Kentucky Court of Justice
Kentucky Court of Appeals to hear oral arguments Sept. 29 in Highland Heights
FRANKFORT, Ky. -- The Kentucky Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments in civil case appeals Tuesday, Sept. 29, at Northern Kentucky University Salmon P. Chase College of Law in Highland Heights. The cases are on appeal from Fayette and Franklin counties. Proceedings are open to the public.
A three-judge panel consisting of Court of Appeals Judges Michelle M. Keller and Christopher Shea Nickell and Senior Judge Joseph E. Lambert will hear oral arguments starting at 10:30 a.m. EDT in the Moot Courtroom in Nunn Hall 420, which is located on Nunn Drive.
A docket containing summaries of the cases is below.
HIGHLAND HEIGHTS DOCKET
Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2009
10:30 AM 2008CA001677 and 2008CA002078
SANDRA C. BROOKS v. LEXINGTON-FAYETTE URBAN COUNTY
Summary: Civil. Issues involved are whether the housing authority is immune from non-wage garnishment under KRS 426.010 due to law of the case doctrine, whether the housing authority was entitled to recover expenses from Brooks for successfully opposing garnishment and whether the trial court erred in rejecting Brooks’ request for attorney fees.
Fayette County judge who ruled in the case – Judge Pamela R. Goodwine
Appellant’s attorney: William Jacobs
Appellee’s attorneys: Brent Baughman and Winifred Becker
11:15 AM 2008CA000305
TECO MECHANICAL CONTRACTOR, INC. v.
ENVIRONMENTAL AND PUBLIC PROTECTION CABINET
Summary: Civil. The cabinet charged Teco with categorizing skilled laborers as laborers and underpaying them on public works jobs. Teco challenged the constitutionality of various provisions of KRS 337 and lost. Teco is appealing from a Circuit Court judgment that found KRS 337 constitutional, awarded approximately $63,000 in wages to the employees and resulted in a $9,000 fine for Teco.
Franklin County judge who ruled in the case – Judge Phillip J. Shepherd
Appellant’s attorneys: Gerry Calvert, David Guarnieri and David Velander
Appellee’s attorneys: Joseph Mattingly III, H. Bornstein, Buckner Hinkle Jr., Ivan Rich Jr., Mark Bizzell, Irwin Cutler Jr. and Everett Hoffman
Judge Michelle M. Keller
Judge Michelle M. Keller was elected to the Kentucky Court of Appeals in November 2006 to serve as judge for Division 1 of the 6th Appellate District. She also serves as the Court of Appeals representative on the Judicial Conduct Commission.
The 6th Appellate District is comprised of Bath, Boone, Bracken, Campbell, Carroll, Fleming, Gallatin, Grant, Harrison, Henry, Kenton, Lewis, Mason, Nicholas, Oldham, Owen, Pendleton, Robertson, Shelby, Spencer and Trimble counties.
Prior to her election, Judge Keller practiced with Arnzen, Wentz, Molloy, Laber & Storm PSC in Covington. Her extensive legal experience includes representing clients in the area of criminal defense and serving as an assistant county prosecutor. Her work in litigation includes family law, personal injury and medical-negligence defense. She is experienced in administrative law and served the Kentucky Personnel Board as a hearing officer. She now serves as a board chairwoman emeritus. She is a member of the National Association of Administrative Law Judges and has represented numerous clients before state regulatory and licensure boards. She is also an adjunct professor at Xavier University, where she teaches medical/legal research, writing and forensics.
Judge Keller has been a licensed registered nurse in Kentucky since 1982. While working as an RN in critical care, Judge Keller earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1985 from Northern Kentucky University, where she received the Charlotte Schmidlapp Scholarship. Judge Keller attended the evening division of Northern Kentucky University Salmon P. Chase College of Law while working full time. She was an Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts scholar during law school and received her juris doctor in 1990.
Judge Keller has served the Northern Kentucky Bar Association as chairwoman of the Women Lawyers Section and as a member of numerous committees. She represented the 16th Judicial Circuit on the Kentucky Bar Association’s former House of Delegates.
In addition to her professional service, Judge Keller has a strong commitment to public service. She is a former chairwoman and board member for the Diocesan Catholic Children’s Home. She is a founding and current member of the Northern Kentucky Children’s Advocacy Center Advisory Council and has served the interests of children in court as a guardian ad litem. Judge Keller also volunteers with the Women’s Crisis Center and her local church and is an academic team coach at her daughters’ school.
Judge Keller is a lifelong Kentuckian and the oldest of five children. She and her husband, Dr. James Keller, have two daughters, Brenna and Olivia.
Judge Christopher Shea Nickell
Judge Christopher Shea Nickell was elected to serve on the Kentucky Court of Appeals in November 2006 and represents Division 1 of the 1st Appellate District. The 1st Appellate District is comprised of Allen, Ballard, Butler, Caldwell, Calloway, Carlisle, Christian, Crittenden, Edmonson, Fulton, Graves, Hickman, Hopkins, Livingston, Logan, Lyon, Marshall, McCracken, McLean, Muhlenberg, Simpson, Todd, Trigg and Webster counties.
Prior to his election, Judge Nickell practiced law for 22 years, serving as a trial attorney, prosecutor, public defender and college instructor. From 2002 until his election to the Court of Appeals, he served as assistant McCracken County attorney.
