Justia Civil Procedure Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Kentucky Supreme Court
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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals reversing the circuit court's denial of Dr. Senad Cemerlic and ABG Pain Management's motion to set aside a default judgment and reinstated the trial court's denial of the motion to set aside the default judgment, holding the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying the motion. VerraLab JA, LLC filed a complaint alleging that Cemerlic and ABG breached an agreement between the parties. VerraLab filed a motion for default judgment arguing that Cemerlic and ABG had failed to answer or file any other responsive pleading and that they had been served through the Secretary of State's office. The circuit court granted the default judgment. Cemerlic and ABG later moved to set aside the default judgment arguing that they had not been served. The circuit court denied the motion to set aside, concluding that Cemerlic chose to refuse a certified letter from the Secretary of State. The court of appeals reversed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the affirmative action taken to avoid service of process fell short of good cause to have the default motion to set aside. View "VerraLab JA LLC v. Cemerlic" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court vacated the decision of the court of appeals in this interlocutory appeal from the denial of a judicial statements privilege in litigation between two physicians, holding that the matter at issue was beyond the parameters of appellate interlocutory jurisdiction. Plaintiff alleged that Defendant engaged in a pattern of conduct intended to damage Plaintiff's reputation and lure her patients to Defendant's medical practice. Defendant filed a motion to dismiss asserting the protections of the judicial statements privilege for absolute immunity based on a previous medical malpractice action that both physicians were involved in. The trial court denied the motion to dismiss. The court of appeals concluded that Defendant was immune from some, but not all, of Plaintiff's claims. The Supreme Court vacated the court of appeals' decision, holding (1) the collateral order doctrine is a narrowly circumscribed exception to the final judgment rule; and (2) the judicial statements privilege is not a form of immunity, the denial of which allows for an interlocutory appeal under the collateral order doctrine. View "Maggard v. Kinney" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals to grant Dr. Robert Kleinfeld’s writ petition precluding the discovery of certain information, holding that the court of appeals did not properly apply the extraordinary writ petition standard. The case began as an insurance dispute. At issue was the insurer’s discovery request for information from Kleinfeld, individually and as corporate representative for Louisville Sports Injury Center, P.S.C. The trial court entered an order compelling LSIC, through Kleinfeld, to produce the requested discovery. Thereafter, LSIC, through Kleinfeld, filed a petition for a writ of prohibition seeking protection from the trial court’s order. The court of appeals granted the petition. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the court of appeals abused its discretion when it concluded that the extraordinarily high writ petition standard was met in this case because the court’s decision was unsupported by sound legal principles. View "Allstate Property & Casualty Insurance Co. v. Kleinfeld" on Justia Law

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In this interlocutory appeal from the circuit court’s review of an agency ruling, the Supreme Court adopted the United States Supreme Court’s test for standing as set forth in Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 560-561 (1992) and held that the existence of a plaintiff’s standing is a constitutional requirement to prosecute any action in the courts of the Commonwealth, including seeking judicial review of an administrative agency’s final order. The putative petitioner in this case, a Medicaid beneficiary (the patient), sought judicial review of a final order of the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Human Services ruling that the patient lacked standing to pursue an appeal of an insurer’s denial of reimbursement to a hospital for the patient’s services. The hospital, acting as the patient’s representative, sought judicial review of the Cabinet’s final order. The circuit court denied the Cabinet and the insurer’s motions to dismiss the petition. The Supreme Court remanded the case with instructions to dismiss the case, holding (1) Kentucky courts have the responsibility to ascertain whether a plaintiff has constitutional standing to pursue the case in court; and (2) under that test, the patient did not have the requisite constitutional standing to pursue her case in the courts of the Commonwealth. View "Commonwealth v. Sexton" on Justia Law

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In this eminent domain action challenging the just compensation paid for property to be taken, the Supreme Court reversed the order of the court of appeals dismissing this appeal for failure to name an indispensable party, holding that Riley v. Department of Highways, 375 S.W.2d 245 (Ky. 1963), remains sound and applicable to the circumstances before the Court in this case. The court of appeals dismissed this appeal because the notice of appeal failed to include the name of Edward Gravell, the husband of one of Appellants, a tenant-in-common owning the property. The court of appeals reasoned that Edward’s interest, an inchoate right, would be affected by the appellate court’s decision, and thus, he was an indispensable party. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the court of appeals’s decision was contrary to applicable precedent in Riley; and (2) Edward was not an indispensable party at this stage of the proceeding. View "Hagan v. Commonwealth, Transportation Cabinet" 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 scope of appellate review of an interlocutory appeal of the trial court’s determination of qualified official immunity is limited to the specific issue of whether immunity was properly denied. In this interlocutory appeal, the court of appeals not only agreed with the trial court that Defendants were not entitled to qualified immunity but also conclusively determined that Defendants were not negligent as a matter of law. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded the case to the trial court, holding that the court of appeals exceeded its scope of appellate review when it addressed the substantive claim of negligence on an interlocutory appeal of a decision about qualified official immunity. View "Baker v. Fields" on Justia Law

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The scope of appellate review of an interlocutory appeal of the trial court’s determination of qualified official immunity is limited to the specific issue of whether immunity was properly denied. In this interlocutory appeal, the court of appeals not only agreed with the trial court that Defendants were not entitled to qualified immunity but also conclusively determined that Defendants were not negligent as a matter of law. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded the case to the trial court, holding that the court of appeals exceeded its scope of appellate review when it addressed the substantive claim of negligence on an interlocutory appeal of a decision about qualified official immunity. View "Baker v. Fields" on Justia Law

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In this case, a sheriff’s termination of a deputy sheriff was not constrained by the procedural due process protections purportedly afforded to the deputy sheriff under a now-outdated version of Ky. Rev. Stat. 15.520. Plaintiff, the deputy sheriff, sued the sheriff, alleging that the sheriff violated the due process procedures set forth in section 15.520, otherwise known as the Police Officers’ Bill of Rights. The trial court granted summary judgment for the sheriff. The Court of Appeals reversed, concluding that section 15.520 mandates that a sheriff who, like the sheriff in this case, elects to receive Kentucky Law Enforcement Foundation Program funding is bound by the due process procedures of that statute. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that section 15.520 was not meant to provide due process rights to sheriffs’ deputies. View "Elliott v. Lanham" on Justia Law

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In this case, a sheriff’s termination of a deputy sheriff was not constrained by the procedural due process protections purportedly afforded to the deputy sheriff under a now-outdated version of Ky. Rev. Stat. 15.520. Plaintiff, the deputy sheriff, sued the sheriff, alleging that the sheriff violated the due process procedures set forth in section 15.520, otherwise known as the Police Officers’ Bill of Rights. The trial court granted summary judgment for the sheriff. The Court of Appeals reversed, concluding that section 15.520 mandates that a sheriff who, like the sheriff in this case, elects to receive Kentucky Law Enforcement Foundation Program funding is bound by the due process procedures of that statute. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that section 15.520 was not meant to provide due process rights to sheriffs’ deputies. View "Elliott v. Lanham" on Justia Law