce that Brian Israel has joined the firm. Mr. Israel is a 2012 graduate of Creighton University where he received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology and is a 2016 graduate of the University of Notre Dame Law School. During law school, Mr. Israel served as the President of the Public Interest Law Forum, Secretary of the Student Bar Association, was an active participant of Notre Dame’s Community Development Clinic and acted as an extern Public Defender. Mr. Israel's practice will focus primarily on civil trial work and appeals.
Locher Pavelka is pleased to announce that Spencer Werth has joined the firm. Mr. Werth is a 2011 graduate of Creighton University where he received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science and is a 2014 graduate of Creighton University School of Law. After graduating law school, Mr. Werth worked as a law clerk for the Honorable Charles B. Kornmann in the United States District Court, North Division of South Dakota. Mr. Werth's practice will focus primarily on civil trial work and appeals.
Matthew D. Hammes has been elected as a new member of the American Board of Trial Advocates. Founded in 1958, the American Board of Trial Advocates is a national association of experienced trial lawyers and judges dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the civil jury trial right provided by the Seventh Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Membership is by invitation only and includes only trial lawyers with significant trial experience and who exhibit the virtues of civility, integrity and professionalism. For additional information regarding the American Board of Trial Advocates, please visit the organization's web site at www.abota.org.
Locher Pavelka is pleased to announce that Ken Smith has joined the firm. Mr. Smith is a 2010 graduate of Creighton University where he received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science and is a 2014 graduate of the University of Nebraska College of Law. Before graduating law school, Mr. Smith worked as a law clerk for the Sarpy County Attorney's office. Mr. Smith's practice will focus primarily on civil trial work and appeals.
Locher Pavelka is pleased to announce that Amy Locher has joined the firm. Ms. Locher is a 2007 graduate of Creighton University where she received her Bachelor of Science in biology and is a 2011 graduate of the University of Iowa College of Law. She has practiced law in Omaha since 2011 and belongs to the American Bar Association, the Nebraska Bar Association, the Iowa Bar Association and the Omaha Bar Association. Ms. Locher’s practice will focus primarily on civil trial work and appeals.
Congratulations to Thomas M. Locher! Mr. Locher was presented with the 2014 Defense Attorney of the Year award at the Nebraska Defense Counsel Association's annual meeting June 6, 2014.
On October 26, 2013, Thomas M. Locher, Senior Managing Member and Chair of the Litigation Department for Locher Pavelka Dostal Braddy & Hammes, LLC, was inducted as a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers in San Francisco, CA.
Founded in 1950, the College is composed of the best of the trial bar from the United States and Canada. Fellowship in the College is extended by invitation only, after careful investigation, to those experienced trial lawyers who have mastered the art of advocacy and whose professional careers have been marked by the highest standards of ethical conduct, professionalism, civility and collegiality.
Membership in the College cannot exceed one percent of the total lawyer population of any state or province. There are currently approximately 5,789 members in the United States and Canada, including active Fellows, Emeritus Fellows, Judicial Fellows (those who ascended to the bench after their induction) and Honorary Fellows. The College strives to improve and elevate the standards of trial practice, the administration of justice and the ethics of the trial profession. Qualified lawyers are called to Fellowship in the College from all branches of trial practice. The College is the only professional organization in which all Justices of the United States Supreme Court and Canada Supreme Court have accepted honorary membership. Every Justice who has accepted honorary membership has traveled to address the College and accept the Honorary Fellowship. Past presidents of the College have included Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell and former U.S. Attorney Griffin Bell.
United States Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. issued the following statement as a forward to the Codes of Trial Conduct and Pretrial Conduct formulated by the College:
“I commend the American College of Trial Lawyers for its leadership in defining and refining the standards of professionalism that are vital to our system of justice.”
Locher Pavelka Dostal Braddy & Hammes, LLC has been recognized as one of the 2013 U.S. Top Ranked Law Firms by LexisNexis® Martindale-Hubbell® and Fortune magazine. Compiled by LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell, the list (available here) includes 2,421 firms located across the nation. To be eligible as a 2013 U.S. Top Ranked Law Firm, the firm must have a minimum of 10 attorneys and at least 33% of their attorneys must have achieved an AV Preeminent® rating.
AV Preeminent® is the highest possible Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Rating designation. It indicates that the individual attorney is an established practicing lawyer whose local peers have observed him or her to be "Very High to Preeminent" in legal ability and to have "Very High" ethical standards.
More than 254,000 U.S. law firms were considered in the selection process, but less than one-half of one percent of firms across the nation made the final cut.
