The Supreme Court issued its summary of published decisions for the month of December 2013.
For an archived list of all monthly summaries prepared by SCOKY at the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) web site, then click here. The list is organized by year and month at AOC.
Tort, insurance and civil cases:
Ridgeway Nursing & Rehabilitation Facility, LLC, Etc., et al. v. Honorable William E. Lane, Judge, Bath Circuit Court, Division I, et al.
2013-SC-000219-MR December 19, 2013
Opinion of the Court by Chief Justice Minton. Minton, C.J.; Abramson, Cunningham, Noble, Scott and Venters, JJ., sitting. All concur. Keller, J., not sitting.
Ridgeway Nursing and Rehabilitation Facility sought a writ of mandamus requiring the dismissal of claims brought against it or, alternatively, the disqualification of opposing counsel, Wilkes & McHugh. As grounds for the writ it sought, Ridgeway alleged that an investigator working at the direction of Wilkes & McHugh contacted employees of Ridgeway in contravention of Kentucky Rules of Professional Conduct 4.2. In declining to issue a writ, the Court found that Ridgeway presented no evidence that the investigator obtained any prejudicial information during the alleged improper contacts, and that the trial court had already announced that it would take appropriate action to prevent the admission of any unethically obtained evidence. As a result, the Court held that Ridgeway had an adequate remedy by appeal if any impermissibly obtained were to be introduced at trial, and that Ridgeway would not suffer irreparable harm in the absence of a writ. Further, the Court stressed that the civil arena is not the proper venue for the imposition of attorney discipline and that attorney disqualification should only be employed to remedy an ethical violation when necessary to protect the aggrieved party. The Court was careful to note, however, that its denial of the writ does not allow ethical violations to go unpunished, as there is always a potential for KBA disciplinary proceedings.