Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Wright v. Ecolab, Inc.

Supreme Court of Kentucky

June 11, 2015

BRIDGETT WRIGHT, APPELLANT
v.
ECOLAB, INC.; MEDICAL COMPANY, INC.; OR SOLUTIONS, INC.; AND RUSSELL A. SWIGART, APPELLEES

Released for Publication July 2, 2015.

ON REVIEW FROM COURT OF APPEALS. CASE NO. 2012-CA-001956-MR. KENTON CIRCUIT COURT NO. 09-CI-03566.

FOR APPELLANT: James Walden Morgan, Jr., Steven Russell Dowell.

FOR APPELLEES: ECOLAB, INC.; MEDICAL COMPANY, INC.; AND OR SOLUTIONS, INC., Richard Simon Cleary, Griffin Terry Sumner, Kathleen Biggs Wright, Frost, Brown, Todd, LLC.

FOR APPELLEE: RUSSELL A. SWIGART, Jon Alig, Elizabeth A. Bellamy.

OPINION

Page 754

VENTERS, JUSTICE

On discretionary review, Appellant Bridgett Wright challenges an opinion of the Court of Appeals determining that the summary judgment entered against her by the Kenton Circuit Court was an interlocutory, non-final and non-appealable order, which did not contain the finality language required by CR 54.02. Specifically, the Court of Appeals ruled that the circuit court's entry of a nunc pro tunc [1] order purporting to interject, retroactively, the necessary finality language into the summary judgment could not cure the deficiency, and that the " relation forward" doctrine as described in Johnson v. Smith, 885 S.W.2d 944, 41 11 Ky.L.Summary 26 (Ky. 1994), did not apply under the present circumstances so as to rescue the premature notice of appeal.

Appellant contends that, pursuant to the relation forward doctrine, her premature notice of appeal should be deemed to have related forward to the time of the entry of the nunc pro tunc order, ostensibly incorporating the requisite CR 54.02(1) finality language into the circuit court's original summary judgment order, and by virtue of this device be adjudged as an appeal

Page 755

brought in timely fashion from a final and appealable order.

As further explained below, the filing of a notice of appeal divested the circuit court of jurisdiction over the particular case, and transferred that jurisdiction to the Court of Appeals. Therefore, the circuit court was without jurisdiction to enter a nunc pro tunc order, and that attempt to bestow finality upon the summary judgment was ineffective. Consequentially, we affirm the Opinion and Order of the Court of Appeals dismissing the appeal.

I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Because the issues we review in this matter relate primarily to procedural aspects of the case, a recitation of particular facts giving rise to Appellant's claims against Appellees is unnecessary. For the sake of providing context, however, the essential allegations of Appellant's claim are as follows.[2]

Russell Swigart was a district sales manager for OR Solutions, Inc. (ORS). ORS was a medical equipment company that was eventually renamed Ecolab, Inc., after selling off substantially all of its assets to Medical Company, Inc. We collectively refer to these three corporate entities as " Appellees." [3]

In January 2007, Swigart hired Appellant to fill a sales position. According to Appellant, within weeks after she was hired, Swigart began making unwelcome romantic overtures toward her. Under the threat that Swigart would discharge her if she refused, Appellant acquiesced briefly to a personal relationship with Swigart. After Appellant ended the personal relationship, Swigart embarked upon a campaign of harassment and intimidation that included sending Appellant vulgar, frightening, and insulting emails and text messages, and spreading rumors about her. Swigart resigned from ORS but persisted in his harassment of Appellant. Finally, he broke into Appellant's home and savagely killed two of her cats and vandalized the residence with their remains.[4] Appellant obtained counseling, which was paid for by ORS. She tried to continue with her employment with ORS, but ultimately was unable to do so.

On November 23, 2009, Appellant filed suit naming Swigart as the only defendant. Apparently Appellant acquired information during the litigation leading her to believe that Appellee ORS was aware of Swigart's violent disposition toward women and that it failed to take appropriate measures to protect her. On July 1, 2011, about 20 months after the filing of the complaint against Swigart, Appellant amended her complaint to assert direct claims against Appellees.

Appellees moved for summary judgment, arguing that Appellant's claims against them were barred by the applicable statute of limitations. The trial court sustained the motion and entered a summary judgment ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.