In addition to its publication in the December 2012 Special 2013 Investor’s Guide issue of Fortune magazine, the Top Ranked Law Firms list also appeared in the January 2013 editions of ALM’s award winning publications Corporate Counsel and The American Lawyer. It also appears on martindale.com® and CNNMoney.com.
On December 7, 2012, the Nebraska Supreme Court affirmed a Judgment obtained by the Locher Pavelka firm on behalf of its client Egenera, Inc. against InterCall, Inc., arising out of minimum conference fees which InterCall charged in connection with audio conferencing services provided to Egenera, a Massachusetts corporation. Evidence at trial reflected that these minimum conference fees were not disclosed during contract negotiations and that Egenera had never agreed to pay such charges. Egenera sued InterCall under theories of fraudulent misrepresentation and material misrepresentation and successfully obtained a Judgment against InterCall following a jury trial. The Supreme Court addressed the “theory of recovery” vs. “cause of action” distinction and further held that material misrepresentation is indeed a viable theory of recovery in Nebraska. The case is InterCall, Inc. v. Egenera, Inc., 284 Neb. 801 (2012). To see the Court's complete opinion, click here.
In July of 2012, and after years of litigation, the Nebraska Supreme Court upheld a judgment for the Connelly family against the City of Omaha in the amount of $2,000,000.00. The case arose out of an unfortunate accident occurring at Memorial Park in Omaha, a popular destination for winter activities, including sledding. Rachel and Chelsea Connelly were injured when their saucer sled struck a small crab apple tree that had been planted near a slope used by park patrons for sledding.
Discovery conducted during the case revealed that the City had been urged by neighbors during public meetings discussing the park rehabilitation not to put new plantings on the slope. The City Planning Department agreed to make that a goal of the project so as to not affect the sledding opportunities. The park planner delegated the task of implementing the design for the rehabilitation indicated that she was unaware of where the sledding activity occurred and never visited the park to observe it. A former City Forester, familiar with the activity, indicated he would help her identify the area. Notwithstanding, and after planting six new crabapple trees on the slope, the park planner was warned by the City Forester that the trees should be moved because they encroached on the sledding slope. The planner decided not to follow the City Forester’s advice and injuries to children occurred, including a similar incident about two weeks prior to that of the Connellys. The prior incident was discovered by the firm after subpoenaing City Fire and Rescue records.
The Trial Court ultimately found that the City was willfully negligent in failing to warn or guard against a known hazard. The case was conducted in two trials and underwent two separate appeals. At no time did the City admit fault. The trial court found damages had been incurred by the Connelly family in an amount in excess of $11,000,000.00, but the judgments were reduced by application of the Political Subdivisions Tort Claim Act Cap on Damages imposed by the Nebraska Unicameral. The Connelly family unsuccessfully contested the constitutionality of the cap.
The trial portions of the case were conducted by Tom Locher and Tim Morrison. Ralph Froehlich and Joseph Kehm assisted in the research and writing of multiple briefs filed in the higher courts.
To see the Court's complete opinion, click here.
Locher Pavelka Dostal Braddy & Hammes, LLC is pleased to announce that Thomas M. Locher has recently been selected as a Great Plains Super Lawyer in the Practice Areas of Insurance Coverage and Civil Litigation Defense and Personal Injury Plaintiff representation. Great Plains Super Lawyers recognizes attorneys who have distinguished themselves in their legal practice and is based upon a rigorous selection process and third party validation of professional accomplishments. Selection is limited to no more than five percent of practicing attorneys in the State of Nebraska.
Locher Pavelka Dostal Braddy & Hammes, LLC is pleased to announce that Thomas Locher has been invited to join the prestigious Claims and Litigation Management Alliance. The CLM is a nonpartisan alliance comprised of thousands of insurance companies, corporations, Corporate Counsel, Litigation and Risk Managers, claims professionals and attorneys. Through education and collaboration the organization’s goals are to create a common interest in the representation by firms of companies, and to promote and further the highest standards of litigation management in pursuit of client defense. Selected attorneys and law firms are extended membership by invitation only based on nominations from CLM Fellows.
