Click here for the April 2013 summaries of published decisions from the Supreme Court of Kentucky (SCOKY).
Click here for list of all summaries for SCOKY by year and month at AOC.
Tort, insurance and civil cases:
- Michael Joseph Flick v. The Estate of Christina Wittich
2010-SC-000664-DG April 25, 2013
Appellate ProcedureOpinion of the Court by Justice Abramson. Minton, C.J.; Cunningham, Scott, Venters, JJ., Frank D. McCartney, Special Justice, and Thomas W. Miller, Special Justice, concur. Keller and Noble, JJ., not sitting. Michael Flick filed a notice of appeal of a multi-million dollar wrongful death judgment. In the notice, Flick named “The Estate of Christina Wittich” as a party to the appeal. The Court of Appeals dismissed the appeal for failing to name the co-administrators of the estate in the notice of the appeal. The Supreme Court concluded that naming “The Estate of Christina Wittich” was sufficient to confer jurisdiction upon Court of Appeals over the co-administrators, to provide the parties fair notice of the appeal, and to identify parties to the appeal.
- Commonwealth of Kentucky v. Kentucky Retirement Systems, et al.
2010-SC-000809-DG April 25, 2013
Sovereign ImmunityOpinion of the Court by Justice Noble. Cunningham, Scott and Venters, JJ., concur. Minton, C.J.; and Abramson, J., concur in result only. Keller, J., not sitting. Appellees filed an action seeking a declaration that KRS 61.637(1) is unconstitutional, and named Kentucky Retirement Systems and the Commonwealth as defendants. The Commonwealth, through the Attorney General, moved to dismiss on sovereign immunity grounds maintaining its sovereign immunity is not waived in declaratory judgment actions. The trial court denied the Commonwealth’s motion to dismiss, holding that sovereign immunity does not bar a declaratory judgment action because such an action does not result in a loss of public funds or property. The Court of Appeals affirmed and this Court granted discretionary review.
The Court held that the Commonwealth waived its sovereign immunity in a declaratory judgment action because the Kentucky Retirement Systems is an “arm, branch or alter ego” of the Commonwealth. Further, the Court held that sovereign immunity does not apply to declaratory judgment actions and that it is not necessary to specifically name the Attorney General in actions against the Kentucky Retirement Systems.