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.

Hagan v. Commonwealth

Supreme Court of Kentucky

November 1, 2018

WILLIAM ROBERT HAGAN; JAMES S. HAGAN; DELBERTA A. HAGAN; RAYMOND E. DOBSON; BETTY JANE DOBSON; JOHN W. HAGAN; LORETTA H. HAGAN; LARRY L. HAGAN; CATHERINE K. HAGAN; LILIA HAGAN; AND ROSE MARY GRAVELL, REAL PARTIES IN INTEREST APPELLANTS /REAL PARTIES IN INTEREST
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF KENTUCKY, TRANSPORTATION CABINET APPELLEE

          ON REVIEW FROM COURT OF APPEALS CASE NO. 2014-CA-001882-MR HARDIN CIRCUIT COURT NO. 12-CI-02110

          COUNSEL FOR APPELLANTS: John W. Wooldridge Waller 8b Wooldridge

          COUNSEL FOR APPELLEE: Geraldine Guerin Transportation Cabinet, Dept. of Transportation

          OPINION

          VENTERS, JUSTICE

         Appellants in this eminent domain action[1] all own a fee simple undivided fractional interest in a tract of land taken by the Commonwealth of Kentucky for a highway construction project. They appealed the jury verdict establishing the "just compensation"[2] paid for property to be taken. However, upon motion of the Commonwealth, the Court of Appeals dismissed their appeal because Appellants' notice of appeal failed to include the name of Edward Gravell (Edward).

         Edward is the husband of Appellant Rose Mary Gravell, one of the tenants-in-common owning the property. As such, Edward indisputably owned, at the time of the taking, a vested curtesy interest in Rose's interest in the property. Edward's interest is an inchoate right, an expectancy of an interest or a future interest contingent upon his surviving Rose. See First Union Home Equity Bank, N.A. v. Bedford Loan and Deposit Bank, 111 S.W.3d 892, 894 (Ky. App. 2003). The Court of Appeals reasoned that Edward's interest in the property would be affected by the decision of the appellate court, and thus, according to Browning v. Preece, 392 S.W.3d 388 (Ky. 2013), he was an indispensable party. The failure to name an indispensable party in the notice of appeal is regarded as a judicial defect requiring dismissal of the appeal. City of Devondale v. Stallings, 795 S.W.2d 954 (Ky. 1990); CR 19.02.

         We granted discretionary review because the Court of Appeals' opinion is contrary to applicable precedent: Riley v Dept. of Highways, 375 S.W.2d 245 (Ky. 1963), authored by Judge (and later Justice) John Palmore, and Dept. of Highways v Kelley, 376 S.W.2d 539 (Ky. 1964). Upon review, we conclude that Judge Palmore's opinion in Riley remains sound and applicable to the circumstances before us in this case. Accordingly, we reverse the order dismissing the appeal, and we remand the matter to the Court of Appeals for resolution of the appeal on the merits.

         I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         In November 2012, the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Transportation Cabinet, Department of Highways (Commonwealth) commenced a condemnation action seeking to acquire for roadway purposes 4.157 acres out of a 20.978-acre tract owned collectively in fee simple by Appellants. In addition to the Appellants listed herein, the Commonwealth's suit also named Edward Gravell as a defendant because he is the husband of Appellant Rose Mary Gravell and thus possessed an inchoate curtesy interest in the real property of his wife.

         None of Appellants contested the Commonwealth's right to take the property under its powers of eminent domain, and so, pursuant to KRS 416.610, the trial court entered an interlocutory judgment allowing the taking. The Commissioners issued a report setting forth their appraisal of the just compensation to be paid. Neither Appellants nor the Commonwealth was satisfied with the Commissioner's report, and so, both filed exceptions challenging the Commissioners' valuation.

         In due course, the case was tried before a jury which returned its verdict. In October 2014, the trial court entered a final order and judgment confirming the verdict of the jury. The judgment affirmed the Commonwealth's right to fee simple title to the property, and it fixed the compensation to be paid to Appellants for the taking.[3]

         Dissatisfied with the jury's verdict, Appellants filed a notice of appeal, challenging the compensation awarded by the jury. The Commonwealth, apparently content with the jury's verdict, did not appeal. Appellants' notice of appeal named as parties to the appeal the Commonwealth, the fee simple co-owners, and all their respective spouses, except Edward Gravell. Based upon the omission of Edward Gravell as a party to the appeal, the Commonwealth moved to dismiss for failure to name an indispensable party.

         Upon review, the Court of Appeals agreed that Edward Gravell was an indispensable party to the appeal. The Court of Appeals reasoned that "any decision of this court impacting the subject property-or its calculated value- would necessarily have a bearing on Edward Gravell's interest. However, he would not be bound by such decision as he would still be bound by the trial court's existing judgment."

         We agree that Edward, having been excluded from the notice of appeal and not otherwise opting for himself to appeal the case, would be bound by the trial court's judgment. But, neither his interest in the award of just compensation rendered by the jury, nor the interest of any other ...


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.