Appeal of restraining order dismissed since not avenue of relief: KENTUCKY HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION V. EDWARDS (SC 6/19/2008)

APPEALS:  Interlocutory appeal not avenue of relief for restraining order, appeal dismissed by SC

DATE RENDERED: 6/19/2008;  FINAL 7/20/08

Bo Edwards was a student-athlete at Barren County HS from his ninth to eleventh grades. In May 2007 the HS administration found he had violated the school’s alcohol policy and declared him ineligible for athletics the following school year. He enrolled at Glasgow HS in June 2007 and requested that the KHSAA declare him eligible under the bona-fide-change-in-address exception to the KHSAA Bylaws Transfer Rule. The KHSAA denied the request; two hearings were held in 2007, and the Hearing Officer eventually recommended affirming the denial, finding that the residence exception was not available where the student left the sending school under penalty which would have resulted in their [sic] ineligibility at the sending school. The KHSAA adopted the Hearing Officer’s recommendation and declared him ineligible to play the 07-08 school year.

Bo then filed a verified complaint with the Barren CC seeking judicial review of the decision; he also filed an ex parte motion for a temporary injunction barring enforcement of the decision. The Barren CC granted this ex parte motion in a document styled "Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Temporary Injunction" entered 10/26/07.

On 11/13/07 the KHSAA filed a motion for interlocutory relief with the CAs under CR 65.07; the CAs denied the motion, finding that the KHSAA failed to show the CC’s findings were clearly erroneous or failed to balance the parties’ equities. The KHSAA then filed a motion for interlocutory relief with the Supremes under CR 65.09, arguing it was entitled to relief because of the "special difficulties" presented by student athlete eligibility cases and because the CC abused its discretion.

Though neither party argued the issue, the Supremes noted that it is required, sua sponte, to address jurisdiction if necessary. The Supremes reviewed the proceedings below and found that temporary injunctions may only be granted with notice and a hearing. Here, the motion was styled a TI, but it was "ex parte," and provided neither notice nor hearing to the KHSAA. The CC’s order, then was NOT a TI, and instead must be deemed a restraining order. See Common Cause of Ky. v. Commonwealth, 143 S.W.3d 634 (Ky., 2004)(holding that substance and form of order made it a restraining order, despite movant’s claim that it amended its motion to argue for a TI). The Supremes point out that there is a difference between an Restraining Order and a Temporary Injunction, and the distinction is important, becuase there is no right to appeal or seek interlocutory relief from an Restraining Order, unlike a Temporary Injunction. Instead, the remedy for an Restraining Order is a motion for the trial court to dissolve the Restraining Order, which has the effect of automatically ending the Restraining Order unless the other side has also moved for a Temporary Injunction. See CR 65.03(5).

Because the Civil Rules make no provision for appeals from Restraining Orders, the Supremes held they could not address the merits of KHSAA’s claim at this time. It therefore vacated the CAs decision and dismissed the KHSAA’s CR 65.09 motion.

By Cherry Guarnieri, ed.

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