Justia Kentucky Supreme Court Opinion Summaries

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court convicting Defendant of first-degree sodomy and sentencing him to twenty years in prison, holding that there was no error in the proceedings below.On appeal, Defendant argued that the trial court erred in failing to remove two jurors for cause during voir dire and committed a reversible error by allowing the Commonwealth to make an improper assertion about him during closing arguments. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the trial court's denial of Defendant's motion to strike the jurors was not an abuse of discretion; and (2) the prosecutor's statements during closing arguments were not reversible error. View "Robinson v. Commonwealth" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law
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The Supreme Court vacated the decision of the court of appeals affirming the summary judgment and fees ordered by the trial court in favor of Defendants' right to direct payment of basic reparation benefits within an element of loss under Kentucky's Motor Vehicle Reparations Act, holding that this Court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over this appeal.Defendants were involved in a collision while in a vehicle insured by Erie Insurance Exchange. Erie filed a declaratory judgment action to determine whether it was required to pay bills within an element of loss in an order directed by secured persons. Defendants filed a counterclaim seeking attorney's fees and excess interest for the unreasonable delay of the payment of their bills caused by Erie. The trial court granted Defendants' motion for an attorney's fee and denied Erie's second summary judgment motion, but did not indicate in its order that it granted Defendants' motion for summary judgment. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court vacated the order below, holding that no final and appealable orders were before the Court, and therefore, this Court lacked jurisdiction over the appeal. View "Erie Insurance Exchange v. Johnson" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals declining to extend the holding in Livingood v. Transfreight, LLC, 467 S.W.3d 249 (Ky. 2015) to Ky. Rev. Stat. 342.730(1)(c)1, otherwise known as the three-multiplier, holding that this Court declines to extend Livingood to the three-multiplier.At issue was whether the holding in Livingood "that the legislature did not intend to reward an employee's wrongdoing with a double benefit" should be extended to preclude application of the three-multiplier when a claimant has been terminated for misconduct. Claimant in this case was allegedly fired for filing false information on a company report. The ALJ found that Claimant retained a permanent impairment due to a work injury and that this case justified application of the three-multiplier. The Workers' Compensation Board affirmed, determining that Livingood did not apply to the three-multiplier. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that nothing in the statue or the facts below requires extension of Livingood to section 342.730(1)(c)1. View "Tractor Supply v. Wells" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the opinion of the court of appeals that affirmed the decision of the Workers' Compensation Board (Board) and the Administrative Law Judge in this workers' compensation case, holding that a physician that is not licensed in Kentucky does not meet the definition of "physician" under Ky. Rev. Stat. 342.0011(32).Claimant sustained a work-related injury to his left knee and sought benefits. Dr. Craig Roberts conducted an independent medical examination and assessed a six percent whole person impairment rating, reasoning that an additional two percent rating for pain was appropriate. Claimant's employer, however, filed a report by a Dr. Christopher Brigham that believed an additional two percent impairment rating for pain was inappropriate. The ALJ found Dr. Brigham's opinion to be more credible and did not award Claimant an additional two percent impairment rating for pain. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Dr. Brigham was not a "physician" as defined by section 342.0011(32), and therefore, his report was inadmissible. View "Toler v. Oldham County Fiscal Court" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the determination of the circuit court that the security agreement between Harvey Haynes, the debtor, covered future advances made by Farmers Tobacco Warehouse (Farmers) so as to have priority over the security interest claimed by Versailles Farm Home and Garden, LLC (Versailles) in Haynes' 2013 tobacco crop, holding that there was no error.In 2014, Versailles brought this action against Haynes to collect on the balance due under the agreement. Versailles joined Farmers as a party to assert its claim against Farmers for conversion to the extent Farmers retained any proceeds in excess of the amount Haynes owed. Farmers admitted selling a portion of Haynes' 2013 tobacco crop and retaining the proceeds but denied doing so in violation of Versailles' security interest. The trial court granted Versailles' motion for summary judgment against Haynes and then granted Farmers' motion for summary judgment as to its cross-claim against Haynes asserting a first and superior lien in Haynes' 2013 tobacco crop. