Kentucky Court of Justice
Court of Appeals to hear arguments in Cowan Coalition trust dispute April 12 in Frankfort
FRANKFORT, Ky. -- The Kentucky Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments Tuesday, April 12, in a trust dispute between the Brenda D. Cowan Coalition for Kentucky and the Bluegrass Domestic Violence Program, both of which are based in Lexington. Proceedings will begin at 1:30 p.m. EDT in the Court of Appeals Courtroom at 360 Democrat Drive in Frankfort. Proceedings are open to the public.
The Cowan Coalition is appealing a Fayette County Circuit Court judgment last year that named the BDVP as successor to the YWCA Spouse Abuse Center, qualifying it to receive a trust of at least $20,000 bequeathed to the center. The Circuit Court determined that the BDVP was the successor because it continued with the center’s operations and mission after it closed. The Cowan Coalition, which was renamed from the YWCA, argues in its appeal that the Circuit Court should have dismissed the BDVP’s claim to the trust because the organization didn’t identify itself as the program’s successor when it applied to the IRS for non-profit status.
The YWCA closed its spouse abuse center in 2004 and changed its name from the YWCA to the Brenda D. Cowan Coalition for Kentucky in 2005, according to the Circuit Court findings. Nora L. Heines left the money to the spouse abuse center when she died in 2007. With the center closed, her trust asked a court to substitute the BDVP. The Cowan Coalition and Southern Acres Christian Church in Lexington objected to that plan. The BDVP took the case to the Circuit Court for a decision.
The church is also appealing the Circuit Court judgment. The church argues that the court erred by granting summary judgment to the BDVP rather than allowing the case to go to trial. The Heines Trust bequeathed the church and the YWCA Spouse Abuse Center half of any assets remaining in the trust after the $20,000 for the spouse abuse center.
A three-judge panel comprised of Court of Appeals Chief Judge Jeff S. Taylor and Court of Appeals Judges Glenn E. Acree and Sara Walter Combs will hear arguments in the appeals.
The court will also hear an appeal in an insurance case from Kenton County when it convenes April 12. A three-judge panel comprised of Court of Appeals Judges James H. Lambert and Janet L. Stumbo and Senior Judge Ann O’Malley Shake will hear oral arguments in that appeal.
TUESDAY, APRIL 12, 2011
BRENDA D. COWAN COALITION FOR KENTUCKY, INC. v BLUEGRASS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE PROGRAM, INC. ET AL.
SOUTHERN ACRES CHRISTIAN CHURCH OF LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY, INC. v THE BLUEGRASS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE PROGRAM, INC. ET AL.
Summary: Civil. At issue in 2010-CA-000666 is whether the Circuit Court erred by refusing to dismiss the appellee’s complaint for failure to state a claim and whether it erred by concluding that the appellee is a successor to the YWCA. At issue in 2010-CA-000699 is whether the Circuit Court erred by granting summary judgment determining that the appellee is the successor to the YWCA.
Fayette County judge who presided in the case – Judge Ernesto M. Scorsone
Attorneys for Brenda D. Cowan Coalition for Kentucky: James Morris and Sharon Morris
Attorneys for Bluegrass Domestic Violence Program: Brian Johnson and Matthew Stinnett
Attorney for Southern Acres Christian Church: Stanton Cave
Attorney for Estate of Nora L. Heines: Gary Rohrer
(For a breakdown of the parties in these appeals, look up cases 2010-CA-000666 and 2010-CA-000699 – Court of Appeals cases).
3:30 PM 2010-CA-000262
THE MEDICAL PROTECTIVE COMPANY v AURELIA WILES ET AL.
Summary: Civil. The appellant, an insurance company, is appealing an adverse judgment in a third-party bad faith case. The appellee was awarded compensatory and punitive damages due to a violation of the Unfair Claims Settlement Practices Act.
