February 2011 Archives

Kentucky Defamation & Slander Issues: When Someone Says Untruths About You Or You Business To Intentionally Harm You

February 26, 2011

In Kentucky, when someone says or prints things about you that harm your or your businesses reputation, this is referred to as defamation. Often these negative type comments are done intentionally or recklessly and are intended to cause harm to you or your businesses reputation. Kentucky law allows a person to bring a lawsuit against the spreaders of lies about you if they have done so intentionally or with reckless disregard for the truth. To be actionable, the defamation must have caused a provable economic harm or damages as a result of the lie being told to others. Just because someone expressed or printed something that was not true does not make a case. If you feel that someone has defamed or slander you, your reputation or your businesses reputation, you should speak with a lawyer about the particular facts of your case to determine if you are in a position to take legal action against such persons.

Many times people intentionally say or print negative things about another person's character or business to harm or hurt the person or business. It may even be done to attempt to gain another's business and profits for their own benefit. No matter the reasons why, if lies have been told or printed about you and you have been harmed as a result, you should know your legal rights under the Kentucky law.

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Fatal I-65 Accident Reported: Alcohol Is A Suspected Factor

February 25, 2011

A fatal accident has occurred in Southern Indiana involving a semi tractor trailer and a Chevy cavalier. Police reports state that prior to the accidents they had received calls about the Chevy Cavalier, which was traveling south bound on I-65, traveling at a high rate of speed and swerving on the road. Shortly thereafter, the Chevy Cavalier crossed the expressway median and struck a semi head-on. The Chevy's speed is estimated at 90 miles per hour. Police state that the impact was so violent that the Cavalier was torn in two and blocked both north and south bound lanes for 5 hours. Police are stating that Alcohol is a suspected factor.

In Kentucky, drunk driving accidents happen too frequently. Drivers who drive after consuming alcohol risk lives and should be held accountable for the accidents they cause. Not only are drunk drivers criminally prosecuted, but when they cause injury to others, they become civilly liable also to the injured people and the families of the injured. Civil lawsuits against drunk drivers can recovery medical bills, lost wages, pain & suffering, and in the event that they kill someone, the deceased family can bring a wrongful death lawsuit also.

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Kentucky Semi Accident On I-65 Kills 3 & Injures 4 Others

February 24, 2011

A fatal accident on I-65 near Elizabethtown, Kentucky has killed three people and sent four others to the hospital with injuries. The accident involved a FedEx semi-tractor trailer truck and a SUV. The reports indicate that the semi bumped the rear end of the SUV and sent the SUV out of control, eventually flipping over. The FedEx driver was not injured, but the other people injured and killed were all in the SUV. The three people killed were ejected from the SUV. The SUV's driver and another adult passenger were taken to University Hospital with injuries and two children were taken to Kosair Children's Hospital.

The SUV was traveling with a family from Chicago, who was returning from a wedding in Florida. What caused the semi to bump the rear end of the SUV is still being investigated. This is a tragedy for the family involved. This family, including the Estates of the three deceased family members, will be able to make legal claims against FedEx for the injuries and deaths that resulted from this accident. Justice will require that their medical bills be paid, lost wages be reimbursed, compensation be given for their pain & suffering, and in the cases of the deceased family members, Kentucky law will allow for their Estates to recovery the lifetime of lost earning potentials, which will be substantial.

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Semi Rear Ends JCPS Kentucky School Bus & Injures Bus Passengers

February 23, 2011

A Jefferson County Kentucky school bus was rear ended on I-65 northbound near the Watterson Expressway. The accident injured seven children, who were transported to Kosair Children's Hospital, and the bus driver, who was taken to Norton Hospital Downtown. Sixteen children were on the bus at the time and the nine that were not injured were transported to school on another bus.

This appears to have been a situation of stop and go traffic on the expressway, in which the driver of the semi failed to pay attention to the traffic. This sort of negligence on the part of the semi driver, will result in his, his employer and the semi's insurance company being responsible for the children's medical bills and compensation for other injuries the kids suffered. Inattentiveness while driving can result in tragic accidents.

