by
The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s order denying Appellant’s Ky. R. Civ. P. 60.02 motion filed after Appellant was found guilty of three counts of murder, first-degree burglary, and first-degree robbery. In his Rule 60.02 motion, Appellant argued that several of the Commonwealth’s witnesses gave perjured testimony and that the prosecutor committed fraud upon the court. The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s denial of the motion, holding (1) Appellant’s claims of witnesses’ perjury did not entitle him to Rule 60.02 relief because the named witnesses did not commit perjury, and even they had committed perjury, there was no reasonable certainty that the result would have been different; and (2) the prosecutor did not commit fraud, and even if he had, Appellant’s defense was not impeded. View "Meece v. Commonwealth" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the conclusion of an administrative law judge (ALJ), the Workers’ Compensation Board, and the Court of Appeals that Luis Lopez, an uninsured employer, was properly notified of Isaias Silva-Lamas’s resolution of injury claim. The ALJ found that Silva-Lamas became permanently and totally disabled as a result of an injury he suffered while employed by Lopez. Because it appeared that Lopez never received notice of the claim, the Uninsured Employers Fund (UEF) contested the Department of Workers’ Claims’s jurisdiction to proceed against him and, by extension, against the UEF. The ALJ, Board, and Court of Appeals concluded that Silva-Lamas had acted appropriately in filing his claim. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that service was appropriate under the relevant statute and civil rules. View "Uninsured Employers Fund v. Acahua" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment convicting and sentencing Defendant to twenty years’ imprisonment for first-degree robbery, receiving stolen property, first-degree possession of a controlled substance, and possession of marijuana. The court held (1) the trial court did not err by permitting the victim to make an in-court identification of Defendant and by refusing to give an instruction for the lesser-included offense of facilitation to first-degree robbery; (2) there was sufficient evidence to convict Defendant of receiving stolen property based on a stolen handgun; and (3) the Commonwealth’s questioning of Defendant regarding his violent past did not constitute palpable error. View "Fairley v. Commonwealth" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s order rejecting the Board of Trustees of the Kentucky Schools Boards Insurance Trust’s (KSBIT) claim of governmental immunity and thus denying its motion for summary judgment. In this complaint filed by the Deputy Rehabilitator of the Kentucky School Boards Trust Workers’ Compensation Self-Insurance Fund and of the Kentucky School Boards Insurance Trust Property and Liability Self Insurance Fund against the KSBIT Board for, inter alia, negligence, the KSBIT Board asserted a defense of governmental immunity and moved for summary judgment. The circuit court determined that the KSBIT Board was not entitled to governmental immunity because its “parent” entity was not an agency of state government that enjoyed governmental immunity and because it did not perform a function that was integral to state government. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) because the KSBIT Board is not the offspring of local public school boards, it does not have the governmental immunity accorded to those governmental bodies; and (2) the KSBIT Board does not serve a function integral to state government. View "Board of Trustees of Kentucky School Boards Insurance Trust v. Pope" on Justia Law

by
In these consolidated appeals, the Supreme Court affirmed the convictions of Lonnie Conyers, Roy Tucker, and Joseph Hardy. Defendants were all found guilty of two counts of first-degree burglary following a joint jury trial. Each defendant was sentenced as a first-degree persistent felony offender (PFO) to concurrent, twenty-year terms of imprisonment. In affirming, the Supreme Court held (1) juror and witness misconduct did not necessitate a mistrial; (2) the trial court did not err by refusing to dismiss the first-degree burglary charges and by failing to give a jury instruction on receiving stolen property as a lesser, alternative offense to burglary; (3) Hardy was not entitled to a jury instruction on the defense of voluntary intoxication; and (4) the trial court did not err during the PFO proceedings by refusing to exclude evidence of one of Conyers’s prior felonies. View "Conyers v. Commonwealth" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

