Justia Contracts Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Kentucky Supreme Court
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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the court of appeals granting Defendant's petition for a writ of prohibition of the first class, thereby vacating the circuit court's denial of Defendant's motion to dismiss Plaintiffs' claim for breach of contract, holding that the court of appeals did not err.Plaintiffs were Kentucky landowners who leased their land to Defendant, an oil and gas producer. Plaintiffs filed a breach of contract class action suit alleging that Defendant impermissibly deducted severance taxes as a post-production cost before paying them royalties. Defendant filed a motion to dismiss on grounds that the circuit court lacked subject matter jurisdiction because Plaintiffs did not meet the required amount in controversy. The circuit court denied the motion. Defendant then sought a writ of prohibition. The court of appeals granted the writ. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Plaintiffs did not meet the required amount in controversy, and therefore, the circuit court lacked subject matter jurisdiction. View "Imhoff v. Honorable House" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals vacating an arbitration award and affirmed the circuit court's denial of the motion to vacate the arbitrator's award, holding that the court of appeals exceeded the statutory basis for vacating the award.After she purchased a home, Plaintiff initiated an arbitration proceeding against Defendants, the seller of the home as well as two real estate agents, seeking to recover damages or to rescind the purchase contract. The arbitrator concluded that Plaintiff could not, as a matter of law, prevail on her breach of contract and rescission claims. Plaintiff filed a petition seeking to vacate the arbitration decision pursuant to the provisions of Ky. Rev. Stat. 417.160. The circuit court denied the petition. The court of appeals reversed and remanded for a new arbitration. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the arbitrator did not exceed his powers. View "Booth v. K&D Builders, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals reversing the circuit court's denial of summary judgment in favor of the University of Louisville in this breach of contract action, holding that Plaintiff brought her action outside of the one-year period following the date of completion of her last written contract.After Plaintiff's employment at the University ended she brought this action alleging that the University breached its employment contract with her. The University moved for summary judgment, asserting that governmental immunity shielded it from liability. The circuit court denied the motion for summary judgment. The court of appeals reversed, holding that the University was shielded from liability due to governmental immunity. The Supreme Court affirmed but on different grounds, holding that Plaintiff's claim was filed outside of the limitations period of Ky. Rev. Stat. 45A.260. View "Britt v. University of Louisville" on Justia Law

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In this action brought against a long-term care facility by Kenneth, as administrator of Estate of Tommy Patton, the Supreme Court reversed in part the court of appeals' decision concluding that an arbitration agreement was enforceable as to Kenneth's individual wrongful death claim but that the agreement was not enforceable as to the Estate's claims, holding that the agreement was valid as to both claims.Kenneth signed an arbitration agreement at the time his father, Tommy, was admitted to Signature HealthCARE of East Louisville's long-term care facility. Tommy later suffered a fall and died a few weeks later. Kenneth brought sued Signature, alleging negligence and wrongful death. Signature filed a motion to compel arbitration. The trial court denied the motion in its entirety. The court of appeals reversed in part, concluding that the arbitration agreement was not enforceable against the Estate but that Kenneth's wrongful death claim was arbitrable because he executed the arbitration agreement in his individual capacity. The Supreme Court reversed in part, holding that both the Estate's and Kenneth's individual claims were subject to arbitration because the arbitration agreement was valid and enforceable as to the Estate claim and as to Kenneth's individual wrongful death claim. View "LP Louisville East, LLC v. Patton" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals reversing the decision of the trial court granting partial summary judgment in favor of Paul Mostert and partially dismissing The Mostert Group, LLC's (TMG) breach of contract claims, holding that partial summary judgment in favor of Mostert was improper.Mostert agreed to transfer certain computer technology to TMG in exchange for TMG stock, cash, and a promissory note payable in installments. When Mostert refused to deliver to TMG the source code, which was essential to maintaining and updating the software technology, TMG refused to make the final promissory note payment to Mostert. TMG filed two lawsuits against Mostert. The circuit court granted Mostert's motion for partial summary judgment on the grounds that TMG's allegations against Mostert arose after the note was executed and the trial court previously established that Mostert had a security interest in and therefore a right to possess the collateral. The court of appeals reversed, holding that Mostert possessed a security interest in the software but not the source code. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Mostert breached the parties' contract, which excused TMG's obligation to further perform under the contribution agreement. View "Mostert v. Mostert Group, LLC" on Justia Law

