Justia Government & Administrative Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Kentucky Supreme Court

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals upholding an Administrative Law Judge's (ALJ) award of six percent permanent partial disability benefits to Appellant because of a work-related injury, holding that substantial medical evidence supported the six percent permanent partial disability found by the ALJ. On appeal, Appellant argued that the ALJ erred by making insufficient findings to exclude a pre-existing condition in assessing his impairment rating. The Workers' Compensation Board concluded that remand was necessary for the ALJ to address Finley v. DBM Technologies, 217 S.W.3d 261 (Ky. App. 2007). The court of appeals disagreed, holding that the ALJ did not need to apply Finley and that the ALJ based her opinion on substantial medical evidence. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the ALJ did not err in limiting her discussion of Finley and that substantial evidence supported the ALJ's findings. View "Wetherby v. Amazon.com" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the opinion of the court of appeals affirming the decision of the Workers' Compensation Board reversing the determination of an administrative law judge (ALJ) denying Roger Hall's claim for benefits pursuant to Ky. Rev. Stat. chapter 342, holding that the ALJ erred by finding that Hall's claim was barred under Ky. Rev. Stat. 342.316(4)(a). Hall developed mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos over the course of his employment. Hall brought a claim for benefits. The ALJ denied the claim, concluding that Hall's mesothelioma was caused by his exposure to asbestos during the course of employment but that his claim was untimely filed pursuant to Ky. Rev. Stat. 342.316(4)(a). The Board reversed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the evidence compelled reversal of the ALJ's order. View "Letcher County Board of Education v. Hall" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the opinion of the court of appeals affirming the decision of the Workers' Compensation Board affirming the ALJ's determination that Appellant was not entitled to benefits pursuant to Ky. Rev. Stat. 342 in connection with his injury while working as a bus driver for Transit Authority of River City (TARC), holding that the ALJ's decision denying Appellant benefits was supported by substantial evidence. While operating a TARC bus Appellant was assaulted by a passenger, resulting in injuries. TARC denied Appellant's claim for benefits pursuant to the special defense provided in Ky. Rev. Stat. 342.610(3), asserting that Appellant was the aggressor in the altercation and that he acted outside of the scope of his employment. After reviewing the evidence, the ALJ denied Appellant benefits. The Board and the court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that there was substantial evidence supporting the ALJ's determination to deny benefits. View "Trevino v. Transit Authority of River City" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the opinion of the court of appeals reversing the circuit court's order requiring the Energy and Environment Cabinet to pay the outstanding balance owed to the court-appointed receiver after the conclusion of litigation regarding Jeffrey Bowling's five wastewater treatment plans that were discharging untreated sewage into Kentucky waters, holding that Kentucky law does not support requiring the Cabinet to pay the outstanding balance owed to the receiver. Beginning in 2004, the Cabinet notified Bowling that his plants were improperly operated and maintained. Bowling failed to resolve the plant conditions, and the Cabinet filed a complaint against him seeking a temporary injunction and requesting that the trial court appoint a receiver. Almost nine years later at the conclusion of the litigation, the receiver was owed $27,005. The trial court assessed this amount against the Cabinet. The court of appeals reversed, ruling that only Bowling could be liable for the money owed to the receiver. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that no special circumstances existed to justify requiring the Cabinet to cure the receiver's deficiency. View "Baughman v. Commonwealth" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the opinion of the court of appeals affirming the decision of the Workers’ Compensation Board (Board) affirming the administrative law judge’s (ALJ) denial of Appellant’s claim for benefits pursuant to Ky. Rev. Stat. 342, holding that the ALJ’s decision denying Appellant benefits was supported by substantial evidence. Appellant was injured while working as a bus driver for Transit Authority of River City (TARC). TARC denied Appellant’s claim for benefits pursuant to the special defense provided in Ky. Rev. Stat. 342.610(3). TARC argued that Appellant’s injuries was the result of Appellant acting as the aggressor in an altercation with a passenger and that Appellant acted outside the scope of his employment. The ALJ denied benefits pursuant to section 341.610(3). The Board and the court of appeals determined that there was substantial evidence supporting the ALJ’s determination to deny benefits. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the ALJ did not err in denying benefits. View "Trevino v. Transit Authority of River City" on Justia Law

