Articles Posted in Kentucky Supreme Court

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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 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

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In 2016, the Governor ordered a 4.5 percent budget reduction in the fourth quarter of the 2015-2016 fiscal year that extended to the state’s nine institutions of high education (collectively, the Universities). That same year, the Governor revised the allotments to each institution so that eight institutions’ budget reductions were amended to two percent. The Attorney General filed a declaratory-judgment action against the Governor, the State Budget Director, the Secretary of the Finance and Administration Cabinet, and the State Treasurer, challenging this action. Three members of the House of Representatives joined as intervening plaintiffs. The Governor moved to dismiss the case claiming that the Attorney General and legislators lacked standing and that his actions were legal. The circuit court granted summary judgment for the Governor, concluding (1) the Attorney General had standing, and (2) the Governor had statutory authority to revise downward the Universities’ allotments. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the Attorney General had standing the challenge the Governor’s actions, but the individual legislators did not; and (2) the Governor’s reduction of the allotments of the Universities exceeded his statutory authority to revise allotments and to withhold allotments. View "Commonwealth ex rel. Beshear v. Commonweath Office of the Gov. ex rel. Bevin" on Justia Law

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After serving eighteen months as the superintendent of Bourbon County public schools, Appellant Arnold Carter transferred into the position of consultant to the school district pursuant to an "exit strategy." The details of Carter's resignation and consulting contract were discussed and determined in a closed session during a meeting of the Bourbon County Board of Education. Appellee Jamie Smith, a parent and concerned citizen, challenged the Board's actions as violative of Kentucky's Open Meetings Act. The circuit court found Ky. Rev. Stat. 61.801(1)(f) permitted the Board's closed session discussion of Carter's resignation but not its discussion of Carter's consulting contract and consequently voided the consulting contract. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding (1) the Board violated the Act when it discussed Carter's resignation and consulting contract in closed session; and (2) Carter's consulting contract was voidable as a matter of law and was properly voided by the circuit court. View "Carter v. Smith" on Justia Law

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Appellee Brooke Nelson brought suit against elementary public school teacher Dianne Turner after allegations that Nelson's five-year-old daughter had been sexually assaulted by another student. The complaint alleged, among other causes of action, that Turner failed to report to enforcement officials the alleged sexual assault. The circuit court entered summary judgment in favor of Turner, concluding that Turner was entitled to qualified official immunity because her action, i.e., determining whether the facts constituted abuse, was discretionary in nature. The court of appeals reversed and remanded with directions to reconsider the mandatory abuse reporting obligation of Kan. Rev. Stat. 620.030. On remand, the trial court again found qualified official immunity applicable. The court of appeals reversed, holding that the reporting requirement of the statute was mandatory and therefore ministerial, obviating any application for qualified official immunity. The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals, holding that the trial court properly granted Turner's motion for summary judgment because Turner's actions were discretionary in nature rather than ministerial and, therefore, she was entitled to the defense of qualified official immunity under law.