by
Ordinance 14-5, which was adopted by the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government and prohibits all beginning and soliciting from public streets or intersections within the urban-county area, is a content-based regulation of expression that unconstitutionally abridges freedom of speech guaranteed under the First Amendment. Appellant entered a conditional guilty plea to violating the ordinance. The circuit court affirmed the judgment of conviction and sentence on appeal. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded the case for dismissal of the charge against Appellant, holding that the ordinance is an unconstitutional regulation of speech. View "Champion v. Commonwealth" on Justia Law

by
This personal injury suit arose from a trip-and-fall at the Speedway SuperAmerica filling station in Manchester, Kentucky. The circuit court found for Plaintiffs and against the Speedway, the store’s owner, and the store’s manager (collectively, Defendants). The court of appeals reversed and remanded for entry of a defense judgment based on the common law’s open and obvious doctrine. Due to recent attempts to modernize the open and obvious doctrine and to harmonize it with tort law’s shift to a regime of comparative negligence, the Supreme Court remanded the case for reconsideration in light of recent precedent. On remand, the court of appeals concluded that Plaintiffs’ claims failed in their entirety. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded, holding that the court of appeals read recent precedent too narrowly. Given the long delays in this litigation, the court departed from its usual practice and addressed additional issues concerning the liability of the store manager, the comparative fault of the injured plaintiff, and the trial judge’s denial of a post-judgment motion to recuse. View "Grubb v. Smith" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

by
The estate of Stephen Patton, an eighth-grader who committed suicide, filed suit against various teachers and administrators, claiming that Defendants should have known of the bullying Stephen was subjected to at school and taken steps to prevent it. The circuit court granted summary judgment in favor of Defendants, ruling (1) Defendants were protected by qualified immunity, and (2) Stephen’s suicide was a superseding intervening cause interrupting any potential liability of Defendants. The court of appeals upheld the summary judgment solely on the intervening cause issue and ruled that Defendants were not entitled to qualified official immunity. The Supreme Court affirmed the court of appeals’ opinion to uphold summary judgment but for different reasons, holding (1) while the Administrators were protected by qualified immunity, the Teachers were not immune from suit on the basis of qualified official immunity; (2) bullying and tormenting behavior, if shown to be the proximate cause of a suicide, may form the basis for a wrongful death claim by the decedent’s estate; but (3) under the facts of this case, the Estate failed to make a prima facie showing that the Teachers’ conduct of failing to prevent the bullying of Stephen was the “but-for” cause or the proximate cause of Stephen’s suicide. View "Patton v. Bickford" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

by
The Supreme Court reversed the circuit court’s judgment convicting Appellant of first-degree sexual abuse and sentencing him to six years’ imprisonment. On appeal, Appellant argued that he was denied a fair and impartial jury due to the jury foreman being the brother-in-law of an assistant Commonwealth attorney. At issue before the Supreme Court was the trial court and Court of Appeals’ faulty conclusion that the jury foreman - and other panelists - disclosed a relationship with the assistant Commonwealth attorney. The Supreme Court concluded (1) the actions of the trial judge and defense counsel undermine the conclusion that defense counsel was made aware that the foreman had a relationship with the attorney; and (2) because Appellant never had the opportunity to challenge the assistant Commonwealth attorney’s presence on the jury, he was entitled to a new trial. View "Edmondson v. Kentucky" on Justia Law

by
Plaintiff brought a claim under Ky. Rev. Stat. 337.385 and filed a motion under Ky. R. Civ. P. 23 to certify a class action in circuit court. The circuit court denied the motion on purely legal grounds. The Court of Appeals affirmed, ruling that section 337.385 does not authorize class actions. The Supreme Court reversed, holding, as a matter of law, that Rule 23 remains an available procedural mechanism applicable to Plaintiff’s cause of action brought under section 337.385. The court remanded the case to the trial court to determine whether Plaintiff’s class met the requirements set forth in Rule 23. View "McCann v. Sullivan University System, Inc." on Justia Law