Kenton County judge who presided in the case – Judge Patricia M. Summe
Appellant’s attorneys: Frank Benton IV and Bradley Hume
Appellees’ attorneys: Philip Fairbanks, Kathie Grisham and M. Mehr
(For a breakdown of the parties in this appeal, look up case 2010-CA-000262 – Court of Appeals cases).
COURT OF APPEALS PANELS
Chief Judge Jeff S. Taylor
Judge Taylor is chief judge of the Kentucky Court of Appeals. He assumed the role in July 2010 after his colleagues on the court elected him to the position. The chief judge provides administrative oversight to the Court of Appeals.
Judge Taylor was first elected as a Court of Appeals judge in November 2003 to represent the 2nd Appellate District, which is comprised of Barren, Breckinridge, Bullitt, Daviess, Grayson, Hancock, Hardin, Hart, Henderson, LaRue, Meade, Ohio, Union and Warren counties. He was re-elected in November 2006 to a full eight-year term.
He previously practiced law in Owensboro for more than 20 years and was a sole practitioner from 1990 until his election to the Court of Appeals.
Judge Taylor has a Bachelor of Science degree from Murray State University and a Master of Public Administration degree from Memphis State University. He earned his law degree from the University of Louisville Louis D. Brandeis School of Law, graduating with honors in 1982. He is a 1971 graduate of Elizabethtown High School.
He serves on the Kentucky Bar Foundation Board of Directors and on the board of directors for the Daviess County Public Schools Foundation. He served on the Murray State University Board of Regents from September 2006 to September 2009.
He is a past president of the Kentucky chapter of the Federal Bar Association. He is also past president of the Daviess County Bar Association, Daviess County Public Defender Corp. and the Daviess County Lawyer Referral Service. He is a member of the American, Kentucky and Daviess County bar associations.
Judge Taylor is a Life Fellow in the Kentucky Bar Foundation and a member of the Brandeis Honor Society at the University of Louisville Louis D. Brandeis School of Law.
Judge Taylor is a member of the Owensboro-Daviess County Chamber of Commerce, is past president of the Owensboro Kiwanis Club and serves on the Girls Inc. Board of Trustees. He is a former board member of the Owensboro-Daviess County Committee on Aging. He has been a frequent United Way volunteer and has been a volunteer for the Salvation Army and Boy Scouts Law Explorers.
Judge Taylor was born in Fort Knox and raised in Daviess County.
Judge Glenn E. Acree
Judge Glenn E. Acree was elected judge for the Kentucky Court of Appeals in November 2006 to serve Division 2 of the 5th Appellate District. He was appointed to that position in August 2006 to fill a vacancy created when Judge Julia K. Tackett retired June 30, 2006.
The 5th Appellate District is comprised of Anderson, Bourbon, Boyle, Clark, Fayette, Franklin, Jessamine, Madison, Mercer, Scott and Woodford counties.
Judge Acree resides in Lexington, where he has had a solo practice since 1997. Prior to 1997, he practiced law with Stidham & Acree from 1996 to 1997; with Thomas, Stidham & Acree from 1994 to 1996; and with McBrayer, McGinnis, Leslie & Kirkland from 1985 to 1994.
Before his appointment to the Court of Appeals, Judge Acree handled litigation and appeals in the areas of criminal law, administrative law, employment discrimination, civil procedure, insurance law, domestic relations, environmental law and construction law.
Judge Acree has a bachelor’s degree and juris doctor from the University of Kentucky. He also earned a master’s degree from the University of Maryland.
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 currently resides at Fern Hill in Stanton, the farm she shared with her late husband, Gov. Bert T. Combs.
Judge James H. Lambert
Judge James H. Lambert was elected as judge of the Kentucky Court of Appeals in November 2006 to serve Division 2 of the 3rd Appellate District.
Judge Lambert holds a bachelor’s degree from Eastern Kentucky University and a juris doctor from Northern Kentucky University Chase College of Law. After admission to the Kentucky Bar in 1976, he entered private practice with Lambert & Lambert of Mount Vernon. He was elected Rockcastle County attorney in November 1981 and served in that capacity for three terms. He returned to full-time private practice in 1994.
