Neidlinger v. Neidlinger, 52 S.W.3d 513 (Ky. 2001), Justice Cooper.
Denial of the wife’s motion for reimbursement of attorney fees in a divorce action after the fees had already been incurred was affirmed. The Court of Appeals had determined that the wife’s motion was not preserved for appellate review because the wife failed to name the attorney as a party to the appeal. However, the attorney was not an indispensable party to the appeal because his fees had already been paid and the wife was seeking reimbursement for herself. Therefore, it was not necessary to name the attorney in the appeal. The Court affirmed the result because it was within the trial court’s discretion to determine a reasonable amount for attorney fees and the trial court could have concluded that the wife did not need the fees because she had spent $26,000 of potential marital assets, possibly on attorney fees.
KRS 403.220 was broad enough to authorize an order requiring one party to advance prospective attorney’s fees necessary to enable the other party to obtain adequate representation. However, the wife’s failure to advise the trial judge what sum she needed to retain counsel meant the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying the wife’s motion.
There is no statutory presumption as to whether debts incurred during a marriage are marital or non-marital in nature. Nor is there any presumption that debts must be divided equally or in the same proportions as the marital property.
Privett v. Clendenin, 52 S.W.3d 530 (Ky. 2001), Justice Johnstone.
"District courts have exclusive subject-matter jurisdiction over claims brought under the UTMA [Uniform Transfers to Minors Act, KRS Chapter 385], even accounting claims that in all probability will involve sums exceeding the district court’s jurisdictional limitation of $4,000 imposed by KRS 24A120."
Therefore, the Jessamine Circuit Court lacked subject-matter jurisdiction to hear a father’s action under the Uniform Transfers to Minors Act for an accounting and removal of the custodian.
Thomas v. Cabinet for Families and Children, 57 S.W.3d 262 (Ky. 2001), Justice Stumbo.
KRS 13B.140 gives a person who has filed a complaint with the Quality Assurance Branch of the Cabinet for Families and Children a right to appeal an adverse decision to either the Franklin Circuit Court, or the court in which the appealing party resides. However, an appeal by a family that had been assured by the Cabinet they would be allowed to adopt a newborn placed in a foster home, only to have the Cabinet allow the foster mother to adopt the newborn, was dismissed as untimely. KRS 13B.140 only allowed an aggrieved party 30 days to appeal an order.
Robertson v. Vinson, 58 S. W. 3d. 432 (Ky. 2001), Justice Stumbo.
Uninsured motorist proceeds paid after an uninsured motorist killed the unmarried decedent intestate in an automobile accident were to be paid to the decedent intestate’s heirs, not the sole beneficiary of the decedent’s will. The wrongful death statute, KRS 411.130(2)(c), required that in the absence of a spouse, the amount received for a wrongful death must go to the decedent’s children. The language of the contract between the decedent and insurance company stated that the insurance company would pay any amount due under the uninsured motorist coverage to a person authorized by law to receive such payment. In wrongful death cases, those persons authorized by law to receive such UM payments were enumerated in KRS 411.130(2).
James v. Shadoan, 58 S.W. 3d 884 (Ky. 2001), Justice Johnstone.
The Court affirmed the Court of Appeals’ decision denying appellant parents’ petition for a writ of prohibition to prevent the McCracken County Court from enforcing its order allowing the guardian ad litem a fee for his services as guardian ad litem for Michael Carneal. The trial court did not hold a hearing on the issue of the guardian ad litem’s fee, it simply granted the fee. The parents claimed this was error and precluded an adequate remedy by appeal because the failure to hold a hearing denied the parents the ability to present an appellate court with a complete record from which it could fairly and accurately review the trial court’s ruling. The court disagreed and held that the parents were not precluded from simply directly appealing the trial court’s alleged error in awarding the fee. Therefore, the parents had an adequate remedy on appeal and were not entitled to the extraordinary remedy of a writ of prohibition.
Fields v. Fields, 58 S. W. 3d 464 (Ky. 2001), Justice Stumbo.
Prejudgment interest could be awarded to one spouse, on marital property under the control of the other spouse, for the time period between the entry of an interlocutory divorce decree and the ultimate judgment on the issue of property division. The decision to award prejudgment interest was within the discretion of the trial court and will not always be warranted. In the instant case, the husband sought an interlocutory decree of divorce. That cut off the wife’s accrual of marital property. The main marital property consisted of the couple’s farm operation. Prejudgment interest for the wife between the interlocutory decree and final judgment was proper because the property was income producing and increased in value. During that time the wife was cut off from sharing in the increase of the farm’s value.
The Court overruled Clark v. Clark, 487 S.W.2d 272 (Ky. 1972), which did not allow an award of prejudgment interest on the basis that until final judgment was rendered the claiming spouse only had an unliquidated claim against the other spouse. The Court believed that the courts have long been calculating the value of intangible contributions to the increase in marital property.
The trial court erred in awarding prejudgment interest at the rate of 12%. Prejudgment interest was limited to the legal rate, found in KRS 360.010, of 8%.
Commonwealth v. Fox, 48 S. W. 3d 24 (Ky. 2001), Justice Wintersheimer, 2001 WL 674163.
