Kentucky Court of Justice
Kentucky Court of Appeals to hear oral arguments in state trooper’s appeal, other cases Feb. 18 in Bowling Green
FRANKFORT, Ky. -- The Kentucky Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments in Bowling Green on Wednesday, Feb. 18, in the case of a Kentucky state trooper who claims that a former Butler County sheriff is responsible for the near fatal injury he sustained while responding to a call in January 1999. The trooper was assigned to the Kentucky State Police post in Bowling Green at the time of the incident.
The court will also hear oral arguments in appeals involving worker’s compensation and termination of parental rights and adoption while in Bowling Green. All proceedings will be open to the public. Proceedings will take place in room 166 of the Mass Media and Technology Hall at Western Kentucky University. The hall is located on Normal Drive.
In the case Brent Wasson v. Kenneth Morris, Trooper Brent Wasson is appealing the lawsuit he lost against former Sheriff Kenneth Morris in Butler County Circuit Court in 2008. Wasson claims that then-Sheriff Morris’ failure to tell him about the danger of a call he was responding to in the county resulted in the trooper being shot three times with his service weapon by the man who was the subject of the call. The issues in the case include whether there was a special relationship between the trooper and sheriff that would have indicated a duty for the sheriff to act, the trooper’s assumption of risk in responding to the call and sovereign or qualified immunity.
A three-judge panel consisting of Court of Appeals Judges Janet L. Stumbo and Jeff S. Taylor and Senior Judge John W. Graves will hear oral arguments in the case at 1:30 p.m. CST.
The panel will hear oral arguments in the worker’s compensation appeal William Lyons et al. v. Old Chicago Pizza et al. at 2:15 p.m. CST. Another panel consisting of Court of Appeals Judges James H. Lambert and Jeff S. Taylor and Senior Judge John W. Graves will hear oral arguments at 3 p.m. CST in R.M. et al. v. R.B. et al., the appeal involving termination of parental rights and adoption.
A docket containing summaries of the cases is below.
BOWLING GREEN DOCKET
Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2009
1:30 PM 2008CA000780
BRENT WASSON v. KENNETH MORRIS
Summary: Civil. State trooper is appealing circuit court’s summary judgment regarding his claim that former Butler County Sheriff Kenneth Morris is responsible for his sustaining a near fatal injury while responding to a call in Butler County. The issues in the case include whether there was a special relationship between the trooper and sheriff that would have indicated a duty for the sheriff to act, the trooper’s assumption of risk in responding to the call and sovereign or qualified immunity.
Butler County judge who ruled in the case – Judge Ronnie C. Dortch
Appellant’s attorney: Brian Lee Schuette
Appellee’s attorney: Matthew M. McGill
2:15 PM 2008CA001923
WILLIAM LYONS ET AL. v. OLD CHICAGO PIZZA ET AL.
Summary: Worker’s compensation. At issue is whether the administrative law judge in the case properly denied petition for attorney fees.
Judge who ruled in the case – Judge William Bruce Cowden
Appellants’ attorney: Robert L. Catlett Jr.
Appellees’ attorneys: Joel W. Aubrey, Dwight T. Lovan and Andrew F. Manno
3 PM 2008CA001099
R.M. ET AL. v. R.B. ET AL.
Summary: Civil. At issue is whether the trial court erred by denying appellant’s petition for termination of parental rights and adoption.
Casey County judge who ruled in the case – Judge James G. Weddle
Appellants’ attorney: Jonathan R. Baker
Appellees’ attorneys: Gregory Y. Dunn and Donald A. Thomas
Judge James H. Lambert
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 Lambert resides near Mount Vernon with his wife, Brenda. His daughter, Lora Lambert Boyd, also lives in Rockcastle County.
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. She and her husband, attorney Ned Pillersdorf, have three daughters, Sarah, Nancee and Samantha.
Judge Jeff S. Taylor
Jeff S. 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.
Judge Taylor 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.
He 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 Brandeis School of Law, graduating with honors in 1982. He is a 1971 graduate of Elizabethtown High School.
Judge Taylor serves on the Kentucky Bar Foundation Board of Directors. In September 2006, he accepted an appointment to serve a six-year term on the Murray State University Board of Regents. Judge Taylor also serves on the board of directors for the Daviess County Public Schools Foundation.
Judge Taylor 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. He is a Life Fellow in the Kentucky Bar Foundation and a member of the Brandeis Honor Society at the 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. He is married to the former Betty Keller. She has one son, and they have two grandchildren.
Senior Judge John W. Graves
John W. Graves of Paducah is a senior judge assigned to the Court of Appeals. He became a senior judge after retiring as a Supreme Court justice in December 2006.
Judge Graves was elected to the Supreme Court of Kentucky in November 1995 and re-elected for a second term in 1998. He served as a circuit judge after being appointed in 1989 and as a district judge after he was appointed in 1984.
Prior to his judicial career, Judge Graves was an attorney in private practice for 20 years.
Judge Graves earned his juris doctor from the University of Kentucky College of Law and his bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame.
Judge Graves and his wife, Mary Ann, have two children, James Anthony and Kevin Andrew.
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.
The Administrative Office of the Courts in Frankfort supports the activities of 4,000 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.