On June 29, 2012, the Iowa Supreme Court held a two-year limitations period for underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage contained in an insurance policy was enforceable, despite Iowa’s ten-year statute of limitations for actions on written contracts. The Plaintiff was involved in an automobile accident on June 14, 2004. As of August 1, 2004, she had incurred medical expenses of $5,111, and her physician’s opinion was that she sustained a soft-tissue neck injury that would gradually repair itself and cause no permanent restrictions. The tortfeasor had $100,000 in liability coverage with State Farm. Unable to reach a settlement, she filed suit against the tortfeasor on October 27, 2005. Plaintiff had also resumed medical treatment due to ongoing neck and back pain. In February 2007, surgery was proposed for her condition, which she underwent on April 7. In late July 2008, State Farm offered its policy limit to settle the claim. She then notified her UIM carrier of the claim, and offered to settle it for the $50,000 UIM limit. On August 13, the claim was denied as untimely based the policy’s two-year limitation. The Court held the two-year limitations period was enforceable, even if the insured did not reasonably ascertain the full extent of her injuries within that period.
The case is Robinson v. Allied Property & Casualty Insurance Company. Please click here to view the Court's opinion.
In Westin Hills West Three Townhome Owners Association v. Federal Nat'l Mortgage Assoc., 283 Neb. 960 (June 1, 2012), Donald J. Pavelka, Jr. successfully defends a challenge to the priority of client's deed of trust. In affirming the Douglas County District Court's entry of summary judgment in favor of FNMA, the Nebraska Supreme Court held that the deed of trust had priority over the Association's assessment lien.
Ralph Froehlich and Nick Johnson will be providing user tips in legal document drafting at the upcoming continuing education seminar titled "Unleashing the Power of Microsoft Office and Adobe for Lawyers". This seminar is being put on by the National Business Institute and is scheduled for May 16, 2012 in Omaha.
Thomas M. Locher has been elected as a new member of the American Board of Trial Advocates. Founded in 1958, the American Board of Trial Advocates is a national association of experienced trial lawyers and judges dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the civil jury trial right provided by the Seventh Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Membership is by invitation only and includes only trial lawyers with significant trial experience and who exhibit the virtues of civility, integrity and professionalism. For additional information regarding the American Board of Trial Advocates, please visit the organization's web site at www.abota.org.
Patrick V. Ortman recently received an AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rating from Martindale-Hubbell. Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings reflect a combination of achieving a Very High General Ethical Standards rating and a Legal Ability numerical rating. An AV® certification mark is a significant rating accomplishment - a testament to the fact that a lawyer's peers rank him or her at the highest level of professional excellence.
Thomas M. Braddy recently received an AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rating from Martindale-Hubbell. Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings reflect a combination of achieving a Very High General Ethical Standards rating and a Legal Ability numerical rating. An AV® certification mark is a significant rating accomplishment - a testament to the fact that a lawyer's peers rank him or her at the highest level of professional excellence.
On September 13, 2011, the Judicial Conference of the United States approved increases to certain fees associated with bankruptcy courts due to inflation. As a result, the cost for filing a bankruptcy, an adversary proceeding, a motion for relief from the automatic stay and other miscellaneous fees charged by the bankruptcy court will increase effective November 1, 2011. In addition, the overall filing fee for each bankruptcy chapter will increase by $7 due to the administrative fee component of the petition filing fee increasing from $39 to $46. The following is a list of the new fees associated with bankruptcy cases:
|$11.00 (formerly $9.00)|
|$21.00 (formerly $18.00)|
|$30.00 (formerly $26.00)|
Amended Bankruptcy Schedules
|$30.00 (formerly $26.00)|
|$30.00 (formerly $26.00)|
Adversary Proceeding Fee
|$293.00 (formerly $250.00)|
|$46.00 (formerly $39.00)|
Title 11 Administrative Fee
|$46.00 (formerly $39.00)|
Record Retrieval Fee
|$53.00 (formerly $45.00)|
Returned Check Fee
|$53.00 (formerly $45.00)|
Notice of Appeal Fee
|$293.00 (formerly $250.00)|
|$176.00 (formerly $150.00)|
In addition to bankuptcy fee increases, the Judicial Conference also approved increases in certain fees for courts of appeals, district courts, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, and the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation. For more information regarding the fee increases, please click here for the Miscellaneous Fee Schedules.
Matthew D. Hammes recently received an AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rating from Martindale-Hubbell. Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings reflect a combination of achieving a Very High General Ethical Standards rating and a Legal Ability numerical rating. An AV® certification mark is a significant rating accomplishment - a testament to the fact that a lawyer's peers rank him or her at the highest level of professional excellence.
Don Pavelka will be presenting on the topic of curing title defects during foreclosure at the upcoming continuing education seminar titled "Title Workshop: From Examination to Commitment". This seminar is being put on by the National Business Institute and is scheduled for December 5, 2011 in Omaha.