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In this declaratory judgment action the Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the circuit court in favor of the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) on its action seeking to vindicate its right to contract with outside counsel on a contingency-fee basis, holding that the OAG is subject to the contracting-oversight requirements of the Model Procurement Code and that the Government Contract Review Committeee (Committee) of the Legislative Research Commission did not arbitrarily disapprove of the contingency-fee contract at issue in this case.The OAG contracted on a contingency-fee basis with a team of law firms to conduct investigation into and commence litigation on potential statutory violations arising out of the manufacture and distribution of prescription opioid products within the Commonwealth. The Committee recommended that William Landrum, the Secretary of the Finance and Administration Cabinet, disapprove and cancel the contract. Landrum did as the Committee recommended. The OAG then brought this declaratory judgment action. The circuit court granted the OAG all the relief it sought. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the Committee and Landrum did not act inappropriately in disapproving and canceling the contract. View "Landrum v. Commonwealth ex rel. Beshear" on Justia Law

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In this lawsuit between AllyAlign Health, Inc. and Signature Advantage, LLC the Supreme Court granted AllyAlign's motion for an order to compel arbitration of all claims, holding that a carve-out provision in the parties' contract for certain claims to be decided by a court did not negate the mandate of the Commercial Arbitration Rules and Arbitration Procedures of the American Arbitration Association (AAA's Rules) that the initial arbitrability of claims is to be determined by the arbitrator, not the courts.AllyAlign contracted with Signature Advantage for AllyAlign's services. The contract contained an arbitration provision incorporating the AAA's Rules. Signature Advantage later sued AllyAlign for breach of contract and other claims. AllyAlign moved to compel arbitration on all the claims based on the AAA's Rules that delegate to the arbitrator the initial decision about the arbitrability of claims arising between the parties. In response, Signature Advantage argued that the language of the carve-out provision exempted equitable claims from arbitration. The trial court granted in part the motion to compel arbitration but denied the motion for the claims it found to demand equitable relief. The Supreme Court compelled arbitration of all claims, holding that the trial court's order declining to refer all the claims of the complaint was erroneous. View "AllyAlign Health, Inc. v. Signature Advantage, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court accepted the United States District Court, Western District of Kentucky's request for certification of law on the following issue, holding that a pre-injury liability waiver signed by a parent on behalf of a minor child is unenforceable under the specific facts of this case.Mother purchased tickets at a for-profit trampoline park (Park) for her eleven-year-old daughter. Mother checked a box indicating that she had read the Park's waiver of liability. The daughter proceeded to participate in the Park's activities but was injured. Mother, as next friend of Daughter, sued the Park for the injury. The Park moved for summary judgment based on Mother's legal power to waive the rights of her daughter via the release. The district court then requested certification from the Supreme Court as to this novel issue of state law. The Supreme Court held (1) under the common law of this Commonwealth, absent special circumstances, a parent has no authority to enter into contracts on a child’s behalf; and (2) there is no relevant public policy to justify abrogating the common law to enforce an exculpatory agreement between a for-profit entity and a parent on behalf of her minor child. View "Miller v. House of Boom Kentucky, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals in this case alleging tortious interference involving a parent corporation and its wholly-owned subsidiary, holding that a parent company has a qualified privilege to interfere with the contractual relations of its wholly-owned subsidiary unless it employs wrongful means or its interference is not in the economic interest of the subsidiary.Plaintiff brought suit against against CONSOL of Kentucky Inc. (CKI), the wholly-owned subsidiary of CONSOL Energy, Inc. (Energy), Energy, and others, alleging that Energy interfered with the contractual relation between Plaintiff and CKI. The jury found for Plaintiff. The court of appeals concluded that a parent company cannot tortiously interfere with a wholly-owned subsidiary unless it employs wrongful means when interfering and that Energy was entitled to interfere in this case. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Plaintiff adduced no proof as to the required element of wrongful means in a tortious interference claim involving a parent and its wholly-owned subsidiary. View "Sparkman v. Consol Energy, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the Court of Appeals upholding the circuit court’s approval of Ray Thomas’s future periodic payments to DRB Capital, LLC in exchange for an immediate lump sum payment at a discounted rate after Thomas settled a workers’ compensation claim against his employer and its workers’ compensation insurer, holding that the underlying contracts’ anti-assignment clauses are enforceable and that the Kentucky Structured Settlement Protection Act (KSSPA) does not apply to workers’ compensation settlements.Less than six months after settling his claim, Thomas received the circuit court’s transfer approval. The circuit court approved the transfer pursuant to the KSSPA. The court of appeals upheld the circuit court’s approval. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that explicit anti-assignability clauses in the underlying contracts and statutory language limiting the KSSPA to tort settlements required reversal in this case. View "American General Life Insurance Co. v. DRB Capital, LLC" on Justia Law