Kentucky Court of Justice
Court of Appeals to hear Bowling Green lodging tax case March 15 in Louisville
FRANKFORT, Ky. -- The Kentucky Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments in Louisville on Tuesday, March 15, as the city of Bowling Green appeals the dismissal of its lawsuit against several online travel companies that provide lodging for a fee. Proceedings will begin at 11 a.m. EST in the 10th floor Appellate Courtroom of the Jefferson County Judicial Center, 700 W. Jefferson St. Proceedings will be open to the public.
The city filed a lawsuit against Hotels.com and a host of other online companies in 2009 to seek a portion of the local room tax it says the companies owe the city. The city contends that the companies should pay the room taxes they charge consumers. The companies argue that Kentucky law does not require them to pay transient taxes. Warren County Circuit Court agreed with the companies and dismissed the city’s lawsuit last year. (To see all parties in this case, look up case 2010-CA-000825 – Court of Appeals cases).
A three-judge panel comprised of Court of Appeals Judges Denise G. Clayton, Michelle M. Keller and Sara Walter Combs will hear arguments in the appeal.
The state Department of Revenue has filed a friend of the court brief in support of the city of Bowling Green’s stance in the appeal.
TUESDAY, MARCH 15, 2011
11 AM 2010CA000825
CITY OF BOWLING GREEN, KENTUCKY v HOTELS.COM, L.P., ET AL.
Summary: Civil. The City of Bowling Green is appealing the dismissal of its lawsuit to collect the transient room tax.
Warren County judge who presided in the case – Judge Steve Alan Wilson
Appellant’s attorneys: Irvin Foley, Michael Foley, H. Harmon and Anthony Raluy
Appellees’ attorneys: Timothy Eifler, William Hunter Jr., David Sullivan and Amy Wheeler
COURT OF APPEALS PANEL
Judge Denise G. Clayton
Judge Denise G. Clayton became the first black woman appointed to the Kentucky Court of Appeals in October 2007. She represents Division 2 of the 4th Appellate District, which consists of Jefferson County.
Prior to her appointment to the Court of Appeals, Judge Clayton was chief circuit judge for Jefferson County, where she had been a circuit judge for nearly seven years. She was the first black woman to be a Kentucky Circuit Court judge. She was also chief regional circuit judge for the Metro Region for several months before she was appointed to the Court of Appeals. Judge Clayton also previously served in Jefferson County as a judge for District Court, Family Court and Drug Court.
Judge Clayton began her legal career as an attorney with the Internal Revenue Service. She spent nine years in private practice and was the Legal Aid Society of Louisville’s associate director before becoming a Jefferson County District Court judge in 1996.
Judge Clayton graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s degree from Defiance College in Defiance, Ohio. She earned her juris doctor degree from the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law.
She is the chairwoman for the Commission on Racial Fairness for Jefferson County’s courts and is a member of the Louisville Bar Association, Louisville Black Lawyers Association, Women Lawyers Association and Focus Louisville. She is also on the board of directors for the Coalition for the Homeless, Plymouth Community Renewal Center, Summerbridge, and Norton Hospital Foundation.
Among her awards, Judge Clayton has received the Public Advocate Award from the state’s Department of Public Advocacy, the Distinguished Alumna Award from the Brandeis School of Law, the Alumni Achievement Award from Defiance College, the Community Service Award from the Optimist Club of Louisville, and the Champion for Children Award from Shawnee High School in Louisville.
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.
Judge Sara Walter Combs
Judge Sara Walter Combs was the first woman and the first judge from the Eastern Kentucky counties of the 7th Appellate District to serve as chief judge of the Kentucky Court of Appeals. She served in that role from June 2004 until May 2010.
Judge Combs also made history by being the first woman to serve on the Supreme Court of Kentucky when then Gov. Brereton Jones appointed her to serve on the state’s highest court in l993. After she narrowly lost her election to retain that seat on the Supreme Court, Gov. Jones appointed her to fill a vacancy on the Court of Appeals in 1994. She was elected to the court in November 1994 and re-elected in 2000 and again in 2006.
The Kentucky Bar Association named Judge Combs as Outstanding Judge of the Year in June 2010.
Judge Combs ranked second in her class at the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law, which later honored her with a Distinguished Alumni Award. She was valedictorian at both Sacred Heart Academy in Louisville and U of L, where she obtained an undergraduate degree in French. She also earned her master’s degree in French from U of L, having been recognized as a Woodrow Wilson Designate.
Judge Combs has taught at the high school and university levels in addition to gaining broad experience in the practice of law. She began her career as an associate with Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs in Louisville before serving as corporate counsel to an advertising company. She also practiced law with her late husband, former Kentucky Gov. Bert T. Combs; established a solo practice in Stanton; and became a regional associate with the Louisville law firm of Mapother & Mapother.
She is affiliated with numerous professional, educational and civic organizations. She is a member of the Kentucky Bar Association, the Louisville Bar Association and the University Press of Kentucky. She also serves on the boards of Pikeville College and Lees College. She previously served for seven years on the Kentucky Appalachian Commission.
Judge Combs resides at Fern Hill in Stanton, the farm she shared with her late husband, Gov. Bert T. Combs.
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 is the operations arm for the state court system. The AOC supports the activities of nearly 3,600 court system employees and 403 elected justices, judges and circuit court clerks. As the fiscal agent for the state court system, the AOC executes the Judicial Branch budget.