Kentucky Court of Justice
Kentucky Court of Appeals to hear oral arguments April 16 in Elizabethtown
FRANKFORT, Ky. -- The Kentucky Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments in two cases Wednesday, April 16, at the Hardin County Justice Center in Elizabethtown. The proceedings will be open to the public.
A three-judge panel consisting of Court of Appeals Chief Judge Sara Walter Combs and Judges Glenn E. Acree and Kelly Thompson will hear arguments in the cases at 10:15 a.m. and 11 a.m. at the justice center, which is located at 120 E. Dixie Ave.
Summaries of the cases the panel will hear are below.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
10:15 AM 2006CA000993 and 2007CA001501
UNIFIRST CORP. v OLIVIA STEWART
Summary: Civil. Employment discrimination: Employer appeals jury verdict that wrongfully terminated employee because she stated to co-workers she had been hurt at work. Issues: (1) employee not within ambit of KRS 342.197 (2) damages award not supported by evidence (3) jury verdict was based on workers’ comp award which was later reversed (4) trial court erred by admitting inadmissible testimony. 07-CA-1501: Employer appeals from trial court’s denial of second of two separate CR 60.02 motions.
Daviess County judge who ruled in the case – Judge Henry M. Griffin III
Appellant’s attorneys: Kristi Prutow Cirignano and Jon D. Goldman
Appellee’s attorney: Jeanie Owen Miller
11 AM 2007CA001431
NATHAN HACK ET AL. v LONE OAK DEVELOPMENT INC. ET AL.
Summary: Civil. Lone Oak Development began development of a subdivision. Developer contracted with Central Paving Co. to realign ditch and construct 48-inch drainage pipe. Purchasers who are not parties to this action purchased lot near drainage pipe. Appellants purchased lot near drainage pipe. Six years after construction and two years after purchasing lot, appellants experienced soil collapse in area around pipe and allege negligence in usage of tree stumps to improperly fill hole to support pipe. Trial court granted summary judgment.
McCracken County judge who ruled in the case – Judge Craig Z. Clymer
Appellants’ attorney: James A. Harris Jr.
Appellees’ attorneys: Max S. Hartz and Burke B. Terrell
Chief Judge Sara Walter Combs
Sara Walter Combs became 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 assumed the role in June 2004 after her colleagues on the court voted unanimously to elect her to the position as chief judge, which provides administrative oversight to the Court of Appeals.
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.
She represents Division 2 of the 7th Appellate District, which 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 Combs ranked second in her class at the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law, which later honored her with its Distinguished Alumni Award. She was valedictorian at Sacred Heart Academy in Louisville and at 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, Lees College and the Kentucky Mountain Laurel Festival. 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 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, effective 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.
He is married to the former Lisa T. Hahn of Versailles. He has two sons, Matt and Taylor.
Judge Kelly Thompson
Kelly Thompson was elected to the Kentucky Court of Appeals in November 2006. He represents Division 2 of the 2nd Appellate District, which is comprised of Barren, Breckinridge, Bullitt, Daviess, Grayson, Hancock, Hardin, Hart, Henderson, LaRue, Meade, Ohio, Union and Warren counties.
Judge Thompson practiced law in Bowling Green from 1974 until his election in 2006. He was the chief public advocate for the 8th Judicial District from 1976 to 1999, and he twice served on the board of directors for the Bowling Green-Warren County Bar Association. He was chief trial counsel for the Kentucky Department of Highways in Hardin County from 1972 to 1973 and served as law clerk for the Kentucky Court of Appeals from 1973 to 1974.
Judge Thompson graduated from Western Kentucky University in 1968 with a bachelor’s degree and a teaching certificate. He earned his juris doctor from the University of Kentucky College of Law in 1972.
Judge Thompson has been admitted to practice before the U.S. Board of Claims and the U.S. Supreme Court. He has successful appellate experience in the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, the Supreme Court of Kentucky and the Kentucky Court of Appeals. He is a recipient of the Kentucky Bar Association’s Donated Legal Services Recognition Award. He has been certified as a civil trial specialist by the National Board of Trial Advocacy, which is accredited by the American Bar Association to certify lawyers in civil, criminal and family law trial advocacy. Judge Thompson has also served as a board member for numerous civic organizations in Warren County.
Judge Thompson was born in 1948 and is a Warren County native. He is married to the former Victoria Golden. He has one daughter, Elizabeth, and three grandchildren.
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 about 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.