Articles Posted in Kentucky Supreme Court

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The court of appeals did not err in reversing the circuit court’s judgment that Anne Talley and Daniel Paisley were to share equally in the proceeds of sale of their jointly owned real property based on their respective ownership percentages and irrespective of Paisley’s discharge of mortgage liens encumbering the property. After Paisley and Talley sold their jointly owned residence, Paisley proposed that the proceeds be divided based on the parties’ proportionate contribution and to reflect that he had contributed more to the residence. The trial court ordered the equity in the residence to be divided equally between the parties. The court of appeals reversed, holding that, as a matter of law, Paisley was entitled to be proportionately reimbursed by Talley for payments he made during their joint tenancy. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that, under Kentucky law, joint tenants are entitled to proportionate reimbursement for the payment of liens and other encumbrances on the property. View "Talley v. Paisley" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court vacated the opinion of the court of appeals ruling that the circuit court prematurely granted specific performance of an option contract because disputed issues of fact material to that form of relief had been left unresolved in the circuit court. The circuit court granted the motion for specific performance of a real estate option contract between AEP Industries, Inc. (AEP) and B.G. Properties, Inc. (BG). The court of appeals determined that the circuit court had not adequately addressed the threshold issue of whether, as alleged by BG, AEP had first violated the option agreement with a faulty appraisal and thus was barred from seeking specific performance. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that BG’s execution and delivery of a general warranty deed without an express reservation of rights and its acceptance of stated consideration for the transfer precluded its further challenge to the enforcement of the option agreement. View "AEP Industries, Inc. v. B.G. Properties, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the trial court’s grant of summary judgment to a subdivision developer (Developer) in this suit filed by the Majestic Oaks Homeowners Association (HOA) to stop Developer’s continued use of a purportedly terminated easement in gross. The HOA claimed that its adoption of an amendment to a declaration of covenants, conditions, and restrictions and the relinquishment by Developer of any ownership rights in the “property” rendered the easement ineffective. The lower courts disagreed with the HOA. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the defeasible easement principle applied to the easement for ingress and egress retained by Developer to terminate it when a majority of HOA members voted to do so, as allowed by the express terms of Developer’s recorded subdivision plat. View "Majestic Oaks Homeowners Ass’n v. Majestic Oaks Farms, Inc." on Justia Law

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With respect to the division of proceeds from the sale of jointly-held property when the cotenants have no agreement regarding how sale proceeds would be split, to the extent that one tenant contributed more than his or her half to the discharge of encumbrances, liens, and taxes, that tenant is entitled to contribution from the other. The Court of Appeals did not err in reversing the circuit court’s judgment that Daniel Paisley and Anne Talley were to share equally in the proceeds of sale of their jointly owned real property based on their respective ownership percentages and irrespective of payments of liens and other encumbrances on the property Paisley made during their joint tenancy. The Court of Appeals held, as a matter of law, that Paisley was entitled to be proportionately reimbursed by Talley for his payments. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) under Kentucky law, joint tenants are entitled to proportionate reimbursement for the payment of liens and other encumbrances on the property; and (2) Paisley did not expressly or implicitly waive any right to contribution, or intend his contributions to be a gift to Talley. View "Talley v. Paisley" on Justia Law

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In an effort to replace its aging middle school building, the Paducah Independent School District initiated condemnation proceedings against real property owned by Defendant. The property was officially taken after an award of $96,000 to Defendant, but both sides were dissatisfied. After a bench trial, Defendant was awarded $115,000 in compensation damages. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that the trial court relied on outdated and otherwise incompetent evidence of the property’s fair market value. The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals and reinstated the trial court’s judgment, holding that the trial court’s approach was both legally sound and properly grounded in the record. View "Paducah Independent School District v. Putnam & Sons, LLC" on Justia Law

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Developer intended to develop real property into single-family residential lots and secured financing through Bank. Insurer provided a surety bond to the Planning and Zoning Commission. Insurer executed three Bond Agreements as surety for Developer. Developer later defaulted in its loan. In lieu of foreclosure, Developer deed the property to Bank’s property management company. Bank transferred the property to another internal holding company. The Commission subsequently complied with Bank’s request for the Commission to call Developer’s bonds and place the proceeds in escrow for the purpose of reimbursing Bank for completion of the necessary infrastructure projects required by Developer’s approved plat. Developer filed a declaratory judgment action alleging that the bonds were not callable and that payment on the bonds would result in Bank receiving an unjust enrichment. The trial court granted summary judgment for Defendants. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Developer was liable under the bond; and (2) Developer’s claims of error during discovery were unavailing. View "Furlong Development Co. v. Georgetown-Scott County Planning & Zoning Commission" on Justia Law