by
At issue was the role of the courts on judicial review of a final decision of the Kentucky Retirement Systems (KERS) as to a KERS member’s entitlement to disability retirement. A hearing officer recommended granting Plaintiff’s disability benefits application. The Board of Trustees of KERS (Board) denied Plaintiff’s application for disability benefits. The trial court affirmed the Board’s final order. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that substantial evidence compelled a finding in favor of Plaintiff. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the KERS Board’s final decision must be supported by substantial evidence; (2) the standard set forth in McManus v. Ky. Retirement Systems, 124 S.W.3d 454, 458 (Ky. App. 2003), in conjunction with Ky. Rev. Stat. 13B.150, provides the proper standard for judicial review of KERS disability retirement decisions; (3) the hearing officer’s credibility determinations are not binding on the Board; and (4) substantial evidence supported the Board’s decision in this case, and the evidence in favor of Plaintiff was not so compelling that no reasonable person could have failed to be persuaded by it. View "Kentucky Retirement Systems v. Ashcraft" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court held that Plaintiff failed to meet the standard for judicial reversal of the Kentucky Retirement System (KERS) Board’s administrative decision to deny Plaintiff disability retirement benefits and thus affirmed the denial of benefits. The Board denied Plaintiff, a member of KERS, disability retirement benefits. The circuit court reversed on judicial review. The Court of Appeals reversed and remanded for reinstatement of the Board’s final decision denying Plaintiff’s claim, holding that the standard for judicial reversal of the Board’s decision was not met. On discretionary review, Plaintiff challenged the standard of judicial review set forth in McManus v. Kentucky Retirement Systems, 124 S.W. 3d 454 (Ky. App. 2003), and expressly adopted by the Supreme Court in Kentucky Retirement Systems v. Brown, 336 S.W.3d 8 (Ky. 2011). The Supreme Court held (1) the McManus standard remains proper; and (2) Plaintiff did not meet the standard for judicial reversal of the Board’s administrative decision. View "Bradley v. Kentucky Retirement Systems" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals affirming the Workers’ Compensation Board’s decision affirming the decision of the administrative law judge concluding that Katherine Rudd was entitled to the two-multiplier under under Ky. Rev. Stat. 342.730(1)(c)(2), holding that a workers’ compensation claimant is entitled to the two-multiplier when that individual voluntarily chooses to retire. At issue was whether the two-multiplier under section 342.730(1)(c)(2) applies to a claimant’s benefits when the claimant returns to work and later retires for reasons not solely related to the work-related injury itself. The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment below, holding that, under the circumstances presented in this case, the two-multiplier must be applied to comply with the unambiguous language of the statute. View "Active Care Chiropractic, Inc. v. Rudd" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Court of Appeals dissolving the stay of execution, and thus all collection activity, upon a judgment issued by the circuit court holding that Appellants failed to show “extraordinary cause.” The underlying merits of the circuit court’s case concerned the Public Service Commission’s enforcement of a previously-obtained money judgment that was affirmed by the Court of Appeals. Because the trial court’s order did not specify the procedural grounds for its decision to stay the case pending the resolution of an ongoing administrative case, the Supreme Court analyzed this case as an appeal from an order imposing a temporary injunction. The Court then denied Appellants’ motion to vacate the Court of Appeals’ order and affirmed the lower appellate court, holding that the judgment was valid and enforceable and that the equities did not weigh in Plaintiff’s favor. View "Pollitt v. Public Service Commission of Kentucky" on Justia Law

by
On review of the decision of the Court of Appeals reversing a final order issued by the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure issued against Appellee, the Supreme Court reversed, holding that the Court of Appeals misconstrued the relevant statutes. Upon the issuance of a complaint against a physician, a hearing officer is appointed to conduct and evidentiary hearing and issue a recommended order. Thereafter, a hearing panel of the Board considers the matter and determines either to dismiss the complaint or to issue a final order regarding the violation and an appropriate penalty. In the instant case, the Court of Appeals concluded that the hearing officer erred by not recommending a specific penalty and that the Board’s hearing panel also erred by not independently reviewing the entire evidentiary record before rendering a final order. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) Ky. Rev. Stat. 13B.110(1) allows a hearing officer to recommend a penalty but does not require him or her to do so; and (2) Ky. Rev. Stat. 13B.120(1) requires the Board to consider the record but does not require the Board to review the proceedings in their entirety before issuing a final order. View "Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure v. Strauss" on Justia Law