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Richmond, Kentucky Crossover Accident Kills One & Injures Others

February 22, 2011

A crossover accident has occurred on Ky. 52 near the Madison and Estill County boarder. Reports specify that a 1999 Ford Taurus, driven by Roy T. Burgess of Irvine, Kentucky, crossed over the center line in the road and struck an on-coming 1998 Volkswagen, driven by Steven Skaggs of Jeffersonville, Kentucky. The crash killed Burgess, who was 63 years old. Skaggs and his passenger, Jillian Willoughby, suffered injuries and were taken to the hospital.

Additionally injured, after the accident, was a Kentucky State Police Officer who was taking pictures of the scene of the crash. He was struck by another emergency vehicle and was taken to the hospital also.

This is a case where Skaggs and Willoughby will have injury claims against the Estate of Burgess and his insurance company for the injuries Burgess caused after crossing into the lane of on-coming traffic. They will be able to make claims for lost wages, medical bills, and pain & suffering, related to the car crash. Additionally, the Police officer, who was subsequently injured will have injury claims against the driver of the vehicle that hit him.

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Cigarette Is To Blame In Apartment Fire In Louisville, Kentucky

February 20, 2011

895905_building_on_fire.jpg An unattended cigarette has caused a fire in an apartment in Louisville, Kentucky in the Butchertown area. Other apartments suffered damages as a result of the fire. Luckily no one was injured in the blaze, which occurred on Mellwood Avenue. Tow adults and two children were able to escape the residence before firefighters arrived. The fire occurred around 11:00 p.m. and smoke detectors alerted the residents of the fire.

Apartment fires can be costly, due to fire and smoke damage, coupled with water damage from attempts to put out the fire. Many times families loose everything they own to these types of fires. Additionally lose of life can occur. Families living in apartments should have insurance to cover these types of events. Renters Insurance can be very cheap and afford a lot of coverage and protection.

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Oldham County, Kentucky: Suit Filed Against Former Mayor Of LaGrange, Kentucky Over Missing City Records & Second Suit Over Sale Of City Property

February 19, 2011

Thumbnail image for 1038828_u_s__supreme_court_2.jpg Two lawsuits have been recently filed in Oldham County Kentucky Circuit Court. One is against the former Mayor of LaGrange, Kentucky alleging that the Mayor either removed or caused to be removed, records belonging to the city and pertaining to the city's business. The second lawsuit alleges that the City of LaGrange improperly sold a home it owned, which was assessed at $85,000.00, to a man for only $14,711.00. Both cases involve active of the former Mayor of the City.

Case which allege or involve potential abuses by government officials can be reported by government employees to proper authorities without the threat of retaliation, even if the allegations prove that no wrong doing existed. Such government employees are protected when making these reports by the Kentucky Whistleblower laws. These laws are designed to encourage people to report suspected abuses or illegal activities which involve government.

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Kentucky JCPS School Bus Driver Resigns After Alleged Inappropriate Conduct With Student Passenger

February 18, 2011

655548_school_bus_red_light.jpgA Kentucky JCPS school bus driver has resigned after he was found in a park with a student who was also a passenger on his bus. Police found the male bus driver and the teenage girl in the park together over the weekend. The school bus driver was immediately suspended by the school system upon learning of the events, and then he subsequently resigned. It is alleged that the school bus drive had ton other occasion taken the girl to movies and out to eat.

This, at a minimum, is clearly a case of inappropriate activity with a person under the age of 18 by an adult in a position of authority. Further facts may point to this being much worse, as sexual activity may have occurred. This author and attorney believes that case like this are predatory in nature and cause much concern over the activity of these types of adults around children.

