Articles Posted in Civil Procedure

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the order of the circuit court dismissing Appellants’ appeal of a Georgetown-Scott County Planning Commission for lack of jurisdiction. The Planning Commission had approved a plat amendment requested by a developer to remove a planned lake from the development plan applicable to Appellants’ subdivision. Appellants appealed. The circuit court concluded that it lacked jurisdiction over the matter because Appellants had not strictly complied with the provisions of Ky. Rev. Stat. 100.347 by taking their appeal within the statutorily-allotted time period. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Appellants failed to commence their action before the expiration of the time allotted by section 100.347(2). View "Isaacs v. Caldwell" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court overruled Shamrock Coal Co. v. Taylor, 697 S.W.2d 952 (Ky. App. 1985), which holds that a complaint that exhibits “a clear attempt at verification” is sufficiently compliant with Ky. Rev. Stat. 341.450(1) to authorize judicial review. At issue in this case was whether Appellee had substantially complied with the verification requirement of section 341.450(1) when he filed a complaint seeking judicial review of an adverse decision of the Kentucky Unemployment Insurance Commission (KUIC). The circuit court dismissed the complaint based upon the decision of the Supreme Court in Taylor v. Kentucky Unemployment Insurance Commission, 382 S.W.3d 826 (Ky. 2012). The Court of Appeals reversed, citing Shamrock. The Supreme Court reversed after overruling Shamrock, holding that the complaint in this case failed to satisfy the verification requirement of section 341.450(1). View "Kentucky Unemployment Insurance Commission v. Wilson" on Justia Law

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The failure of Terry Scott and Damon Fleming to appeal the denial of their respective grievances against the Kentucky State Police (KSP) by the Personnel Cabinet precluded their subsequent action filed in the circuit court. The trial court dismissed most of Scott’s and Fleming’s claims but nevertheless permitted the case to go forward. After a trial, the court held that Scott and Fleming had met their burden of showing a prima facie case of an equal protection violation, entitling them to equitable relief. The court of appeals affirmed, thus rejecting KSP’s argument that Scott and Fleming had failed to exhaust their administrative remedies. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Scott’s and Fleming’s failure to exhaust administrative remedies barred their direct action in the circuit court. View "Kentucky State Police v. Scott" on Justia Law

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Personal-injury law firm Hughes & Coleman was entitled to quantum meruit compensation after being hired and then fired by Travis Underwood, who was injured in a car crash. Shortly after Underwood discharged Hughes & Coleman and hired another attorney, Underwood agreed to a final settlement of his claims. Hughes & Coleman asserted an attorney’s lien on the new counsel’s contingency attorney fee on the final settlement, claiming it was entitled to a quantum meruit share of the fee as compensation for its services rendered before being terminated. The trial court concluded that Hughes & Coleman was discharged without cause and apportioned seventy-five percent of the contingency fee to the firm. The court of appeals reversed, ruling that Underwood had valid cause for terminating Hughes & Coleman’s services. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) case precedent entitles a discharged lawyer to receive, on a quantum meruit basis, a portion of a contingency fee on a former client’s recovery so long as the termination was not for cause; and (2) because Hughes & Coleman’s firing was not for cause, the firm was entitled to quantum meruit compensation. View "Hughes & Coleman, PLLC v. Chambers" on Justia Law

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The administrative law judge (ALJ) in this case did not err in failing to give effect to a settlement agreement reached after the issuance of its order and opinion and raised in a petition to reconsider. This case arose from Appellant’s filing of a claim alleging work-related injuries against his employer. An ALJ issued an opinion and award denying Appellant permanent partial disability, permanent total disability, and future medical benefits. Appellant filed a petition for reconsideration based on a settlement reached prior to receipt of the opinion. The ALJ denied the petition. The Workers’ Compensation Board and the Court of Appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that because the alleged terms of the settlement were never properly brought before the ALJ, Appellant did not properly raise the issue, and the ALJ did not err in declining to review the agreement. View "Kidd v. Crossrock Drilling, LLC" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff sued the doctor (Defendant) who twice performed surgery on Plaintiff to repair a fracture, alleging (1) Defendant made mistakes during the initial surgery that resulted in the failure of the fracture to heal, and (2) following the second surgery, the doctor failed to timely identify an infection, which necessitated two additional surgeries. A trial ensued. The judge declared a mistrial because Defendant had mentioned insurance several times in violation of a court order. After a second trial, the jury rendered a verdict in favor of the doctor. The court entered an order granting Plaintiff’s motion for sanctions given Defendant’s “contemptuous conduct” in the first trial and the fact that Defendant compounded his conduct in the second trial. The Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s denial of Plaintiff’s motion for a new trial but affirmed the imposition of sanctions against Defendant. The Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals and vacated the trial court’s order imposing sanctions on Defendant, holding (1) the trial court did not err when it denied Plaintiff’s motion for a new trial; and (2) the trial court erred in failing to notify Defendant that it was finding him in contempt and whether the contempt was civil or criminal. View "Jefferson v. Eggemeyer" on Justia Law

