FROM FAYETTE CIRCUIT COURT HONORABLE PAMELA R. GOODWINE,
JUDGE ACTION NO. 14-CI-01047
FOR APPELLANT: Patricia Nave, Pro Se Lexington, Kentucky
FOR APPELLEES, DR. DAVID FEINBERG AND AMY ROUSE: Matthew T.
Lockaby Lexington, Kentucky
FOR APPELLEE, ROSS STINETORF: Thomas D. Bullock Lexington,
BEFORE: J. LAMBERT, NICKELL, AND TAYLOR, JUDGES.
LAMBERT, J., JUDGE.
Nave, proceeding pro se,  has appealed from three orders of the
Fayette Circuit Court dismissing her claims related to a
custodial evaluation performed in a dissolution case. The
circuit court held that her claims were time-barred and that
the appellees had immunity from suit. Having reviewed the
record and the parties' respective arguments, we affirm
the orders on appeal.
underlying matter began with the filing of a 91-page petition
for damages by Nave against David Feinberg, Amy Rouse, Ross
Stinetorf, and William F. Patten on March 21,
2014. Dr. Feinberg is a licensed
psychologist who practices at Feinberg & Associates,
Rouse is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who was employed
by Feinberg & Associates, Stinetorf is a licensed
attorney in Kentucky, and Patten is both a licensed attorney
and certified public accountant in the states of Oklahoma and
Missouri. Patten is Nave's former husband. Patten hired
Stinetorf to represent him in other actions, including a
pending dissolution action in the Fayette Family Court,
Patten v. Patten, Case No. 10-CI-04382, where
custody of his and Nave's minor children was at issue.
Dr. Feinberg and Rouse were ordered by the family court to
conduct a custodial evaluation for the dissolution action.
short, Nave alleged that Dr. Feinberg and Rouse received
reports of child abuse during an interview with one of the
children during the course of the custody evaluation but
failed to disclose the abuse reports to her or to the Cabinet
for Health and Family Services (the Cabinet) pursuant to
Kentucky Revised Statutes (KRS) 620.030. Nave also disputed
the contents of the custody report provided to the Cabinet,
alleging that it concealed information related to abuse and
to her and Patten's psychological testing results.
alleged several causes of action against the four named
defendants. Against Dr. Feinberg and Rouse, Nave alleged
breach of contract related to the performance of the custody
evaluation, professional malpractice, and negligence. Against
Dr. Feinberg, Rouse, and Stinetorf, Nave alleged a cause of
action for disclosure of her confidential information.
Against all four defendants, Nave alleged defamation,
conspiracy to defame, fraud based upon their material
misrepresentations, conspiracy to commit fraud, intentional
infliction of emotional distress, conspiracy to intentionally
inflict emotional distress, obstruction of a child abuse
investigation, and conspiracy to obstruct a child abuse
investigation. As a result, Nave sought compensatory damages,
actual damages, consequential damages, and a trial by jury.
of filing an answer to the complaint, Dr. Feinberg and Rouse
filed a motion to dismiss pursuant to Kentucky Rules of Civil
Procedure (CR) 12.02(f), in which they argued that they were
entitled to quasi-judicial immunity as court-appointed
custody evaluators and that if not immune, Nave's claims
should be dismissed as barred by the applicable one-year
statute of limitations or for failure to state a claim upon
which relief could be granted. In the attached memorandum,
Dr. Feinberg and Rouse explained that in an order entered
March 4, 2011, in the course of the dissolution proceeding,
the family court directed the parties to submit to a custody
evaluation by Feinberg & Associates. This evaluation was
conducted, and Dr. Feinberg issued a report. The custody
conference was held on August 2, 2011. Nave and Patten
reached a settlement, and Nave was awarded primary custody of
their children. More than two years later, Nave attacked the
custody evaluation and report. Dr. Feinberg and Rouse cited
to Stone v. Glass, 35 S.W.3d 827 (Ky. App. 2000), in
support of their argument that they were entitled to
quasi-judicial immunity for all of Nave's claims. As to
the individual claims, they argued that there was no contract
between either of them and Nave so that there could not be a
breach, that her unlawful disclosure claims must fail because
HIPAA does not create a private cause of action for a
violation of its provisions, and that the remaining claims
were filed outside of the one-year statute of limitations
period, which began to run on August 2, 2011, when the
custody report was issued and discussed during the
dissolution proceedings. Nave did not file her complaint
until March 21, 2014.
joined the motion to dismiss filed by Dr. Feinberg and Rouse.
In addition, Stinetorf argued that any allegations of
wrongdoing by him should have been raised in the dissolution
case and that he had absolute immunity for any statement made
or pleading filed as a part of a judicial proceeding pursuant
to Morgan & Pottinger, Attorneys, P.S.C. v.
Botts, 348 S.W.3d 599 (Ky. 2011).
objected to both motions, and in reply, Dr. Feinberg and
Rouse stated that Nave admitted that the suspected child
abuse - about which she was complaining had not been reported
- had in reality already been reported and had been the
subject of two Cabinet investigations.
circuit court held a hearing on the defendants' motions
on May 28, 2014. The court first held that there could not be
a cause of action against Stinetorf due to lack of duty
because he represented Patten, not her, in the family court
action and therefore dismissed him from the lawsuit. After
noting that Nave received primary custody of the children and
that Patten had not seen the children since April 2011 and
considering the merits of their motion, the circuit court
granted Dr. Feinberg and Rouse's motion to dismiss.
Written rulings were not entered until the next year.
January 7, 2015, the circuit court entered an order
dismissing Nave's claims against Stinetorf with
prejudice. Nave moved the court to modify its January 7,
2015, order, stating that the basis and rationale for the
ruling was not set forth in the order, its broad reference to
the record was not sufficient to apprise a reviewing court of
the basis of the ruling, and it did not include finality
language. Dr. Feinberg and Rouse responded to Nave's
motion, noting that the court had granted their motion to
dismiss at the May 28, 2014, hearing, and had requested that
they tender a proposed order, which they did on January 13,
2015. Stinetorf also objected to Nave's motion, stating
that findings of fact and conclusions of law are not
necessary in orders ruling on CR 12 or CR 56 motions pursuant
to CR 52.01.
January 20, 2015, the circuit court entered an order granting
Dr. Feinberg and Rouse's motion to dismiss. In the order,
the court concluded that they were entitled to quasi-judicial
immunity and that Nave ...