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Louisville, Kentucky: Two Pedestrians Killed after Hit By Cars

February 18, 2011

949267_pedestrian_crossing_sign.jpgTwo Louisville, Kentucky residents were killed while trying to cross the street, after being struck by cars. Initial reports are that both incidents, which occurred separately and at different times of the day, involve the pedestrian not having the right-a-way to cross the roads. Initial reviews of these accidents would appear that fault for the accident is on the pedestrians. However, Kentucky is a comparative fault state and thus, the families of those killed in pedestrian accident should have the circumstances of such accidents fully examined by a lawyer.

Under Kentucky's comparative, even if as person bears the majority of fault for an accident or death, the other party can still recover the percentage that they were not at fault for in the accident. In theory, under Kentucky comparative fault, even if a person were 99% at fault for an accident or death, they could still recovery 1% of the damages they have suffered from the accident. In cases where a person is killed, these are referred to as wrongful death claims, and the monetary damages can be substantial. In cases where the damages are large, percentage of fault is usually a factor and certainly not a deterrent to seeking some form of justice and compensation for the loss of life.

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One Person Killed In Indianapolis Motor Vehicle Crash

February 16, 2011

On Friday, SR 37 was shut down on the south side of Indianapolis due to a motor vehicle accident. The accident occurred near the Banta Road intersection during the early morning hours.

It has been reported that the accident was caused by a wrong-way driver. The accident involved a Toyota Corolla going southbound in a northbound lane which then caused a head-on collision with a Honda traveling the proper direction.

The 24 year old driver of the Honda was taken to Wishard Hospital to be treated for injures from the accident. The driver of the Toyota, Trent Schmidt, died at the scene of the accident.

It is yet to be determined if alcohol played a role in this fatal crash. It occurred at 4:00 a.m. and involved a driver going the wrong way down the road. No matter what contributed to the accident, this is clearly a case of fault on the part of the wrong-way driver. The injured 24 year old Honda driver will be able to recover his expenses from this accident, which will include lost wages, medical bill, and compensation for pain & suffering.

In cases like this where one party is so grossly negligent to drive the wrong direction on a road, it is important to look at where the negligent driver was coming from and what had he been doing prior to the accident. Questions arise whether some other party may also bear some fault in this accident, such as a bar that over served alcohol to the negligent driver.

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Kentucky Proposing New Whistleblower Style Cases

February 15, 2011

The Kentucky Legislature is presently considering advancing legislation that would create new whistleblower style cases and legal claims. Both the State Senate and State House have their versions of how to address these types of claims. Both legislative bodies are proposing triple damages for various state government fraud claims. The Senate's version allows for triple damages and fees to the private citizens, who brings the action in cases involving Medicaid frauds. The House's version allows for triple damages and fees to private citizens, who bring these type cases for any type of fraud upon the government.

The way this would work, is in these types of cases, when a private citizen knows of a fraud against the government and government money payments, the private citizen can file a fraud suit on behalf of the State. The Kentucky Attorney General then has a right to intervene and take over the case. If the Kentucky Attorney General does take over the case, and recovers money then the person who filed the suit will be paid 15% of the judgment. If the Kentucky Attorney General does not take over the case, then the private citizen and his/her lawyer prosecute the case, and the private citizen is paid a fee of 30% of the recovered amount. Both legislative bodies' versions of the law would allow for a triple recovery of damages, which means that whatever was determined to have been defrauded will be multiplied by 3 to determine how much is owed back to the State. This could equivocate to big money rewards for the State and for the private citizen who files the suit.

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Kentucky Police Chief Whistleblower Lawsuit

February 10, 2011

Former Junction City Police Chief Jimmy Gipson has filed a Kentucky whistleblower lawsuit alleges he was fired by Mayor Jim Douglas in retaliation for calling another police agency after the mayor appeared to be drinking on the job. Gipson is seeking reinstatement to his former job, backpay and an unspecified amount of punitive damages for sullying his reputation. Junction City is also named as a defendant. It is alleged that Douglas fired Gipson, longtime police and fire chief in Junction City, on Dec. 29, 2011 without a public explanation. On Dec. 30, Gipson received an official letter signed by the mayor stating he was terminated for "insubordination and continual disregard for city policies." The lawsuit alleges that Gipson was working inside the city firehouse Dec. 29 when Douglas drove up in a city vehicle and began to yell and act belligerently. Smelling alcohol on the mayor, Gipson called the Boyle County Sheriff's Office, which passed the matter on to Kentucky State Police.

