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Dr. Benjamin Reid, a licensed general surgeon, filed a complaint against KentuckyOne Health, Inc. (“Hospital”) alleging various claims arising from the Hospital’s review of Reid’s surgical privileges at the Hospital. The circuit court granted the Hospital’s motion for judgment on the pleadings, concluding that Reid failed to rebut the presumption that the Hospital was immune under the Health Care Quality Improvement Act of 1986 because the Hospital’s conduct with respect to Reid was related to its professional review activities. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that the Hospital had taken a “professional review action” against Reid rather than a “professional review activity.” The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) a factual dispute existed as to whether the Hospital’s actions were merely “professional review activities” that would be entitled to immunity under the Act or whether they were “professional review actions,” and (2) therefore, the record was insufficient on the immunity question under the Act. View "KentuckyOne Health, Inc. v. Reid" on Justia Law

Posted in: Health Law

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In this criminal case, reversible error occurred when the trial court allowed the Commonwealth to introduce sexually explicit social media exchanges Appellant had with other women after the victim’s death, and the erroneous admission of this evidence was not harmless error Appellant was convicted and sentenced to twenty years’ imprisonment for second-degree manslaughter, tampering with physical evidence, and fraudulent use of a credit card over $500. Appellant appealed, arguing, inter alia, that the trial court erred by allowing into evidence sexually explicit communications Appellant made after the victim’s death. The Supreme Court reversed Appellant’s conviction and remanded the case for a new trial. View "Rucker v. Commonwealth" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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In an effort to replace its aging middle school building, the Paducah Independent School District initiated condemnation proceedings against real property owned by Defendant. The property was officially taken after an award of $96,000 to Defendant, but both sides were dissatisfied. After a bench trial, Defendant was awarded $115,000 in compensation damages. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that the trial court relied on outdated and otherwise incompetent evidence of the property’s fair market value. The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals and reinstated the trial court’s judgment, holding that the trial court’s approach was both legally sound and properly grounded in the record. View "Paducah Independent School District v. Putnam & Sons, LLC" on Justia Law

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A provision in the Multichannel Video Programming and Communications Services Tax (the Telecom Tax) prohibiting “every political subdivision of the state” from collecting franchise fees or taxes on franchises subject to the Telecom Tax is unconstitutionally void as applied to protesting cities. Four Kentucky cities and the Kentucky League of Cities, Inc. (collectively, Cities) filed a petition for declaratory relief alleging that the Telecom Tax’s Prohibition Provision violated their right to grant franchises and to collect franchise fees as provided in sections 163 and 164 of the Kentucky Constitution. The circuit court dismissed the petition. The court of appeals vacated the judgment of the circuit court and remanded, concluding that the Telecom Tax’s Prohibition Provision violated sections 163 and 164. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the Telecom Tax’s Prohibition Provision was unconstitutionally void as applied to the Cities. View "Kentucky CATV Ass’n v. City of Florence" on Justia Law

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An administrative law judge (ALJ) awarded Brandon Fleming partial disability benefits based on a finding that Fleming had a combined permanent impairment rating of seventeen percent. In 2010, Fleming moved to reopen his claim, alleging that his condition had worsened. A different ALJ found that Fleming had a combined permanent impairment rating of thirty-two percent. The Workers’ Compensation Board and court of appeals affirmed. LKLP CAC Inc. appealed, arguing that the ALJ’s opinion was not supported by substantial evidence because the ALJ relied on a physician who stated that Fleming’s permanent impairment rating had not changed following the 2010 opinion and award. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that there was no abuse of discretion in the ALJ’s finding that Fleming had an increase in his permanent impairment rating, in his impairment, and in his disability. View "LKLP CAC Inc. v. Fleming" on Justia Law

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Appellant was convicted of kidnapping, first-degree manslaughter, tampering with physical evidence, and theft by unlawful taking. Upon Appellant’s motion for postconviction relief, the trial court set aside Appellant’s kidnapping sentence and granted a new penalty phase trial on that charge. After a retrial, the trial court sentenced Appellant to imprisonment for life, to be served concurrently with the twenty-year sentence for manslaughter. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the retrial of the kidnapping penalty phase was not fatally flawed because (1) gruesome details of the condition of the victim’s body were irrelevant and cumulative but did not sway the jury’s sentencing decision; (2) victim impact testimony relating to several victims was proper, and certain improper victim impact testimony was not palpable error; (3) the trial court did not improperly limit Appellant’s presentation of mitigation evidence; and (4) the trial court did not err by permitting the Commonwealth to use guilt-phase physical evidence during its closing argument. View "Gaither v. Commonwealth" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Appellant appealed his conviction for the murder of his brother. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the trial court (1) did not abuse its discretion in failing to strike Juror 500 for cause because there was nothing in the record to establish a reasonable ground to doubt the juror’s qualifications; (2) did not abuse its discretion by denying Appellant’s motion to strike Juror 566 for cause because there was no reasonable ground to believe that the Juror could not render a fair and impartial verdict on the evidence; (3) properly determined that the evidence did not support an instruction on reckless homicide; and (4) did not err by permitting the Commonwealth to introduce statements made by the victim in the form of text messages sent in the days and weeks immediately preceding the shooting. View "Sturgeon v. Commonwealth" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The legislature has affirmed that a county jailer’s salary shall at least equal the prior year’s salary level in counties that do not operate a jail. Garrard County does not operate a jail. Before the 2010 election of Garrard County’s jailer, the Garrard Fiscal Court voted to fix the amount of the jailer’s salary for the new term at an amount lower than that set for the incumbent jailer. The trial court ruled that the fiscal court had acted properly in reducing the jailer’s pay before the commencement of his term. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that fiscal courts in counties without jails are statutorily prohibited from reducing the pay of their elected jailer. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the unambiguous language of Ky. Rev. Stat. 441-243(3) prevents the fiscal court from decreasing the county jailer’s salary in between elected terms of service. View "Garrard County v. Middleton" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff’s acknowledgement that she would not present an expert witness to prove her informed consent claim was not fatal to her case and thus was not a proper basis for entry of a directed verdict. Plaintiff brought this medical malpractice claim alleging that Defendant failed to obtain her informed consent before undertaking a surgical procedure on her. The trial court entered a directed verdict in favor of Defendant after Plaintiff conceded that she would not present an expert’s testimony. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that the trial court erred in dismissing the case too hastily since the evidence to be presented at trial may have established an exception to the general rule requiring expert testimony to establish a professional standard of care. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the trial court erred in granting the directed verdict. View "Argotte v. Harrington" on Justia Law

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Appellant appealed his convictions stemming from three separate robberies committed in downtown Louisville in January 2014. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the trial court did not err in declining to suppress Appellant’s recorded statements to a detective; (2) the trial court did not abuse its discretion in prohibiting Appellant from introducing evidence about his refusal to sign a Miranda-waiver form without having an attorney present; (3) the admission into evidence of Appellant’s hooded sweatshirt was improper, but any error was harmless and did not require reversal; and (4) the trial court’s denial of Appellant’s motion to sever the charged offenses for separate trials did not result in any actual undue prejudice to Appellant. View "Smith v. Commonwealth" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law