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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court convicting Defendant on fourteen counts of first-degree robbery and for being a first-degree persistent felony offender. Defendant, along with his co-defendant, was indicted for thirty-one counts of first-degree robbery, one count for each individual victim present at fourteen different robberies that occurred within less than two months. The counts were tried together, and a jury convicted Defendant of fourteen counts of first-degree robbery. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the trial court did not err by (1) failing to sever some of the thirty-one counts of robbery; (2) permitting three police officers to testify that the robberies were all related to each other; and (3) informing the jury that it had ruled that both defendants should be tried together on all charges. View "Davidson v. Commonwealth" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Court of Appeals correctly applied the principles of Cincinnati Insurance Co. v. Motorist Mutual Insurance Co., 306 S.W.3d 69 (Ky. 2010), to hold that a contractor’s faulty workmanship on the basement and foundation of an existing structure, which resulted in extensive damage to the entire building, was not an accident triggering coverage as an occurrence under the contractor’s commercial general liability (CGL) insurance policy. The policy provided that the insurer (Insurer) would pay for property damage if it resulted from an “occurrence.” The trial court ruled that Plaintiff could recover from Insurer under the policy for the damage to the structure above the basement level because the damage was an unexpected and unintended consequence of the contractor’s faulty work on the basement. The court of appeals reversed, ruling that none of the structural damage qualified as an accident triggering coverage as an occurrence under Insurer’s CGL policy. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the trial court failed to focus on the proper elements from Cincinnati. View "Martin/Elias Properties, LLC v. Acuity, a Mutual Insurance Co." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals reversing the circuit court’s entry of a declaratory judgment in favor of Big Sandy Company, LP, interpreting a pipeline easement agreement (the Agreement) in Big Sandy’s favor. In 2003, Big Sandy entered into the Agreement with Kentucky West Virginia Gas Company, LLC (KWVA), the predecessor in interest of EQT Gathering, LLC and EQT Production Company (collectively, EQT). EQT filed suit against Big Sandy requesting declaratory relief regarding the interpretation and scope of the Agreement. The trial court concluded that Big Sandy’s interpretation prevailed. The court of appeals reversed, holding that Big Sandy’s interpretation would be absurd and render much of the Agreement meaningless. The Supreme court reversed, holding that the trial court properly interpreted the Agreement. View "Big Sandy Co., L.P. v. EQT Gathering, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals reversing the circuit court’s entry of a declaratory judgment in favor of Big Sandy Company, LP, interpreting a pipeline easement agreement (the Agreement) in Big Sandy’s favor. In 2003, Big Sandy entered into the Agreement with Kentucky West Virginia Gas Company, LLC (KWVA), the predecessor in interest of EQT Gathering, LLC and EQT Production Company (collectively, EQT). EQT filed suit against Big Sandy requesting declaratory relief regarding the interpretation and scope of the Agreement. The trial court concluded that Big Sandy’s interpretation prevailed. The court of appeals reversed, holding that Big Sandy’s interpretation would be absurd and render much of the Agreement meaningless. The Supreme court reversed, holding that the trial court properly interpreted the Agreement. View "Big Sandy Co., L.P. v. EQT Gathering, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the trial court’s denial of Appellant’s motion to suppress evidence discovered in his vehicle during a traffic stop, holding that the initial traffic stop was impermissibly prolonged to allow a canine search to proceed. Therefore, the dog sniff that followed was unreasonable and constitutionally impermissible and must be suppressed. Upon entered a conditional plea, Appellant was convicted of possession of a controlled substance, first degree, and carrying a concealed deadly weapon. Appellant appealed the denial of his motion to suppress the evidence found after a canine sniff search indicated the presence of drugs. The Supreme Court reversed the motion to suppress, holding that, under the totality of the circumstances, while the initial traffic stop was valid, the stop was unconstitutionally prolonged. View "Moberly v. Commonwealth" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed and vacated Appellant’s conviction and corresponding sentence for tampering with physical evidence but affirmed the trial court as to Appellant’s remaining convictions of murder, first-degree robbery, and possession of a handgun by a convicted felon. The Court held (1) the trial court did not abuse its discretion when it did not allow defense counsel to argue in closing that the Commonwealth produced no evidence of motive; (2) the trial court erred in allowing the Commonwealth to introduce unauthenticated call logs, but the error was harmless; (3) the trial court erred in failing to grant a directed verdict as to the tampering with physical evidence charge; and (4) the trial court did not err in refusing to instruct on facilitation to murder and first-degree robbery. View "Baker v. Commonwealth" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Life without parole (LWOP) for juveniles does not always offend the federal or Kentucky Constitutions, so long as it comports with a discretionary scheme and the defendant has a meaningful opportunity for the jury to consider mitigating evidence. Appellant was under the age of eighteen when he participated in the murder of two people and the deadly assault of a twelve-year-old girl. The circuit court sentenced Appellant to LWOP. In this appeal from the denial of relief on Appellant’s third Ky. R. Criminal. P. 11.42 motion and his second Ky. R. Civ. P. 60.02 motion, the Supreme Court held (1) Appellant’s sentencing was constitutionally permissible; but (2) under this Court’s more recent rulings regarding penalties allowable under the juvenile code, Appellant’s sentence was statutorily prohibited. Consequently, the Court remanded this case for the trial court to impose the lawful sentence of LWOP for twenty-five years. View "Phon v. Commonwealth" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the court of appeals’ decision to deny a writ of prohibition sought by Miki Thompson in this case alleging that Kara Vance’s suicide was caused by Timothy Lavender’s negligent prescribing of the acne medicine, Accutane. Lavender and Pikeville Dermatology served a subpoena duces tecum seeking production of records and reports pertaining to Vance held by Dr. Marilyn Cassis, Vance’s therapist. Dr. Cassis objected to production of these records without a court order, so Lavender and Pikeville Dermatology obtained a trial court order compelling compliance with the subpoena. Thompson then petitioned for a writ of prohibition, which the court of appeals denied. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in its discovery order. View "Thompson v. Honorable Eddy Coleman" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals declining to issue a writ sought by Miki Thompson prohibiting the trial court from enforcing discovery orders entered for inspection and discovery in a wrongful death and negligence action pending in the circuit court. The court of appeals found that Thompson failed to show irreparable injury without the writ or the existence of facts sufficient to justify issuance of the writ under the special-case exception. In affirming, the Supreme Court held that the court of appeals did not err in concluding that complying with the trial court’s orders will not lead to an irreparable injury for Thompson or that the writ must issue under the special-case exception. View "Thompson v. Honorable Eddy Coleman" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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The Supreme Court affirmed the opinion of the court of appeals affirming the decision of the Workers’ Compensation Board upholding the decision of the administrative law judge (ALJ), which awarded Michael R. Plumley permanent partial disability benefits. On appeal, the Court held that the ALJ did not err (1) by relying upon the medical report of Dr. Greg Snider, who evaluated Plumley under the range-of-motion method and used terminology different from that which Plumley would use to describe essentially the same condition; (2) by finding that Plumley had three distinct work-related injuries, for each of which the ALJ made three tandem benefit awards rather than a single-injury with a single-benefit award; and (3) in his use of modifier multipliers. View "Plumley v. Kroger, Inc." on Justia Law