CH v. Housing Authority of Dry Ridge-- 2018
The Housing Authority of Dry Ridge filed an eviction against CH and her three children in January 2017. CH contacted our office the day before her hearing and was advised by Legal Aid staff to ask the Court to dismiss the case because it was filed by a property manager instead of an attorney. The District Court overruled her motion and entered the eviction. A Legal Aid of the Bluegrass attorney filed an appeal to the Circuit Court where the District Court’s ruling was upheld. The Court of Appeals granted discretionary review and issued an opinion holding that when a property manager or executive director of a housing authority files pleadings or appears in court as a legal representative, they are engaged in the unauthorized practice of law. This ruling acknowledges that some eviction courts routinely permit unauthorized practice. The Court has ordered for this opinion to be published and is therefore precedent that can no longer be ignored by lower courts.
Dorough v. Baptist Convalescent Center-- 2018
Legal Aid of the Bluegrass filed a complaint and Motion for Temporary Injunction on behalf of four elderly nursing home residents in Kentucky. After relocating its facility, The Seasons at Alexandria, previously known as Baptist Convalescent Center, Inc., imposed supplemental charges of $900 monthly for each of the plaintiffs in this case. But all four residents are low-income Medicaid recipients, and Medicaid allows each of them to keep only $40 a month to pay for any extra expenses. Failure to pay, which was inevitable, would lead to a wrongful eviction.
While designing its new facility, Baptist Convalescent Center, removed Medicaid beds and built additional private rooms instead. When residents were moved from one facility to the other, the number of Medicaid residents exceeded the number of Medicaid beds available. The Seasons decided to charge some Medicaid residents an additional $900 a month to remain in the nursing home. Federal law and Kentucky law allow an extra charge for a private room only if a resident requests it.
In October 2018, a Legal Aid of the Bluegrass attorney settled this case with the facility agreeing to let the residents stay with no extra charges imposed on them. They will continue receiving the care they need to remain healthy and stable.
Shinkle v. Turner-- 2016
In Shinkle v. Turner, a forcible detainer action was brought against a Kentucky tenant only 8 days after a notice to vacate was provided. A Legal Aid of the Bluegrass attorney filed a motion to dismiss the forcible detainer on behalf of the tenant in District Court in 2014. After a ruling against our client in District Court, an appeal was filed at Boone County Circuit Court. When the Circuit court entered an opinion affirming the District Court’s decision, we filed a motion for Discretionary Review with the Kentucky Court of Appeals. The motion was denied so a Motion for Discretionary Review was filed in the Supreme Court of Kentucky. The court granted Discretionary Review in 2015, and on August 25, 2016 rendered its decision.
Shinkle v. Turner clarifies that the time specified in the notice to vacate given to the tenant must pass before a landlord is entitled to possession of the rental property. Until the landlord is entitled to possession, the tenant cannot be “forcibly detaining” the property and no eviction should be filed by the landlord until that time has passed. The success of this case allows families to maintain housing stability, safeguards their due process rights in the eviction process and allows them to more time to find new housing.
Morgan v. Getter--2014
In Morgan v. Getter, the role of a Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) was clarified in family court actions involving a dispute over custody, shared parenting, visitation, or child support.
A Legal Aid of the Bluegrass attorney represented Morgan in family court in a custody modification hearing in 2011. The minor child in this case was appointed a GAL who submitted a report to the courts with recommendations for joint custody. Morgan disagreed and attempted to call the GAL as a witness. The court advised Morgan that the GAL could not be called as they are in the child’s attorney. Ultimately, the court ruled in favor of Getter granting joint custody and designating him as primary residential custodian. Morgan appealed this ruling and challenged the court denial of her request to cross examine the GAL. The Court of Appeals motion was denied and so a motion for discretionary review was filed with the Supreme Court of Kentucky. Additionally, the minor child in the case turned 18 years of age prior to The Court of Appeals hearing the case rendering the case moot.
The Supreme Court of Kentucky issued an opinion clarifying that the GAL represents the child’s best interest and not necessarily the child’s wishes. The role of the Guardian Ad litem is as an attorney for the child. Other roles were also clarified such as the Defacto Friend of the Court. Perhaps most importantly, a public interest exception was added to the mootness doctrine allowing the Supreme Court to issue an opinion which addressed the proper role of a GAL.