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The court of appeals did not err in reversing the circuit court’s judgment that Anne Talley and Daniel Paisley were to share equally in the proceeds of sale of their jointly owned real property based on their respective ownership percentages and irrespective of Paisley’s discharge of mortgage liens encumbering the property. After Paisley and Talley sold their jointly owned residence, Paisley proposed that the proceeds be divided based on the parties’ proportionate contribution and to reflect that he had contributed more to the residence. The trial court ordered the equity in the residence to be divided equally between the parties. The court of appeals reversed, holding that, as a matter of law, Paisley was entitled to be proportionately reimbursed by Talley for payments he made during their joint tenancy. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that, under Kentucky law, joint tenants are entitled to proportionate reimbursement for the payment of liens and other encumbrances on the property. View "Talley v. Paisley" on Justia Law

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In this appeal, intervening statutory law enacted by the General Assembly rendered moot the legal issues decided by the circuit court. Here, the circuit court sustained the Attorney General’s challenge to Governor Matthew Bevin’s authority under Ky. Rev. Stat. 12.028 to abolish and reorganize the University of Louisville Board of Trustees and permanently enjoined the Governor from implementing executive orders issued in connection with his effort. The Supreme Court dismissed the Governor’s appeal and remanded the case to the circuit court with directions to dismiss the complaint with prejudice, holding that newly enacted Senate Bill 107 controls over section 12.028. The case is moot because Senate Bill 107 provides a specific statutory path for a governor to disband and reconstitute a university’s governing board and creates a process for the removal of individual members of a university’s governing board. View "Bevin v. Beshear" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the opinion of the court of appeals affirming the circuit court’s order denying Appellants’ separate motions to suppress evidence. As grounds for their motions, Appellants claimed that law enforcement officers violated the curtilage of their apartment when they entered the back patio enclosure and that the officers lacked any exigencies to enter the apartment and conduct the search. The trial court ruled that the protective sweep exception, the emergency aid exception, and the plain view exception all justified the warrantless search. The court of appeals affirmed on different grounds, concluding that none of the exceptions relied upon by the trial court excused the warrantless search but that a second search was conducted pursuant to Appellants’ valid consents, thus purging the taint of the officers’ initial illegal search. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the officers’ initial warrantless search of Appellants’ apartment was illegal; (2) the officers were unlawfully located on Appellants’ patio when they viewed marijuana baggies; and (3) Appellants’ consent to a subsequent search was not an act of free will sufficient to dissipate the taint of the initial illegal search. View "Pace v. Commonwealth" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court vacated the opinion of the court of appeals ruling that the circuit court prematurely granted specific performance of an option contract because disputed issues of fact material to that form of relief had been left unresolved in the circuit court. The circuit court granted the motion for specific performance of a real estate option contract between AEP Industries, Inc. (AEP) and B.G. Properties, Inc. (BG). The court of appeals determined that the circuit court had not adequately addressed the threshold issue of whether, as alleged by BG, AEP had first violated the option agreement with a faulty appraisal and thus was barred from seeking specific performance. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that BG’s execution and delivery of a general warranty deed without an express reservation of rights and its acceptance of stated consideration for the transfer precluded its further challenge to the enforcement of the option agreement. View "AEP Industries, Inc. v. B.G. Properties, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the judgment of the trial court finding Appellant guilty of escape and fleeing or evading police and finding him to be a first-degree persistent felony offender. The trial court sentenced Appellant to fifteen years’ in prison. On appeal, the court of appeals rejected Appellant’s argument that the trial court erred in failing to strike a juror for cause. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded the matter to the circuit court for further proceedings, holding that the trial court abused its discretion by denying Appellant’s motion to strike the juror at issue for cause. View "Morrison v. Commonwealth" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the trial court’s grant of summary judgment to a subdivision developer (Developer) in this suit filed by the Majestic Oaks Homeowners Association (HOA) to stop Developer’s continued use of a purportedly terminated easement in gross. The HOA claimed that its adoption of an amendment to a declaration of covenants, conditions, and restrictions and the relinquishment by Developer of any ownership rights in the “property” rendered the easement ineffective. The lower courts disagreed with the HOA. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the defeasible easement principle applied to the easement for ingress and egress retained by Developer to terminate it when a majority of HOA members voted to do so, as allowed by the express terms of Developer’s recorded subdivision plat. View "Majestic Oaks Homeowners Ass’n v. Majestic Oaks Farms, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court vacated the issuance of a domestic violence order (DVO) and remanded this case for additional proceedings, holding that the trial court’s receipt of extrajudicial evidence was structural error and that the trial court’s use of extrajudicial evidence from an undisclosed source was improper. Plaintiff petitioned the family court for a DVO against Defendant. The trial judge granted the DVO. Defendant appealed, challenging the trial court’s extrajudicial research concerning his criminal record. The court of appeals affirmed, holding that the trial court committed error in conducting the extrajudicial investigation but that the error was harmless. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the trial judge’s undertaking to obtain and use as evidence extrajudicial information relating to a party in the case caused her disqualification from proceeding further as the presiding judge, and her failure to recuse was structural error undermining the integrity of the resulting DVO. View "Marchese v. Abersold" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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The issue in this case was created by a 2016 amendment of the look-back period in Ky. Rev. Stat. 189A.010, Kentucky’s principal driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) statute. The amendment increased the look-back period from five years to ten years. In separate prosecutions, Defendants were charged with DUI, fourth offense, for offenses that occurred after the newly-amended version of section 189A.010 became effective. Both defendants had prior convictions for DUI offenses beyond the five-year look-back period of the former law but within the ten-year look-back period of the current law. The circuit court concluded that the convictions exceeding the former five-year look-back period could not be used to elevate the current DUI charges to DUI, fourth offense because doing so would violate contractual rights established in Defendants’ plea agreements. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the trial court erred by excluding Defendants’ 2009 and 2011 offenses from use as enhancing prior DUI convictions because (1) plea agreement contract principles do not bar application of the new rules; and (2) the alternative grounds relied upon by Defendants for affirming the trial court’s decision were unavailing. View "Commonwealth v. Jackson" on Justia Law

