CIVIL PROCEDURE – Transfer to district court reversed based upon jurisdictional amount: Jackson v. Beattyville Water Department (COA 2/20/2009)

Jackson v. Beattyville Water Department
2008-CA-000421
02/20/2009
2009 WL 414302
Opinion by Judge Stumbo; Judges Clayton and Moore concurred.

The Court reversed and remanded an order of the circuit court that remanded appellant’s claim to district court.

The Court held the trial court erred in transferring the action after finding that appellant failed to establish a prima facie case that her damages exceeded the jurisdictional amount set out in KRS Chapter 23A and 24A, based on defense counsel’s erroneous statement that appellant had not filed a supplemental answer demonstrating the amount in controversy. The record established that the answer was timely filed and the complaint, coupled with appellant’s answers to interrogatories, was sufficient to establish jurisdiction in the circuit court.

FAMILY LAW: Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act (UCCJA) jurisdiction, home state: Hearld v. Hearld (COA 2/13/2009)

Hearld v. Hearld
2008-CA-000601
02/13/2009
2009 WL 350713
Opinion by Judge Thompson; Judge Stumbo and Senior Judge Guidugli concurred.

The Court vacated and remanded an order awarding custody of three minor children to the mother.

The Court held that the family court lacked jurisdiction under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Act (UCCJEA). The prerequisite for the court to invoke jurisdiction under KRS 403.822 was not met, as Kentucky was not the home state of the children for six months prior to the commencement of the custody proceedings and moreover, there was no evidence to suggest that the children’s home state of North Carolina had declined to exercise jurisdiction. Further, the court did not have emergency jurisdiction under KRS 403.828(1), as the custodial parent’s pending deployment to Iraq and refusal to disclose the location of the children did not constitute mistreatment or abuse so as to invoke the court’s subject matter jurisdiction.

JURISDICTION: Subject matter, Indiana contract — LYNN V. DIGITAL LIFESTYLES, LLC (COA 11/14/2008)

LYNN V. DIGITAL LIFESTYLES, LLC
JURISDICTION:  Subject matter, Indiana contract
EVIDENCE:  Spoliation of Evidence
2007-CA-002442
PUBLISHED: AFFIRMING
PANEL:  LAMBERT JAMES PRESIDING; HENRY, NICKELL CONCUR
JEFFERSON CIR. COURT
DATE RENDERED: 11/14/2008

The Court affirmed a judgment of the circuit court denying appellant’s motion for summary judgment and findings of fact and conclusion of law awarding damages to appellee on its claim for breach of contract for the installation of a home theater system. The Court first held that the case fell into the exception articulated in Transportation Cabinet, Bureau of Highways, Com. of Ky. v. Leneave, 751 S.W.2d 36 (Ky. App. 1988), allowing for the appeal of a denial of a motion for summary judgment because the facts were not in dispute, the question of whether the Court had jurisdiction was a matter of law, and there was a final judgment with an appeal taken. The Court then held that the trial court had personal jurisdiction over appellant even though he was an Indiana resident, the contract was signed in Indiana, and the work was to be performed in Indiana. Appellant came into Kentucky and sought out the on-going contract for goods and services, traveled into Kentucky to re-negotiate the contract, ultimately contracted with another Kentucky business, and caused direct consequence within the state by negotiating a contract for a large sum of money. The Court then held that appellee was not required to prove with certainty the costs of the equipment for the project because the equipment was ultimately not purchased because of the breach. Therefore, the trial court did not abuse its discretion by relying on testimony that the equipment costs amounted to half of the contract price and awarding damages based on that testimony. The Court finally held that there was no evidence that appellee suppressed or spoiled evidence. 

From COA November
Summaries

District court jurisdiction and forcible retainer: COFFEY V. KEHOE ROCK AND STONE, LLC (COA 10/31/2008)

COFFEY V. KEHOE ROCK AND STONE, LLC
PROPERTY:  Forcible detainer, district court jurisdiction
2007-CA-001695
PUBLISHED:  REVERSING AND REMANDING
PANEL:  CAPERTON PRESIDING; KELLER, NICKELL CONCUR
GREENUP COUNTY
DATE RENDERED: 10/31/2008

On discretionary review, the Court reversed and remanded with directions for the circuit court to vacate a judgment of the district court. The Court held that the district court did not have subject matter jurisdiction to grant a forcible detainer based on a contract for a lease to mine limestone. The lease did not result in the creation of a landlord-tenant relationship but instead granted incorporeal interests within the land and KRS 24A.120 specifically excluded interest in land from the jurisdiction of the
district court. 

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