Justia Injury Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Kentucky Supreme Court
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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 reversed the judgment of the trial court dismissing this tort action with prejudice under CR 41.02(1), holding that the trial court abused its discretion in dismissing the action with prejudice.Plaintiff commenced this tort action alleging violations of various laws relating to occupational safety. Defendant filed a notice for independent medication examination (IME), but Plaintiff did not appear. Defendant then filed a motion to dismiss. The trial court concluded that dismissal was warranted in part because Plaintiff violated court orders by failing to appear for mediation and the IME. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that to the extent Plaintiff violated any court orders, those violations were insufficient to warrant the extreme remedy of dismissal with prejudice. View "Jones v. Pinter" 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 judgment of the court of appeals reversing the circuit court's grant of summary judgment in favor of homeowners in this complaint brought against them and their attorneys for wrongful use of civil proceedings and abuse of process, holding that the case must be remanded for reinstatement of summary judgment in favor of the homeowners.At issue was the proposed development by Bardstown Capital Corporation of Jefferson County residential property into a commercial center. The proposed development was ultimately approved, despite opposition by neighboring homeowners. The homeowners appealed, arguing that the rezoning ordinance was invalid due to, among other things, inadequacy of notice of the various zoning hearings. After the appeal was denied, Bardstown Capital brought this action against the homeowners. The circuit court granted summary judgment for the homeowners. The court of appeals reversed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the Noerr-Pennington doctrine afforded the homeowners immunity from claims of wrongful use of civil proceedings; and (2) the trial court properly applied the Doerr-Pennington doctrine and, therefore, did not err in granting summary judgment. View "Seiller Waterman, LLC v. Bardstown Capital Corp." 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

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals affirming the decision of the administrative law judge (ALJ) granting Austin Ellison's workers' compensation claim and awarding him disability benefits, holding that substantial evidence supported the ALJ's conclusions.Ellison, who was employed by Dee Whitaker Concrete as a general laborer, was leaving a job site and traveling back to Whitaker Concrete's premises when he was injured in an automobile accident. Whitaker Concrete denied Ellison's workers' compensation claim on the ground that injuries sustained while going to or returning from the workplace are not compensable. The ALJ ruled that Ellison's injuries were compensable, finding that Ellison fell within the traveling employee and the service to the employer exceptions to the going and coming rule. The Board and court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Ellison's status as a traveling employee qualified as an exception to the going and coming rule. View "Dee Whitaker Concrete v. Ellison" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the order of the Board vacating an order of the administrative law judge (ALJ) and remanding the claim back to him to enter an award terminating Michael O'Bryan's benefits at age seventy, holding that the court of appeals did not err.O'Bryan received a work-related injury at age sixty-five, leading to his disability. The ALJ found O'Bryan to be permanently totally disabled and awarded him benefits that would continue as long as he remained disabled. On appeal, the Board held that newly-amended version of Ky. Rev. Stat. 342.730(4) applied to O'Bryan's benefits and that they should terminate when he reached the age of seventy. The court of appeals affirmed, holding that the statute was constitutional. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that O'Bryan's challenges to the amendment to section 342.730(4) were unavailing. View "O'Bryan v. Zip Express" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals finding that Plaintiff was an invitee when she was injured while visiting the monument marking her son's grave at a cemetery maintained by the City of Versailles, holding that the cemetery was not obligated to inspect and repair the monument, regardless of Plaintiff's status.Plaintiff was injured when the headstone marking the grave of her son dislodged from the base and toppled onto Plaintiff's foot. Plaintiff brought this suit against the City for negligence in maintaining her son's monument. The trial court granted summary judgment for the City, finding that Plaintiff had failed to establish that the City owed her a duty to maintain or repair the headstone. The court of appeals reversed, finding that Plaintiff was a business invitee and that the City owed her an affirmative duty to inspect and repair the monument. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the City did not owe Plaintiff a duty with regard to the monument. View "City of Versailles v. Johnson" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the trial court's conclusion that the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government (LFUCG) and two of its divisions were entitled to sovereign immunity in this action and dismissing all claims against them, holding that there was no error.Plaintiff was injured in a collision between his bicycle and a police cruiser driver by a LFUCG employee. Plaintiff brought this negligence action, arguing that LFUCG's purchase of a retained-limit insurance policy, purchased for coverage beyond the limits of its self insurance policy, waived LFUCG's sovereign immunity up to policy limits. The trial court concluded that the LFUCG defendants were entitled to sovereign immunity, and the court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the trial court correctly held that the LFUCG defendants were immune from suit. View "Independence Bank v. Welch" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the court of appeals' decision affirming the opinion, workers' compensation award, and order of the administrative law judge (ALJ) determining that Appellee was permanently and totally disabled, holding that there was no error.Appellee was injured during the course and scope of his employment. An ALJ determined that Appellee was permanently, totally disabled. The Workers' Compensation Board affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Appellee's testimony regarding his psychological medical conditions was competent evidence; (2) the ALJ did not rely solely upon psychological testimony to find Appellee was permanently, totally disabled; and (3) there was substantial evidence in the record to sustain the ALJ's opinion and award. View "Time Warner Cable, Inc. v. Smith" on Justia Law