The Kentucky lawsuit claims that state police arrived and performed a portable Breathalyzer test on the Mayor and found his blood-alcohol content was .04. A person in Kentucky is guilty of a DUI if they operate a motor vehicle with a blood-alcohol content of .08 percent or higher. The suit further alleges that immediately after the incident, Gipson was called in to City Clerk Susan Music's office and told to sign a resignation later and turn in his police gear. When Gipson refused, Douglas entered the office and fired him on the spot.

This is a classic case example of a Whistleblower lawsuit. The Kentucky Whistleblower statute is KRS 61.100 et seq. and requires that suit be filed within 90 days of the retaliatory action occurring. In cases like this, the Plaintiff is required to prove:
(1) that he was a government employee (as here a police officer);
(2) that he made a good faith report of a suspect legal violation to the proper authorities (as here he suspected drinking and driving, and reported it to law enforcement); and
(3) that the report was a contributing and material factor in the decision made against him (the proximity in time between the report and the action taken against him, as is here the same day, will support such a finding).

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Owensboro Kentucky Man Kills Himself, Death Related To Sex Abuse Claim

February 9, 2011

A 23 year Kentucky old man was found dead in a catholic school parking lot after he shot himself in the head. Prior to committing suicide, the 23 year old posted online criticism about a few priest where he attended high school, which was the parking lot he was found dead. The dead man had graduated form the high school in 2006. He posted online that the abuse in the church is "real" and that he hopes to "save at least one child from the pain and torment that I had to go through."

Abuse of children is one of the most horrific crimes possible. It is an act perpetrated by those in positions of power and influence over the young, and takes advantage of the children's innocence and position of weakness. Institutions like churches and schools who allow this activity to occur are as guilty as the offenders themselves, as it is the role of such places to protect children and take steps to prevent such abuses.

In cases of child abuse and sexual abuse of children, the children have legal claims against the offenders, and potentially against the employers and institutions which are responsible for supervising the children. In cases where suicide results from the abuse, the Estate of the victim can bring a wrongful death claims also.

The scars and injury from abuses to children continue for years into adulthood and can ruin lives of the victims and their families. Victims often find the need for a lifetime of therapy and often turn to drugs, alcohol, and even suicide to avoid the pain, mental anguish, and guilt they feel for having been a victim.

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Kentucky Personal Injury Settlements For Children Require Court Approval

February 8, 2011

In Kentucky, when personal injury cases involve minor children, under the age of 18, the lawsuits are required to be brought in the name of an adult. Usually these types of claims are brought in the name of a parent of the child, specifying that the case is as guardian and next of friend of the minor child, who is named by initials only. This is standard for claims involving any type of personal injury claim, from auto accidents to dog bites.

Once the claim been settled through negotiations it will require Court approval to final the settlement. If the settlements are over $10,000.00, they will require a conservator be appointed fro the funds and yearly accountings will have to be filed with the courts. If the settlements are under $10,000.00 KRS 387.280 will govern what approval will be needed. Minor child settlements under $10,000.00 require the court to take evidence that the child is under 18 years of age, in the custody of his or her parents, and that the parent agrees to serve as trustee of the funds, using them only for the health, maintenance, and education of the child. Once such evidence is before the Court, a motion can be made to allow the settlement to be finalized.