"A law enforcement officer may stop a vehicle based solely upon a failure to secure a child of less than 40 inches in height in accordance with KRS 189.125." KRS 189.125(3) created a crime for failure to properly restrain a child of less than 40 inches in height. It was clear to the Court that public policy had developed to a point where the protection of children had been declared and the intent to treat them differently from adults. The Court reiterated that law enforcement officers could not stop a vehicle based solely on the officer’s observance that an adult was not wearing a seat belt in violation of KRS 189.125. Thus, the stop of defendant’s vehicle after an officer observed a child standing in defendant’s vehicle was valid.
Weiand v. Board of Trustees of Kentucky Retirement System, 25 S.W.3d 88 (Ky. 2000), Justice Johnstone.
Ex-wife of deceased/retired member of the Kentucky Employee Retirement System (KERS) claimed she was the beneficiary of her ex-husbands retirement benefits upon his death. Despite the couple's intentions to keep her the beneficiary, as evidenced by their Property Settlement Agreement, the Court found "that, under KRS 61.542(2)(b), the estate becomes the beneficiary if the retired member and the beneficiary-spouse have the status of being divorced from each other on the date of the retired member's death."
Pyles v. Russell, 36 S.W.3d 365 (Ky. 2000), Justice Wintersheimer.
The law of the forum governed whether children adopted by their paternal grandparents in Tennessee could inherit from their maternal grandmother, who died intestate in Kentucky. The Court held that Kentucky law, which did not allow adopted children to inherit through their biological parents, applied to cut off the children’s right to inherit from the maternal grandmother in Kentucky. The Full Faith and Credit Clause had no application to the suit. Tennessee’s law, which allowed adopted children to inherit through their biological parents, could not be imposed upon Kentucky’s conflicting law because the law where property was situated was the law that applied to govern distribution of the property.
Osborne v. Payne and Payne v. Osborne, 31 S.W.3d 911 (Ky. 2000), Justice Wintersheimer.
Members of the clergy can be liable for damages arising from the tort of outrage when they cause intentional infliction of emotional distress. Based on that reasoning the trial court erred in granting summary judgment for a priest in a husband’s action against the priest after the priest entered into an adulterous affair with the wife while providing marriage counseling to the husband and wife. The priest was found not to be acting within the scope of his employment with the archdiocese and the archdiocese was not vicariously liable for the priest’s conduct.
Boarman v. Commonwealth, 37 S.W.3d 759 (Ky. 2001), Justice Stumbo.
Life insurance proceeds paid to plaintiff widow in her individual capacity under an insurance policy that she purchased, owned and was the beneficiary of was not a collateral source payment that could be offset against her wrongful death claim against the Department of Highways in the Board of Claims. Had the insurance proceeds been payable to plaintiff in her role as administratrix of her husband’s estate the proceeds could have been offset against the wrongful death claim. No-fault benefits received by plaintiff in her capacity as administratrix and representing basic reparation benefits and funeral expenses could be offset against the wrongful death claim, as could medical expense payments received by plaintiff as administratrix.
Hardin County Schools v. Foster, 40 S.W.3d 865 (Ky. 2001), Justice Wintersheimer.
County school systems are required, under the Open Records Act, KRS 61.870 et seq., to release records of student disciplinary hearings without redacting the particular school and offense, year of occurrence, reason for the disciplinary action and type of offense, but must redact any information that would reveal any personal characteristics of the student, including name, address or age or information that would reasonably lead to identification of the student.
Raichel v. Raichel, 65 S. W. 3d 497 (Ky. 2001), Justice Stumbo.
Cashier’s check made payable to the decedent and the decedent’s son constituted a joint account and was payable to the decedent’s son at the decedent’s death for purposes of KRS 391.315(1), and thus the decedent’s estate was not entitled to the cashier’s check. The cashier’s check constituted an account because the decedent had to present and deposit the funds indicated in the check with the bank in order to obtain the cashier’s check. This created a contract of deposit of funds between the depositor and a financial institution. The account was a joint account because it was payable on request to one or more of two or more parties.
Travis v. Travis, 59 S. W. 3d 904 (Ky. 2001), Opinion of the Court.
Husband’s failure to show that his $7500 non-marital contribution toward the purchase and remodeling of the marital residence appreciated in value as a result of general economic conditions rather than the joint efforts of the parties meant he was entitled to only that amount from the insurance proceeds when the house was destroyed by fire even though the house had increased in value since the time of the non-marital investment.
"When property acquired during the marriage includes an increase in the value of an asset containing both marital and non-marital components, trial courts must determine from the evidence ‘why the increase in value occurred’" because ‘where the value of non-marital property increases after marriage due to general economic conditions, such increase is not marital property, but the opposite is true when the increase in value is a result of the joint efforts of the parties.’ KRS 403.190(3), however, creates a presumption that any such increase in value is marital property, and, therefore, a party asserting that he or she should receive appreciation upon a non-marital contribution as his or her non-marital property carries the burden of proving the portion of the increase in value attributable to the non-marital contribution. [F]ailure to do so will result in the increase being characterized as marital property."