Articles Posted in Kentucky Supreme Court

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Kentucky Shakespeare Festival, Inc. (KSF) and Brantley Dunaway entered into an employment agreement. Two years later, KSF terminated Dunaway’s employment. When KSF informed Dunaway that he was not entitled to a bonus for the 2013 fiscal year, Dunaway filed an action for breach of contract. Nearly one year later, KSF filed a motion for partial summary judgment and declaratory relief, arguing that KSF’s determination that Dunaway was not entitled to a bonus was a binding “arbitration award” issued by an independent accounting firm. The circuit court denied relief, concluding that the employment agreement did not contain an agreement to forgo litigation and arbitrate any bonus dispute. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that no arbitration agreement existed between KSF and Dunaway, and because no arbitration proceeding occurred, there was no arbitration award to be confirmed. View "Kentucky Shakespeare Festival, Inc. v. Dunaway" on Justia Law

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Each of these three consolidated cases originated with the filing of an action in the circuit court asserting claims against nursing home facilities for personal injuries suffered by a nursing home resident, violations of Ky. Rev. Stat. 216.510 et seq., and for wrongful death of the resident. At the time of each resident’s admission to the nursing home, the resident’s attorney-in-fact executed a written document providing that disputes arising out of the relationship between the resident and the nursing home would be submitted to arbitration. When each case was commenced, the defendant nursing home moved the circuit court to compel the parties to submit the claims to a formal arbitration proceeding. The circuit court denied the motion in each case, concluding that the respective power-of-attorney instruments did not authorize the resident’s attorney-in-fact to waive the resident’s right to access to the courts. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) without a clear and convincing manifestation of the principal’s intention to do so, delegation to an agent of the authority to waive a trial by jury is not authorized, and the principal’s assent to the waiver is not validly obtained; and (2) the arbitration agreements in these cases were never validly formed. View "Extendicare Homes, Inc. v. Whisman" on Justia Law

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This case arose from the sale of a truck by Appellant to Appellee. The parties executed a document titled "customer sales order" formalizing the deal that contained a binding arbitration provision. The provision failed to require the arbitration to be held in Kentucky but stated that the Federal Arbitration Act (Act) governed its interpretation and enforcement. After the truck was delivered, Appellee filed suit against Appellant, alleging fraud and intentional misrepresentation. The trial court denied Appellant's motion to compel arbitration under the arbitration clause. The court of appeals affirmed, concluding that Kentucky courts have no jurisdiction to enforce an arbitration agreement unless the agreement provides that the arbitration will occur in Kentucky. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) Appellant made a prima facie showing of an agreement requiring arbitration of the dispute between the parties; and (2) because that agreement stated that the Act controls, the circuit court had jurisdiction to enforce it, unless Appellee could meet its burden to show there was no valid agreement. View "MHC Kenworth-Knoxville/Nashville v. M & H Trucking, LLC" on Justia Law

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Appellants, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, filed a class action complaint against their Internet service providers (Providers). Providers' Internet service agreement contained an arbitration clause that required customers to submit damage claims against Insight to arbitration, and it barred class action litigation against Providers by their customers. The circuit court determined the class action ban was enforceable and dismissed Appellants' complaint. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding (1) the contractual provision under which Appellants waived their right to participate in class action litigation was enforceable under federal law; (2) the service agreement's choice of law provision was not enforceable; (3) the service agreement's general arbitration provision was enforceable; and (4) the provision imposing a confidentiality requirement upon the litigants to arbitration proceedings was void and severable from the remaining portions of the agreement. Remanded for entry of a final judgment. View "Schnuerle v. Insight Commc'ns Co., LP" on Justia Law

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Appellant Marcus Minix received documents from the county mediator stating that the county court had received a complaint against him for a violation of Ky. Rev. Stat. 514.030 and directing Appellant to mediation. After attending mediation, Appellant was informed he may need to return to mediation. Appellant petitioned the court of appeals for a writ prohibiting the county attorney from referring felony criminal complaints, including a felony complaint against him, to a mediator before presenting the complaints to a district court for review and issuance of a summons or warrant. The court of appeals denied the petition, finding it was without jurisdiction to address Appellant's claims. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that a writ of prohibition may not be issued against non-judicial parties such as the Appellees, the county attorney and the mediator, and the substantive relief Appellant sought was within the original jurisdiction of the circuit court, not the court of appeals. View "Minix v. Roberts" on Justia Law