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Anthony v. McLaughlin

Court of Appeals of Kentucky

December 14, 2018

CURTIS ANTHONY, TRUSTEE APPELLANT
v.
SANDRA L. MCLAUGHLIN, JUDGE; AND FRANKFORT AVENUE CHURCH OF CHRIST APPELLEES

          APPEAL FROM JEFFERSON CIRCUIT COURT HONORABLE OLU A. STEVENS, JUDGE ACTION NO. 17-CI-005091

          BRIEFS AND ORAL ARGUMENT FOR APPELLANT: Karl Price Louisville, Kentucky.

          BRIEF AND ORAL ARGUMENT FOR APPELLEE FRANKFORT AVENUE CHURCH OF CHRIST: Patrick T. Schmidt Louisville, Kentucky.

          BEFORE: J. LAMBERT, MAZE, AND SMALLWOOD, JUDGES.

          OPINION

          SMALLWOOD, JUDGE:

         Curtis Anthony, Trustee, appeals from an order of the Jefferson Circuit Court which denied his writ for prohibition and/or mandamus. Appellant sought to have the circuit court prohibit the district court from enforcing an order and ordering it to hold a contempt hearing. We find that the circuit court erred in denying the writ, though not for the reasons set forth by Appellant; therefore, we reverse and remand.

         Appellant brought a forcible detainer action in the Jefferson District Court against Reverend Billy Holt and the New Brighter Day Baptist Church. Appellant sought a judgment of eviction for the non-payment of rent. The property at issue is located at 427 M Street, Louisville, Kentucky. From what can be deduced from the record and the briefs, the ownership of the property is under dispute and Rev. Holt and his church began paying rent to the Frankfort Avenue Church of Christ (hereinafter referred to as Frankfort Avenue).[1]

         After the commencement of the forcible detainer action, Frankfort Avenue moved to intervene in order to make a claim of ownership on the subject property. This motion was granted by the district court. A trial was held and the district court entered an order on August 15, 2017. The order found that Rev. Holt and his church were guilty of forcible detainer and ordered them to vacate the premises. The order also required that Frankfort Avenue deliver to Appellant $8, 100 in rent it had collected from Rev. Holt. Finally, the order required that Frankfort Avenue return to Appellant any documents it had obtained from Branch Banking & Trust pursuant to a subpoena duces tecum.

         Appellant later filed a contempt motion against Frankfort Avenue for not turning over the rent payments. Frankfort Avenue then filed a Kentucky Civil Rule (CR) 59.05 motion to amend or vacate the August order. A hearing was held on the CR 59.05 motion. The court ultimately amended its August order and entered a new order on September 22, 2017. The new order only changed one aspect of the previous order. The new order required Frankfort Avenue to pay into the court the money received in rent instead of paying it directly to Appellant. The court would then hold the money for 30 days or until Frankfort Avenue files an appeal or a circuit court action. The court also denied the contempt motion because it had modified its original order.

         Appellant then filed the underlying writ. Appellant argued that CR 59.05 is inapplicable to forcible detainer actions and that Frankfort Avenue's only recourse was to appeal the August order within 7 days pursuant to Kentucky Revised Statute (KRS) 383.255. Frankfort Avenue responded to the writ arguing that CR 59.05 is applicable and that Appellant is not entitled to the extraordinary remedy of a writ. The circuit court denied the writ and held that the district court was not acting outside its jurisdiction and that Appellant "failed to establish irreparable harm will result if this Court does not grant him relief." This appeal followed.

         To properly analyze this case, we must look at both the writ issue and the forcible detainer issue.

A writ of prohibition may be granted upon a showing that (1) the lower court is proceeding or is about to proceed outside of its jurisdiction and there is no remedy through an application to an intermediate court; or (2) that the lower court is acting or is about to act erroneously, although within its jurisdiction, and there exists no adequate remedy by appeal or otherwise and great injustice and irreparable injury will result if the petition is not granted.

Hoskins v. Maricle, 150 S.W.3d 1, 10 (Ky. 2004) (emphasis in original). We review the denial of a writ for abuse of discretion. Collins v. Braden, 384 S.W.3d 154, 158 (Ky. 2012).

"The remedy of forcible entry and detainer was evolved from an English criminal proceeding and is not strictly a common law action. It is regarded as a statutory action at law to recover possession of real property . . . ." McHugh v. Knippert, 243 S.W.2d 654, 655 (Ky. 1951). As a special statutory proceeding, KRS 383.200-285 governs the eviction process with its own unique procedural requirements which "shall prevail over any inconsistent procedures set forth in the Rules [of Civil Procedure]." CR 1; See Baker v. Ryan, 967 S.W.2d 591, 592 (Ky. App. 1997) (Holding that "the [forcible ...

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