Justia Government & Administrative Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Kentucky Supreme Court
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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals upholding the opinion and order of the Workers' Compensation Board denying Officer Tracy Toler's petition for reconsideration of the decision of the administrative law judge (ALJ) declining to award Toler an additional two percent impairment rating for pain, holding that a physician that is not licensed in Kentucky does not meet the definition of "physician" under Ky. Rev. Stat. 342.0011(32).Dr. Craig Roberts conducted an independent medical examination on Toler and assessed a six percent whole person impairment rating. To contest the rating, Toler's employer filed a report by Dr. Christopher Brigham believing a four percent impairment rating was more appropriate. The ALJ found Dr. Brigham's opinion to be more credible than Dr. Roberts' and did not award Toler an additional two percent impairment rating for pain. On appeal, Toler argued that Brigham did not qualify as a "physician" under section 342.0011(32). The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court vacated the ALJ's opinion and order, holding that Dr. Brigham did not meet the statutory definition of "physician" under the statute, and therefore, his report was inadmissible. View "Toler v. Fiscal Court" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the opinion of the court of appeals affirming the decision of the circuit court concluding that with Century Aluminum of Kentucky, GP's interpretation of the statutes which categorize tangible personal property as either tax-exempt "supplies" or taxable "repair, replacement, or spare parts" was incorrect, holding that that the Kentucky Claims Commission's final order was supported by substantial evidence.In the proceedings below, the Commission agreed with Century's interpretation of the relevant statutes and rejected the interpretation of the Department of Revenue. The circuit court and court of appeals reversed, agreeing with the Department's interpretation. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) a tax-exempt "supply" is consumed within the manufacturing process and has a useful life of less than one year; (2) a taxable "repair, replacement, or spare part" does not necessarily have a known, limited useful life; and (3) the Commission's final order in this case was supported by substantial evidence in the record. View "Century Aluminum of Ky., GP v. Department of Revenue" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the determination of the Judicial Conduct Commission that Family Court Judge Julia Gordon committed judicial misconduct and ordered that she be removed from office, holding that there was no error warranting reversal of the Commission's final order.The Commission served Judge Gordon with notice of formal proceedings outlining six charges against her alleging violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct. The Commission ultimately found that the claims against Judge Gordon indicated violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct and removed her from office. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that, given Judge Gordon's numerous violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct, the sanction of removal was appropriate. View "Gordon v. Judicial Conduct Commission" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals concluding that Claimant's claim for disability benefits was not barred by res judicata and that the Workers' Compensation Board misconstrued the reopening statute, Ky. Rev. Stat. 342.125(1)(d) and (2), holding that the court of appeals did not err.In 2017, Claimant received a work-related injury, and an administrative law judge (ALJ) awarded her temporary total disability benefits. In 2019, Claimant alleged a worsening of her condition, and her claim was reopened pursuant to section 342.125(1)(d). An ALJ awarded Claimant permanent partial disability benefits and future medical benefits. The Board reversed, holding that the ALJ's original decision was supported by substantial evidence and therefore was res judicata. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that the Board misconstrued section 342.125 and erred in its res judicata analysis. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that nothing in the plain language of section 342.125 precludes reopening of a temporary disability award. View "Lakshmi Narayan Hospitality Group Louisville v. Jimenez" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals declining to extend the holding in Livingood v. Transfreight, LLC, 467 S.W.3d 249 (Ky. 2015) to Ky. Rev. Stat. 342.730(1)(c)1, otherwise known as the three-multiplier, holding that this Court declines to extend Livingood to the three-multiplier.At issue was whether the holding in Livingood "that the legislature did not intend to reward an employee's wrongdoing with a double benefit" should be extended to preclude application of the three-multiplier when a claimant has been terminated for misconduct. Claimant in this case was allegedly fired for filing false information on a company report. The ALJ found that Claimant retained a permanent impairment due to a work injury and that this case justified application of the three-multiplier. The Workers' Compensation Board affirmed, determining that Livingood did not apply to the three-multiplier. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that nothing in the statue or the facts below requires extension of Livingood to section 342.730(1)(c)1. View "Tractor Supply v. Wells" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals affirming the order of the Workers Compensation Board reversing an Administrative Law Judge's (ALJ) application of the 2x multiplier in Ky. Rev. Stat. 342.730(1)(c)2, holding that there was no error.After suffering a work-related injury Claimant continued working his normal job for almost one year before he was laid off for unrelated reasons. The ALJ determined that, since Claimant earned no wage after the lay-off he qualified for the 2x multiplier, which doubles a claimant's benefits if the claimant returns to work after injury at the same or higher wages but subsequently experiences a cessation of that employment. The Board reversed as to the application of the 2x multiplier, determining that there was no "return" to work under section 342.730(1)(c)2. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the ALJ misapplied the law to the facts. View "Helton v. Rockhampton Energy, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the opinion of the court of appeals that affirmed an administrative law judge's (ALJ) award of permanent partial disability benefits to Plaintiff, holding that the court of appeals did not err.Plaintiff worked for Defendant for twenty-three years as a garbage truck driver and loader. After he was injured on two separate occasions, Plaintiff filed two claims for workers' compensation benefits. The ALJ awarded Plaintiff permanent partial disability benefits, applying the three-multiple from Ky. Rev. Stat. 342.730(1)(c)(1) to the benefits for both injuries. The Workers' Compensation Board affirmed. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the ALJ's award was supported by substantial evidence. View "Apple Valley Sanitation, Inc. v. Stambaugh" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals affirming the decision of the circuit court to overturn a final order of the Secretary of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services dismissing an administrative action against Appalachian Hospice Care, Inc., holding that there was no error.At issue on appeal was whether the Secretary erred in concluding that a non-lawyer's request for an administrative hearing on behalf of a corporate entity constitutes the unauthorized practice of law requiring dismissal of the administrative action. The lower courts answered the question in the negative. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that there was no unauthorized practice of law in this case. View "Cabinet for Health & Family Services v. Appalachian Hospice Care, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the opinion of the court of appeals affirming the Workers' Compensation Board's decision reversing a decision by the Chief Administrative Law Judge (CALJ) denying Carlye Harper's motion to reopen her workers' compensation claim to seek vocational rehabilitation benefits, holding that there was no error.Harper suffered a work-related injury to her back and lower extremities. After a hearing, an ALJ awarded permanent partial disability income benefits. Approximately sixteen months later, Harper sought to file an application for vocational rehabilitation services pursuant to Ky. Rev. Stat. 342.710. The CALJ overruled the motion to reopen. The Board reversed, and the court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the legislature intended section 342.710(3) to provide an independent ground for reopening, and claim preclusion did not bar adjudication of Harper's claim. View "Kindred Healthcare v. Harper" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the portion of the opinion of the court of appeals vacating the administrative law judge's (ALJ) award of temporarily total disability (TTD) benefits and affirmed the portion of the court of appeals' opinion vacating the award of permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits insofar as it applied to the enhancement, holding that the court of appeals erred in part.Plaintiff sustained a work-related injury while working for Defendant. An ALJ awarded Plaintiff TTD benefits, PPD benefits, and medical benefits. The ALJ applied the two-times multiplier from Ky. Rev. Stat. 342.730(1)(c)2 to Plaintiff's PPD benefits. The court of appeals vacated the ALJ's award of TTD benefits and vacated the award of PPD benefits insofar as it applied to the enhancement. The Supreme Court reversed in part, holding (1) the ALJ did not err in awarding Plaintiff TTD benefits; and (2) the ALJ erred in enhancing Plaintiff's PPD benefits by the two-times multiplier. View "French v. Rev-A-Shelf" on Justia Law