Judge Lambert also served as trial commissioner for the Rockcastle County District Court from 2002 to 2005 and as an administrative law judge for the Kentucky State Department of Corrections.
Judge Janet L. Stumbo
In 1989, Janet L. Stumbo became the first woman from the 7th Judicial District to be elected to the Kentucky Court of Appeals. At that time, she was only the second woman to serve on the Court of Appeals and the first woman to be elected without having first been appointed.
Judge Stumbo served four years with the Court of Appeals before being the first woman elected (again without having first been appointed) to the Supreme Court of Kentucky in November 1993. She was re-elected to a full eight-year term on the Supreme Court in 1996. While a Supreme Court justice she served as chair of both the Civil Rules Committee and the Family Court Consortium, a statewide committee appointed by then-Chief Justice Robert F. Stephens to implement a pilot project for Family Court. The consortium’s work resulted in the enactment of an amendment to the Kentucky Constitution and legislation establishing Family Court in jurisdictions across the commonwealth.
In November 2006, two years after completing her Supreme Court tenure, Judge Stumbo was elected to the Court of Appeals for a second time to represent the 7th Appellate District. The 7th Appellate District is comprised of Boyd, Breathitt, Carter, Elliott, Floyd, Greenup, Harlan, Johnson, Knott, Lawrence, Letcher, Magoffin, Martin, Menifee, Montgomery, Morgan, Owsley, Perry, Pike, Powell, Rowan and Wolfe counties.
Judge Stumbo earned her bachelor’s degree from Morehead State University and her juris doctor from the University of Kentucky College of Law. She began her legal career as a staff attorney to the late Judge Harris S. Howard of the Kentucky Court of Appeals. She entered private practice in 1982 with Turner, Hall & Stumbo PSC, where she focused on cases involving workers’ compensation, federal black lung claims, dissolution of marriage and personal injury.
She also served as assistant Floyd County attorney for three years and sat on the board of directors of the Appalachian Research and Defense Fund of Kentucky from 1983 to 1989, serving as board chair from 1984 to 1989. Judge Stumbo became a partner in Stumbo, DeRossett & Pillersdorf in 1989, just before being elected to the Court of Appeals for the first time.
During her break from the bench from 2004 to 2006, she taught at the Appalachian School of Law and the University of Kentucky College of Law. She also taught a mock trial course for high schools students at Verbally and Mathematically Precocious Youth, a summer camp hosted by Western Kentucky University.
Judge Stumbo was inducted into the UK College of Law Alumni Hall of Fame in 1999 and into the Morehead State University Alumni Association Hall of Fame in 1990. In 1996 the Kentucky Bar Association for Women gave her its first Women Lawyers of Achievement Award, which recognizes professional excellence in the practice of law and efforts to open the field for other women. In 1995 the Women in State Government Network presented her with its Bull’s Eye Award. The Kentucky Women Advocates gave her its 1995 Outstanding Justice Award for her support of adopting gender fairness into state judicial language. In 1991 the Kentucky Women Advocates gave her its Justice Award for her use of spousal abuse evidence as grounds for setting aside a settlement in dissolution of marriage cases and for her support in creating a shelter for abused women in Floyd County.
Judge Stumbo is a native of Floyd County.
Judge Ann O’Malley Shake
Judge Ann O’Malley Shake is a senior judge assigned to the Court of Appeals.
Prior to joining the Senior Judges Program, Judge Shake served on the Jefferson County bench as a Circuit Court and District Court judge. She previously was an attorney in private practice. She also served as a social worker and a Head Start teacher.
Judge Shake earned her juris doctor from the University of Louisville Louis D. Brandeis School of Law, graduating in 1982.
She is a member of the Women Lawyers Association, the Kentucky Bar Association, the Louisville Bar Association Board of Directors, the American Bar Association, KATA and the Council on Peacemaking.
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 3,300 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.