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the trial court did not err. View "Versailles Farm Home & Garden, LLC v. Haynes" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals affirming the order of the Workers Compensation Board reversing an Administrative Law Judge's (ALJ) application of the 2x multiplier in Ky. Rev. Stat. 342.730(1)(c)2, holding that there was no error.After suffering a work-related injury Claimant continued working his normal job for almost one year before he was laid off for unrelated reasons. The ALJ determined that, since Claimant earned no wage after the lay-off he qualified for the 2x multiplier, which doubles a claimant's benefits if the claimant returns to work after injury at the same or higher wages but subsequently experiences a cessation of that employment. The Board reversed as to the application of the 2x multiplier, determining that there was no "return" to work under section 342.730(1)(c)2. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the ALJ misapplied the law to the facts. View "Helton v. Rockhampton Energy, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court convicting Defendant of one count of second-degree rape, one count of third-degree rape, and two counts of incest, holding that there was no reversible error.On appeal, Defendant argued that his trial court should have been severed from his wife's trial, that his wife's counsel improperly made statements against his interest in closing arguments, that the jury instructions violated his right to a unanimous jury verdict, and that certain evidence at trial was improperly admitted. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Defendant was not entitled to relief on any of his allegations of error. View "Sexton v. Commonwealth" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law
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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court prohibiting a vote tabulation regarding a school board tax recall based upon alleged violations of Ky. Rev. Stat. 132.017 and Ky. Rev. Stat. Chapter 369, holding that there was no error.This case involved a tax increase adopted by the Jefferson County Board of Education (JCBE) in 2020. A recall committee was formed to challenge the excess portion of the tax. A recall petition was subsequently certified. JCBE filed suit, seeking review of the county clerk's certification pursuant to section 132.017(2)(i). The recall committee intervened and counterclaimed for failure to comply with Ky. Rev. Stat. 133.185 and the notice requirements of Ky. Rev. Stat. 160.470(7)(b). The circuit court dismissed the counterclaim and ordered no further action regarding the regular ballot votes for the tax recall. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the public's right to vote on a tax recall is rendered null by the inadequacy of the recall petition occasioned by the alterations and lack of required information. View "Friedmann v. Honorable Bobbie Holsclaw" on Justia Law

Posted in: Election Law, Tax Law
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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals that a real property contract entered into by Henry Gray and William, Mary and Frank Stewart in this case was unenforceable under the statute of frauds but held that this decision did not apply equally to William, Mary and Frank.Henry entered into a real estate contract with Frank, his brother William, and William's wife, Mary. Later, Henry filed a complaint against Frank, William and Mary alleging breach of contract and requesting specific performance and damages. The trial court entered judgment in favor of Henry and awarded $19,286 in damages. The court of appeals reversed in part. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the contract at issue did not satisfy the statute of frauds; (2) the trial court's findings of fact may not serve as a basis to reverse the court of appeals' decision as to William and Mary; and (3) the court of appeals did not err when it reversed the trial court's damage award. View "Gray v. Stewart" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals affirming the decision of the circuit court denying Defendant's motion seeking reconsideration of probation pursuant to Ky. Rev. Stat. 640.075(4), holding that the provisions of Ky. Rev. Stat. 532.045 apply to render a juvenile convicted as a youthful offender of sexual offenses ineligible for probation.When he was a juvenile, Defendant was charged with multiple sex offenses and transferred to the circuit court as a youthful offender. Defendant was convicted. Shortly before he turned twenty-one, Defendant filed his motion to reconsider probation. The circuit court denied the motion, and the court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that section 532.045 applies to youthful offenders such as Defendant. View "Bloyer v. Commonwealth" on Justia Law