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Albright v. Lindsey Childers

Court of Appeals of Kentucky

December 21, 2018

WILLIAM S. ALBRIGHT APPELLANT
v.
LINDSEY CHILDERS, AS ADMINISTRATRIX OF THE ESTATE OF CAMERON PEARSON; LINDSEYCHILDERS, AS NEXT FRIEND AND GUARDIAN OF A.P., A MINOR; LINDSEY CHILDERS, AS NEXT FRIEND AND GUARDIAN OF C.P., A MINOR; LINDSEY CHILDERS, AS NEXT FRIEND AND GUARDIAN OF E.P., A MINOR; AMANDA WAITS; AND KYLE PEARSON APPELLEES AND HARDSHELL TACTICAL, LLC APPELLANT
v.
LINDSEY CHILDERS, AS ADMINISTRATRIX OF THE ESTATE OF CAMERON PEARSON; LINDSEY CHILDERS, AS NEXT FRIEND AND GUARDIAN OF A.P., A MINOR; LINDSEY CHILDERS, AS NEXT FRIEND AND GUARDIAN OF C.P., A MINOR; LINDSEY CHILDERS, AS NEXT FRIEND AND GUARDIAN OF E.P., A MINOR; AMANDA WAITS; KYLE PEARSON; WILLIAM ALBRIGHT; AND BASU PROPERTIES, LLC

          APPEAL FROM JEFFERSON CIRCUIT COURT HONORABLE MITCHELL PERRY, JUDGE ACTION NOS. 16-CI-003155, 16-CI-003155

          BRIEF FOR APPELLANT, WILLIAM S. ALBRIGHT: Gregg E. Thornton Maxwell Smith Lexington, Kentucky BRIEF FOR APPELLANT, HARDSHELL TACTICAL, LLC: Melissa Thompson Richardson Lexington, Kentucky Ryan Becker Louisville, Kentucky ORAL ARGUMENT FOR APPELLANT, WILLIAM S. ALBRIGHT: Gregg E. Thornton Lexington, Kentucky ORAL ARGUMENT FOR APPELLANT, HARDSHELL TACTICAL, LLC: Melissa Thompson Richardson Lexington, Kentucky

          BRIEF FOR APPELLEE, LINDSEY CHILDERS: Martin Pohl Louisville, Kentucky Danielle Blandford Louisville, Kentucky BRIEF FOR APPELLEE, BASU PROPERTIES, LLC: Charles H. Cassis Aaron John Silletto Louisville, Kentucky ORAL ARGUMENT FOR APPELLEES: Aaron John Silletto Louisville, Kentucky

          BEFORE: D. LAMBERT, MAZE, AND NICKELL, JUDGES.

          OPINION

          MAZE, JUDGE

         This appeal arises from a Jefferson Circuit Court's denial of Appellants', William Albright and Hardshell Tactical, LLC, motion for judgment on the pleadings asserting immunity under KRS[1] 503.085. After a careful review of the record, we are obligated to reverse based on the reasons stated in this opinion.

         Background

         On July 8, 2015, two brothers, Cameron Pearson and Kyle Pearson, were engaged in a physical altercation over a handgun in a parking lot. The parking lot was located outside Hardshell Tactical, LLC. Hardshell is a gun store located in Louisville, and at the time of the incident was co-owned by William Albright. Albright heard a gunshot and then exited Hardshell and approached the brothers who were wrestling over the gun. Albright began ordering the two brothers to drop the gun. During the struggle, at least two shots were fired by the brothers. Albright ultimately shot at the two brothers. This resulted in injuries to Kyle Pearson and the death of Cameron Pearson.

         Albright was indicted by a Jefferson County grand jury on counts of murder and assault in the first degree. Albright filed a motion to dismiss the criminal charges claiming immunity under KRS 503.085. The court held a hearing on the issue of immunity and found that Albright was immune from criminal prosecution.

         Just before the criminal charges were dismissed, a civil action was filed against Albright alleging negligent use of force. This civil suit was brought by Lindsey Childers, as administratrix of the Estate of Cameron Pearson and as Next Friend and Guardian of Minors A.P., C.P., and E.P.; Kyle Pearson and Amanda Waits (Appellees). Albright argued that because the criminal court found he was immune under KRS 503.085, this immunity extended to all potential civil liability arising from the same use of force. The civil trial court denied Albright's and Hardshell's motions for judgment on the pleadings. These appeals follow.

         We note at the outset, there are two separate appeals which have not been consolidated but "are to be heard with." As the circuit court case is the same, and both involve the same arguments and issues, we will address both appeals with one opinion.

         Standard of Review

         A judgment on the pleadings "should be granted if it appears beyond doubt that the nonmoving party cannot prove any set of facts that would entitle [him or her] to relief." City of Pioneer Village v. Bullitt County ex rel. Bullitt Fiscal Court, 104 S.W.3d 757, 759 (Ky, 2003) (internal citations omitted). This court reviews a denial of a judgment on the pleadings de novo. Schultz v. General Elec. Healthcare Financial Services Inc., 360 S.W.3d 171, 177 (Ky. 2012).

         The standard of review of the trial court's probable cause immunity determination is not de novo. Commonwealth v. Lemons,437 S.W.3d 708, 715 (Ky. 2014). Rather, the appellate court reviews whether there was substantial basis in fact to support the trial court's conclusion that the defendant did not act in self-defense. Id. at 714-15. On the other hand, when interpreting a statute and looking at legislative intent, we look first to the language of the statute, giving the words their plain and ordinary meaning. Osborne v. Commonwealth, 185 S.W.3d 645, 648-49 (Ky. 2006). But where a statute is unambiguous, extrinsic evidence of legislative intent and public policy is not admissible. Lewis v. Jackson Energy Co-op. Corp., 189 S.W.3d 87, 94 (Ky. 2005). Because the construction and ...


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