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The parties in this case, neighboring landowners, disputed the ownership of Church Lane, an old road or passway in Gallatin County. Appellee argued that the road was owned by the County or, alternatively, was a public road. Appellants contended that the road was their private property. The circuit court determined that Church Lane was a private road. The Court of Appeals reversed, concluding that Church Lane was a public road. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the trial court correctly determined that Church Lane had been discontinued as a public road, and the eastern portion of the road reverted back to Appellants as a private road. View "Kentucky Props. Holding LLC v. Sproul" on Justia Law

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On February 10, 2014, Landlord Bobby Turner provided his tenant, Lesley Shinkle, with written notice to vacate the premises. Eight days later, Turner filed a forcible detainer complaint against Shinkle. When the matter came before the district court on February 27, 2014, for the "inquisition" required by KRS 383.220, Shinkle moved to dismiss the complaint because Turner had failed to provide the one month's notice required by KRS 383.195 for terminating the tenancy. In recognition of the statutory deficiency, the district court deferred its consideration of Shinkle's motion and continued the inquisition until March 13, thus allowing one month to elapse from the date Shinkle first received the written notice to vacate. In the interim, Shinkle filed a formal written motion to dismiss arguing that Turner had no statutory right to commence a forcible detainer action prior to the expiration of the one-month statutory notice provision. At the March 13 inquisition, the district court denied Shinkle's motion to dismiss, reasoning that the one month statutory notice period had by then been satisfied. The court entered its verdict and judgment finding Shinkle guilty of forcible detainer. Shinkle appealed and the Circuit Court affirmed. The Court of Appeals denied Shinkle's motion for discretionary review. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded, finding that by filing his forcible detainer complaint only eight days after giving Shinkle notice to vacate, Turner was claiming a right to immediate possession that he did not lawfully have. The statutory elements of a forcible detainer were not yet met since Turner had, at that time, no presently enforceable right of possession. "As required by KRS 383.195, a landlord must give the tenant at least one month's written notice to vacate, and until that period expires, no forcible detainer is being committed." The complaint filed prior to the existence of the cause of action should have been dismissed pursuant to the motion properly raising the issue. View "Shinkle v. Turner" on Justia Law

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Scotty Hedgespeth and Linda Cundiff (together, Hedgespeth) filed suit against the Taylor County Fiscal Court alleging ownership of land where a new bridge would be constructed and requesting that the trial court issue a temporary injunction to prevent the construction of the new bridge. The trial court denied the request. Thereafter, Hedgespeth requested that the Court of Appeals grant him interlocutory relief from the order pursuant to Ky. R. Civ. P. 65.07. The Court of Appeals denied the motion. Hedgespeth subsequently requested that the Supreme Court grant him interlocutory relief from the Court of Appeals’ decision pursuant to Rule 65.09. The Supreme Court denied Plaintiff’s motion for interlocutory relief, holding that Plaintiff failed to show “extraordinary cause.” View "Hedgespeth v. Taylor County Fiscal Court" on Justia Law

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Defendant owned land that was adjoined by Plaintiff’s property. In the course of cutting timber for Defendant, a logger trespassed on Plaintiff’s property and cut and sold a substantial amount of timber on her property. Plaintiff sued for trespass, seeking damages for the missing timber and the damage to the land. The trial court awarded stumpage value and damages but did not award treble damages based on its finding that Defendant had no intent to remove timber from Plaintiff’s property. The court of appeals (1) vacated the circuit court’s ruling on treble damages and remanded for additional findings and further proceedings, and (2) affirmed on Defendant’s cross-appeal. The Supreme Court (1) upheld the court of appeals in its affirming the trial court in the determination that Defendant was liable for damages for trespass; but (2) reversed the court of appeals in determining that Defendant was subject to treble damages, as there was insufficient evidence to prove that Defendant intended to convert Plaintiff’s timber for his own use. View "Penix v. Delong" on Justia Law