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Three Car Accident In Danville, Kentucky Sends Two To The Hospital

February 7, 2011

A three car accident on the South Danville bypass injures two people. The accident happened shortly after noon on Saturday. It is reported that Reuben Harness, age 40, of Danville, Kentucky, was attempting to turn onto the bypass when Jeremy Shryock, age 34, of Midway, Kentucky, who was traveling eastbound on the bypass, failed to stop at a red light at the intersection with Brent Avenue. Shyrock's vehicle, a Ford Expedition, struck a Chevy Monte Carlo, driven by Catherine Gooch, age 30, of Danville, Kentucky, and then continued on to collide with Harness' vehicle. No one in Shryock's vehicle or Gooch's vehicle were injured. Harness and his passenger were transported to Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center with injuries.

This appears to be a clear case of fault on the part of Shryock. Harness and his passenger will likely be able to seek a monetary recovery form Shryock and his insurance company for their medical bills, any lost wages they may have as a result of the accident, and be compensated for their pain & suffering

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Louisville Kentucky Man Charged In Accidental Shooting Of Child

February 6, 2011

A man in Louisville, Kentucky was charged Wednesday with first-degree wanton endangerment related to an incident involving a young girl being shot when his small caliber firearm accidently discharged. These charges stem even though the police have officially ruled the shooting an accident. The young girl, whose identity is protected because she is a minor, was shot in the cheek and ear. She is expected to survive.

Instance like this prove that guns are not to be taken lightly and are not to be toyed with. Gun ownership is a privilege and responsibility which should not be taken lightly. Because of the risks involved when safety and proper handling procedures are ignored, even accidental shootings are to be prosecuted. In this case, we have a young girl who will be traumatized by the shooting. She has incurred medical bills and pain & suffering. She will likely have physical scars on her face for the rest of her life, and may even need counseling related to the incident. Because the severity of consequences of shootings, even accidental shooting, the law comes down hard on negligent gun owners and hold them both criminally and civilly responsible.

In cases where innocent people become the victims of gun shots, even accidental gun discharges, such individuals have a right to not only have the gun owner criminally charged, but also have the right to seek civil recourse for their injuries and damages. This means that they, or in the case of children being shot their parents, can sue the gun owner and/or the person responsible for the guns discharge for the medical bills, lost wages, pain & suffering, and other related damages from being shot.

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Kentucky School Bus Accident Injures Children In Eastern Kentucky

February 5, 2011

Over 20 Children were injured this week when an accident occurred between a car and the school bus on U.S. 421, near the Rockhouse Community, in Leslie County, Kentucky. The school bus was knocked on its side as a result of the crash. Initial reports specify there were 28 children on the bus, all of whom were taken to the hospital. The school bus was headed east on U.S. 421 when the accident occurred with a vehicle traveling westbound on U.S. 421. While police have not yet specified charges, they have reported that charges are pending against Roger Sizemore, the driver of the vehicle which caused the bus to crash. From the initial reports, the driver of the car is at fault and will be liable for the injuries to the children.

An accident of this magnitude, involving so many children, can rock the foundation of a small community. As information is released, this report will be updated.

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Boyle County, Kentucky Car Crash Injures Four People

February 4, 2011

Two cars collided in Boyle County, Kentucky. Initial Police reports and investigations have determined that wreck involved a car driven by a 33 year old man from Lexington and another car driven by a 28 year old woman of Boyle County. The woman also had her two minor children in the car with her. All four people were taken from the scene of the accident to Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center and then transported to UK Medical Center. The injuries include broken bones, internal injuries, and a possible collapse lung.

It has been reported that the wreck occurred in a curve on Lebanon Road outside Danville, Kentucky and was partially a head-on collision. Initial reports indicate that the 33 year old male from Lexington may have attempted to pass another vehicle and not gotten back fully into his lane when the wreck occurred in the bend in the road. Rainy weather may also be a contributing factor. An accident re-constructionist should be hired to examine the scene immediately to preserve evidence for latter as this case progresses to determine liability and seek recovery of damages.