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Husband petitioned for dissolution of his marriage from Wife. Previous to filing this action, however, Husband was declared incompetent and Wife was appointed as his guardian and conservator. The trial court dismissed Husband’s petition on the basis that a person who has been declared incompetent cannot bring a legal action in Kentucky. The court of appeals affirmed. Both courts relied exclusively on the 1943 case of Johnson v. Johnson. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) there is not a Johnson issue in this case because the guardian was not bringing this action as required by Civil Rule 17.03(1); and (2) it necessarily follows that this case was procedurally flawed. View "Riehle v. Riehle" on Justia Law

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Tim Agee, individually and on the behalf of the estate of his wife, Eva, sued Baptist Health Richmond, Inc. and other medical care providers alleging that Eva’s death was the result of medical negligence. During discovery, Agee requested from Baptist Health the production of certain documents. Baptist Health refused to produce the documents, claiming that they were protected from disclosure by the Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act of 2005. Agee filed a motion to compel, which the trial court granted in part. Thereafter, Baptist Health filed an original action in the court of appeals seeking a writ of prohibition. The court of appeals denied the request, citing the plurality opinion in Tibbs v. Bunnell. The Supreme Court vacated the trial court’s discovery order and remanded for further proceedings, holding that the correct result in this case lay in middle ground between the plurality and the dissenting opinions in Tibbs. Remanded with instructions for the trial court to undertake the review set forth in this opinion. View "Baptist Health Richmond, Inc. v. Hon. William Clouse" on Justia Law

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On February 10, 2014, Landlord Bobby Turner provided his tenant, Lesley Shinkle, with written notice to vacate the premises. Eight days later, Turner filed a forcible detainer complaint against Shinkle. When the matter came before the district court on February 27, 2014, for the "inquisition" required by KRS 383.220, Shinkle moved to dismiss the complaint because Turner had failed to provide the one month's notice required by KRS 383.195 for terminating the tenancy. In recognition of the statutory deficiency, the district court deferred its consideration of Shinkle's motion and continued the inquisition until March 13, thus allowing one month to elapse from the date Shinkle first received the written notice to vacate. In the interim, Shinkle filed a formal written motion to dismiss arguing that Turner had no statutory right to commence a forcible detainer action prior to the expiration of the one-month statutory notice provision. At the March 13 inquisition, the district court denied Shinkle's motion to dismiss, reasoning that the one month statutory notice period had by then been satisfied. The court entered its verdict and judgment finding Shinkle guilty of forcible detainer. Shinkle appealed and the Circuit Court affirmed. The Court of Appeals denied Shinkle's motion for discretionary review. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded, finding that by filing his forcible detainer complaint only eight days after giving Shinkle notice to vacate, Turner was claiming a right to immediate possession that he did not lawfully have. The statutory elements of a forcible detainer were not yet met since Turner had, at that time, no presently enforceable right of possession. "As required by KRS 383.195, a landlord must give the tenant at least one month's written notice to vacate, and until that period expires, no forcible detainer is being committed." The complaint filed prior to the existence of the cause of action should have been dismissed pursuant to the motion properly raising the issue. View "Shinkle v. Turner" on Justia Law

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At issue in this case was the apportionment of damages between two insurance companies who provided underinsured motorist (UM) coverave to a passenger injured in an automobile accident in Bowling Green. The Circuit Court ordered the companies to share the damages pro rata in proportion to their respective policy limits. Countryway Insurance appealed that decision to the Court of Appeals, contending that the damages should not have been divided at all, but should have been apportioned entirely to United Financial, the insurer of the accident vehicle. To Countryway's dismay, the Court of Appeals panel decided that that argument was "half right:" the Court agreed that the damages should not have been divided, but in its view Countryway, the insurer of the injured passenger, bore full responsibility for the passenger's UM claim. The Supreme Court concluded the Court of Appeals erred in its analysis of the controlling case-law applicable to this matter, reversed and remanded to the Circuit Court for entry of an appropriate order in favor of Countryway. View "Countryway Ins. Co. v. United Financial Casualty Ins. Co." on Justia Law