Judge Nickell served as assistant public advocate in Graves County from 1999 to 2000 through the Department of Public Advocacy’s Paducah trial office. In 1997, he established Nickell Law Firm in Paducah. He was previously associated with the law office of Truman L. Dehner in Morehead and two Paducah law firms, Boehl, Stopher & Graves LLP and the Saladino Law Firm. From 1985 to 1986, Judge Nickell served as assistant commonwealth’s attorney for the 21st Judicial District, which is comprised of Bath, Menifee, Montgomery and Rowan counties. In addition, he has taught courses on insurance and risk management at Murray State University and on jurisprudence at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
In 1995, the Kentucky Bar Association named Judge Nickell an Outstanding Kentucky Young Lawyer.
A native and resident of McCracken County, Judge Nickell graduated from Paducah Tilghman High School in 1977. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from DePauw University in 1981, majoring in both political science and communications. At DePauw, he served as student body president and was the recipient of the Walker Cup, which faculty present annually to the graduating senior who has contributed most to the campus community. He subsequently served on the DePauw Board of Trustees. Judge Nickell earned his juris doctor degree from the University of Kentucky College of Law in 1984, where he served as president of the student bar association.
Judge Nickell served as district governor for District 43K of the International Association of Lions Clubs and as president of the Paducah Lions Club. He is a recipient of the organization’s Finis Davis and Melvin Jones awards and is a trustee on the Kentucky Lions Eye Foundation. He is an Eagle Scout and a board member for the Shawnee Trails Boy Scout Council. He has been involved in numerous other civic organizations, including the Chamber of Commerce, Elks Club, Masons, Habitat for Humanity, Ducks Unlimited, and National Wild Turkey Federation.
Judge Nickell is a deacon and adult Sunday school teacher at the Heartland Worship Center (Southern Baptist) in Paducah. He previously served as music director at Concord United Methodist Church in Paducah and is a member of Gideons International.
Judge Nickell was married to the late Lana Jean “Jeanne” (King) Nickell, a schoolteacher, administrator and counselor who died in 2001. He is the son of Carl Duane “Red” Nickell and Anna June (Starrett) Nickell, who are retired educators.
Senior Judge Joseph E. Lambert
Judge Joseph E. Lambert is a senior judge assigned to the Court of Appeals and is the chief judge of Kentucky’s senior judge program. He became a senior judge after retiring June 27 as chief justice of the Supreme Court of Kentucky.
Judge Lambert served 22 years as a Supreme Court justice and 10 years as chief justice. He was first elected to the Supreme Court in 1986 from the 27 southeastern Kentucky counties of the 3rd Supreme Court District. He was subsequently re-elected in 1994 and 2002. He became Kentucky’s fourth chief justice in October 1998 by a vote of his fellow justices and was re-elected to two additional four-year terms as chief justice in 2002 and in 2006.
During Judge Lambert’s 10-year tenure as chief justice, the Kentucky Court of Justice made great strides in Family Court, judicial facilities, court technology, Drug Court, judicial education, pretrial services and diversity awareness. In the last decade, Kentucky has earned a national reputation for Family Court, court facilities improvement, Drug Court and many other cutting-edge initiatives.
As a justice of the Supreme Court, Judge Lambert authored more than 400 published opinions of the Court and scores of dissenting and concurring opinions. In addition, he authored more than 500 memorandum opinions. He has been a frequent lecturer at bar conferences and has authored articles for publication in scholarly journals and the Kentucky Bar Association’s Bench and Bar magazine. He has also participated in numerous national legal education events as an invited speaker or panelist. As chief justice, he was an active member of the national Conference of Chief Justices and was elected to serve on its board of directors.
In 2000, the Kentucky Bar Association named him Outstanding Judge of Kentucky. He is a former board member of the Conference of Chief Justices and a former regent of Eastern Kentucky University. He serves as board chair of the Kentucky Judicial Form Retirement Plan.
The Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy gave Judge Lambert its Public Service Award in 2006. In 2004, he received the Civil Rights Award from both the Northern Kentucky NAACP and the Lexington NAACP for his commitment to eliminating discrimination. In 2003, he was awarded the Kentucky Bar Association President’s Special Service Award. He was given the Kentucky Public Advocate Award in 2001. In 2000, the National Association of Drug Court Professionals gave him its Leadership Award.
In October 2007, U.S. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. appointed Chief Justice Lambert to membership on the Committee on Federal-State Jurisdiction of the Judicial Conference of the United States.
He holds a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown (Ky.) College and a juris doctor from the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law, which gave him its Distinguished Alumni Award. He has received honorary doctor of laws degrees from Georgetown College, Eastern Kentucky University and Northern Kentucky University Chase College of Law.
Judge Lambert is a native of Rockcastle County and resides in Mount Vernon with his wife, Debra, an attorney. They have two sons, Joseph and John.
Kentucky Court of Appeals
Nearly all cases heard by the Kentucky Court of Appeals come to it on appeal from a lower court. If a case is tried in Circuit Court or District Court and the losing parties involved are not satisfied with the outcome, they may ask for a higher court to review the correctness of the trial court’s decision. Some cases, such as criminal case acquittals and divorces, may not be appealed. In a divorce case, however, child custody and property rights decisions may be appealed. Cases are not retried in the Court of Appeals. Only the record of the original court trial is reviewed, with attorneys presenting the legal issues to the court for a decision.
Fourteen judges, two elected from seven appellate court districts, serve on the Court of Appeals. The judges are divided into panels of three to review and decide cases, with the majority determining the decision. The panels do not sit permanently in one location, but travel throughout the state to hear cases.
Administrative Office of the Courts
The Administrative Office of the Courts in Frankfort supports the activities of 3,800 Kentucky Court of Justice employees, including the elected offices of justices, judges and circuit court clerks. As the fiscal agent for the state court system, the AOC prepares a biennial budget draft and executes the Judicial Branch budget.