Drivers need to take extra precautions on wet country roads. As seen in this case, driving too fast and attempting to pass other drivers can cause serious accident. From the photos of the scene, it appears that the is a double solid line at the point of impact, which would mean that if the male driver were passing another vehicle and failed to be fully in his lane, then he is at fault in this accident. However, due to the nature of the turn and the male driver and his insurance company may try to dispute liability or claim some fault on the part of the female driver. This fault comparison is when the matter will become legally complicated. Passenger injuries make it even more so.

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Kentucky Soldier Wins Discrimination Suit

February 3, 2011

A Shelbyville Police Officer wins lawsuit against the Oldham County Police Department, and is awarded $600,000.00 in damages. The lawsuit alleged discrimination in hiring based upon military service. Discrimination and retaliation in Kentucky's workplace is illegal.
In this case, a Shelbyville Police Officer, who was also an enlisted member of the Kentucky National Guard, applied for a police officer position with the Oldham County Police Department. The Oldham County, Kentucky position paid more than the Shelbyville position. The Officer passed ever test and was told in July 2008 that he would be getting the new position. A start date was assigned to him and a salary specified. Then after the Oldham County Police Department learned that the Shelbyville Officer was also enlisted in the Kentucky National Guard and might be called up for duty, it withdrew its offer and gave the position to another person.

Discrimination based upon military service is a violation of both federal and Kentucky law. Businesses and employers who violate and discriminate against an employee or prospective employee can be sued for damages including punitive damages, if the jury finds the conduct was willful. Kentucky employees who believe that they have been discriminated or retaliated against should seek legal counsel to know their rights.

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Kentucky Pedestrians Hit By Motor Vehicles While Walking

February 2, 2011

Thumbnail image for 949267_pedestrian_crossing_sign.jpg
Too often in Kentucky pedestrians are hit by motor vehicles while walking. These accidents occur at crosswalks, along the sides of roadways, and in parking lots. Many times the pedestrians are hit due to the carelessness of and inattentions of drivers. When a pedestrian is hit, these types of accidents usually result in serious or deadly consequences and injuries. This is due to the speed and blunt force size of a motor vehicle striking a person's body, often times propelling the pedestrian through the air and into other objects or other vehicles pathways.

When a pedestrian is struck by a motor vehicle, they have multiple possible avenues of financial recovery for lost wages, medical bills, and pain & suffering compensation. First and foremost the pedestrian can make a claim for auto insurance coverage (bodily injury claim) from the driver's insurance. If the driver does not have enough insurance or does not any insurance, the pedestrian can turn to their own automobile insurance coverage under underinsured motorist coverage or uninsured motorist coverage. Additionally, if the injured pedestrian lives with other persons, who also have automobile insurance coverage, additional compensation may be available under certain circumstances.

Usually, when dealing with pedestrian accidents, apportionment of fault becomes an issue. This occurs when the driver of the vehicle claims that the accident is the fault of the pedestrian due to where the pedestrian was walking or other circumstances within the control of the pedestrian. Kentucky is a comparative fault law state. This means that fault, even if 99% lies with one party, that party can still seek recovery from the other party for their 1% fault. The role of your attorney is to establish what percentage of fault each party bears, and then using such percentages, in relation to the total damages incurred, to seek a recovery based upon the relative percentages.

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Kentucky Roaming Horses & Livestock Cause Serious Auto Accidents

February 1, 2011

Kentucky Revised Statutes 259.210 provides that livestock are not permitted to "roam at-large" and the owner is liable for any damages that may result. Owners of livestock, horses and cattle, are responsible to take reasonable and prudent measures to assure that these animals do not roam freely and cause accidents or injury to others. That responsibility includes fencing the animals in and taking other precautions so the livestock do not cause problems for others in the surrounding area. When those responsibilities are ignored or neglected tragedies such as this can result, including serious and fatal auto accidents.

The landowner's insurance companies should be responsible for medical bills and other harms and losses that are incurred when animals roam freely and cause injury. These types of incidents along country roads cause major motor vehicle crashes. Additionally, more aggressive animals that get loose and roam can attack adults or children.

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