Posted in: Contracts, Criminal Law

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The Board of Commissioners of the City of Danville impermissibly went into closed session to discuss its intention to bid on real property offered for sale pursuant to an absolute auction, but the Board’s action was not willful. The Attorney General issued a decision that the Board had violated the Open Meetings Act and that the Board had committed a violation in failing to respond to a written complaint delivered to the mayor by the Danville Advocate-Messenger regarding the Board's closed meeting. The circuit court upheld the Attorney General’s determination but denied the newspaper’s request for attorneys’ fees and costs on grounds that the violations were not willful. The Court of Appeals upheld the finding of an open meeting violation but reversed the trial court’s finding that the violation was not willful. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and vacated in part, holding (1) no exception permitted the Board’s contested action; but (2) the Board’s action was not willful, and therefore, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying the newspaper’s motion for costs and fees. View "Board of Commissioners of City of Danville v. Advocate Communications, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the judgment of the court of appeals reversing the trial court’s dismissal of Plaintiff’s claims. Plaintiff sued Defendant, which uses warehouses in Jefferson County to store its barrels of bourbon, seeking damages based on several state tort theories and injunctive relief. Plaintiff claimed that fugitive ethanol emissions that escape from the barrels as the bourbon ages promote the growth of the “whiskey fungus,” which causes a black film-like substance to proliferate on his property. The trial court determined that the federal Clean Air Act preempted Plaintiff’s claims. The court of appeals reversed, ruling that the Act did not preempt Plaintiff’s claims. The Supreme Court held (1) Plaintiff’s state tort claims for damages were not preempted by the Act; but (2) Plaintiff’s requested injunction was inappropriate. View "Brown-Forman Corp. v. Miller" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury